Baneras the ghats

“5:30 ?”

“Yes 5:30 should be good.”

I realized the Sarah was a SERIOUS amateur.

I had visited Banaras once a couple of years ago. During the week that Sen, Vikki and I spent in the city we seldom left the Ghats. Staying at Mishra Lodge on Trilochan Ghat we’d step out onto the Ghats every morning and drink loads of tea between our shoots till the night would call it a day. It was a busy period with the festival of Shivratri falling in the middle of the week. The elusive naga sadhus were out in full strength and the ghats buzzed with life both day and night.

When we got to the Ghats it was still dark, women and children invited us to buy flowers and dias to offer the river. The sun was still below the horizon but the light creeping out in the distance announced its advent as did the solitary priest who readied his instruments to greet the day with the morning Aarti.

Soon we saw the sun appear as it struggled to break free from the bars of clouds that seemed to arrest it a little longer. When it finally broke free it was as if the city had laid out a red (well orange really) carpet for it to cross the river. Within minutes the Ghats were a buzz with pilgrims, the Ghats were alive!

For the next couple of hours Sarah, Dharma our guide and I walked the Ghats. Sarah did most of the shooting while I was content helping her with her photography. When after a few hours our legs began to revolt we took the boat and cruised down stream.

The boat ride done we spent some more time on the ghats before heading off for breakfast. Back in the car Dharma told us that nearly every tourist that visited the city made it to the Ghats for the sunrise, and it was quite clear why.

So if you do make a trip to the city make sure to fight the fatigue to greet the rising sun as it walks the red carpet across the river to announce a new day for the city. Once you have seen the sunrise you will then have to return for the evening Aarti something you just cant miss.

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