Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India: Part IV – Ghats on the River Ganga

Thank-you for visiting Big Mountain Photography where the Varanasi, India adventure concludes with a visit to 5-6 Ghats and the River Ganga. The Ghats’ uniqueness is the foundation of Varanasi’s strong character.  If you plan on visiting India, please place this city on the top of your list planning a 2-3 day minimum stay.  You will not be disappointed.  Good Luck

PS Bring your camera.  Film cameras preferred.


High pressure washing away the hardened silt back into the Ganga River only to return next year.

Side Note: In July – August each year, the Monsoon floods rise the water level on the Ganga River 12-14 m higher than what I experienced. There is another ~10m drop to go until the steps rising out of the water revealing the true shoreline.

So every year after the monsoon flood resides, the work of high pressure washing the hardened silt from the Ghat’s steps begins with the cycle repeating year after year as it has for years gone by.

Link to Part I, Intro

Link to Part II, Faces

Link to Part III, Alleyways

Note: Red-colored, underlined text is a link for more information, i.e. Wikipedia, YouTube, Map…

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Image Gallery: Ghats on River Ganga

1) Fuji GF670 Medium Format Camera, Yes Film: These stairs rising from the Ganga River were the most colorful of all.  A fresh paint job in time for the full moon festival the day after I left where 100,000s of people converge.


2) Fuji GF670 Medium Format Camera, Yes Film:  Wall mural art along the Ghats.


3) Fuji GF670 Medium Format Camera, Yes Film: The same set of descending stairs now immersed with enthusiastic schoolboys out to make their mark.


4) Here the family of deceased purchase their wood for the cremation with prices varying on quality and weighed with simple a counterbalance scheme.  Appears the previous buyer had ~80kg of wood purchased visually the weights’ size.


5) This wall mural struck me immediately as a symbol of death and rebirth at the Cremation Ghat, 1 of several.  A good candidate for a Tatoo Artist.


6)  Not sure what these Mexican Standoff between two diagonal men, but it did create the leading line I was looking for.


7) A view from afar of this Cremation Ghat as it’s not appropriate to take photos up close.  Some people did after paying the local operator yet not for me.  I did see a YouTube video where there are photographers (with a small p) whose job it is to take close up photos of the deceased for the family.


8)  Another view of Cremation Ghat from the Ganga River with a telescopic lens showing one fire ends, one fire underway and another fire starting.  So is death along the Ganga.


9) A view upstream along the Ghats in the early morning mist.


10) A Ganga Riverboat waiting for its next voyage.


11)  The Laundry Ghat with freshly washed clothes from the Ganga River (hand scrubbed and rock-pounded) set to dry on the open steps.


12) The evening Ganga Aarti in sepias.  A must see event.  There are two simultaneously Aartis underway and adjacent to one another.   I viewed it from off shore on a rowboat yet will try it on shore next time.


13)  Another close up of the Ganga Aarti.


14) Early morning cleansing of the soul and body on the Rive Ganga.


15)  Another view of the Laundry Ghat from off-shore.


16) Chinese tourists / photographers shooting their big gun Canons and Nikons.  I just had a little Fuji X-Pro2 to compete. 🙂


17)  Cremations continue 24×7 at this Ghat.  PS I did take a photo of a dead, bloaed cow left to float off-shore on the Ganga.  So is life, so is death here.


18) A Fish-Eye view fo the boats along the Ghats of River Ganga.


19) A morning River Ganga ritual repeated over the 1000s of years past and years to come.


21) Fuji GF670 Medium Format Camera, Yes Film: A fresh coat of paint and he’s ready for the 1000s of tourists descending the steps of the Ghats looking for the special boat ride on the Ganga.

2 thoughts on “Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India: Part IV – Ghats on the River Ganga

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