When I think of Varanasi I think of bodies. They’re everywhere, some living, some not.
The shores of the river are where they gather. If the city had a heartbeat, the Ganges would be its source. The banks are alive. Corpses burn to your left and children play to your right.
It’s where locals get their haircuts, catch up with friends and do their laundry or their cleansing kriyas. It’s packed at sunrise for the morning prayer ceremony and still packed in the afternoon. The shores are never still, full of life and death.
It’s often said that Varansi is the “real” India. I’m not sure what that means, but it’s not hard to see that it’s a special place.