Varanasi in the Flesh

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.

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  • Reply
    Jackie Hallerberg
    March 5, 2016 at 2:43 am

    Hi Natalia, The tone of all of your pictures is stunning. Almost monochromatic with the occasional contrast. I found them to be quite stunning. Ever since I heard Rev. Edward from the Santa Rosa Center for Spiritual Living talk about his journey to Varanasi, I have been fascinated. I may head to India this summer and Varanasi is on my list to visit. Now tell me – did you take a dip in the waters of the Ganges? Thank you for the gift of your eye and voice. Jackie

    • Reply
      March 8, 2016 at 6:33 am

      Thanks, Jackie! The colors combined with the dirt and pollution sometimes had an eerie effect. I did take a dip but not in Varanasi, in Uttarakhand. It was up in the mountains and fast flowing so it was much more appealing, although I saw one dead cow and one human corpse float by. I think flooding and drowning is fairly prevalent in the mountains.

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