Are you sure you want to go to the ghats now ? At 9 PM ? – I asked Arnab

Arnab and I reached Varanasi at different times and by the time we Zosteled ourselves- it was already 8 PM. We kept on asking everybody- yes almost everybody we met, that if we go to the Ghats now, will we see anything? The answer was almost the same – chances are minimal.

We headed with intention of exploring a new city in the night, experiencing the ghats by night and also to try out local food for dinner.

We reached the ghats around 10 PM – the distance wasn’t that much, however the enthusiastic photographer got delayed by clicking pictures of a Baarat on the way (read the story of an enthusiastic photographer here).  The road walking up to the Ghats is worth enough to capture life and will be a goldmine for anybody with a passion for street photography. With poor light and a new city, the courage to shoot reduced.

I was disappointed, to say the truth. Is this the place where photographers and onlookers and observers go crazy to come and experience? As deserted as a durga puja pandal after the immersion, we had nothing to do other than having lemon tea and wondering what to do next and where to go for dinner, when this man appeared from no where.

At Rs.400 for an hour, we agreed for a boat ride. With my relatively expensive camera, gears and a teenager rowing the boat – it was not a very comfortable feeling, while I successfully tried a balancing act to step into the boat.

The ride started at 10 PM, with Raju our boatman, on whose skills we entrusted our next 1 hour. It looked like a deserted place with witnesses of history standing silently. Some of the ghats were dark and the sole lamps were the only source of illumination. As we sailed through and heard the names of the ghats and some of the histories attached to them, I wandered how these places would have looked centuries ago. On one hand it’s jet black darkness with the majestic Ganga and on the other hand its dimly lit ghats, where after Dasheswamedh ghat, you could rarely see any people. Some stray dogs, some isolated boats with boatmen cooking their dinner, some sadhu sleeping. As the boat turned towards the Manikarnika ghat- the cremation ghat, we witnessed some last rites being performed. Some goosebumps and some more weird feelings, as adjacent to the burning ghats, there was a marriage ceremony going on.

I am sure all of you who have visited Varanasi have been awed by the myriad of activities that happen during the early hours of morning going on till sandya arati and there after; but this is something which is not to be missed – Let me know what you think …

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