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Photographer's Note

Benaras or Varanasi or Kashi :

The great river banks at Varanasi, built high with eighteenth and nineteenth-century pavilions and palaces, temples and terraces, are lined with an endless chain of stone steps - the Ghats - progressing along the whole of the waterfront, altering in appearance with the dramatic seasonal fluctuations of the river level. The city starts to assert her distinctive personality as one nears these famous ghats where a sea people surge across the steps that lead down to the river. Bearded Sadhus in orange robes and elaborate cast marks on their foreheads invite tourists to take their photographs and then demanded to be paid. Scraggly beggars sit patiently for the gods to provide. Pilgrims drop coins into their begging bowls and notch up good karma. Kids splashed happily in the water’s edge. Pundits perform sacred ceremonies. Boatmen row visitors to the sandy beach on the opposite bank and across the face of the 80 ghats that telescoped into each other.

The ghats of Varanasi unravel like a roll of film, each frame capturing its different moods. Dhobis laying out clothes like a patchwork quilt on the steps; buffalos wallowing in the shallow waters; a stairway going nowhere; fortress like walls flexing their muscles behind temple spires; murals of gods; holy men washing their orange robes; the minarets and domes of a mosque. A murmer of a prayer caressed one’s lips as one cruises passed the city’s burning ghats blurred behind a veil of smoke.

Partly submerged in the water is the leaning temple of Varanasi. Why does this temple lean? Possibly because of its silt foundation, but when in Varanasi, there has to be a metaphysical reason as well. Legend has it that there was a man who made this temple for his mother with the intention to pay everything she did for him. The mother, when she heard this became furious. She said that nothing could ever could repay a mother's love and she cursed that the temple will not stand straight & will lean on its foundation, eventually to fall away. Now this building is not considered to be a temple. When the water level of Ganges is high, almost half of this temple goes under water.

The tilt of the temple is not evident from this POV, as it tilts in the direction away from the viewer. Please see here to see the pronounced tilt of the temple . In this post I wanted to also show a part of the ghat & the ‘holy men’ of Varanasi as well :-)

jhm, pierrefonds, danos, Graal, pajaran, Budapestman, ChrisJ, bayno, josepmarin, SnapRJW, adores, mirosu ha puntuado esta nota como útil.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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