This is Varanasi. It sits in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. At just over 1 million people, not only is Varanasi the holiest of the 7 sacred Hindu cities, it also the oldest continuously inhabited city on Earth. Varanasi is the melting pot of India bringing people from all over the country. With them comes their cuisine, culture, and traditions. Varanasi is a weird mix of old mysticism, contemporary influence, and new age ideas. It can be an overwhelming place for many, but for me has been my favorite stop in India.
This is Eva Ullrich. She’s a world famous painter that I accompanied through India for a month. Varanasi would be her last stop before returning to Delhi for her flight home to work on a massive art project that will make her intergalacticly famous. She stood in front of my camera a lot and sometimes behind it to take photos of me. Not only does she make amazing paintings and half finished portraits of me, but she can also operate a camera and was a huge help with my Taj Majal photo project. Thanks Eva!
Eva and I spent a lot of time eating so you will see a lot of photos of what we ate. aloo chaat is one of my favorite things to eat on the streets of India. It’s a patty of mashed potatoes that is fried crispy before being topped with channa masala, and three types of sauces (green chilli, a sweet and tangy tomato tamarind sauce, and a bit of semi sweet yogurt). Afterwards some spices, fresh coriander, and some crunchy bits are added for texture. They cost between 10 – 20 rupees and of the dozens I’ve had, this one was the best and it came from Kashi Chat Bhandar.
This is the Ganges river, one of the most polluted bodies of water on Earth. It’s source is a glacier that rests in the Himalayan mountain range of northern India and it flows all the way to the Indian ocean. The city of Varanasi sits along the banks of the Ganges river and many activities take place here throughout the day. Both tourists and locals alike often spend their time on the 85 ghats of this sacred river.
The Hindus believe that by bathing in the Ganges – or better known as the Ganga in Hindi – you can wash away a lifetime of sins. Because of this pilgrims come to the holy city of Varanasi from all over the world to cleanse themselves in the river. Besides bathing, you will also see people doing their laundry, brushing their teeth, shaving, or collecting the water to take home with them.
This is the Manikarnika Ghat, or better known as the burning ghat. It is believed by the Hindus that if the body of the deceased is cleansed with fire and put into the Ganga here, they will break the cycle of death and rebirth and enter moksha. 200-300 bodies a day are burned here and their remains thrown in the river. The same river that people from all over bathe in to cleanse their sins.
You’re not allowed to use your camera at the burning ghats, but I found a way to do it. I have many photos and videos that in the near future I will be releasing as premium content to my subscribers. If you’re interested in being notified when it is available, make sure you subscribe using the box in the right hand side bar.
I hope you enjoy my photos from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India.
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