Varanasi City of Ghats

By Ali Karim
This post is part of a series called Jaipur Lucknow & Varanasi India Feb 2012
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From Lucknow, we flew to Varanasi. arrived at the airport and took a taxi to the home stay we had booked. We stayed with Harish and his wife, Malika in their home in the city center off a small alleyway. Very nice and hospitable stay.

Varanasi is the religious capital of the Hindu’s and the Ganga river that flows through it is considered to be very holy to Hindus. To be cremated here is akin to reaching Nirvana. Due to this religious significance, Varanasi is very busy with thousands of pilgrims and local’s; and can be overwhelming at times.

Important Information
Varanasi has lot of Ghats and you can Cleanse yourself in the Holy Ganga from any of those ghats

So having the homestay which was in a semi-quiet neighborhood was very welcome. Varanasi has a number of Ghats (stairs going down towards the river) along the Ganga river to allow the pilgrims and the people to access the river water for spiritual cleansing, performing religious ceremonies  etc.  So there are many of these around, and have a lot of people on them.

There are several crematorium sites along the Ganges where multiple fires are used to do the cremation 24hrs a day. The ashes are then poured onto the Ganges. There are several kinds of bodies that are not cremated; Sadhu’s, children under puberty, pregnant women and Lepers. For these kinds of bodies, large stones are tied to the bodies, and then dumped into the center of the river Ganges. Apparently, several species of fish have evolved over time that consume this human flesh.

Varanasi, traffic jam with no cars

Varanasi ghat, chilling

Varanasi, refurbishing brass pots

Varanasi ghats and buildings

Varanasi Scindia Ghat


Varanasi transportation



Varanasi, laundry

Varanasi, time for spiritual reflection


Varanasi, house



In the evening everyday, an Aarti Pooja is held on one of the Ghats (Dasaswamedh Ghat) that is quite an event with many people attending

Varanasi, prep’d for the Aarti 

Varanasi, Aarti Prep

Varanasi, holy dip into the Ganges for spiritual cleansing

Varanasi, offerings


Varanasi, diva offerings into the Ganges

Varanasi; getting time for Aarti


Varanasi, Aarti Pooja

Varanasi, Aarti Pooja

Varanasi, Aarti Pooja

Varanasi, sadhu relaxing


Varanasi, cafe kitchen


Varanasi Kedar Ghat

Cremation, Varanasi. One site for cremations. There was another much larger volume crematorium where they asked not to photograph

Varanasi Ghats

All in all, a great trip to these cultural centers across northern India