The Ganga, the sacred river, mother of all that is holy in India; the Varanasi ghats, literally the bathing places with steps down to the river. Varanasi / Benares / Kashi the oldest continuously occupied town/city in the world according to some.
Mark Twain visited here in 1897and said, “Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”
I was here eight years ago with my daughter on a whirlwind tour and wanted to come back to learn more. This afternoon I went for a walk and was approached by everyone for a donation or to buy something or to have a massage. This is the problem with a city that has so many tourists from all over the world – everyone wants a piece of your wallet, and they can be aggressive about it.
I have the curry beaten out of me for five-hundred rupees.
I resisted most of the entreaties but I confess to having a wonderful massage on the ghat, lying on a thin mat and having the curry beat out of me by a very competent masseuse. Half an hour and 500 rupees later I felt so darn good. It was as good as any massage I’ve had at home and he threw in some chiropractic moves as well. I needed it. Two months traveling in India can wear a guy out. This poor fellow near me was getting the full treatment.
There is much to see here. As a photographer, I once again couldn’t resist the colors.
I should have a little more to report after a walking tour tomorrow. There is an evening fire puja and I’ll post some photos from that experience eight years ago, once I return home next week.