Banaras, the spiritual capital of India is always on top of the wish list of photographers and these days for politicians too. Just like other photographers, I also always wanted to go there and witness beauty of the oldest living city in the World. However, somehow I never got a chance and time to visit the place.
Nevertheless, recently my wife told me that we
have to visit Banaras for some wedding of her cousin. Upon hearing it, I immediately said “yes, we will definitely go there for photography: P.” Luckily, she was equally excited to join me in my photo journey rather than meeting some long lost relatives, whom we are hardly going to meet again in near future.
As it was just one day trip, I de
cided that if nothing else, I will be definitely going to witness the very famous, divine and beautiful Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat. Well, I got to know about this ghat from my office colleague who belongs to Kashi only.
We started our journey in the morning by taking a flight from D
elhi to Banaras. Don’t ask me how we took that flight!? It was bhaagam bhaag type…
After reaching the airport at 8.30am, the airlines staff said “Sorry Sir! We cannot issue the boarding pass.” After hearing this, we were like, WTH! We need the boarding pass and we need it right now. On seeing me getting hyper, they said ok, take it but on your risk only.
Finally, after grabbing the boarding pass, we rushed towards the boarding gate. Jumping from the security checks, we finally banged ourself on the boarding gate. And guess what, now the guy standing on the boarding gate said, “Sorry sir! You cannot board it now, gates are already closed.” Fortunately, we managed to cross this hurdle also with some blah…blah… session.
And with big proud smile on our face, we rushed towards the aircraft. When we were about to land on Varanasi Airport, like any other traveller, I started looking outside the window to see how the place looks from the top. Honestly, my first reaction was, “Am I landing in Harappa Civilization or Indus valley Civilization?” Yes guys, seriously this is how it was looking from the top. Everything was in brown color, more of land and less of existence of human being.
Anyway, we were at Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport, Varanasi. Locally, this is famous with the name Babatpur Hawaiadda aka Babatpur Airport. It was in the outskirts of the actual Banaras city like any other city. We started moving towards our hotel and witnessed completely unruly traffic on the city roads. Everybody was moving in his/her own direction and you were like – hello, bhaiyaji kider ko jaa rahe ho? 😀
But it was fine as my expectations were not high as if I am vising metro city or more developed city. However, being a constituency for present PM from past 2 years, I expected very little. Anyway, cutting it short, we checked into the hotel and rested for whole afternoon because of the high temperature of 43 degree Celsius. Our plan was to visit the Ganga ghat in the evening for aarti.
In the evening, after walking in the crowded market for 15 mins, we reached the place where I was dreaming of clicking beautiful pictures of the aarti which starts right after the sunset. We reached quite early, so thought of just roaming around to see what else we can click. May be I was on the wrong time of the evening, when the area was over crowded and light was more towards night. I clicked some random pictures while having some conversation with the local people.
Avoiding all the deals being offered to us for boat ride, I preferred being on the ghat and clicking from here only. The preparations for the spectacular aarti were going on. Finally, around 7:15 p.m., it was sunset at Dashashwamedh Ghat and the Ganga aarti started.
The synchronization of all the Pandits was awesome and eye catching. They have their set sequence of picking different sacred items to perform the aarti. It was totally dark now and these lights of diyas were glowing like stars.
It looked like as if the fire was also dancing in the religious faith of 1000s of people who were witnessing this mesmerizing event. And here comes the end of the sweating and tiring yet an amazing experience of Ganga Aarti.