Varanasi – III (Ganga Arati)

Continuation of the third day, rather the evening! I reached the spot around 1730 and realized that I was a bit late. I managed to get a space near the steps in front of the the priests. From my point, I could manage to capture flawlessly, at max, 2 of the priests. So be it. I still have one more day, and I knew the vantage point I would need for the shots that I wanted.

Here goes the evening shots.

First, the small lamps are lit on the topmost step! This adds a nice light boundary.


One of the fire carriers is basically a snake headed lamp and it looks simply amazing!

  DSC_6780    DSC_7001

Ladies, mostly the elderly ones, they lend their hands for the smaller lamps that are used as decorations.


Once the preparations are done, at the decided hour, the prayer songs start and the so does the fire incantations…and once they do, except for being taken in totally by the grandeur and awesomeness, there is very little else that remains to be done! If you have a camera, then click some pics quick and then sit back and enjoy!

The conch shell sounds the auspicious beginning!

Incense smokes follow!



And then, the lamps!


The effect is spiritual and spell binding!



Fire Incantation



Next day,  we travelled to two forts. The Chunar fort and the Ramnagar fort. And on the last day, I managed to get photos that made me term my trip a success! Coming up shortly!


Varanasi – III (Sarnath)

The next day, was an eventful one. The first half of the day was spent at Sarnath and the evening at the ghats watching the Ganga arati once more.

Sarnath, situated about 30 kms outside Varanasi is a holy place for Buddhists. It is at this place, that Gautam Buddha, gave his first sermons to his five disciples post attaining enlightenment. At the spot where he gave the sermon, during 2nd century BC, Ashoka commissioned an built the Dhamek Stupa. The Ashoka Pillar and the Lion Emblem were both situated nearby.

During the ’70 s , the ASI excavated the area and found the various artifacts and they have been kept safely and securely in the museum situated nearby, a must visit place on your Sarnath tour plan.

Sarnath Temple
Sarnath Temple

At Sarnath, you will find school children out on picnics and tours very frequently and the tickets are pretty cheap. Also, there are numerous shops with wares which might interest a lot of people. Do check them out but before buying, do bargain hard. Often, prices can be dropped to about half of the asking price.

Buddha painting within the temple
Buddha painting within the temple

Photography is not allowed within the museum unless you have a Govt. Of India approved permit, but then, it doesnt hurt much not taking photos of the sculptures, the experience of viewing them and reading the related stories are pretty fulfilling.

The Idol within
The Idol within

The excavated site and the stupa have a boundary, ticket price nominal. There are lawns and lots of place to sit and enjoy the tranquil environment. Meditating monks are not uncommon too.

Here the excavation can be seen with the Dhamek Stupa in the background. While in the second photo a wall carving has been shown.

  Excavation and Dhamek Stupa    Wall carving

Vihar wall
Vihar wall

Above: Carvings on the Vihar walls

Below: Carvings on the Dhamek Stupa

Carvings on the stupa
Carvings on the stupa

We retraced our path through the park and back to the main temple and before leaving, the prayer wheels, demanded attention and the respect!


Post our return, we freshened up and I went back to the Dasashwamedh ghat for another arati viewing session. This time, I was armed with the  200mm lens! The arati covered in the next post.