The absolute highlight of my visit to Varanasi was the morning boat ride on the Ganga, right after sunrise.
The light was sublime, the air carried a lovely fresh breeze, and being on the river, with the sound of the oar parting the water as we glided along the ghats watching the morning rituals, was magic. As soon as it was over, I wanted to do it again. Unfortunately, I was not feeling well the following morning (and last), and could not renew the experience. No matter, I took dozens of pictures, and the images are still vivid in my mind.
Here we see a man mediating against a backdrop of collapsed temples half immersed in the water.
Our boat-wallah had an explanation about this : a pandit was meditating on this ghat and asked to move so a temple could be built. When he wouldn’t, he was forced to. Furious, he declared that no temple would ever stand straight on these steps. (It is a very similar story to the story of the Mehrangarh Fort, in Jodhpur, as reported here.) My traveling guides simply mention that the elaborate structures of that temple were so heavy that they collapsed. That ghat is eerily beautiful.
A family taking a dip, and waving happily.
Below, pandits performing a puja on a little platform complete with umbrella, on the water.