Life in India thrives along the waterways which cascade down the Himalaya mountains far to the north, meandering until they reach the Indian Ocean. No place in India is a river so revered as the Ganges River is in Varanasi. The city springs forth from the West bank of the river, a city of over one million inhabitants all tied to the flowing waters in one manner or another.
The river is used for commerce, transportation, laundry, ritual cleansing, funerals, religious ceremonies, food gathering, trash receptacle, sewage disposal, recreation, irrigation and as a source of drinking water. Varanasi’s character is reflected in the waters of the Ganges with bright colors, life and non-stop activity. From morning prayers and bathing to the nightly, ritualistic Aarti ceremony, the city is bound to this holy river to which it clings.
Visiting Varanasi and the Ganges is an adventure in color and life. From the fresh vegetables at local markets to watching the sunrise from a river boat on the Ganges to the continuous flow of humans and machines (and horses and goats and cows) through the streets, every day in Varanasi is an opportunity to find something new.