People of Kashi

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I visited Kashi in Nov 2013, stayed at a lodge near Assi Ghat. U see sunrise from my room balcony. Sunrise and sunset at Kashi are a treat to experience.

Went to Kashi for the Dev Deepavali Festival i.e. held on Kartik Purnima. Collection of photos is one day before and on Kartik Purnima. Dev Deepavali and Temples of Kashi pic collection is separate. U see women at Assi Ghat paying respects to Bhishma Pithama - time is before sunrise. Next 4 pics are one day before Kartik Purnima.

Board at Assi Ghat. It is at one end of the Holy Ganga in Kashi and is one of the 5 teerthas. There is a peepal tree and Shiv temple at the ghat where devotees go. Tulsidas Goswamiji completed the Ramcharitramanas and attained Samadhi here in 1680.

A young Pandit performs aarti at Assi Ghat - before sunrise. In background is Peepal tree.

Devotees worshipping lingam ie at the base of the peepal tree. Steady flow of devotees from around 3 am at the ghat.

This pic is at Dasashvamedha Ghat post Ganga Aarti that takes place in the evening.

Back to Assi Ghat. Scene at ghat 5 am. Devotees getting ready to go for Ganga Snan or bathing. It was quite cold in the morning, that did not deter devotees.

Closeup of ghat. Those with a Victorian attitude towards sex might wonder how ladies change their clothes on the ghat, in the presence of men. It was a townie like me who thus wondered!! When I expressed concern to a tea stall owner the 15 year old chastened me by saying our minds were corrupt. These people from the villages and small towns of India had purity of mind and devotion in their hearts.

A group of foreigners enjoying chai in kullads (glasses made of clay). Tea in a kullad tastes much better than in a plastic glass.

A view of the ghat that you saw earlier but it is dawn. Ladies worshipping Bhishma Pithama in centre of pic.

Lady devotees in boat for an early morning ride in the Ganga. The best time to go boating in the Ganga is early morning.

Early morning view of the ghats taken from Kedar Ghat.

Entrance to Banaras Hindu University. Image is of Pandit Madan Malaviyaji (1861-1946) who founded BHU. It is as important a place as the ghats of Kashi. Do visit, also see Bharat Kala Bhavan, the Art and Archaeological Museum and Birla Temple. From here gets autos to go to Ramnagar. To know more about BHU site Click here

From here on pics are on Kartik Purnima. A Swamini friend said should take a solo boat ride from the first ghat (Assi) to the last Rajghat and back. Left at 5 am and returned by about 11am. Before sun rise pic from boat you see Kedar Ghat. Top is Kedareshwara Temple made in South India style. This linga of Shiva is svayambhu, self-manifest.

In between showing other pics. At Dasashvamedha Ghat saw man on right who takes your spectacle number, offers u glass with relevant number and frame all in a manner of minutes. U see lady trying glasses.

Early morning view of ghat next to Dasashvamedha Ghat on Kartik Purnima day. It is an auspicious to bath in the holy Ganga on this day.

This is Rajghat, the last ghat. In front is the rail/river bridge that brings you to Kashi. The ghat is a long one and full of devotees.

Another view of devotees on Rajghat. U can see ladies draping sarees, combing hair and happy because they are in Kashi on this auspicious day.

Walk up the steps at Rajghat to enter a mini market as you can see.

Devotees give rice, money, fruits to the needy and poor. Some of them collect so much of rice that need a sack as u see in pic. Was told that the rice is either sold or taken home for family consumption.

Post Dev Deepavali function was walking on the ghats when met this Sadhu.

Now pics are return from Raj to Assi ghat. U see Rani Ghat.

In Indian everything co exists. Left are dhobis washing clothes and right of pic devotees taking a dip in the holy Ganga.

Pic of Gaya Ghat.

Devotees enjoying boat ride near Scindia Ghat. Mostly saw devotees from small towns and villages. Few devotees come from metros and quite a few foreigners. In fact flight from Delhi to Kashi had virtually 80% foreigners.

Young boy in front was my boatmen. Going to Rajghat was easy since we were with the tide. On return rowing against the tide is tough. He got a diesel engine boat person to pull our boat for a short distance.

Preparations on for a special Puja near Dasashvamedha Ghat.

What better way to dry saris than exposing them to the rising sun. Good for devotees too - get their intake of Vitamin D.

Sadhu with turban from Bengal whilst the other 3 were from Kashi. This pic is post Ganga Aarti on the day before Kartik Purnima. Stood next to the Sadhu from Bengal for a few minutes,could experience the vibrations.

Brief history of Dasashvamedha Ghat. Present ghat was built by Peshwa Balaji Bajirao in 1748. Present Kashi Vishwanath Mandir was built by Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore and gold lamination of its shikhara by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Muslim power weakened after Aurangzeb i.e. when the Marathas and others rebuilt temples that were destroyed during Muslim rule.

Developed some affection for this Pandit who sits on the banks of the Holy Ganga. Met him for the first time on Saturday and for the next three days. Very kind, ever willing to help and not after money. Every time we met he created a different design on my forehead - the combination of multani mitti, haldi etc kept my head cool and relaxed during Kashi yatra.

Devotees taking a dip in the Holy Ganga. Ladies behind with steel ghadas in their hands in which they would fill Ganga water. On advice I went to the other side of the river bank and took 10 litres of water. It was very clean, all thanked me at home.

At Dasashvamedha Ghat, on the day after Dev Deepavali a family getting ready for Puja.

Saw these lovely kids at Tulsi Manas Mandir on a early Saturday morning. To see pics of Temples of Kashi Click here

A devotee praying to Surya Devata or Sun God on the ghats of Kashi.

Temple close to Dasashvamedha Ghat. The ghats are full of temples. Keep about 2-3 days if u wish to have darshan of each temple. Do visit Ramgarh Fort i.e. 15 kms away. To see pics Click here

Day before Kartik Purnima attended Ganga Aarti in evening. Devotees sit in boats and experience the aarti. Do visit Sarnath i.e. only 10 kms away where Buddha gave his first sermon.To see pics Click here

Devotee getting rid of hair. In a spiritual sense call it getting rid of desires with hair representing desire or attachment. Many devotees come to Kashi for the last rites of their parents, near and dear ones. To see black and white pics of Kashi Click here

Devotees on Kartik Purnima day. To see pics of Dev Deepavali Festival Click here

Old devotees getting off after a boat ride in the Holy Ganga. Saw so many senior citizen devotees at Kashi - it is a must visit atleast one time in each life.