Banaras At Dawn – More Than A Sunrise Story

11:50 AM Naina Madan 1 Comments

The guy at the hostel reception said if I want to go for morning boat ride, I should be at the reception of the hostel at sharp 4:30am. The boat man comes to pick up whoever wants to go for the boat ride and waits for maximum 10 minutes. Early morning boat ride was on my to-do list but I was so tired that the idea to do it next morning looked tempting. I quietly and somewhat uncertainly put an alarm on my phone for 3:45am.

I did wake up, quickly showered and was at the reception even before the boat man turned up. There was one more guy and the three of us started walking towards the ghat where the boat was. Not to surprise you, it was quarter to five, pitch dark but it was all quite happening. There were people going about life as if it was 5 in the evening.

Anyhow, after a 20 minute walk, we reached Jain Ghat where our boat was. All the time I thought we will be the only ones this early in the morning. But again I was surprised. There were many like us in the boats, with cameras in hand and around their necks, rowing towards Assi Ghat for morning Ganga aarti.

Believe me, those two hours in the morning were surreal and like a dream. It was not just about a sunrise. As the boat moved from Assi to up north towards Manikarna Ghat, it ceased to be just about watching the sunrise. It became so much more. Banaras at dawn has a character that no other city can boast of. It is a heady mix of religion, nature and the beautiful people that make this city so colorful.

As the sun started coming up, the gray sky turned in to pink-orange hues, the ghats started brimming with people. Washing clothes at dhobi ghat, doing pooja and other ritual at Dashashwamedh Ghat to the cremation underway at the burning ghat, Manikarna, you have to be on that boat, rowing slowly on the river, witnessing all this.

Maybe you will know the story better through these pictures.

After this early start, there was no way I was going back hungry. Found many hawkers selling small kachoris crushed and topped with black chane, served piping hot in a kulhad. Epic finish to an epic morning.

1 comment:

  1. You know how happy I am, reading this :) More stories to you! Missed Banaras with you, and now all the more sad about it.


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