Boat ride in Varanasi

Varanasi Travel Blog

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The opposite side of Ganga in Varansi.
Continued from last entry...
We sat on the stairs of Assi Ghat for a few minutes looking at the calm river sipping tea in kulhads (small clay utensil). I decided to show Kunal some of the other ghats and so we started walking along the ghats. As we reached Bhadaini, a mallah (boatman) approached us and insisted on taking a boat ride. Since boat ride was among one of the entries in our 'things to do' list, it was settled there. We got on to the boat at around 2:30 - 3:00 pm. I myself was taking a boat ride in Varanasi after at least 12 years (such a shame) and it was a wonderful experience. It was a medium size boat made of wood where 5 people can sit on each side and 1-2 on the ends. There were two boatmen and two of us on the boat.
View of Ghats from the boat.
First it was decided to go to the opposite bank. It was a great conversation with boatmen and insightful as well about how the economy of boat business works. Apparently the boat in which we were sitting was made around 30 years before with time to time repair. Of course all the information was supposed to be taken with a pinch of salt. Opposite bank is more like a beach with sand spreading deeper into the land. All that area gets submerged in monsoon but at the time of our visit it was all sand and barren but beautiful in its own way. We spent half an hour on the other side and then decided to go till Manikarnika Ghat, then come back to Dashashwamedh and get down there and wait to see the Aarti which is performed at 6 pm every evening. The view of ghats from the middle of the river was majestic.
Aarti in progress.
Kunal and I, both tried our hands at rowing the boat for some time and I must that it can be really tiring if you have to do it long enough. As we approached Manikarnika Ghat we saw a few dead bodies burning. Boatmen told us that taking pictures was not allowed but at the same time told me that I could take snaps from a distance and luckily there was enough zoom in my lens to capture that. While going towards Dashawamedh I got a chance to fly kite on the boat in the middle of the river. There was enough string with the kite and I was lucky to get hold of it as it was going above our boat. It was one of the unforgettable moments, partly because I was flying kite after 12 years and also it never occurred to me that I will get a chance to do this and what a way to do it!!!  Finally we got down at Dashashwamedh Ghat.
Manikarnika ghat.
It was almost two and a half hours of boat ride and we paid Rs 300. There was still an hour to go before the Aarti so we decided to have some chaat. We made our way through the bazaar (local market) and reached Kashi Chaat Bhandaar. After we were done with an awesome aaloo tikki (small mashed potato cakes with lots of spices, chillies etc) followed by gulab jamun we headed back for the Aarti. The ghat was quite packed with people both locals and tourists to see the Aarti. It goes on for like an hour and I must confess that it has become more of a tourist attraction and defeats the purpose of worship. It is conducted on grand scale where 7 priests, all in their 20s and early 30s (may be adding glamor to the whole procedure) stand on the platform made for each of them. Nine priests conduct this grand ceremony every evening. We had our dinner in a local restaurant after Aarti and stuffed ourselves with Dosa and finally headed back home.
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The opposite side of Ganga in Vara…
The opposite side of Ganga in Var…
View of Ghats from the boat.
View of Ghats from the boat.
Aarti in progress.
Aarti in progress.
Manikarnika ghat.
Manikarnika ghat.
One of the mosques on ghats.
One of the mosques on ghats.
Aarti 1
Aarti 1
Aarti 2
Aarti 2
This temple is known as Kashi Karv…
This temple is known as Kashi Kar…
Stairs 1
Stairs 1
Stairs 2
Stairs 2
Stairs 3
Stairs 3
Stairs 4
Stairs 4
Opposite side.
Opposite side.
Lif on ghats 1
Lif on ghats 1
A pup in a temple on ghat 1
A pup in a temple on ghat 1
A pup in a temple on ghat 2
A pup in a temple on ghat 2
Ghats...
Ghats...
Life on ghats 2
Life on ghats 2
Boat in making...
Boat in making...
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photo by: rotorhead85