Asia Blog

Varanasi, India - October 28th

Leaving today at for flight to Kathmandu, so this is my last chance to shoot at the ghats. I hope that I've given you all a good sense of what goes on there. It is a photographers dream.

Left the room at 4:30 AM walking through the streets to the ghats. As my guide Saugrebgh says, theres something going on in Varanasi 24 hours a day. Heres a procession to the Ganges at 5 in the morning. Singing, chanting drums, and all. Just crazy. I have some videos which i will try to post when i get home. You must see and hear it to fully appreciate.

Left the room at 4:30 AM walking through the streets to the ghats. As my guide Saugrebgh says, theres something going on in Varanasi 24 hours a day. Heres a procession to the Ganges at 5 in the morning. Singing, chanting drums, and all. Just crazy. I have some videos which i will try to post when i get home. You must see and hear it to fully appreciate.

Another group chanting and singing in te streets at 5 AM. Before arriving at the river

Another group chanting and singing in te streets at 5 AM. Before arriving at the river

Part of the morning ritual is to dip fully into the river a specified number of times.

This photo is here for a reason. About 6 weeks before I'm leaving for India my tour organizers tell me that recently photography has been banned in Varanasi. Banned. They say they are confident they can get me a special permit, if I send a special request with pertinent information. Over the next few weeks I wrote lengthy requests to local officials in Varanasi, telling them when I'd be shooting, where I'd be shooting, detailed lists of what equipment I was bringing and more - dead end no good. Not giving any permits to foreign nationals. Then after a few "payments" were made, they were able to secure a permit for my guide. I even called a friend who shall remain nameless (Jay Kushner), who has been doing business in India for years to see if he could help. Came very close to canceling since this was the most significant reason I was going.  I finally decided to go regardless. Besides the fact that i have been shooting wherever I want to as evidenced by the photos I've been posting, does the picture above look like they've banned photograph?. Think they figured out it might hurt tourism here just a bit....much more to the story but thats all you need to know

This photo is here for a reason. About 6 weeks before I'm leaving for India my tour organizers tell me that recently photography has been banned in Varanasi. Banned. They say they are confident they can get me a special permit, if I send a special request with pertinent information. Over the next few weeks I wrote lengthy requests to local officials in Varanasi, telling them when I'd be shooting, where I'd be shooting, detailed lists of what equipment I was bringing and more - dead end no good. Not giving any permits to foreign nationals. Then after a few "payments" were made, they were able to secure a permit for my guide. I even called a friend who shall remain nameless (Jay Kushner), who has been doing business in India for years to see if he could help. Came very close to canceling since this was the most significant reason I was going.  I finally decided to go regardless. Besides the fact that i have been shooting wherever I want to as evidenced by the photos I've been posting, does the picture above look like they've banned photograph?. Think they figured out it might hurt tourism here just a bit....much more to the story but thats all you need to know

These old boats have a texture and a character that make then very special to me.

These old boats have a texture and a character that make then very special to me.

Before anyone gets hysterical, the swastika has been used by the Indians for hundreds of years or longer (the American Indians used it as well). It represents continuity of life. That things always end where they began. Google if you want to no more, they are all over the place. But dont let that distract.  I think this is one of the stronger images I've made while here. This Sadhu was very intense as you can see....

Before anyone gets hysterical, the swastika has been used by the Indians for hundreds of years or longer (the American Indians used it as well). It represents continuity of life. That things always end where they began. Google if you want to no more, they are all over the place. But dont let that distract.  I think this is one of the stronger images I've made while here. This Sadhu was very intense as you can see....

Another Sadhu putting on his "face".

Another Sadhu putting on his "face".

The colors of this woman's clothing in the dim early morning hours were fabulous.

A woman immersing her infant in the Ganges, Mother Ganga.

This guy was singing and chanting and playing his little cymbals (I don't know the correct name) with an unparalleled joy and fervor.Was a pleasure to watch.

This guy was singing and chanting and playing his little cymbals (I don't know the correct name) with an unparalleled joy and fervor.Was a pleasure to watch.

Couldn't decide which one so you get them both.

Yes I've posted one similar to this before. I'ma sucker for this scene......

These too are found often - just for decoration. There is a Chabad House in Varanasi but listed as seasonal.

These too are found often - just for decoration. There is a Chabad House in Varanasi but listed as seasonal.

Men and women shave their heads, the men their beards as well, as a gift Mother Ganga (the river)

This man is a natural healer, using Ayurvedic medicine, Ayurvedic is a system ofHindu traditional medicine using spices, herbs, tree leaves and bark, and oils. He is the fifth generation of his family to do this and is the equivalent here to the "top" doctor in NY.

This man is a natural healer, using Ayurvedic medicine, Ayurvedic is a system ofHindu traditional medicine using spices, herbs, tree leaves and bark, and oils. He is the fifth generation of his family to do this and is the equivalent here to the "top" doctor in NY.

His bird

Last Sadhu. Heading to airport, flying to Kathmandu in a few hours

Namaste Varanasi

Stuart Zaro