Ghats in Varanasi – Photography destination in INDIA
You will be greeted by chaos, colour and the feeling of stepping back in time.
Varanasi is India‘s oldest city, located along the banks of the famous River Ganges in the state of Uttar Pradesh, in North East India.
Varanasi is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities and is dripping in history and spirituality.
Varanasi is a special place. It is also crowded and dusty. All around you, life is taking place. You will see wonderful sites in Varanasi. From young boys having a water fight in the Ganges, to women sitting preparing food in doorways along the winding alleys, or galis, to bodies being cremated and holy men smoking pipes.
Away from the Ghats, the streets are busy with people going about their day, and small shops display their wares piled all around their stores.
In Varanasi, there is magic in every corner. Spirituality, worship, and even the open celebration of death in the holy city never fail to enchant the traveller. However, amidst the vibrant chaos, a little caution goes a long way. It’s all part of the culture of Varanasi.
Things not to miss!
1. To explore Varanasi on foot
2. The Ganga Aarti
3. Taking a boat ride watching sunset/sunrise
4. The tasty street food
5. To hang out with Sadhus
‘Ghats are the series of stairs leading down to a holy river. In Varanasi, you will find around 100 Ghats. Each of the Ghats has different name, history and importance. The major Ghats include- Assi ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat, Harishchandra ghat, Ram ghat etc. Boat rides across the Ghats is a popular visitor attraction. The extensive stretches of Ghats enhance the riverfront with a number of shrines, temples and palaces built along.
It is quite interesting to walk along the Ghats on foot especially during winter. ‘Gali’ is a narrow alley which is another main characteristic of Varanasi, since they are extremely narrow; the play of lights and shadows inside is very interesting.
Streets of Varanasi are full of many interesting stories. The best way to have a wider view of all the ghats along the stretch of about 7 km on the river bank is to take a boat ride available from the Harishchandra ghat.
Travel, Gear and Photo Tips
- Best light is from dawn to late morning as the Ghats face east.
- Dashashwamedh Ghat is the epicenter of activity with endless photo opportunities.
- One can start the day by photographing sunrise over the Ganga River followed by a 2 hour boat ride- the best way to photograph various other Ghats on the river.
- A colorful street market usually sets up around 7 am with bangle vendors, flower vendors, vegetable shops and much more. Then you can significant time making cultural portraits, photographing rituals, traditions etc.
- In the evening just after sunset, the famous Ganga Aarti ceremony takes place. This is a spectacle not to be missed and it is advisable to arrive early to secure your spot as it can get really crowded later. Alternatively, you may opt to watch the Aarti from the boats floating in front of the Ghats.
- A wide angle lens in your bag will also come in handy in Varanasi, to capture a clear shot in those narrowest alleys as well as the activities on the banks of the river with the background of the old temples and palaces.
Best time to visit
Best season to visit is between October and March when the temperature is in a range of 5-15 degrees. The weather is cool and pleasant.
The winter months are also very festive with Dussehra, Bharat Milap with Diwali in Sept/Oct. The Ganga festival takes place in November.
How to reach
Varanasi airport is well-linked to some of the major cities in India like Delhi and Mumbai. 26 km sfrom the main city
Varanasi Cantt Railway station is the largest station in the city
Varanasi is connected to major cities of Uttar Pradesh and neighboring states by state-run buses. Private air-conditioned buses are also available from nearby cities to Varanasi.