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    Another soul searching trip to the land of spirituality - Varanasi - in India. Some moments and images that fascinated me when I went to see the … Read More
    Another soul searching trip to the land of spirituality - Varanasi - in India. Some moments and images that fascinated me when I went to see the Ganges there, and the Mahabodhi temple at Bodhgaya. Read Less
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Benares and Bodhgaya
A trip to see the Ganges and the birthplace of Buddhism
 
After my trip to Ladakh, the only thing I wanted in the next six months to come, was that I wanted to visit Varanasi to see the River Ganga and the Mahabodhi temple at Bodhgaya. Call it the influence of Buddhism or an eccentricity on my part. But my Christmas eve in the year 2014 was spent by walking on the ghats of the river Ganga. These are some images of places that I found interesting during my aimless meanderings amidst Varanasi.
This structure was built by the King of Gwalior in the early 19th century.
Although the city is old and not maintained there is a certain rawness that pervades it with old fading colours and deteriorating architecture.
Indian red architecure, where a true Indian nationalist 'Chet Singh'  fought bravely in a battle against the British sepoys.
Now the local story is that it is haunted by ghosts, which keeps people away from it, the ghosts however, are junkies who need a private spot for their rituals.
Typography at its 'stiffest'. I don't know the name of the ghat where I saw this,
but I do love the way typography is incorporated into the metal grill of this small temple.
A quoorius, queer spelling of the word Curio.
The quoorious cobalt blue curio shop in the market.
Even white strokes of the palette knife on a rustic brown background, or just clothes drying themselves out.
Narayan's Ark?
The Jain Ghat - which is the birthplace of 'Suparshvanatha' the 7th tirthankara of Jainism.
The Pandey a.k.a. the Korean Ghat has an interesting story behind the change in its name. A bunch of Korean tourists came to live here, and liked the homestay here immensely. After that year-after-year they saw an increasing number of Koreans who always had a preference to live here. Eventually the owner of the homestay sent his only son (Seen in this photo) to Korea to learn the language, and he did. Now his son feeds the strays, flies a kite, chews on some paan and converses casually in Korean - it is so unexpected - which is what drew my attention to him, in the first place. 
Amen!
The Munshi Ghat was built by a finance minister called Sridhara Narayana Munshi fom the region of Nagpur.
 
'Zagamaga, mala bagha' at the Ahilyabai Ghat.
 Barbers shops always fascinate me, not just this one. All of them. Don't miss out on the retro looking typography.
Benarasi - isstyle.
The foundation of this temple was damaged during the floods. 
On a more musical note this is where a part of 'Dhoom Pichak Dhoom' an Indian pop song, by Euphoria was shot.  
All-in-one.
Boat'man'
'Building toh ban gayi, ab kissi tarah se tiki rahegi'
...Amidst shit.
This temple is dedicated to Goddess Lalita after whom the ghat is named.
Hear, Hear!
Harishchandra Ghat - Where bodies continously burn, all day, all night.
Bodies on the ghat, half burnt, completely burnt, some being eaten by the stray, clueless cattle, some waiting on benches patiently for thier turns, some brought on a bullock cart while some tied atop a rickshaw. You might run out of wood but not dead bodies.
Feeding 'Sev' to the seagulls
Pink! is my favorite colour.
This particular room is above the ghats and is an extended part of what used to be an old palace. Every gully has a history of hidden stories, myths and spaces that makes Varanasi a fascinating story that unfolds something new with every step taken, and every lane explored.
Saffron and Green
Sleep. No, not the eternal one, just the one you cannot resist taking in the afternoon.
The wait. The anticipation. The business. The beliefs. All before the Ganga Aarti that takes place every evening.
Me, painting it up.
Stoned.
Performance
Trance
Death
 
Birth
 
Starting of a brand new day!
The journey. The most beautiful ones are made alone.
 
 
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The Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya
 
 
On the way from Varanasi to Bodhgaya, which is a 6-8 hour drive by car the entire landscape is brown - green fields. There is a lot of poverty that is visible in both these states, that is heart wrenching. Once we entered Bihar, and touched the small town of Gaya, it is obvious that all additional income that comes into it is because of the presence of Bodhgaya. Beautiful buddhist monasteries with designs and carvings typical to thier respective cultures are surrounded by equally unaesthetic looking hotels and homestays. The town has a multicultured mix of people from Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, China etc. Buddhist monks and followers from all over the world. Once I entered the Mahabodhi temple - a certain calmness inspite of all the chaos around me - swept over me deepened by the sonorous chants, cool stone flooring on which we walk and my long wait for a single leaf to fall from the bodhi tree.
The Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya.
A Buddhist, a Non - Buddhist or an image-maker, anyone - would find this to be an immensely inspiring place visually and spiritually.
The Bodhi tree under which Buddha was enlightened.
Tara - the female Boddhisattva.
'I am on the way to meet myself'.
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