This fifteen-year-old rowed us for two hours
of morning sightseeing along the Ganges
Sunrise on the Ganges, a beautiful time to be on the river
At first light the ghats are already abuzz with activity as Hindus prepare for ritual bathing
Bathing in the Ganges is said to wash away a lifetime of sins
Morning is a time for Hindu prayer and meditation
This colorful scene is a daily event on the Ganges,
and a morning rowboat tour is a great way to witness it
Boys practice yoga near painted steps
A man makes his way to the sacred waters
At Brahmin Ghat the high priests count time as boys practice yoga below
One of the more complicated yoga moves we saw!
Scenic stretch of the Ganges with red maharaja's palace in the distance
Looking back from the far point of our rowboat tour
Our Alka Hotel (the white building) was located near this quieter ghat
Goat eating flower garlands (offerings to the gods)
Our constant companion at meal times
Each small dot of light is a candle floating down the river, representing a prayer.
This was the view from the rooftop restaurant at Ganpati Hotel just after sunset.
Robin poses with our boatman after our morning rowboat ride
Restaurant view looking down on the Ganges and its slew of boats
These girls sell floating candles to tourists for five to ten rupees each.
They speak very good English -- and are very good at what they do!
Rooftop view of the Ganges looking towards
Burning Ghat (where all the boats are)
We bought puri or "Indian breakfast" for 5 rupees from this street vendor
Where We Be
Varanasi, India
We began with an evening rowboat tour of the
Ganges. Our boatman took us to Burning Ghat,
the main place where people are cremated on
the river. This was a dramatic sight as night
was falling. We were told no pictures but we
could see five fires burning and watched as a
draped corpse was ceremonially dipped in the
River Ganges one last time before being lifted
onto a bier. Hindus come from all over India to
die near the Ganges because they believe they
can be freed from the cycle of reincarnation if
they do so. It is an honor (and an expense) to
be cremated on the main funeral ghat.

The day starts early in Varanasi: we were back
on a rowboat by 5:45 am. Dawn was 15 minutes
away but a bit of light seeped over the horizon.
Many other boats were pushing off from shore
around the same time. Our boatman, just 15
years old, rowed us slowly towards Main Ghat.
A "ghat" is a series of steps leading down to
the river. We watched the sun rise and saw
many Hindus ritually bathing in the Ganges. At
Brahmin Ghat, children destined for the high
priesthood performed complex yoga exercises.
The rhythm of the oars and the lapping water
made for a peaceful two-hour river experience.
Maharaja's palace up close
Young and old participate alike