It was very early in the morning, well before six o’clock. A guesthouse by the Ganges, no sign of the sun. I knew I’d have to get up early, which meant naturally that I couldn’t sleep when I needed to because of the thought of waking up.
Still, the alarm went off at not much past five am, I threw on some clothes, gathered my cameras and exited the room. I had three people with me, one I’d met on the train ride to Varanasi, the other two were a couple I’d met at the guesthouse. We’d paid our ‘not very much’ for our boat ride, and our man was waiting by the ghats of the Ganges for us.
A small boat, one of the smallest we would see out there that morning was ours for a little over an hour. Maybe an hour and a half. It was quiet, we were lucky – one of the first out there that morning. As we pushed off there was even a little chill in the air, something that didn’t last long in India. It would be blazing hot in a few hours.
I had heard stories of people taking these trips and seeing all manner of things, such as dead bodies or parts thereof, and prayed a little that I wouldn’t be one of the people to see such things. As our pilot rowed along slowly, Varanasi started to stir. People came out along the ghats. Praying, washing – clothes at times but mainly themselves, oh and teeth brushing too.
Suddenly we were no longer alone. Not by a long shot. So many boats of all shapes and sizes, some very touristy some for just the locals everywhere. And the sun came up. Slowly? No actually it was pretty fast once the light showed up. It rose into the sky with a beautiful combination of colours, most of them somewhere on the yellow to orange spectrum.
The river and the ghats were now alive, and it wasn’t even six thirty. By seven or shortly after we were back at the guesthouse, and I was back in bed, left to think about the sights, sounds and smells of the morning. A morning on the Ganges in Varanasi? Unforgettable! May the Journey Never End!