Good-bye Benares

After a week in Benares (Varanasi), it is time to move on to Calcutta. We will miss the wonderful ghats but definitely will be happy...
After a week in Benares (Varanasi), it is time to move on to Calcutta. We will miss the wonderful ghats but definitely will be happy to lose 10 celsius. That will still be 37 degrees ... Here is a last series of Benares in colors (click on pictures for high res) Pictures #1 and 3 with Leica M9 and 50mm Summicron, all others with 35mm Lux Asph

Benares in B&W

Following on my post on the Leica M Monochrom, I was encouraged to go shoot more in B&W. I find it does provide a change...
Following on my post on the Leica M Monochrom, I was encouraged to go shoot more in B&W. I find it does provide a change now and then from my base work as the picture creation process is different and focuses more on tonalities than colors. I always keep the raw files obviously, but the shots diplayed below were simply better in B&W than colors.  (click on pictures for high res) All the pictures below are straight out of camera JPG's with some contrast and curves adjustments. All pictures with Leica M9 and 35mm Lux Asph, except #1 and #3...

The boat on the Ganges

Everybody that visits Benares goes on a boat trip over the Ganges at sunset or sunrise. The sights are stunning as one can contemplate the...
Everybody that visits Benares goes on a boat trip over the Ganges at sunset or sunrise. The sights are stunning as one can contemplate the thousands pilgrims taking their bath with the city as background. (click on pictures for high res) Pictures #1, 2, 3 wit Leica M9 and 35mm Lux Asph, others with 50mm Summicron

The women’s pier

Though informal, some part of the Benares piers seem to be reserved to women. They bath in the Ganges completely dressed and change their wet...
Though informal, some part of the Benares piers seem to be reserved to women. They bath in the Ganges completely dressed and change their wet clothes afterwards through some quite acrobatic moves. Of course, all of that always in colors.  (click on pictures for high res) All pictures with Leica M9 and 50mm Summicron

The landing stage

The best way to have a view on Benares is to take a boat trip. We haven't done so yet but will in the coming...
The best way to have a view on Benares is to take a boat trip. We haven't done so yet but will in the coming days. The main piers are a sight as boats find their way and unload passengers. Pilgrims send flowers to the Ganges next to it and kids go for a swim. More surprising, an Indian woman asked me why I did not bath in the Ganges. When I told her the water was not good for my health, she stared at me in disapproval. The Ganges is sacred in India and somehow people don't care that...

5am on the Benares piers

It is 5 am. We woke up early to avoid the heat. Well, kind of since it is still 32C out there. We are not...
It is 5 am. We woke up early to avoid the heat. Well, kind of since it is still 32C out there. We are not alone as hundreds converge to the piers. They slowly undress, take a bath in the Sacred Ganges and then dress again meticulously. A slow ritual that has been going on for thousands of years. (click on pictures for high res)

Cricket on the Benares ghats

If you hit the ball and it ends up in the water, you get 6 runs. And a swim in the filthy Ganges water. (click...
If you hit the ball and it ends up in the water, you get 6 runs. And a swim in the filthy Ganges water. (click on picture for high res) Leica M9 with 35mm Lux Asph at F1.4, 1/350, ISO160

Trip update : 45 days to go

... and we almost went back home early. When we planned the trip, we knew we would reach India in middle of the summer time....
... and we almost went back home early. When we planned the trip, we knew we would reach India in middle of the summer time. May and June are the hottest month and believe me, it is becoming unbearable. I have been getting up at 5am to enjoy a little bit of cool air and by 9am, better run to find some shadow. And it is about to get worse as we head tonight to Benares where temperature of 45 celsius are expected. Given the circumstances, we have decided to cut back on our destinations and stay longer in each...

A family life by the Ganges.

They live in a humble way on top of the Rishikesh piers. Their daily bath is taken in the river and they probably never eat...
They live in a humble way on top of the Rishikesh piers. Their daily bath is taken in the river and they probably never eat meat since the town is holy place. Kids play running down he stairs of the ghats, a bit like of an Indian Ingalls family I guess.

Rituals by the Ganges

At time of sunset, hundreds of pilgrims converge to the ghats (piers) to perform rituals to honor the Sacred River, the Ganges. Some honor the...
At time of sunset, hundreds of pilgrims converge to the ghats (piers) to perform rituals to honor the Sacred River, the Ganges. Some honor the dead, others bath to purify themselves. Luckily, the river is still clean in Rishikesh (I did also take a bath in it to purify all my sins), it will be another story once we reach Varanasi next week.  (click on pictures for high res) Pictures #1 and #3 with Leica M9 and 35mm Lux Asph,  #2 and #4 with 50 mm Cron