Varanasi, India is a place that overwhelms the senses. Just standing in one place on the ghats overlooking the Ganges River can be an adventure filled with strange characters and unusual events that would be hard to describe to the people at home. Varanasi was the only city we’ve ever visited where a guide always accompanied us out into the city because it was just too overwhelming and chaotic to find our own way (within only a few days of tourism there, that is). Even with an excellent guide helping us, Lydian still got his by a motorcycle crossing the street (luckily, the drivers are more alert overall than they are in the states so it ended up being just a tap–both John was even holding her hand when it happened).
The Hindu Fire Ritual seemed like too much for us. We almost opted out of it because we didn’t know what it was. Our guide insisted that we go though. So around dusk, we left the Holiday Inn (where we were staying) for the ghats. We walked around for a while as the sun set and then arrived at a gathering of people, some in boats, some on the shore, music playing. When the spectacle started, all of us were utterly awed. Anyone who does tourism in Varanasi should make it a point to go to the Hindu Fire Ritual, even if you’re only there for one day!
Hindu Fire Ritual Part II (video)
Hindu Fire Ritual Clips (video)