Dawn, Birds and Temples

It is a beautiful early morning on the Ghats of Kashi. Sitting on the steps of Ghats, you won’t see the boats parked on the bank for long as the birds flying over would catch your attention immediately to the calm blue sky. Bright streaks of orange converging to be one at infinity. As the birds fly higher into the otherwise empty sky, your gaze stops at the giant ball of fire that has just emerged from the other side of the river. The opposite bank has nothing but barren sandy land, alike the seashore, and a forest about half a mile ahead. Over the trees, the rises and signals the initiation of the morning Aarti.

I could have sat there for an hour and not get tired by the view, but it was time for what we were here, time to go on a boat ride. The boat would take the entire class to a journey through all the Ghats, 80 in total, and turnaround from the last Ghat, named Assi Ghat. The lack of sleep was taking it’s toll on me. And the freezing cold was only helping. But the view of the entire Ghats from the river, covered with the fog, was just out of the world.

We were out on the river to see the Ghats and to make the elevations of the Ghat. But the birds circling around the boats kept our attention for the entire ride. Throw them food and hundreds of birds circle around you not even a meter away. And due to the movement of the boat, you feel like you are flying with them.

 As we moved further, there was an unusual temple, it was below the ground, as if a section was cut through the Ghats, and the temple was visible. A yogi, or probably a care-taker was meditating on the balcony. The rays of the morning sun lit the entire temple which was already bright with the yellow paint. But this was unlike other tamples. This was not for the tourists. This was not for earning. This was a temple of a true pujari.  

There was a door next to the temple opening from which a pujari emerged, went down half a dozen steps to reach the river. Did some ritual prayers, and went back. The interesting thing about the whole place was that it was hidden from every prying eye of a tourist. It was just for the pujari. There was usual traffic over the temple, but none of it affected the pujaris meditation or prayer.

The photo shows how the three levels were completely separate, and the activities on each. I was lucky enough to tale a perfect shot with minimal traffic above and both the pujaris following their rituals.

The morning ride ended after nearly two hours and two hundred memories. I could say that putting the sleep aside and waking up early for the ride was worth it, but not for long! The day had just yet started!

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