The 8kms stroll across the two extreme ends of Benares (between Assi Ghat and Raj Ghat) exposes the fleeting photographer to pilgrims and priests, boatmen and beggars, film-makers and foreigners, tourists and time-passers, cremators and kite-flyers, casual-walkers and card-players, sadhus and smokers, orphans and widows.
Here one does not need the services of Google Maps. One ghat seamlessly merges into the next. The rhythm continues, of the flapping of pigeon wings, wandering bulls, the devout performing their duties, funeral fires and curling gray smoke…till the sparkling brass vessels of the morning dissolve into the twinkling lamps of the evening arti; till the buzz of human voices fade into the melody of temple bells from four directions.
This series of images captures the ghats of Benares beyond bathing, praying, preaching, lounging, sleeping, and gossiping; beyond the sanctity and the clutter. The river-scape amalgamates the sacred and the profane, the action and the pause; apparently dichotomous categories are enacted and embodied in the ghats of the holy river.Sreedeep is an independent photographer with a wide range of visual interests. He is particularly involved with documenting Indian cities in translation. His visual essays have been published in Himal, The Sunday Guardian, Mint, Open, Kindle and other places. Currently he is a Fellow with the C-PACT, SNU.
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