Travel Photography from Varanasi, India. English Photoworks | Fine Art Photography
I spent two years working in India - primarily as a teacher in Bangalore, but also doing a huge amount of photography there. If I had to choose just one country for the quality and variety of travel photography you can do, it would definitely be India. It's an absolutely vast country with an equally vast number of languages spoken, traditions, cultures and ethnicities.
The highlight of my travels in India was a trip to Varanasi, where I made the images you can see in the video above. Varanasi is a beautiful, ancient place in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. It is literally swarming with people, all the time: like other places in India, you will see every level of society there, every level of wealth and a total mixing pot of Indian ethnicities. All of India is busy, but Varanasi is a draw for so many because it is a holy city for Hindus. Many make the pilgrimage there to bathe in the River Ganges, which flows majestically through the old city.
Hindus believe that dying in Varanasi will bring salvation to them, and death is a very visible part of the city. You can see the sandalwood funeral pyres on two of the ghats (stone embankments) that line the Ganges - these burn constantly, day and night, and are a very visceral reminder of our mortality. You'll see images of the 'burning ghats' in the video.
One of the other interesting facets of the trip was photographing novice monks performing yoga at sunrise. All of the images in this series were shot at sunrise during the morning aarti (prayers), when thousands of people throng the riverbank to bathe.