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ghats

ladies

2

dia

The Ghats at Varanasi
Are a sight to behold
The shores lined
With shrines and temples
Decades old
Some dilapidated
Some newly restored,
With burning piles of firewood
Signifying
The funerary ceremony of Hindus
At this auspicious venue,
With pilgrims and tourists alike
Seated in painted wooden boats
Preparing for a ride along the ghats

The riverfront steps
Are occupied by
Awestruck travellers
Engrossed in capturing the serene beauty
And often by
Saffron-clad Sadhus
With ashen faces and long matted locks
Blowing out clouds of smoke,
The menfolk
Half-immersed in The Holy Ganges
Wash off sins with pious gaiety
While the women devotees
Carry oblation of vermilion and flowers
To pay homage to various deities
As dawn approaches
The Ghats come to life
In brightly lit alleys
Sonorous sound of bells
And scent of sandalwood incense
Fills the air
Hundreds of illuminated earthen pots
Embellished with rose petals
Ride the currents
Lighting the path to atonement

Young priests uniformly clothed
In Silk dhotis
Perform the quotidian evening rituals
As onlookers sing along to
The devotional songs and vedic hymns
Clapping,
Enthralled by this oneness

boat

bell

night

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