On way to Varanasi via Delhi, Surbhi joined the group. We landed in Varanasi late at night. Our hotel, Brijrama Palace, was accessible by boat, and we crossed the holy river under the moonlight. The hotel arranges for special dinners atop their terrace, but since it was already close to midnight by the time we reached, we had a quick dinner and retired for the night.
Everyone wanted to sleep in the next morning. Martin, however, wanted to go out and shoot, so he rose at sunrise to capture the ancient city in the early hours. After breakfast, we met with Jeremy, a foreigner who has been living in Varanasi for a quite a while and now conducts walks. He showed us around Varanasi, and our guests were quite excited to encounter the numerous temples, winding alleys, busy ghats, and colourful markets. We went back to Brijrama Palace for lunch, then we went for a temple walk, led by another guy from Varanasi Walks, Jeremy’s venture. Lilian, one of our guests, started listening to some old man and following him, and ended up lost in the city. Luckily, she found her way back to the hotel. In the evening, we went for the aarti on boat, which offers a panoramic view of the ghats. They wanted to head closer though, so we went to the ghats to take more shots. Unfortunately, there was a sandstorm, and we had no choice but to head back to Brijrama. A little overwhelmed by Varanasi on that first day, we just relaxed in the hotel later that evening.
Once again Martin went out for a sunrise shoot the following morning on the boat. After breakfast, everyone else also joined him. At some point, Martin and Dheeraj disembarked and walked the entire way, while the rest of the group returned to Brijrama. After lunch, we went to Loom to Luxury, a weaving centre (?) on the outskirts of Varanasi. Our guests found ample opportunity for pictures of weaving and village life. That evening in Varanasi, everyone disbanded and covered the city on foot. For the final dinner, we headed back to Varanasi, where once again the sandstorm stopped us from having dinner on the terrace.
On the last morning, we visited the flower and vegetable markets of early morning Varanasi, then left for the airport to head back to Delhi, and then home.