India Tour Feb 8th, 9th, 10th 2013 - Varanasi and Allahabad

February 12, 2013 at 12:26 PM

February 9th, 10th & 11th, 2013

Wow .... what a busy and eventful three days.  Varanasi and Allahabad have kept us pretty busy and the photography opportunities have been amazing.

First of all an early morning boat ride on the Ganges will leave you speachless, there are so many things going on along the river bank you don''t know were to look first.  Then combine that with a spectacular sunrise and life is complete.

We were in our boat and on the river just after 6:00 a.m. and already the banks were alive with many activities.  We then went up the river and back down experiencing and photogarphing the activities.

Later that morning, we departed via our motor coach for the Mela Festival in Allahabad.  The Mela festival in many ways is hard to describe as the experience unfolds around you.  The first thing we noticed as we were settling into our three night stay in our tents was the constant droan of noise.  Which was a combination of voices, singing, music and chanting.  This is the result of being surrounded by 8 to 10 million pilgrims all celebrating the holy festival in a 65 square km area.  This became the constant background noise and went on well into the evenig.

We spent the next two days at the festival, and there was a photo at every step of our journey around the many camps and pilgrims bathing.  Again I will say an experience with so many people is hard to describe and I hope the images below put in into perspective. On the 10th which is the highlight of the festival there was a reported 30 million people.  We were elbow to elbow on the lanes to the river, it was just like swimming in a sea of people.

As many of you will have heard there was a tragic accident at the train station in Allabahad when a railing broke free on a train bridge which resulted in the deaths of some of the pilgrims returning home.  We came by motor coach so were out of harms way.  We did though have to pay a local gentllman to come with our bus and guide us though the back roads to avoid the traffic jam on the main highway due to the accident.  We traveled about an hour out of our way on backroads, but made our flight on time in Varanasi.  The bonus of the detour was the little villages we travelled through made for some unique photos.

We are now in Jaipur, this is our second evening here.  Tonight I'm posting Varanasi and the Mela Festival and tomorrow evening I will post images from Jaipur and our first game drive at Ranthambore National Park.

Good night from James and the Photo Trekkers in Jaipur, enjoy this evenings images.

Varanasi before sunrise, it becomes the norm to pass a cow on the street!!!


The early morning bathers start to gather.


The sun starting to colour the sky as we board our boat to head out.


A view back to the river bank.


Sunrise begins ...


Bathing and praying start as the sun rises.


Another view of the shoreline as we travel up the Ganges.


Many different worshipers come to Varanasi.


You never know what you will find.  This is everyday to this little guy getting ready for the day from his apartment window.


From worship to early morning laundry.


Some more bathers, covered by the warm morning light.


More bathers ...


This is a cremation centre located on the banks of the river, notice the bird!!!


Another pilgrim deep in prayer, it all unfolds in front of you.


This little temple was just a window in the wall along the river.


The colour and activities was on shore and also on the water.


I thought this was interesting!!!


Even a Pond Heron finds it's way to the waters edge.


Relaxing after thier morning dip in the river.


Our tents at Allahabad


Claudia's happy she found the coffee station near our tents.


Bill photographing the sunset on the Ganges at Allabahad.


Sunset our first night in Allabahad, this is very close to our tent camp.


This is one of the temples near our camp.


Here we go, this is a shot of all the pilgrims as we walked in towards some of the most important bathing areas for the Mela Festival.


Again capturing faces ... some amazing opportunities, and everyone wanted to pose.


More faces ...


A panoramic shot of both shores of the Ganges, yes look close those are all people!!!


The ladies and men have to dry thier cloths after their dip.


A bed of thorns for this holy man.


You turn another corner and more people.  Wes in the foreground of this image,


This holy man is 117 years old.


Tents as far as your eye can see!!!


June enjoying the sites.


This little girl on the cart saw Elly and Donna walking, said something to her father ..see next!


What a kind thing to do, as it was the end of the day and everyone was tired.


Early the following morning, this is the busiest day of the Mela Festival.


You just had to have your camera ready, the shots were there.


We too, crossed the floating bridge to check out the festival on the other side.


On the bridge ... wow, so many people it was amazing.


As we approached the other shore, people as far as you could see.


Looking across to the other bridge, you could only go one way on each bridge.


Some of the holy men in the parade to the river shores.


Here is another shot.


Some ladies putting flowers in the Ganges.


Some of the pilgrims shave their head during the festival.


Wes shot this image when he climbed up a security observation tower. Thanks Wes for sharing this image.


Dinesh and his wife, taking a dip in the river during the festival.  The 10th of Feb is their 20th wedding anniversary, congratulations.  Thanks Jim for this image.


Floating candles on the river, all are set afloat with memories and prayers.  Thanks Jim for this great image.


One more great face, a holy man retruning from the river.  Thanks again Jim, for sharing.


Good night from Jaipur, more images and updates tomorrow.


Please add a comment

Posted by Nancy McRae on
I am speechless....what an adventure!
Posted by Paul Garner on
India is so much visual overload with the people and colours.......... great images and boy that is a lot of people. Surprised no one got lost from the group like I did at the Camel festival....... would be hard to find anyone in that crowd. Good that you are all safe and look to be having a good time.
Posted by Patti on
Brilliant! What an experience you've all had.
Posted by Nancy Anne on
Wow... I agree with Nancy, no words!
Posted by Gail Nichol on
Wow, the people and all so colorful. Great photos and yes what an experience !!!!
Posted by linda khanna on
Hi Jim and James:

What amazing photos. I was waiting to see these. I felt I was there. Your photos tell the story with clarity and passion. As they say in Urdu, Wa Va!!!!!

You've got me hooked.

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