[ Varanasi ]
Varanasi is hot, muggy, and overdue for rain. As such, people stay indoors during the day as much as possible. By Indian standards, the streets are quiet.
Shortly before sunset, though, things change: thousands of people venture out, heading for the Ganges and its 87 ghats. You can think of ghats as gates, roughly: some alleyway or another opens onto the Ganges, with steps descending into the holy river’s waters for prayer, ritual bathing, or cremation of the deceased. The larger ghats host huge daily festivities. By the time these ceremonies have concluded, the sun has set, darkness has settled in, the city is cooling down, and the streets burst into life. Soon all those suffocating alleyways are teeming with humanity, energy, commerce, and loud worship. Also cows. And dogs–packs & packs of strays wandering about.
There’s nothing anywhere that can match the energy of India’s streets after darkness falls. Nothing.
(The original post appeared on Facebook here, with per-image commentary.)