Wednesday, April 28, 2010

January 2006

The picture on Wikipedia of Varanasi, (Benares), is glowing in yellow sunlight, taken one bright day. Majestic. The photos I took in 2006 are not like this at all. The sun is a smudge of yellow masked in gray. The buildings decaying, crumbled and filthy. The mass expanse of polluted river merges with a concrete coloured sky to leave barely a line where the two meet. The air is thick with dust and stench
. Regarded as a spiritual place, men and woman have lived and worshiped here on the banks of the Ganges for centuries. In 2006 between the guesthouse and the river, grubby children and their begging mothers squat amongst modern day rubbish, of plastic bags and bottles, in dirt shanties. Waiting, praying and hopefully surviving.