One of the days we were in Varanasi a few friends and I were able to get a seat on a boat filled with pilgrims touring the holy city. It was amazing to see them all experience the tour in the holiest of cities for their faith. The tour was in Hindi so I did not benefit much from the information shared but it is pretty amazing how much you can pick up from gestures and reactions (and our guide LOVED to gesture).
The tour guide was VERY animated and loved having us on his tour. My favorite part of the boat ride was the moment I was on the deck of the boat shooting and realized that folks were completely rifling through my bag and looking through my stuff: hilarious!! They were passing around my little photo book I had brought to share some of my life with the people I met. It was so great to share my life as I asked questions about their life, families, and faith.
This couple had traveled for 3 days to be here and pray and worship in Varanasi. The boy behind them was flying a kite off the boat and then running back and forth to sell candle and flower offerings. .
As we floated pass the banks where many families came to cremate their family member who had passed the air and emotion was heavy.
It was an amazing and personal experience: one that I was keenly aware of as we were floating along the ghats alongside fellow pilgrims seeking faith and peace. You can read more and see images of my personal experience in Varanasi here.