Various other pictures from Varanasi

Varanasi is a wonderful place to stroll around in, sticking one's head into temples, watching the eternally-changing scene along the ghats, wandering the narrow streets, inhaling the pungent (and sometimes awful) odors of the streets and watching people everywhere. Near to Assi Ghat, there is an old bathing tank which is quite deep. Called Lalita Kund (tank), it is usually very quiet, but on one holy day of the year, it is crowded with women bathing in it in hopes of enhancing fertility. In the morning calm, it's quiet and mysterious, lying at the end of a dead-end street with colorful paintings on the walls of some of the houses.

Lalita Kund Wall paintings
Wall paintings
Lalita Kund Colorful paintings on house walls

Not all the activities to be observed on the ghats are related to spirituality or commerce. There are also kite flyers and many devotees of what seems to be India's national sport and major inheritance from colonialism - cricket!

Cricket on the ghats Kites on the ghats
Cricket players abound on the ghats River winds are great for kite fighting

From the balcony of our hotel, we had a great look out over the river heading north, over the roofs of nearby buildings and, especially, over the open ground next to the hotel. The part of town just south of Assi Ghat is a poor one for Varanasi (which is saying something) and it seemed that the principal water supply for the immediate neighborhood was right there below us.

The well Bath
This gentleman drew water for his shower
The well The well
But a lady, of course, takes hers at home

Counting the number of pulls to get the bucket up gives an estimation of the well's deepness -- about 10 meters. Pulling a bucket containing about 10 liters of water up that far is some job. And they did it again and again.

Across the way, we could see the rooftop of an ashram. One of the hotel personel explained to us that it was open to people of all faiths (even ours!). You could see men in the morning, walking around, exercizing, brushing their teeth with sticks or just chatting or watching ... us watching them.

Ashram Ashram
Morning at the ashram on the rooftops Brushing of teeth

Here, in no particular order, are some more of the interesting scenes we witnessed from our hotel.

New rickshaw Rickshaw helper
A shiny brand new rickshaw gets cleaned --  and a push from a small helper
Dog play Dog play
Kids play with dogs -- and nice-looking pooches, too
Girl with kite Girl with kite
A girl launches a kite -- and dances with it!
Balloon wallah Children playing
In the street, a balloon wallah Children on a rug - what is she explaining?
Dogs on roof Spreading grain
These doggies could take a stairway
up to the roof of the next building
A woman spreads grain to dry in the sunlight
on the rooftop next to our hotel

Two last shots...

Bird I love India
Thanks to our friend Betsy in Florida we now
know that this bird is a Rufus Treepie,
an Asian treepie, member of the crow family
So do we!

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