|Sunrise from the balcony|
|Sunday cricket at Mansarawar ghat|
Impregnated with the hope brought about by the new day ( a Sunday at that), the ghats were alive in their own ways. Sadhus getting ready –some to pray and a few to trade, priests offering packaged puja to salvation, barbers ready to tonsure the heads of their accumulated sins, young boys playing cricket on the ghats & the dhobi-ghat getting decorated with colorful linens, freshly washed
|Bangali Tola way to Chousatti Ghat|
Breakfast & bath later, we strolled through the narrow & cold alleys of Bangali Tola, that was just 28 steps up that of the Chousatti Ghat. Bangali Tola has nothing much of Bangali left in it now as the area has been taken over by the Baniyas (resident-traders) whether as residents or shopkeepers. Nevertheless, one can spot a few . A Bengali woman managing a grocery shop or a Bengali man making Bidis (Indian cigarettes) out of tendu leaves & tobacco and selling them at the same time. Not to forget the two old Bengali widows gratuitously accepting alms from passers by. Also spotted a nameplate of a Bengali Torkobagish (rationalist), dating back to 2 centuries, on a freshly painted house. Once out of the tola, we set forth towards Sarnath on the rocky, bouncy roads of Varanasi.
|Lion-heads lie at the foreground of broken Ashoka Pillar, Sarnath|
|A millennium & half old Buddha statue in preaching position, Sarnath Museum|
The ride back on the auto was a memorable one as the auto drove at high speed through the maze of narrow lanes of Varanasi often tilting the vehicle precariously over the house-walls to glide past a larger vehicle coming from the opposite. The roads never seemed to be ending while time dilated as the auto miraculously waded its way through the clogged by-lanes and finally came to a dead stop at our dropping point.
walked back through the Bangali Tola again and reached Mansarawar Ghat for a
late lunch at a fancy restaurant that was offering non-vegetarian food in
otherwise a vegetarian town. After another long way back to the Chausatti Ghat
in the fading lights of dusk, we headed for our hotel’s roof-top restaurant to sit in front of the television watching India play
Pakistan live in the Asia Cup cricket tournament in Bangladesh. It was a
short stay till Afridi knocked Ashwin
& India out of the ground & tournament with two consecutive hard-hit
sixes in the last over with only one wicket to spare. The boys at the Ghat had told us in
the morning that whoever chased would win. So the defeat didn’t come much as a
shock for many since the favorites were Pakistan. Anyway, the day was over for
us as we finally retired to our room with plans for visits to some temples the next day.
|Narrow lane in Bangali Tola|