Welcome to Varanasi, India – From my travel journal during a 16 flight, 5 week journey throughout Asia, Capturing Grace.

With the photography for six ministries throughout India in our rearview mirror, there were only two cities left for Carissa and I to explore during our remaining six days in India. Carissa and I re-joined our friend Pramod and are so grateful for his company and guidance during our time here.

With One hand holding National Geographic articles describing Varanasi and Jodhpur and the other clutching my camera, I felt like a child on Christmas morning. I’ve been waiting a long time to see Varanasi, one of the oldest cities in the world. Situated on the west bank of the Ganges, Varanasi – also known as Benares – is an important holy city for both Hindus and Buddhists. According to legend, it was founded by the Hindu deity Lord Shiva 5,000 years ago, though modern scholars believe it to be around 3,000 years old. Hindus make up approximately 84% of the population of Varanasi district with Muslims comprising 18%.

I enjoyed the interactions during traffic with the people of Varanasi today, watching their expressions give way to smiles as our vehicles inched along to the rhythm of the ever present honking. Honking here is not “get out of my way” but rather a method for the the scooters and auto-rickshaws to announce their locations, many times only inches apart.

Tomorrow I will take you out on the Ganges river at sunrise…

“There are some parts of the world that, once visited, get into your heart and won’t go. For me, India is such a place. When I first visited, I was stunned by the richness of the land, by its lush beauty and exotic architecture, by its ability to overload the senses with the pure, concentrated intensity of its colors, smells, tastes, and sounds. It was as if all my life I had been seeing the world in black and white and, when brought face-to-face with India, experienced everything re-rendered in brilliant technicolor.”
― Keith Bellows, National Geographic

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