It’s early in the morning, around seven. Streams of Banarsis have already reached their ghats and river through their age old course – the galis. They are late. People who had reached there at dawn are already on their way back after their massage, exercise, bath and clothes washing. The ghatscape is a very popular public space in the city. There’s nothing strange or unique in this. Cities have generally sprung up by water bodies, as history tells us, and the interface between the city and the water body has always drawn its inhabitants, like a magnate draws iron fillings. To keep them there for long requires some basic infrastructure in place. There must be space enough for many people to sit or stand or perform their various activities. There must also be reasons other than the availability of water to sustain people’s interest. This is where Banaras is more or less unique.
The ghatscape has an endless series of interesting spots and activities to offer. There is the river that has the power to wash away not only material and concrete filth but also the kind that sticks to one’s spirit as sin. There are the ghats on the banks of the river. There are temples and mosques on or by the ghats. One may sit and enjoy tea for some time on various stalls at ghats.
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