The Burning Ghats of Varanasi


Words & Photographs by Hannah Barker-Wyatt.


I left London to take some time out from the daily routines of life and spent 6 months travelling South East Asia. 

A solo journey without too many plans, only that I would start in South India and end up in Indonesia.

Starting in South India I decided I needed nothing more than a hut on the beach and found a great spot in South Goa where I happily stayed for 1 month, travelling from there visiting other states and getting to know the area. 

From there I made my way up to the North, taking in most of Rajasthan and lastly arriving in Varanasi, my final stop and one I had been eagerly anticipating.

Varanasi, Benares, Benaras, Kashi - the ultimate pilgrimage spot for Hindus and the oldest living city in the world.

Over the next 5 days I experienced the amalgamation of everything that I had ever seen of India. 

 Intimate rituals of life and death, the sights, sounds and smells of each ghat. Everyday watching the sunrise and sunset over the river Ganges, countless pilgrims taking a holy dip in the waters whilst others meditated in solitude and the rest bowed their heads in prayer.

Temple after temple, tout after tout.

I visited many incredible places on my trip but none were like Varanasi, an intensely spiritual experience filled with remarkable people.