Photographing Varanasi


Varanasi is the spiritual home for Hindus and sits on the banks of the Ganges River. The city is sacred to Hindus and is credited as being one of the oldest cities in the world. What many of the guidebooks forget to tell you is that it is thick with smog and full of people who are more interested in your finances than your spiritual life! However, don’t let that put you off, the opportunities for photography are fantastic.

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Sunrise and Sunset

Sunrise will cast a warm early morning glow over Varanasi. Get on a boat and shoot away for dramatic cityscapes. In the evening the sun sets behind the city, and a boat will open opportunities for powerful silhouettes. Of course, staying with your feet on the ground will provide the best opportunities for Street Photography.


There are fantastic opportunities for people photography. Try and keep it candid, because if you ask permission you will often be expected to pay. Keep some small notes in your pocket. The Aghori’s are incredibly photogenic as they have long matted hair, are covered in ash and have heavily set eyes. Apparently they have some strange habits, if you want to know more then Google is your friend, this is a family site!

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An Aghori


There are many scam artists around the cremation area who will try to take donations to buy wood for the poor. It is a scam. Do not try to take photos of the funeral pyres, you will get in trouble (although it is OK from a boat). Apparently you can get photo access for around 15,000INR, or $200.

When visiting a temple, you will see offerings made of 10 rupees to those that are blessed. If you are not Indian, you may get asked for up to 500 rupees for the same blessing. Again, don’t fall for it.

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Evening Ceremony


I took everything as it is a place I will only visit once! However, I generally used my Nikon D7100 with a 35mm fixed lens and my Olympus with a 25mm lens. Basically a wide and a narrow focal length. Prime lenses meant much better low light capabilities. Two cameras came in handy as I was not going to change lenses in the dusty climate. I also took a tripod, but as usual, it stayed in the bag.

If you would like to see the whole set of photos, please do use the following link…

That is all today folks, it is back to work as usual! Take care and keep clicking,


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