Varanasi is the spiritual capital of Hinduism. On certain evenings, crowds gather as the sun sets to join priests in performing an offering ceremony.
Before the ceremony begins, the priests assist families in making offerings at the water’s edge.
Meanwhile, helpful touts guide visitors to the assembled flotilla of boats that expand the seating and give people a front-row seat.
The ceremony, or Aarti, involves the waving of lighted flames, incense, and flowers before the deities in a spirit of humility and gratitude. The steps leading to the Ganges River bring followers a step closer to the gods.
In a stark contrast to the spirit of peace, I enjoyed watching this woman play a first-person shooter on her mobile phone crouched on the steps as the ceremony was performed.