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    All These Colors Tour: India Part 27

    Wednesday, October 10, 2012
    Varanasi, India

    A fake Indian Sadhu on Chowk Godowlia Road in Varanasi, India.

    A triangular-shaped traffic island at a three-way intersection on Chowk Godowlia Road in Varanasi, India.

    This afternoon, I took a walk around the back lanes near the Alka Hotel and stopped at a random building where some people were chanting and singing inside. I was just standing there listening and enjoying it, when a young guy walked out and filled my ears with a bunch of info about what they were up to. His accent was so strong, I could barely make out what he said. I thought he would ask me for money for the impromptu lesson, but instead, he tried to get me to go to his little shop down the way, which I flat out refused to do. Instead, I walked up Chowk Godowlia Road to look for Vishwanath temple, and I’ll tell you, it was no stroll in the park! Motorcycles literally brushed by me every few seconds, their shrill horns stabbing my eardrums like aural knitting needles. I was so bummed I left my earplugs back in my hotel room. Thanks to the incessant beeping and honking, and the fact that I have tinnitus, I had to push my earlobes closed every few seconds.

    A picturesque scene in a back lane off Chowk Godowlia Road in Varanasi, India.

    A weathered wall in a back lane off Chowk Godowlia Road in Varanasi, India.

    Pedestrians, rickshaws, their auto brethren and a complete lack of sidewalks also made the trek a quite harrowing but exciting adventure. At one point, I walked out onto a median to shoot some footage of the insane traffic jams when a man who looked like an Indian Sadhu walked up and offered to let me shoot a photo of him for a little money. Another guy was with him, joining in on the price haggling activities. After I ponied up the cold hard cash, I lined up a decent shot looking down a side street and clicked the shutter button. It wasn’t the best backdrop–a nice, crusty wall would have looked much better–but it would have to do. Later, I showed the photo to the front desk clerk at the Alka Hotel, and he told me a real Sadhu would never approach a tourist like that, and that this guy was actually just a beggar dressed up like a Sadhu to make money. I kind of figured as much, since I had read a page about Sadhus on Wikipedia, and that phenomenon was mentioned. I didn’t mind, though. I thought it was funny that I got a photo of a fake Sadhu rather than a real one. I never did find Vishwanath temple, but I had a grand time shooting other scenic buildings in various states of decay.

    Roll over photos for captions.
    Words and photos ©2012 Arcane Candy.

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