In the early evening the ghats (or bathing steps) come alive once more as hundreds of pilgrims return for evening worship. Young priests from nearby ashrams perform their daily rituals looking out to the sacred Ganga, whilst conch shells and bells create a cacophony of sound.
Worshippers light little flickering lamps that are floated down the river, which can look stunning in the early evening light.
Each ghat holds some differing significance for Hindus. Some are exclusively for cremations, others for followers of different sects and yet others simply built as philanthropic acts by former rulers. Some are noted for their pundits, who may be consulted on any subject.
Astrology is particularly widespread in Varanasi. If you wish to have a personal reading, it may take some time.
There are many temples in the narrow lanes alongside the river, but some are difficult to visit for non-Hindus, and it depends very much on the priest you consult. In any case, you should be aware that visits to some of the temples may result in demands for baksheesh, which are difficult to avoid.
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