Bustling Banaras by the Ganga, a busy pilgrimage, trading and education hub, has fallen silent due to the lockdown
Varanasi or Kashi, one of India’s holiest cities and also Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, recently saw some relaxation of the strict lockdown imposed due to the country-wide second wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Photo: Dhruval Parekh.
The famous boat rides on the Ganga offered to tourists visiting the city came to a complete standstill due to the restrictions on tourism imposed amid the second wave. Tourism in Varanasi is a major income generator for locals besides visits by pilgrims. The city’s boating union too was not able to help hundreds of local boatmen, who had to fend for themselves during the lockdown. Photo: Dhruval Parekh.
The slight relaxation in the lockdown allows non-essential services and shops to be open till 4 pm. Essential services remain exempted from the restrictions imposed (as of June 3, 2021). Photo: Dhruval Parekh.
Even as restrictions were eased, some shops still remain closed (as of June 3, 2021). Photo: Dhruval Parekh.
A deserted Dashashwamedh Ghat, otherwise one of Varanasi’s most famous and crowded places. Usually, hundreds of devotees throng to the site every evening for the ‘Ganga Aarti’ or worship of the Ganges performed by a group of priests. Due to the extraordinary circumstances created by the second wave, only one priest has been performing the Aarti every evening, on behalf of all others. Photo: Dhruval Parekh.
The world-famous ghats or bathing platforms on the Ganga in Varanasi have been mostly vacant ever since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. Photo: Dhruval Parekh.
An aerial view of Varanasi’s deserted ghats, otherwise thronged by devotees, tourists and locals. Photo: Dhruval Parekh.
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