Varanasi: Part 1

A week in Varanasi and delhi with my nieces, all 3 of us sketching all day. It doesn’t get better than that. ( to see their blogpost about it, go to: )

Day 1 on Assi Ghat. Just downstairs from our hotel: sellers of flowers and trinkets sit at charpoys. Everyone sells plastic cans, in case you want to take home the highly-polluted Ganga water. Oranges and reds dominate the color scheme in Varanasi. Marigolds. Robes of sadhus. Flags. The flames of funeral pyres. 

This boatman sat around all morning, in no hurry to get a customer who wanted to be ferried down the river. And while he hung around, he lazily fished. or pretended to. I never saw him catch anything.

An afternoon chai break back at our hotel turned into an afternoon of sketching temple tops from the upstairs veranda. Benaras beats out Tirunelvelli ( but only by a wee bit) in how many shrines it can pack per square kilometer.

Chaatvala. Benarasi chaat is always topped with radish. This guy was serving alu tikkis that smelled amazing. By day 2 we had a routine: chai on the verandah of our hotel, overlooking the Ganges. Sketch until mid-morning, then a huge breakfast of hot parathas. More sketching. Then off to eat amazing Benarasi sweets and dahi vada. More sketching along the ghats. Dinner. And then back to our room, dog tired, and ready to crash- by 8pm!

Breakfast, high up on the ghats. Watching the bathers below. The ghats are steep, making for an amazing view from the top. While we sketched here, we saw ganges Dolphins leap out of the water. A rare site, since they’re endangered.

Boatmen, everywhere: makes you wonder how they make any money. There must be a boatman for every tourist on the ghats- and they don’t seem to keen on getting passengers. What they ARE very keen on is playing gulli danda. Or hanging around in groups like this one doing pretty much nothing.


Pandits and Sadhus: another species that is everywhere on the Ghats. They line the whole waterfront (sometimes 4-5 rows deep) never more than a couple of feet apart from each other. Some of them are straight off a Benaras postcard: matted hair, ash covered bodies ( I never did spot a nanga one, though) , but most look like laymen, sitting around with god photos and flowers.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
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7 Responses to Varanasi: Part 1

  1. Shirley says:

    I LOVED looking at all of your travel sketchbook pages – charming and so evocative of the places. Thanks for sharing so much!


  2. magpie says:

    wonderful wonderful sketches.
    they bring me so vividly into the scenes.


  3. Hi! What a great way to see India throught your sketches! The’re lovely!


  4. Toemailer says:

    Very nice images, great idea for a blog!


  5. BarbaraB says:

    These are fabulous. Such color, movement, and perspective.


  6. ffyrebird says:

    What a treat to see India!! I love your sketching style, the loose freshness of it is delightful!


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