Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Debesh Sharma | City of Ghats

Photo © Debesh Sharma-All Rights Reserved
Mark Twain said of Varanasi, "Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together."

It's certainly one of my favorite cities in India to photograph, and I comfortably guarantee that one could spend a lifetime living in the old city and photograph it every day. For those who share my visual and cultural interest in one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities, I am featuring the work of a very talented Indian photographer who covered Varanasi in his City of Ghats gallery of 64 photographs.

Debesh Sharma is a self-described photographer, writer, traveler and wanderer, and travel photography is his main interest. He's mostly interested in creating portraits of the ordinary people met during his journeys, all of whom have a different story to tell, which he attempts to relay to viewers through his frames.

I recommend that you bookmark Debesh's website. It offers more than two dozen galleries of India which will sate the most committed of Indiaphiles. Take your time in exploring it.

Incidentally, it's estimated that there are 23,000 Hindu temples in Varanasi but you'd be mistaken if you thought that it was a totally Hindu city. It is not. The Muslim population of the city is about 250,000 out of a total of 1 million. Muslims have been living in the most Hindu of cities for more than a thousand years. It is in Varanasi that I came across the shrine of Bahadur Shaheed which introduced me to India's Sufism and the syncretism that exists between these two religions.

Finally don't mistake the "svastika" in Debesh's photograph above as the Nazi symbol. The Sanskrit svastika literally means "to be good", and is a Hindu symbol. The Nazi swastika is reversed.