Varanasi / Banaras / Kashi

After numerous attempts to plan a visit to Varanasi, I was finally able to make a post-monsoon plan in October last year. This wasn’t going to be a long trip and I had to make my days count.

I had equipped myself with a vintage Pentacon 30mm F3.5 manual lens attached to a Fujifilm X-Pro 2 camera using a K&F M42 to X mount adapter. There was some practise involved in getting used to the preset aperture lens which I had just bought off eBay a month back.

Those who follow my work know that I prefer a small setup. I am usually carrying a Fujifilm X-100F, sometimes replacing it with the X-Pro 2 equipped with a 35mm lens. This setup is lightweight and fits in a sling bag. I can walk around the whole day with it. And even with the adapter and lens combination, my setup this time was still small and lightweight. In fact, the combination takes just about as much space as using a Fujinon 35mm F2 lens.

Anyway, I spent my time walking by the Ganges – observing people busy performing rituals, mourning, and praying for the departed souls at the busling ghats. I also visited a mumukshu bhawan or salvation hotel where I learnt about the people coming to Kashi in what they consider would be their last days before they die.

The black and white photographs in this album depict my observations in one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities.