One of my favorite ways to explore Brooklyn, and New York for that matter, is on foot. Walking down the side streets, intersecting through movie sets, impromptu photo shoots, adorable canine meet cutes, and colorful produce stalls all weave together to create a vibrant sojourn of culture, cuisine, and cute overload.
Every time I visit a new country there is usually a different reason behind that particular place. Sometimes I am sent on a press trip, other times I chose it for its affordable flights and beautiful views, and sometimes I visit places because of happy events. My recent trip to Santorini, Greece was to celebrate the upcoming wedding of a dear friend in a fabulous European bachelorette weekend.
My last night in Varanasi was spent at the highly anticipated Aarti ceremony, along the banks of the Ganges River. The ceremony is held each night at dusk, with many people renting a boat to watch from the water. A mixture of prayer, incense, fire, and sound, the ceremony is a treat for the senses. I could not understand what was being chanted, but the energy along the river was one of peace and clarity.
Taking a boat ride down the famed Ganges River is to learn the saying “waste not, want not.” The river serves many purposes for the residents of Varanasi, some that seem a bit conflicting to the foreign eye.
Varanasi, India is home to world class weavers and a huge textile industry. I was lucky enough to get to visit these craftsman and observe as they handled the enormous looms with grace and dexterity. The process looks impossibly difficult, and the colors are blindingly bright and beautiful as they become a small part of the larger piece. While some of these looms were located in large warehouses or studios, many were housed in the homes of artisans, passing down the craft to each new generation. It was here in Varanasi, the last stop on my trip through Northern India, that I finally purchased a sari and learned the proper technique to tying it up.