ancient city of pilgrimage. People flock here in large numbers every day to bathe early in the am, and worship in the temples built beside the river bank. We got up early and hired a large row boat to float down the Ganga at sunrise and watch this tradition of offering puja to the rising sun. It is bustling early with the faithful and people have their favorite ghats. Men usually strip down to white wraps, but most women go in fully clothed. One must submerse totally and over and over to do it correctly.
We sat and watched a school of young boys learning "sankrit". These boys are picked by their families to become Hindu Priests. We docked here and walked up to the steps of their school to watch their instruction. Then we walked all over the alleys and little winding areas above the ghats. This was not the tourist spots, but where locals shop and take care of business when in Varanasi. I bought a very cool camel bone necklace of "skulls" from a vendor whose family makes all his products. He explained to me it was a "tantric" necklace used to protect the good from the evil forces always trying to take over...so guess I am good to go now!