This is the doorstep to the house where I live.
The house used to be owned by the King of Nepal.
This is the stray dog, Muchachito, that guards my doorstep. He was named by Spanish speaking tourists that adopted him from the streets and took care of him as a puppy. I feed him cream crackers every evening. He salivates every time he sees me.
This is a cow strolling past my door. There is a constant stream of tourists, worshipers, stray dogs, motorcycles and cows that pass by my door. The worshipers leave flowers and candles and do pujas (prayers) in front of the gate. The tourists take pictures.
This is Lolark Kund, the sacred pool outside my house. Lolark Kund literally means the ‘tank of the trembling Sun,’ “denoting the wavering image of the Sun God, Surya, in the water of the tank.” Revelers ring bells in the temples to announce to the Gods their arrival. The bells ring from 4 in the morning till 12 at night. Often they chant mantras and beat drums as well.
This is an alley that I walk leading me to the ghats (stairs) that line the Ganga-ji.
This is Lord Ganesha taking his afternoon nap behind a locked door in the same alley. It’s 104 degrees in Varanasi today. The gods, along with the locals, take afternoon naps.
This is a Goat feasting on flower malas left over from puja ceremonies along the Ganga. The goats wear sweater vests in the winter and sleep on the stairs in the summer.
This is a God (that I don’t recognize) nestled in the trunk of a tree. Varanasi is claimed to be, “the oldest continually inhabited city on Earth.”
These are the stairs I climb down (near Tulsi Ghat) to get to the Ganga-ji.
These are two goats that I watched spar on the ghats while chatting with a small boy selling sweets.
These are bathers paying respect via puja (prayer) in the Ganga-ji river.
This is Lord Shiva’s vehicle, the bull, looking toward the door of one of a thousand riverfront temples.
This is Agam-ji. I regularly stop in his shop, near Assi Ghat, to drink chai and hear stories while watching him work (in this case, on my new pendant). The pendant says, in Hindi script, “srijan” which means, “creativity” on one side, and “Kavita” which is my Indian name and means, “poem”, on the other.
This is a painted bicycle rickshaw. They are all painted.
And this is Papu in his barber stand along the river. He studies English in his breaks between customers.
It takes me 6 minutes to walk from my house to Papu’s barber shop.