Friday, January 13, 2012

Varanasi, day 3 (part 2); Evening Aarti, fire ritual

Back in Varanasi in time for a late lunch, I went with the girls to the Korean Cafe, where a Korean couple ran a decent Korean style restaurant. Other than the Indian staff, I was the only non-Korean in the place, and sitting next to an older Korean ajoshi, he got a kick out of the Westerner speaking Korean. He told me how happy he was to be eating real Korean sticky rice, and made a dramatic gesture pretending as if he were blowing imaginary light, fluffy, Indian basmati rice from the tips of his fingers, with a look of disdain in his face. Though I'd been enjoying having some good Korean food since my week in McLeod Ganj and for the pat couple nights here, it definitely wasn't the starchy, heavy, sticky, bland Korean rice my body was craving. I still don't get the Koreans obsession with it, beyond the fact that it was considered a poor people's rice once upon a time... (though, that probably still is the main reason)

As the sun went down on our last night in Varanasi, we went down to the ghats to see the evening
Aarti, fire ritual, lead by a local Brahman priest. The same young girl was still there selling pūjā, so we each bought one from her a last time, just before the ceremony started.

The highly choreographed Varanasi Aarti is sometimes criticized for being slight unauthentic, and it did border on kitsch, but what else would you expect? And I did get some fun shots out of it. 

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