“Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.” – Mark Twain
For over 2000 years, Banaras the eternal city has been the religious capital of India. Built on the banks of sacred river Ganga, the ghats serve as a haven for priests and pilgrims and anyone in search of spiritual salvation.
The city extends beyond the riverbank in a labyrinth of alleys and is a melting pot of religion and culture. Every year, several hundred believers flock to the city, some in search of salvation, some to experience the rich history and some to observe the sheer artistry in the daily ongoings at the Ghats of Benares. Throngs of devotees come to offer their prayers and wash away their sins in the holy water of the Ganges. The steps of the ghats are thronged with fortune tellers, local vendors and devotees come to offer their prayers and wash away their sins in the holy water of the Ganges.
Every morning, the city wakes up by offering prayers to the holy river. Just before dawn when the sun ascends on the horizon across the Ghats, pilgrims gather for the morning Aarti (prayer). The fragrance of incense, the sound of temple bells, colourful flowers and reverberating chants welcome the day here. The evenings Aartis are a wondrous sight where the dusky scene is set ablaze with flaming lamps and song and dance.
The oldest living city in India, Benares or Varanasi is steeped in ancient history, making it a mystically beautiful attraction for people from far and wide. It is no wonder therefore that the Ghats are a muse to artists and photographers from all over the world. The city that has inspired the likes of M F Husain and Ramkumar has completely floored the artists of today as well. Indian artists travel the length and breadth of the country to capture the beauty that is Benares.
Some of our favourite artists and their beautiful renditions of the Benares ghats are listed here. To view our complete collection of artwork inspired by Benares Ghat – Click Here
Ashif Hossain hails from Kolkata; where he pursued a degree in Fine Arts from the Government College of Arts, Kolkata. Ashif Hossain’s art works are known for capturing the Banaras Ghats in beautiful monochromatic and sepia tones. He uses acrylic blacks and browns, merging them with whites to create beautiful shadows and depth. Even in monochromes, the vibrancy of the Ghats shines through his paintings. Ashif Hossain’s paintings are mostly dual toned watery renderings that flawlessly capture the enigmatic scenes at the Ghats – portraying worshippers and priests lost in reverence at the embankment of the great Ganges.
To view our complete collection of Banaras ghat paintings by artist Ashif Hossain – Click Here
Originally from West Bengal, Paramesh Paul the artist, now resides in Mumbai. A lover of the Ganges, his work frequently depicts the morning and evening prayers that take place in Benares Ghat. Paramesh Paul’s paintings creations are like no other – using bright acrylics, he truly takes the beholder on a journey along the edge of the Ganges, with its shrines and temples and sculptures captured in all their natural glory. Paramesh’s skill with the brush is evident in how he seamlessly narrates the stories about the place and the events to his viewers in his artwork. When looking upon his paintings, one can almost hear the chants of the priests juxtaposed with the sound of the cymbals and smell the fragrance of sandalwood incense rife in the air.
To view our complete collection of Banaras ghat paintings by artist Paramesh Paul – Click Here
Yashwant Shirwadkar was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Shirwadkar’s approach to the Banaras Ghats is subtly mystical. The viewer is enamoured by the beautiful way in which mundane, everyday happenings take on a magical allure in Benares. Using mostly oil paints, brushes and sometimes a palette knife, Shirwadkar creates amazing depth in all his depictions. He perfectly reproduces a typical morning or evening at the Ganges – the pilgrims taking dips in its holy waters, the trance of the Aartis conducted by priests, the vendors earning their daily livelihood.
To view our complete collection of Banaras ghat paintings by artist Yashwant Shirwadkar – Click Here
Amit Bhar’s immense talent in showcasing the sublime world of the Ganges with a microscopic eye is what sets his art particularly apart. His photographic renditions of the Ghats portray the life of the locals almost poetically. Amit Bhar spent his childhood in West Bengal, and draws heavily from the inspiration he acquired there. He uses acrylic and oil paints to create life-like landscapes of the Ghats. His canvas is like a lens through which the life of the Banarasis, the pilgrims and the holy Ganges all become one enchanting, serene image.