On the long line of steps leading to Ganga in Varanasi, everything and everyone seems to become equal. Pilgrims, priests, mendicants, traders, common folk, tourists, rich, poor, birds, animals, gods, sacred, filthy and everything else that you can imagine shares the same space without any contempt towards the gathered mass. Everything commands the highest respect, be it the priest on the steps, the goddess in her sanctum, monkey on the balcony or the sewer-like waters of Ganga.
My first impression of Varanasi was a mild shock, seeing the insane chaos even by the standards of the chaotic country that we are. But as I learned to ignore the big picture and focused on the emotions of the city, it revealed another new world of devotion and piety that could only exist in Varanasi.