Before I stepped aboard I took this photograph of boatmen, having a moment of quiet contemplation at daybreak.  In a country of over 1 billion, it is still possible to find peace.

We drifted past pilgrims lining the ghats, reciting mantras and offering prayers to the rising sun, now casting a rosy glow over the previously misty steps. Ladies, eyes closed, bent to scoop up holy water, raise it heavenward then let it trickle back to the river. Others immerse themselves, emerging with a splutter and a splash.  Little paper dishes, filled with orange and yellow marigolds and a flickering candle are gently launched and float off into the current. Life unfolds in front of my eyes.

Sadhus wearing saffron robes sit cross legged under umbrellas, eyes fixed on the horizon. The sunlight illuminates their wrinkled faces. Some covered with ash, others with the Pundra on their forehead. Some shaven headed, some with matted dreadlocks, some with a twisted topknot encircled in plastic flowers. All completely fascinating. What stories they could tell!

The sound of dhobi wallahs rhythmically slapping wet clothes on rocks, splits the silence.  A loudspeaker crackles into life as a guru starts instructing his yoga class assembled below.

The spell of silence is broken, the city is awake and will be full throttle until sunset. Then climb aboard the boat for sunset on the Ganges…