It's difficult to justify this scene, my photos won't do it and my words certainly won't.
This was part of a celebration on the Hindu calendar particular to Varanasi and is known as Dev Deepavali or "festival of lights of the gods" It falls on the full moon of the Hindu month of Kartika and this year fell on 28th November, 15 days after the mother of all Hindu celebrations, Diwali.
What you are seeing in this photo is thousands of people on the ghats carrying out a bath in the holiest of all rivers in the Hindu religion, the River Ganges. Hindu devotees believe that washing in this water will wash away a lifetime of sins. Ironically the river Ganges is one of the most polluted in the world - it is filthy. What makes it worse is that a few hundred metres upstream are the infamous burning ghats of Varanasi where the deceased are cremated on the banks in view of everyone, with the ashes scattered in the water.
This morning in Varanasi was by far one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen in my life. The more and more I travel the harder I am to impress. Sights like this leave my jaw dropped on the deck and I'm reminded why I travel.