You are standing on concrete Chowk Rd, one of the main arteries bringing vehicles, autorickshaws, pedal rickshaws, and animals into the city running parallel to the west bank of the river. Like much of India, the sounds are deafening and the unsettled dirt and exhaust forms an almost tangible fog around you. The road sits a kilometer or two inland, and the only way from here to the river is through a network of narrow alleyways called galis. Take the left, step into your first gali and only the animals can follow you.

The galis may be too narrow for the other vehicles but the chaos doesn’t cease. The small walls of buildings, temples, storefronts seem acoustically ideal to enhance the cacophony of sounds swirling around you. The cows groaning and mooing seem five times louder, and you can barely hear yourself think over the constant beeping of motorcyclists forcing their way through the 6 foot wide walkway. Call to prayers from the mosques and clanking and bells from the Hindu temples mix with chanting of the hundreds of holy men baba in the city and beats from the tabla. Read more>>>