Benares in a downpour

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Where: Hero (US HERO), Vidyapeeth Rd, Chhittupura, Sigra, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221010, India

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When: 01 January 1944

Try to find the date or year when this image was made.
Description: Photograph taken by Cecil Beaton for the Ministry of Information. "The Sacred City of Benares. The shopping centre of Benares in a downpour of rain, showing camels which make up a large part of the traffic."

Date: 1944

Our Catalogue Reference: INF 14/434/3

This image is from the collections of The National Archives. Feel free to share it within the spirit of the Commons.

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Owner: The National Archives UK
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 13756
thenationalarchivesuk varanasi india rain umbrella camels cecilbeaton uttarpradesh tna:piecereference=inf14p434 tna:subseriesreference=inf14ss19 tna:iaid=c8999234 tna:itemreference=inf14p434i3 tna:seriesreference=inf14 tna:divisionreference=infd1 tna:departmentreference=inf

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    • 26/Mar/2010 20:14:36

    Hi, You might want to verify this one. The text on the sign boards is written in Gujarati. Which might mean that the photo could be from Gujarat state instead of Banaras. There are two sign boards where I can see the script in in Gujarati language.

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    • 26/Mar/2010 20:18:45

    The big dark black signboard at the very top left reads the name as "Premchand Sankalchand" and most probably its Ahmedabad.

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    The National Archives UK

    • 29/Mar/2010 11:01:37

    Very interesting. But the paperwork is absolutely clear that it is Benares (or Varanasi we should perhaps say). This image is one of a series of photos that Beaton took in the city documenting its temples, street sellers and university.

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    • 29/Mar/2010 15:26:56

    ok :) Could be. Because of the signboard language I made that guess. Maybe some Gujarati businessman had settled in Varanasi :)

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    anusha yadav

    • 06/Apr/2010 22:13:35

    Yes But I doubt they would put signage in a language which their customers from the north didn't understand. They are gujus remember, a very keen business mind. Unlikely they would make a mistake like that. I agree. this isn't Benaras. And Camels are not particularly found in Benaras. Unless they are amusement and circus animals. a few here and there...In gujarat yes. Camels abound.

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    • 07/Apr/2010 02:24:45

    I added a not on the image for the portion which I would like to see in High Res.

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    • 04/Aug/2010 07:54:18

    Mere presence of a Gujarati signboard, or camels, doesn't mean much. Varanasi has always been cosmopolitan, partly due to its sacredness. Firstly, there's a fairly large number of (for instance) Bengali, Marathi and Tamil speaking people in the city, and their numbers must have been higher in the past because of different migration patterns. Secondly, businesses catering to certain linguistic groups usually keep their boards in that language. The stereotypical Gujarati is known not only for his business skills but also his charity, and a pilgrim from rural Gujarat wouldn't be able to read in other scripts. In fact one can still find many signboards in Varanasi in Indian languages other than Hindi (e. g. Tamil boards inside Vishwanath temple, Bengali boards in Luxa). Lastly, camels are quite frequent in Varanasi even today for transport on the sandy Gangetic river bed.

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    • 14/Nov/2010 14:53:08

    yes ptwo rightly mentioned that in varanasi you could find many indian language signboar like tamil.bengali ,gujarati .this i have seen when i visited varanasi .and for the camels ,yes you can find camels in varanasi ,this photo seems little older ,and i have seen many camels in my child hood days.