One animal that I don’t see that often in Varanasi is the horse. Rickshaws are the public transport of choice – probably because a cyclist comes cheaper than a horse – and they’re not considered sacred like the cow so aren’t allowed to roam the streets as they like. But one thing they are used for is to pull the fantastical silver wedding carriages that are a fairly common sight right now in Varanasi, as it is the matrimonial season. The horse can be any colour as long as it’s white and there is a place near the Golden Temple where they are kept alongside their Cinderella carriages. But the animals are a sorry looking lot – all skin and protruding bones, the sight of which depressed me.
So it was a pleasant surprise this morning to by chance come across two wonderful looking horses in a side street of Varanasi that seemed in tiptop condition with shining coats and not a single visible rib, happily munching on their daily nasta (breakfast). They are obviously ceremonial horses – by virtue of their colour and the decorative halter. This one was in the street but it’s partner was in a pristine stable which I’m sure the British Equestrian Society would have said passed muster. I am so happy to have discovered two of these noble beasts that are appreciated and cared for, sacred or not!