A five-member Italian group was near the gathering at the Old Dashwashwamedh Ghat in this temple town when the powerful blasts shattered the calm along the river.
A member of the group, Cliroma Christina, 30, shuddered as she narrated the horror.
“There was the sound of a big explosion, followed by billowing smoke as everyone was crying for help and running helter-skelter,” she said.
“Fortunately, all five of us remained on the boat in the Ganga river watching the gory tale unfold,” said Cliroma.
“Five young guys dressed in ritualistic dresses were performing the Ganga Aarti in a truly celestial style when the big bang created chaos on the ghat. We watched and held on to each other on the boat,” she said.
“In my country the mafia in engaged in shootouts and blasts but they fight among themselves and don’t target innocents as it happened on the banks of the sacred river in Varanasi on Tuesday evening,” Cliroma said.
Manju Sharma, 26, a resident of Bihar who is in Varanasi to attend a wedding said,
“Six of us had come to view this world-famous Ganga Aarti when the blast took place and the entire ghat was covered with dust and smoke and cries for help.
All six of us broke away from each other and united after an hour.”
One of the injured at Varanasi Divisional Hospital, Prem Lata Verma, 42, a resident of Patna, said she and her husband were at the ghat when the blast took place.
“I was standing near the blast spot. A stone hit my head and many others were injured, including my husband. My husband who works in a cycle shop in Patna was lying on the ground. I managed to drag him to safety,” she said.
While Prem Lata is safe her husband was unconscious when she spoke to HT.
“I am trying to get connected with my three kids in Patna but have not succeeded till now. Please save my husband.”