There are a good dozen palaces along the Ganges river in Varanasi of which, the one on the left is an example. You can see even from this angle, that the walls are built of heavy stone. Only the palaces are able to withstand the monsoon flood waters, which is why they alone are built close to the river. Uttar Pradesh being the most densely populated state in India, it is not surprising that the Ganges river "supports one of the world's highest density of humans." The most amazing times on the river are two or three days after the full moon when, the moon rise is set back several hours to about 6 pm. It rises right over the Ganges river. If you get there on time, you can see it lift up over the trees beyond the river. A moonrise is always special, but what makes this most impressive is its dark red hue. I personally am convinced that the reason Varanasi is located at this exact spot is because the river runs north and south for several miles at this point. It's the perfect spot for the sunrise as well as a moonrise! But getting back to the river, it is quickly being drained and seems to be at its lowest level ever--partially on account of a new dam which was built at Tehri in the Garhwal District in the Indian State of Uttarakhand. The river is now completely black from sewage. I am told that most of the sewage is not from people bathing in it, but from factories. There are lots of tiny "factories" in Varanasi as well as huge ones outside of the city. If the pollution continues to get worse, the Ganges will become a dead river meaning it does not have the oxygen needed to support aquatic life. After the conclusion of the Copenhagen climate summit, the minister for health (I think) visited Varanasi and was led on a tour of the ghats. He was shown several of the most damaging sewage runoff locations. He looked worried. Truthfully, I'm not sure what can be done here to clean sewage water before it enters the river. Either the factories must close or the Ganges will remain polluted because there is absolutely no space inside the city for the installation of sewage tanks. Click here to read more detailed information on the Ganges river.