Varanasi, May 2 : A soaring heat wave continues to sweep Varanasi shutting the business of boat owners and giving problems to residents and tourists.
The banks of the Ganges are deserted and boat owners are facing losses due to the rising mercury.
"The heat wave has been intense since the last fortnight. We are facing a lot of problems on account of this. Towards evening around 4 p.m. a few tourists struggle in and we take them for sightseeing. Otherwise our business has seen a major drop, because of the immense heat," said, Chamru Nishad, a boat owner.
With temperatures hovering around 44 degrees Celsius in the city and surrounding areas, people, especially tourists, are falling prey to the intense heat.
"It is terribly hot here. The tourists, who come here for a holy dip in the Ganges, normally head for the ghats on a sightseeing tour in the boats, but now it is sizzling hot. The heat wave is certainly a dampener for the tourists. Even the residents here are facing problems due to the torrid weather," said Rambharat Pandey, a temple priest.
The temperature is over 40 degrees Celsius since the last 15 days and the residents and tourists are forced to stay indoors.
Water and juice kiosks on the roadside are cashing in on the situation as people try to survive the scorching sun.
Most of northern India is in the grip of a severe heat wave, with Punjab and Rajasthan recording temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius.
The Indian summer starts early in April and continues till late June. The weather cools with the arrival of monsoons in July.
Meteorological experts say over the years, the average temperature has been going up due to global warming.
Story first published: Friday, May 2, 2008, 20:28 [IST]