All along the ghats, and especially at the main ones such as Dashaswamedh, the prices of boat (bajra) rental are highly inflated, with local boatmen under pressure from touts to fleece tourists and pilgrims. Renting a boat to catch the dawn in particular can be a bit of a free-for-all, and haggling is essential. There used to be an official rate, which everyone ignored, but it’s now down to your bargaining skills. You’ll get a far better rate (₹150/hr for a one- or two-person boat, ₹75/hr per person on a shared boat) if you walk up to Mir Ghat near the Alka hotel, where punters are thinner on the ground. Some small hotels offer special deals to their guests, including free rides at sunrise and sunset if you’re staying at the Shanti Guest House.

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