Sunday Special – Varanasi, India

India is a large country and quite varied at that. Although I spent nearly a month in India, mainly in the north and in Goa, I have longed to return to this place that brings a wonderful influx of sensations. The abundance of colours, the ongoing din of the streets, and the assault of smells and aromas give it an energy all its own. At times India is not easy yet it is worth it. It would appear from my research that Varanasi is one such place. Having not yet experienced this northern city on the Ganges River I imagine that this revered sight will keep me rapt and enticed while testing my travel endurance. 

The religious history of Varanasi is vital to Hinduism and Jain, considered the holiest of places. It is also credited as the birthplace of Buddhism. Those of the Hindu faith consider dying in Varanasi to bring about their salvation and many make the trek here when they are close to their end. Cremation services are common along the Ganges at ghats (steps built along the river) reserved strictly for that service.  Other ones observe different uses and significance such as the washing away of sins by bathing in the river. Since this is a city of religious significance there is an abundance of temples with Kashi Vishwanath Temple being of the highest importance. Many are Hindu though others are of various systems of belief.  It would seem that the two best ways to see this intriguing city is by boat along the Ganges and by simply wandering around by foot. Who knows what you will see and learn?

Ahilya_Ghat_by_the_Ganges,_Varanasi
Ahilya Ghat as seen from the waters of the Ganges River – Photo credit:  Ken WielandAhilya Ghat by the Ganges, VaranasiCC BY-SA 2.0
512px-Evening_aarti,_Varanasi
Evening worship (aarti) in Varanasi – Photo credit: Eric Laurent from Le Havre, FRANCE, Evening aarti, VaranasiCC BY 2.0
Vista_de_Varanassi._Ciudad_Sagrada._Rio_Ganges
Ceremony along the Ganges in Varanasi, India –  Photo credit: Davi1974dVista de Varanassi. Ciudad Sagrada. Rio GangesCC BY-SA 3.0

 

 

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