Cal VA
1 Agra
2 Agra
3 Jaipur
4 Jaipur
5 Rathenborn
6 Varanasi
7 Varanasi
8 Delhi
9 Delhi
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Previous Day 6 - Varanasi Next   

Ganges Boat
Ganges Crematorium
Agni Pooja

We flew to Varanasi on the river Ganges

The spiritual capital of India, it is the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Jainism. Varanasi has been a cultural centre of North India for several thousand years, and is closely associated with the Ganges. Varanasi grew as an important industrial centre, famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture.
The city is known worldwide for its many ghats, embankments made in steps of stone slabs along the river bank where pilgrims perform ritual ablutions.

Varanasi has at least 84 ghats, most of which are used for bathing by pilgrims and spiritually significant Hindu puja ceremony, while a few are used exclusively as Hindu cremation sites
Boats everywhere fishing, taxi, tourists, and pleasure

On a couple of ghats were cloths and sheets laid out to dry

There are estimated to be 23,000 temples in Varanasi, several on the Ganges. This was a rather colorful one.

Family sitting on a ghat near the river's edge

Bhonsala Ghat

In 1780, Maratha King Bhonsale of Nagpur made this ghat and thus named after him. This ghat is an example of contributions of Maratha rulers to the very lifeline of Varanasi.
Temple on the river near a ghat

Manikarnika Ghat is the primary cremation ghat in Varanasi - we passed it several times while on the river. Here a body is being dipped into the Ganges River before cremation.

Hindu mythology teaches that the ghat is especially sacred and that people cremated there receive freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth.
Another Ghat

Munshi Ghat and the Darbhanga Ghat with the Darbhanga Palace standing over the river.

Colorful boats lining the banks of the river

Little parrot on top of a building

Ladies on top of a boat on the Ganges River

In the afternoon we took a tour of the old town. Our hotel was on the river and right behind the hotel is the old city which was a maze of alleys. No streets were larger than this one. That is Virginia Ann in the white shirt

The streets of Varanasi

Egg market

Small market

Writing near a door

Flowers for burial ceremonies.

Fresh flowers over a door to a temple

Wall next to a temple

Alley to a hotel? Notice the "Welcome" painted on the gate.

Priest in the back allys of Varanasi with a shrine. We gave a donation and received a blessing and marks on our foreheads.

Small shrine

After the city tour we took a night time tour of the Ganges

Manikarnika Ghat is the main crematorium about 80 ceremonies a day. There are 5 being performed during our tour.
Closer look at the Manikarnika Ghat

The Ganges at night

After the boat ride we landed at the Dashashwamedh Ghat to see the Aarti ceremony. Here the stage is set for the pagent.

Priest with incense during the ceremony

Many priests lined up performing Aarti

The highlight of the Aarti ceremony is the lamp with fire being waved about.

A very young priest performing the Aarti ceremony

Virginia Ann and Cal at a small shop where they were adorned with the beads, scarves, and markings. Then we had very good tea in celebration of our 33rd anniversary!!

A selfie of the anniversary couple at the Aarti ceremony

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