North India

Sacred Varanasi

April 4, 2013

Brace yourself, you are about to enter one of the most blindingly colorful, unrelentingly chaotic and unapologically indiscreet places on earth. Varanasi takes no prisoners. But if you are ready for it this may just turn out to be your favorite stop of all. Also known as Kashi and Benaras, this is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities and is regarded as one of Hindustan’s seven Holi cities. Pilgrims come to the ghats lining the River Ganges here to wash away a lifetime of sins in the sacred waters or to cremate their loved ones. It’s a particularly auspicious place to die, since expiring here offers Moksha (liberating from the cycle of birth and death), making Varanasi the beating heart of the Hindu universe.

Most visitors agree it’s a magical place, but its not for the faint hearted. Ere the most intimate rituals of life and death takes place in public and the sights. Sounds and smells in and around the ghats – can be overwhelming. Varanasi is unique and a walk along the ghats or boat ride on the river will live long in the memory.