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VARANASI: Indian place of BIRTH and DEATH

Traveling around India is unique. There are two options: either you love it with all this diversity, or you hate it. But no other city stands out as much as Varanasi.

Photo: Bojan Vrbnjak

When you think you're in India seen and experienced everything - from beauty to poverty and from history and modernity -, you Varanasi by the holy river Ganges, , shows that you did not see everything.

As everywhere in India, it is no different in Varanasi. The streets are full of people begging, and many also live on the streets. According to unverified information, there are almost 100 million of them.

Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India

Varanasi , located in the northeastern part India, is for Hindus the holiest place. They themselves claim that this is also the oldest city in the world and what Meka means for Muslims, is Varanasi for Hindus. It is the place where they come from Hindus die, because by burning the corpse at holy river Ganges complete the round new birth and death. Namely, Hindus believe in reincarnation. The ashes of each deceased must be thrown into the river after incineration Ganges, or into one of the tributaries of this sacred river. If they don’t have that close, relatives drive up to the nearest river, which then empties into the Ganges.  

A constant sight along the river Ganges. where believers wash away their sins in it, and women wash their clothes and take home cooking water.

Varanasi it really is something special. The train station itself is different from the others because it is full of believerscoming to this their holy city. You already feel different here. The inner part of the city, with the exception of believers, is otherwise similar to other cities, as it is also full here tuk tuk tuk in rickshawand everyone wants to earn some rupees. Here, too, the streets walking cows, their sacred animals, though this is not entirely true, for Indians worship a cow because of diverse uses. But we get closer to the river Ganges, , we learn more that this is a really different city compared to the rest of India.

That this is the spiritual capital of India is also seen by the fact that there are many priests in Varanasi who bless you for this and the next life for a few rupees.
Even in the evening, many rites are performed to certain gods who rule the Indian religion.

The Holy River Ganges, from which the most beautiful view of the city of Varanasi

Arriving at the river, its banks, we see some different Varanasi. A scene that takes you at the same time fascinates and amazes. Many believers go to the river after one of ghats (staircases leading to the river bank) are washed out in it their sins, the priests meditateand women wash their own clothes - saris. Variety and colorfulness and scenes that just call for photography, where it is necessary to know that the locals and believers are not sympathetic to be photographed at a religious ceremony.

A scene of a public cremation of the dead at one of the ghats, where relatives are waiting for their deceased to be cremated so that they can sprinkle him into the sacred river Ganges.

It seems to us strangers the river very dirty and we are constantly wondering how people can get in they wash it at religious ceremonies, and not far away they are public crematoria, huge in it boats with engines from a few decades ago, garbage and also what a dead animal. But the fact that in the river Ganges, they also occur pink dolphins, which do not go into the dirty water, shows the water quality of this river in a completely different light.

The largest crematorium, located at Manikarnika ghatu, burns up to 24 corpses in 150 hours. The morning scene of this crematorium is a chapter in itself. I myself commented on this as Mordor from The Lord of the Rings.

Evening and death - morning and life

City tour from the boat is definitely excess of experience of this city. And it is necessary do it twiceto experience the essence of this city. We notice more public crematoria, where deceased relatives are cremated, and the largest crematorium is at Manicarnika ghatuthat actually works 24 ur and during this time they also burn to 150 ljudi. Seeing it up close is for many a real shock, which stays even longer, some even take it home. Maybe it alleviates it in part sunset, which gives the city the right special charm. It is mandatory, of course examination of the ceremonyby selected priests they prepare every night at one of the larger ghats. A case of a religious, spiritual rite with music that serves as goodbye to the day, the river and the sun. In short, that means death.

Priests stage a farewell ceremony for the day, sun and river every night at one of the ghats, briefly a ceremony of death.
Just like during the day, Indian cities come to life in the evening in the glow of various colors, only this time with lights that strikingly illuminate their deities.

You need it a second time Varanasi to see - best the next day - in the morning, even before the sun wakes up to a new day. Because waking up the day ob sunrise na holy river Ganges means new birth, Briefly life. City at first sunbeams glow in the warm yellow-brown colors and gets really a different image from the previous evening. Seagulls on "millions“, At every boat they look for food from tourists and believers. This time you can, besides morning religious rites (washing in the river Ganges), te public crematoria look at it in daylight, but believe me, you will again shook the scene deeplyyou will see.

Colorful morning image of the banks of the river Ganges, where daily rituals are performed on one of the ghats.

Varanasi will definitely stay in your memory

Varanasi is definitely a place to be after your trip to India written completely at the top. City surprising, inspires and at the same time shocking. For with words, even with those I dedicate to you as the author of the text, which is after India traveled last November, what you will see cannot be described. Just because we are people are different and accordingly also we perceive it differently and we see things. Definitely about a place of diversity and color, from which you will s photos brought home fond memories, which you will share with relatives and friends.

The city of Varanasi is really the most beautiful if you see it and take photos from the river, along which you are taken by river taxis.

You will be able to s with them photos shown and to some extent approaching their adventures, and know: “No matter how good, technically perfect and professionally processed the photo is, it cannot be compared to a photo taken by your eyes, heart and soul, processed and framed with emotions and experiences, and stored in your memory." I say. Because of that, if you want to experience with your own eyes, you have to Varanasi see for yourself. Of course, when it will be possible again. Don't worry Varanasi will be waiting for you.

One is to see in photographs and read in words, and the other is to see and experience with one’s own eyes and feelings.

All photos: @bvrbnjak - Bojan Vrbnjak

The trip was made with: Oskar Travel Agency - Travel for you who want something more.

A short gallery of snapshots from Varanasi

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