Varanasi, India ~ City Of Light
Varanasi, (Benares), known as the city of light is located in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Dating back to the 11th century B.C., it is known as the spiritual capital of India,. Year long, and especially at times of festival, the city draws Hindu pilgrims who bathe in the Ganges River’s sacred waters, pay homage to their various gods and incarnations, and will travel far distances to reach the city and perform funeral rites.
Aside the Ghats (a wide set of steps leading to the river) one finds a maze of interlacing narrow lanes where shopkeepers within their generations-old family narrow abodes offer those who visit the city, flowers for their visit to the near 2,000 temples that are found within its environs and brass containers to fill with the waters of the sacred Ganges. For the Hindu, the Kashi Vishwanath, or “Golden Temple,” dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva commands the greatest respect among all within the city.
Travelers who visit the city sense its earthen culture and ties to its ancient past. Traversing the narrow lanes within the bazaar, observing sunrise while on the Ganges River, with scores of pilgrims bathing in its waters as the sun rises giving birth to a new dawn. Down river the pyres are lit as the family ritual begins leading to the cremation of a loved one along the banks of the river.
There are certain cities within India that are a must see for the visiting traveler, and Varanasi surely is one.
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