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Varanasi  kuh

the holy city on Ganges

Varanasi , formerly known as Benares, is over 3000 years old and the holiest city of the Hindus, situated right on the Ganges.
The attractions here are the many religious ritual practices of the Hindus at the bathing steps (ghats), at the holy river Ganges. Pilgrims from everywhere come here since ancient times to take a bath in the river and wash away the sins, or to let their loved relatives burn here.

(Click for large image!)

Varanasi  Varanasi  Varanasi

Varanasi  Varanasi  Varanasi

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We booked an evening boat tour on the Ganges. Already at the ghats we saw the daily preparations for the religious ceremony in honor of Shiva for this evening.
Our boat took us first to the public burning ghat where cremations take place any time. It was a scary strange ceremony that was fascinating and shocking at the same moment. We were only 10 m away with the boat so we could really identify the burning bodies covered in white clothes under the burning logs. Really indescribable!

Varanasi  Varanasi  Varanasi
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Together with many other boats full of pilgrims and tourists, we were able to watch the ceremony in honor of Lord Shiva and "Mother Ganga ". An indescribable experience for us again. This boat tour was amazing, we have no words to describe almost all of this.

Varanasi  Varanasi  Varanasi

Varanasi  Varanasi  Varanasi

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The absolute highlight of our trip to India at the former time was the early morning boat ride on the Ganges. And now we did it again und so we had to get up early in the morning to see the sunrise. Shortly before we arrived at the ghats hundreds of pilgrims were on the way to the river to celebrate the ritual bath at the main gate. Like many of the other tourists also, we took a boat for 1 hour ride along the ghats to watch the people by their ritual ablutions and the "normal body care ". Priests bless the pilgrims after the bath and there is a strange spiritual atmosphere.

Varanasi  Varanasi  Varanasi
Varanasi  Varanasi  Varanasi
Varanasi  Varanasi  Varanasi
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We enjoyed the evening tour much better probably because we had not done it before. Varanasi is certainly not for everyone, but for us it is absolutely the strangest, most touching, terrifying, confusing and indescribable city in India and often much "too much" for the senses.

 
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more photos from Varanasi 2012

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galerie more photos from Varanasi 1994 galerie
 

 

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