Visiting Varanasi, India: The Holiest of the Seven Sacred Cities in Hinduism

Ghat in Varanasi
Stumble Into Burning Ghat in Varanasi, India
July 10, 2013
Bengali food in Kolkata, India
Runaway Photo: A Day in Kolkata, India
July 19, 2013

Visiting Varanasi, India: The Holiest of the Seven Sacred Cities in Hinduism

Bathing in the Ganges River in Varanasi, India

Varanasi and the Ganges River

Varanasi, the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Jainism, gave me strong memories. It was the filthiest place I’ve ever been, and the whole atmosphere was quite intense. Many Hindu pilgrims, persistence soliciting locals, cows, goats, dogs, and people: everything is powerful in Varanasi. An excellent place to visitors, and especially for photographers. This city on the banks of the Ganges has been a cultural center of North India for several thousand years and has a history that is older than most of the major world religions. The Hindu pilgrims visit Varanasi during their journey to bath in the Ganges.

The narrow streets are connected like a small spiderweb, hard to find the right direction. Sometimes you can walk in the narrow streets for hours and not see the open space. Many of the streets are connected to the ghat, a flight of steps leading down to the Ganges. Through out the day, especially early in the morning, people visit ghat to bathe. Hindus bathe while paying to their ancestors and to their gods by cupping the water in their hands, lifting it and letting it fall back into the river. They also offer flowers and rose petals and float shallow clay dishes. The Ganges River was ranked among the five most polluted rivers in the world, but the fact can’t stop the religious ritual has been continued for thousands of years. They worry about their spiritual hygiene rather than the physical. Evening ceremony at Dashashwamedh Ghat is an important religious event to attend. You can meet many well-dressed Hindus at Dashashwamedh Ghat at night.

Witnessing the life around the Ganges was an important part of my journey in India. From religious bathing in the Ganges to the burning ghat, Varanasi will remain as one of the most memorable destinations in India for sure.

 

A hindu pilgrim in Dashashwamedh Ghat Varanasi, India

A Hindu pilgrim in Dashashwamedh Ghat Varanasi, India

Bathing in the Ganges River

Bathing in the Ganges River

Bathing in the Ganges River

Bathing in the Ganges River

Bathing in the Ganges River

Bathing in the Ganges River

Bathing in the Ganges River

Bathing in the Ganges River

Bathing in the Ganges River

Praying in the Ganges River

Visiting Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi, India

Visiting Dashashwamedh Ghat in the evening

Flower offering

Flower offerings

Flower offering on the Ganges

Flower offering on the Ganges

Visiting Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi, India

Visiting Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi, India

Visiting Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi, India

Visiting Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi, India

Visiting Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi, India

Visiting Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi, India

Ceremony at Dashashwamedh Ghat, Varanasi, India

Ceremony at Dashashwamedh Ghat, Varanasi, India

Dashashwamedh Ghat

Dashashwamedh Ghat – John and Stephen

Chai maker (his store has been here for 70 years since his grandfather)

Chai maker (his store has been here for 70 years since his grandfather)

Snake charmer in Varanasi, India

Snake charmer in Varanasi, India

Manasarowar Ghat

A local store at Varanasi, India

A local store at Varanasi, India

A boy at Varanasi, India

A boy at Varanasi, India

A hindu pigrim at Dashashwamedh Ghat

A hindu pigrim at Dashashwamedh Ghat

Lunch snack at a local shop

Juno Kim
Juno Kim
Juno Kim, a happiness-seeking storyteller. Photographer, writer, and trained mechanical engineer. Life-long nerd. I left the cubic farm to follow my true love: the world. A firm believer of serendipity, astronomy enthusiaster, and living by passion and love in life. Currently, on a quest to discover stories and find the place where I can call 'home'. Follow my journey through @RunawayJuno and Google+ .

5 Comments

  1. Lauren says:

    Love your photos

  2. nicole says:

    LOVE the photos! Absolutely gorgeous and each one of them tells a story! =)

  3. expatkerri says:

    these are incredible photos! my favourite must be the man with the huge cloud of smoke!

  4. Jerome says:

    I’ve been planning to visit Varanasi, India later this year and thanks you blog about this city. I have some colleagues that have been to this place and they always talk how good this sacred city is. I’ve never been to India and I’m not familiar with their culture, places to visit and etc. There are lots of info all over the net but it’s mostly from locals.

    Can we please suggest what cities should I visit when I travel to India. I was planning for a 1 week visit so I don’t have much time in there.

    Thanks,

    Jerome

  5. Stephen says:

    Beautiful photos! You really captured the essence of Varanasi!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

149 Shares
+12
Tweet45
Share2
Pin100
Share