Home > Uncategorized > City of Life and Death [Varanasi, India]

City of Life and Death [Varanasi, India]

February 17, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Varanasi was our 5th stop in our journey across India, one filled with so many cultural traditions and religious symbolisms that at times was overwhelming.

Varanasi is a polluted, over-populated city of narrow, windingly confusing, market- filled streets. The city being located on the west bank of the Ghanges River- or Great Mother -has over 30 sewers running into it continuously. Studies have shown that the water has 1.5 million fecal coli form bacteria per 100 ml of water. Water that is safe to bathe in should show less than 500! 

Despite this statistic, faithful, Hindu families bring their deceased loved ones to this holy city to be cremated along a few of over 100 ghats along the river. The belief is that once plunged into the “holy” water and cremated the ashes are thrown into the river and the deceased is believed to have secured a place in heaven.

We were able to witness, in awe and silence, several of these sacred events take place on the steps of the Manikarnika ghat. A sight this raw left us feeling privileged to go through this typically isolated event with the family and also disturbed because the belief is so far from our own religious belief.

Varanasi is a city unlike any other. A city that never sleeps, literally, 24/7 bodies are being burned and even those without deceased loved ones, come themselves to bathe in the “holy” water. Vara-nasty!

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Lonnie Hearne
    February 17, 2010 at 9:22 am

    What a story!!!

    Can hardly wait until you get back to hear all of your stories.


  2. Amy
    February 21, 2010 at 2:04 am

    HI Lonnie! It was an amazing place to be! So many stories to tell!

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