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India
Benarasi Radial Perspective
Benarasi Radial Perspective (84)
Trip Date:2009-02-18 - 2009-02-22
# Photos:37 [View]
Countries visited:India
Viewed: 3852
Almost midway in its long journey from the slopes of the mighty Himalayas to the inflamed shore of Bay of Bengal, the muddy waters of the River Ganga (Ganges) flow by a city that is five centuries older than Christ. The city finds mention in the great Indian epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. It was already an old city when Rome was founded, and was a flourishing center of trade when Buddha came to Sarnath, some 10 km away, to preach his first sermon in 500 BC. It is a city of temples and for more than 2,500 years, it has attracted pilgrims from near and far. According to Hindu belief, Benaras or Varanasi as it is known, is the cosmic center of the Universe.

Down the ages, Benaras has stood as a symbol of Hindu renaissance. Swathed in an aura of history, religion, and tradition, Benaras preserved the rituals and traditions of Hindu philosophy. From a time stretching beyond human memory, pilgrims from distant lands have come to Benaras in search of divine blessings.

The numerous Ghats along the bank of the Ganga present a varied scene from dawn to dusk. A ghat is a series of well-paved steps that lead to the water. A ghat in Benaras usually has small temples built into its side, while the larger structures, housing the powerful gods and goddesses from the Hindu pantheon, form a formidable backdrop to the serene beauty of the meandering river. These ghats numbering more than a hundred, with their entourage of temples, form the axis on which the city developed. For centuries, the Hindus considered it very auspicious to bathe at the ghats of Benaras. Everyday at dawn thousands of pilgrims can be seen offering salutations to the Sun God in waist-deep water, secure in their conviction that the muddy waters of the Ganges will wash away all the accumulated sins of their life. The dirt, the squalor, the pollution would easily raise questions in the mind of a traveler and I was no exception. But what is here that attract people from cities and towns 10s of thousands of kilometres away, year after year? Experience yourself, my friends…as for myself I am counting days when I would revisit this place again.
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