Friday, January 4, 2013


The city of Varanasi, formerly known as Benares, is the spiritual capital of India and one of the holiest pilgrimage sites for Hindus. Built along the banks of the sacred Ganges River, the ancient settlement is a place people have traveled to for centuries. They come for miles around to bathe, to pray, and most importantly, to burn their dead on massive ghats that line the shore. The ashes of the departed are then washed into the holy Ganga in hopes of attaining salvation.

The religious significance of the city and river attract countless Sadhus, or holy men, such as the one above we saw strolling along the shores. It's one of the country's most impressive scenes, one that Mark Twain famously called "older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together."

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