Kashi

Evening boat ride on the Ganges

Floating lamps in the Ganges in the evening

The famous Ganges worship watched by foreign tourists from a special viewing gallery.

Pontoon Bridge across the Ganges towards Ramnagar.

The most important cremation ground for Hindus in India, Manikarnika Ghat.

Durga idols prepared for Durga Puja in Bengali tola.

Boys fly kites on Dasaswamedh Ghat.

Gods, instead of filmstars, adorn the walls of a salon.

The ubiquitous Bull of Varanasi.

Families, mostly Bengali, flock at the Dasaswamedh Ghat during sunset.

The river, worshipped with its own waters.

Boats await passengers for an early morning excursion on the Ganges.

Hindus of all shapes, sizes and gender offer prayers and ablution with the first rays of the sun. This scene is from Kedar Ghat.

Bodies are prepared for funeral at the Manikarnika Ghat. Boats laden with crematory wood is docked on the Ganges.

Dozens of temples rise up from the partly submerged Scindia Ghat built by the Scindias.

A street scene from the labyrinth of lanes around the ghats in the old city.

An evening game of chess gets a fair audience.

Varanasi's most famous cuisine, the ubiquitous Paan, chewed by almost everyone.

Buffaloes get a move-on from their chappal wielding herder.

Description

Varanasi, also commonly known as Benares and Kashi, is the melting pot of three of India’s ancient faiths, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the oldest in India. The culture of Varanasi is closely associated with the River Ganges. According to legend, the city was founded by the Hindu deity Lord Shiva, several thousand years ago, thus making it one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in the country. During the time of Gautama Buddha, Varanasi was the capital of the Kingdom of Kashi. Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath located near Varanasi. It is also believed to be the birthplace of Parshvanatha, the twenty-third Tirthankar in Jainism.