Varanasi

sunset

the ghats at sunset

 

Varanasi (Hindustani pronunciation: [ʋaːˈraːɳəsi] ( listen)), also BenaresBanaras (Banāras [bəˈnaːrəs] ( listen)) or Kashi(Kāśī [ˈkaːʃi] ( listen)), is a city on the banks of the Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, 320 kilometres (200 mi) southeast of the state capital, Lucknow. It is holiest of the seven sacred cities (Sapta Puri) in Hinduism and Jainism. Hindus believe that death at Varanasi brings salvation.[3] It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the oldest inIndia.[4]

Ganpati guest house

Ganpati Guest House on the river Ganga

The Ganpati Guest House is situated on the banks of the river Ganges, or mother Ganga, as the locals call it. I have stayed here before and the owner and the staff are very pleasant and always helpful. The hotel is full 9 months of the year and 3/4 full the rest of the time.

The high water mark during the rainy season is to the top of the Ganpati (Ganesh) elephant in the photo.

lock & key

my room at the Ganpati

my room

view from my room

view from my room

Ganpati roof top restaurant

Ganpati roof top restaurant

this is considered a Harley in India

this is considered equivalent to a Harley & belongs to the owner of the Ganpati

Ganpati at night

applying pitch by hand

applying pitch by hand

boat repair

boat repair in the dark

boy and bull

boy and bull

boy selling flowers

boy selling flowers

The burning ghats. 200-300 bodies are cremated here every day of the year. They come from all over India as this is the most holiest of places to be cremated if you are Hindu. Women from the family of the deceased are not allowed to visit the ghats during the cremation of their family members. This is to stop the crying and weeping and to keep them from trying to jump on the fire.

The lowest class of people are not allowed to be cremated here. Also, holy men, pregnant women, lepers, snake bite victims and people killed by animals are not cremated. They are tied to flat slabs of stone and sunk in the river.

burning ghats

burning ghats

burning ghats closeup

burning ghats closeup

getting water from the Ganges

getting water from the Ganges

Not only do people get water from the Ganges, they bath in it (it is very holy to do this). Along with the bodies and cremated ashes that are deposited in the river, all of the sewage, most of the trash and pretty much everything else that is no longer of use, ends up in the water. And somehow fish survive amongst all of this.

kite flying

kite flying

light offerings

light offerings

A group of us from the Kopan course got together and offered 108 floating flower candles as a light offering to the Buddhas of the 3 times, the river and all of the sentient beings everywhere.

floating candles

floating candles

looking towards burning ghats 1

looking towards the burning ghats

looking towards burning ghats

lowest class 1

very poor children

lowest class

very poor child

newly pitched boat

newly pitched boat

off to see the burning ghats

off to see the burning ghats

old homes

very old homes

old man

sunrise

sunrise on the Ganges

sunset 1

typical street in old Varanasi

typical street in old Varanasi

typical street-alleyway

typical street-alleyway

street view

street view

Cameras were not allowed at the Dalai Lama’s teachings in Sarnath so I was unable to take any. These were some young monks on registration day.

young Therevada monks

Dalai Lama waving to crowd at Sarnath

I got this photo from the web. There were 6000 people attending. 2000 Tibetans, 2000 monks and  nuns, 600 westerners and 90 registered media people. The rest were from the rest of the world.

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