Banaras or Varanasi

The historic name of today's Varanasi is Kashi, City of Light. In former times Banaras is mentioned too. For Hindus this city is one of the holiest in India. Who dies here, is cremated and his ash thrown into the river Ganges and immediately released from the cycle of rebirth. So very many old and ill people, especialy widows, are in the roads and lanes of the city. In the proximity of the cremation gaths (steps to the river) the air is filled with the smoke of the many fires. At the sight of the fires we felt quite odd. Death is part of life here and is not hidden away. The city is as old as Babylon or Nineveh and the lanesare narrow and winding being filled with people, cows, dirt and dung as well as the smells of incence and flowers. Yesterday we met a surgeon who operates in a private hospital. He encouraged us with our project and gave us important tips to help us on our way.

Elias, 21st September 2005

Assi-Gath, right in front of our hotel

The Ganga at dawn

Rowing boat and sacrifice lights on the water in remembrance of the ancestors

Boats at the central gath

Sacred bathing in the holy Ganga

In remembrance of the ancestors

Assi Gaht and our hotel in the background.

A clasical indian music concert