Banaras or Varanasi

The historic name of the Varanasi of today 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 has is ash thrown into the river Ganges being 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 not hidden away. The city is as old as Babylon or Nineveh and the winding lanes are filled with people, cows, dirt, dung as well the smells of incense and flowers. Yesterday we met a surgeon, who operates 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 classical indian music concert