VARANASI: A Photo-documentary of the “City of Light” also known as Kashi—the Spiritual Center of India

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*Click on any photo below to enlarge

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

The newly renovated Kashi Vishwanath Temple Mall

Shri Vishwanath Mandir has the tallest temple tower in the world.

The 18th century Durga Kund Temple, also known as the “Monkey temple”.

Alamgiri Mosque

Parshvanath Jain temple

Banaras Hindu University

Indian Institute of Technology in Varanasi

The lanes of Varanasi are bathed in a plethora of colours.

Evening aarti at the Varanasi ghats

Nighttime Puja in Varanasi

Evening puja in Varanasi, India

The lighted night-time skies of Varanasi

Deepawali celebrated in Varanasi

Colorful Ganges riverbank ghats in Varanasi.

Thousands of pilgrims arrive at their ghats everyday to bath and pray at the river Ganges in Varanasi.

A different perspective of the previous “ghats” photo.

Boats on the Ganges in Varanasi.

Varanasi residents congregate, talk and bath in the Ganges.

Sunrise on the Ganges in Varanasi, India

Offerings on the banks of the Ganges River during Chhath Puja, Varanasi, India. Chhath Puja is a devotion to the Sun God Surya in which people gather at sunset and then on the following sunrise and offer prayers.

Early morning in Varanasi.

A long view of the Ghats in Varanasi from the Ganges.

Ahilya Ghat by the Ganges, Varanasi.

Rivergoer passing Ahilya Ghat on the Ganges in Varanasi.

The magic of the Ganges and the Varanasi ghats.

Assi Ghat

Dashashwamedh Ghat

Munshi Ghat is one of the Ghats (riverfront steps) of Varanasi, in India.

Scindhia Ghat in Varanasi

The Jain Ghat/Bachraj Ghat

Funeral pyres burn on the Varanasi cremation ghats.

Manikarnika Cremation Ghat on the Ganges in Varnasi

In Varanasi, some 40,000 cremations are performed each year, most on wood pyres that do not completely consume the body. Along with the remains of these traditional funerals, there are thousands more who cannot afford cremation and whose bodies are simply placed into the Ganges. The Manikarnika Cremation Ghat, is the most auspicious place to be cremated in Varanasi. The well at the ghat is called Manikarnika Kund and was built by Lord Vishnu. At each place there is a fire burning (smoke) someone is being cremated, this happen day and night. Cremation takes place shortly after death. The eldest son makes the arrangements (women are not allowed at the site), the body is dipped into the Ganges after it dries, the wood is purchased and arranged and the body placed upon it for burning. In a typical ceremony it takes 600 to 880 pounds of wood burning for 6 hours to complete a cremation and the wood is not cheap.

Manikarnika Kund Near Manikarnika Ghat

The Holy City of Varanasi