One of India’s holiest cities, Varanasi is also reputed to be one of the oldest living cities in the world. It has been an important city of learning for thousands of years, but its principal fame lies in the fact that it is located on the banks of the sacred River Ganges.
Every day, Hindu pilgrims come to Varanasi to wash away their sins in these holy waters or even to die, for it is considered an auspicious place from which to pass on directly to heaven instead of continuing in the constant cycle of rebirth.
It is a remarkable city with some beautiful buildings and temples, but the most striking element of any visit is to witness the Hindu pilgrims themselves. Whether bathing or attending the burning ghats the most private rituals of life and death are played out in public, leaving any visitor with a strong sense of humility.