called Varanasi, Benares is an ancient, revered place on the
banks of the Ganges. Millions of pilgrims visit Benares every
year to have a dip in the Ganges alive or dead. The town itself
is a maze of small, crowded streets and alleys with over 2000
temples and shrines, vibrating activity and noise of pilgrims
visiting Lord Shiva..
It is believed those who are cremated here will go straight
to heaven; thus the queue for cremation on the banks of the
Dashashwamedh ghat is never ending.
Vishwanath temple is the most visited shrine. In the 17th century
Aurangzeb pulled down a temple and built the big mosque that
carries his name. Despite years of British and Muslim occupation,
Varanasi retains its strong tradition of Hindu rituals and rites,
yogis and priests, the pantheon of Gods – Ganesh, Durga,
is famous for its brocades and silks, saris, bangles and handicrafts.
which serve as a kaleidescope of Indian life.