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Death in Varanasi

Might be Varanasi is the only city in the world that situated on just one side of a river. The large and old buildings of the old city cover the west bank of the River Ganges; whereas the east bank is an enormous region of nothingness desert in the summer days and water throughout the monsoon. Varanasi is the place to die for Hindus. Dying in Varanasi assure the nirvana (moksha), or freedom from the rotation of birth and death. The dead bodies are cremated on some specific ghats of river Ganga and the remains are spread into the Ganges. Tourists are allowed to see the cremations from a distance. There are some specific ghats in Varanasi for cremation and the most popular one is Manikarnika ghat. It is also said that fire on the ghat has not closed from thousands of years.

The burning rituals follow very old traditions. Bodies are covered in lively coloured cloths and carried to the ghats on bamboo (wooden) stretchers. At the ghats of riverside, the dead bodies are given one last dip in the sacred Ganges before being positioned on huge piles of wood and set on fire. Family members take part in all phase of the ritual.


These ceremonies are complicated, colourful, and spectacular and fascinate one to watch at first. But later, dead body on the fires start poking about with large poles, adjusting the firewood and relocating the parts of the body, which collapse from the end of the pole like lump of soggy charcoal. The sorrow family members particularly the sons of the dead one customarily shave their heads as part of their inconsolable. Hindus from all over world have long desire to be cremated here.



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