Varanasi ghats, on the west bank of the River Ganges, Uttar Pradesh state, north India.
Varanasi, also known as Benares, is one of India's holiest cities and the one hundred ghats stepping down to the River Ganges are loaded with temples (in some cases overloaded as they are sinking into the river) venerated by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains and visited by 1,000,000 pilgrims a year.
This 'city of lights' was founded by the Hindu god Lord Shiva 5,000 years ago according to legend, or by man around 3,000 years ago according to archeologists.
One favourite way to view the extraordinary, kaleidoscopic and occasionally grotesque scenes on the Varanasi ghats is by boat on the Ganges.
The banks of the Ganga are in Varanasi's Old City, a maze of narrow, dilapidated and teeming lanes, but most tourist accommodation is situated further away in more spacious and tranquil quarters.
The Ganga River not only purifies the Indian soul and washes their clothes but also carries away their cremated bodies, so don't drink the water!
The Ganga Aarti is a daily ritual performed on the Dashashwamedh Ghat.
Burning ghats where bodies are cremated on piles of wood. They are then consigned to the Ganges.
The city has few important buildings other than temples, with the exception of the 18thC Ramnagar Fort, home of the King of Varanasi. Next, Delhi Pictures and information.