Varanasi, Ganges, India
Why visit Varanasi?
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.
Tourists love this epitome of Mother Ganga devotion as they float around on their little boats watching the daily washing, prayer and cremation rituals of hundreds of Indians. You could stay on the steps but pole position is afloat on the Ganges. The spectacle is extraordinary and unforgettable though may not appeal to sensitive types. But this is the sight tourists come for so if burning bodies offend then don’t travel here!
One favourite way to view the extraordinary, kaleidoscopic and occasionally grotesque scenes on the Varanasi ghats is by boat on the Ganges.