Project 365: Day 118 – The circle of life and death

27th October 2014 – Varanasi, India

There is no other place, where the joy of a childbirth or marriage,
warms the night just a few feet away from morbid mourning.
The ghats are not just carriers of prayers, wishes and untold secrets,
they even carry the silent whispers of souls departing.
Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi, India

To the dear departed- Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi, India

Varanasi is almost the centre of the Hindu ideology, because of the belief that dying here provides Moksha. While this makes it an ideal place to watch the hindu religious tourists that throng here, this place is not for everyone.

Other religious tourist spots in India? Check out Bodhgaya!

One of the Ghats, the Manikarnika Ghat, is the most auspicious place for a Hindu to be cremated. This place handles nearly 200 cremation everyday, and works 24/7. A cremation here costs 7000 Rupees, and for those who cannot afford it, there is a cheaper electric cremation, which costs only 1000.

I had went to drop a friend at a nearby guesthouse, and was returning at 2 AM, and found the funeral pyres still burning. Note that photography is not allowed, but at this time of the day, nobody says anything. If anything, it is an eerie feeling to be watching a cremation at this time of the day.

If only you can handle such intimate life and death practices, do venture out in Varanasi. Like I said, this place is not for everyone.

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About Abhi Surendran

Abhi quit his corporate job, and decided to immerse himself in travels, photography, occasional periods of bankruptcy, and copious amounts of insanity. He is currently working on a book of his experiences, and a dream road trip through South Asia. Both in a haphazard fashion. He blogs at Iamnothome and you can also catch him at times on Facebook and twitter.

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