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The Raja Harishchandra ghat in Varanasi, One of the holiest places for cremation in India. During the first wave of covid which hit India in early 2020.
Many Hindus travel hundreds of kilometers to this holy city to have their ashes burned on the Ganges River’s banks.
VARANASI, A MAZE-LIKE CITY ON THE RIVER GANGES:
Furthermore, it is the world’s largest oldest surviving cities and the holiest of Hinduism’s seven sacred cities. People believe that if one who cremates in Varanasi and their ashes are released into the sacred. They shall obtain Nirvana and the end of rebirth by cleansing the Ganges.
The presence of death is unavoidable for those who live in or visit Varanasi. It is, indeed, the city’s main source of income. Every day, around 100 bodies cremated on wooden pyres along the river’s edge at Manikarnika Ghat, the largest and most auspicious cremation Ghat. Everyday, the Ghat (steps leading down to the holy water) is open.
Every-day of the year, around the clock. The eternal flame that feeds the fires has said to be burning for centuries.
In addition there are 87 ghats (steps leading to a holy body of water). Connected along the Ganges in Varanasi, but only a few are official Varanasi burning ghats.
The rest are temples, laundromats, and hotels. I’m not going to lie: walking along the ghats in Varanasi is, to put it mildly, an out-of-this-world experience.
You won’t believe what you’ll see, the smells that will enter your nose, and the people who will meet or follow you. When you factor in the humidity, it’s a tough pill to swallow.
So I assumed I’d write this post to prepare you for what you’ll see. As well respecting provide safety advice and common courtesy to avoid offending anyone.
Here’s a Look at What it’s Like to Visit the Varanasi Cremation Ghats.
If you’re hesitant to continue reading, know that there are no pictures of bodies in this post.
A ‘Ghat,’ in its most basic form, is a series of steps leading down to a river.
These are common in India and are usually attached to sacred temples.
Although it is generally believed that the Ganges River represents the Goddess Ganga. Lord Shiva created Varanasi, which is why people believe it is so sacred.
In Hindu mythology, there are many legends about why Varanasi is so sacred. A popular one, but, is a battle between Lord Brahma and Shiva.
According to legend, Lord Shiva fought Lord Brahma. Shiva ripped off one of Brahma’s five heads.
India often uses the cremation ghats in Varanasi. People use this for bathing, laundry, aarti (religious rituals), and pray.
Varanasi has 87 Ghats, or Steps that Lead Down to the Holy River Ganges.
Hindu’s practice reincarnation as part of their religious beliefs. People are born, live, and die many times, according to Sanatana Dharma.
The soul’s reincarnation will occur as many times as it takes for the soul to reunite with its source. The soul will continue to do so until it achieves freedom or ‘Mukti.’
Hindu believe that the body serves as a prison for the soul, which is completely pure.
People Believe that after death, the soul departs from it’s physical home. But, it will be transfer to a new body.
As a result, cremation has used in Hindu funerals to cut the link between the body and the soul. They believe that cremating bodies allows the soul to progress to Mukti.
They hope that doing so will liberate the soul and propel it closer to Mukti and Nirvana.
Fire has chosen as a purifying element to aid in the release of the soul and the washing away of sins. Every day, around 100 bodies become cremated at the Ganges River’s edge in Varanasi.
While viewing the cremation Ghats in Varanasi, photography is unlawful. And if you are violently stopped, don’t be shocked. Photos are thought to obstruct the soul’s entry into Nirvana.