Varanasi, the holiest Hindu
city, is perpetually overflowing with Pilgrims. Varanasi was already
thriving in 500 BC when Buddha came to Sarnath to give his first sermon
making it sacred to Buddhists too. Indians believe that the Ganges, the
sacred river that runs through Varanasi, has its source in the footprints
of Shiva, and that bathing in the Ganges from one of its ghats –ritual
stairways leading to the river– cleanses all the sins. Visiting Varanasi
at least once in a lifetime is every Indian’s goal, and dying there
insures the greatest chance of moksha (release from the cycle of rebirth).
Of all the cities devoted to Shiva, god of internal knowledge, Varanasi is
nothing else than Kashi, the City of Divine Light.