Indian Pilgrim watching the
sacred Ganges River.
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).
Excerpt from the
Sadhu story by J-Philippe Soule.