Varanasi. Crematorium city
Someone calls it a city of temples, someone – created by the gods, and someone – a crematorium on the Ganges. Today we will talk about the Indian city of Varanasi, where death does not frighten anyone and has long become a business. This one and a half million metropolis, located in the north-east of the country, according to legend, was founded more than five thousand years ago by the god Shiva.
This one and a half million metropolis, located in the north-east of the country, according to legend, was founded more than five thousand years ago by the god Shiva. Over time, the “architect” went to the mountains, leaving the holy place to people for their mortal life. Nevertheless, the cult remained, and therefore Varanasi is considered one of the main places of pilgrimage for all Hindus and almost the religious capital of the state.
If we postpone its spiritual significance for a time, and look from the outside, then this is a fully developed city. Sprawling on the shores of the great Ganges, it is the main center for the production of Benares silk. This is largely due to the fact that many Muslims live in Varanasi, who weave, and the Indians, in turn, sell. Such a collective work.
Thanks to this product, and the generally developed light industry, the local people live quite well, and the metropolis itself attracts residents and tourists. It is quite modern, at least look at the new airport. And yet, India, which most people associate with blocks of people, unceasing trade.
Practically all the streets where life passes are “on display” – everything is visible, starting from cooking and ending with preparing for the funeral, leading to the Ganges, or rather to the ghats — steps that go down to the water itself. There are more than 80 of them in the city, and all of them are sacred in their own way. At dawn, thousands of people use them to take a bath in the main river of the country. And it is on the ghats that the city is known to the whole world – the burning of human flesh.
We will not write, they say, “do not read and read the nervous him in the yard going on. So, yes, every morning thousands and the living and the dead fill the embankment. Among them can be found as the poor from neighboring villages, and billionaires from Delhi or London.
According to ancient traditions, a dip in the Ganges in the early morning is akin to prayer. Therefore, many run here before work, literally five minutes. Well, for others, the river bank becomes the final point of the earthly path. According to ancient Indian custom, it is believed that if the corpse was burned at the ghats of Varanasi, and the remains were sent to the water, the soul of the dead is pulled out of the cycle of reincarnations and sent to the cherished nirvana.
Since India is a country where religious ceremonies are very strong, on the embankment of Varanasi you can meet people who have been waiting for their death for years, just to die there in the holy city. All day long they sit by the water, surrounded by relatives, and think only about one thing. And since nothing human is alien to even the believing Hindus, the whole process was put on the rails of business. In addition to the fact that dozens of companies across the country take money to deliver the deceased for 5-7 hours, for cremation in Varanasi, local tycoons, whose offices are located nearby, earn directly from those who are already “on the spot”.
Before burning the body, it is massaged, rubbed with oils and decorated with petals. Depending on the firewood, the whole procedure costs from 80 dollars, but this is if it is “rich”. Most of them bury their relatives on their own, and even bothering tourists asking for money.
In general, ghats are an amazing place, one might even say a tusovochny, which is not so terrible in person as in the description. If you have everything in order with your nerves, then you should take a walk there just for the sake of seeing firsthand how life and death mingled in a small area. On the embankment, they are engaged in absolutely everything: they meditate, perform exercises from yoga, snack, drink, smoke marijuana, wash clothes, arrange meetings. And all this through the prism of air, trembling from fires, prayers and sobs, the smell of burning flesh. Such a picture is so familiar to the locals that they do not understand what is surprising and unbelievable here?
Interesting and useful information:
Tourists should know that there is no law that would prohibit photographing what is happening, but local scammers will surely force you to buy a license from them (a piece of paper with a stamp), which will cost $ 50-100. You can scare them only with your piece of paper with some official stamp of the Indian police, embassies and so on.
Many in Varanasi drink from the Ganges, despite the fact that because of the number of remains, it is so poisonous that, according to the research of the Discovery Channel, it must kill a horse with just a few sips. Why local does not become bad – a phenomenon.