SUMMARY | PHOTO GALLERY | NEXT PICTURE | PREVIOUS PICTURE | | LEXICON

CITIES & PLACES OF INTEREST

  

 

 

   Varanasi

 

India

Varanasi, formerly known as Benares, and also referred to as Varansi, claims to be the oldest city in the world. It is considered a holy city by Hindus and attracts millions of devotees, who come here to pray, worship and, above all, to die.

 

The place is perhaps best summarized with the words of Florence Riddle, a British army wife who lived in colonial British India in the first half of the 20th century, when referring to the sadhu, who she called a strange bundle of dirty rags, namely: extreme dirt seems to accompany extreme holiness.

 

  Varanasi

 

  Varanasi

 

 

This, for example, though it may look like an ordinary garbage dump, is in fact the plaza in front of the main train station in holy Varanasi.

 

Although this title of oldest city is also claimed by Damascus, from the looks of it, Varanasi definitely looks very old and perhaps even more so: very dirty. Yet, it cannot be said that the local population of Varanasi is unhygienic, as this man clearly shows: brushing his teeth for all to see.

 

  Varanasi

 

   Varanasi

 

... while this man is doing the laundry, albeit next to the leaking drainage of a city sewer.

 

The city reeks of death and attracts a wide arrange of scavengers, in a bizarre way making it a very lively city indeed, with plenty of livestock, rats and stray dogs, found everywhere...

 

  Varanasi

 

   Varanasi

 

... usually searching for edible leftovers in the omnipresent garbage on the continuously providing streets.

 

And while the stagnant corners of the local Ganges River (fig.) present a similar picture, containing besides trash also floating ashes of cremated people, as well as dead corpses and partly cremated human remains, it doesn't keep visiting pilgrims to bath in the river's alleged holy water....

 

  Varanasi

 

   Varanasi

 

... even the not so young and healthy want to join in, though some need to be carried.

 

But some miss all the fun and simply sleep firmly through it all, as this ancient city even provides public accommodation all around.

THAILAND'S NEIGHBOURS & BEYOND.

 

  Varanasi