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Varanasi: Unveiling Mystique Of The ‘City of Death’ Along The Ganges

At the core of Varanasi's identity lies its deep connection to Hinduism, one of the world's oldest religions.

Edited By : Saurav Gupta | Updated: Jan 3, 2024 10:24 IST
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Nestled along the sacred Ganges River, Varanasi, an ancient city in India, carries the enigmatic title of the “City of Death.” This appellation, steeped in religious significance and cultural practices, finds its roots in the profound rituals and beliefs associated with death and the afterlife.

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Varanasi – Lord Shiva’s Abode

Varanasi is also believed to be under the special blessings and divine presence of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva, one of the principal deities in Hinduism, is revered as the destroyer and transformer within the Hindu Trinity, alongside Brahma (the creator) and Vishnu (the preserver).

According to Hindu mythology and scriptures, Varanasi is considered Shiva’s abode, where he is said to reside and bestow his blessings upon devotees.

Spiritual Nexus: Hinduism’s Sacred Heart

At the core of Varanasi’s identity lies its deep connection to Hinduism, one of the world’s oldest religions. The city is revered as an ultimate destination for spiritual seekers, as it is believed that dying and being cremated in Varanasi grants the devout liberation from the cycle of reincarnation, leading to spiritual emancipation.

Ghats: Where Life Meets the Eternal

The ghats, the iconic steps descending to the Ganges, serve as Varanasi’s soul. These multifunctional spaces witness various rituals, ceremonial baths, and most significantly, cremations. Among them, the Manikarnika Ghat stands out as the primary cremation site, where funeral pyres perpetually burn, symbolizing the city’s connection to the afterlife.

Cosmic Significance and Hindu Mythology

Varanasi’s cosmic importance in Hindu mythology intertwines with the concept of death. Legend places Lord Shiva, the deity associated with destruction and rebirth, in residence here. This association enhances the city’s sanctity, blurring the boundaries between mortal existence and the spiritual realm.

Rituals and Celebrations: Embracing the Cycle

Despite its association with mortality, Varanasi is a city that pulsates with life. Its streets witness vibrant festivals, bustling markets, and timeless traditions. Here, death isn’t feared; it’s embraced as an integral part of the cosmic cycle.

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Varanasi’s Essence: Where the Physical Meets the Metaphysical

The city’s ambiance is suffused with spirituality, resonating with ancient hymns, incense, and poignant funeral chants. Varanasi embodies a convergence of life and death, where transient existence melds with the eternal, shaping the beliefs and practices of millions for centuries.

First published on: Jan 03, 2024 10:24 AM IST

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