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Photo story: Varanasi, the city of Temples

Being the spiritual capital, it epitomises a significant history through its connections with Buddha, eleventh Jain Tirthankara Shreyansanatha, and other scholarly men. Over the years,
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Varanasi, the city of Temples
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Varanasi, popularly known as Kashi or Benaras has served as the holiest place in India. The city is often referred to as the City of Thousand Temples. According to various mythological texts, it is the oldest city of the world, and thus often considered as the pillar of Indian culture.

Being the spiritual capital, it epitomises a significant history through its connections with Buddha, eleventh Jain Tirthankara Shreyansanatha, and other scholarly men. Over the years, Varanasi intermingled with the history of India along with spirituality, where the famous Vaishnava poet Tulsidas composed Ramcharitmanas and the birthplace of fearless queen Rani Lakshmibai.

This spiritual nurturing takes a journey through the different nooks and corners towards the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple where people from different regions of the world visit to attain moksha. The attraction besides that of the daily conversations of the sadhus and the boats laying here and there lies in the evening Aarti that is arranged by the temple. This Aarti serves as a bridge to establishing connections with the divine being.

The boats signify the lost cultural heritage that the city possessed while providing a historical connection with the different ghats that the Ganges flow by. These ghats named after various great men has endowed with cultural connections. The city is also a great instance in retaining the cultural harmony of India, as it holds the famous Benaras Hindu University and the birthplace of the legendary Shehnai player Ustad Bismillah Khan.

The evening Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat and Manikarnika Ghat would fill the hearts of anyone with eternal peace and bridge the gap between humanly needs and attaining moksha. The Jantar Mantar that resides there has acted as an important area identifying the ways time was calculated in earlier times. The structural beams there too signify both aesthetic beauty while providing a signal to attain moksha.

Story by Anneysha Chatterjee

Atanu is a photographer from Kolkata who has been taking photography for 35 years. He is the founder of Photographers Gallery and is part of numerous professional photographers’ organisations. He also designs book covers, is a published author and an avid traveler.

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