Varnasi

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Ganga Aarti
The Aarti is a ritual hymn worshiping the Ganga.  Every day at sunset three young priests chant and offer a variety of lamps and incense in a choreographed ritual to give thanks for the blessings of the day to Ganga and the god Shiva whom the river represents. 

 

 
Twilight is considered an auspicious moment in the day and after the ceremony thousands of diya lamps are set afloat to revere the river and remember departed loved ones.

I took a rickshaw back through the crowded night market alive with sights and colour and the ever present Diwali  firecrackers which young children, little more than babies, delighted in throwing

Lolarkeshvara Temple and Kund

 

Lolark Kund one of Varanasi's  oldest sacred sites, is a rectangular tank at the bottom of a 50' flight of stairs.  Lolark means "trembling sun" and the Kund is dedicated to Surya the Sun God whose reflection shimmers in the water of the tank.  Tens of thousands of Hindus visit on the annual festival of Lolark Shasti.  They come to worship Surya, bathe and pray for the birth of a son.  Those whose prayers have been answered bring back their sons for a celebratory bathe

Nepali Hindu Temple
One of the best ways to see something of the old city is to take a cycle rickshaw.  With congestion like this it is even possible to take photographs on the move
Varanasi, they say you either love it or hate it.  I loved it.  Some claim it is the oldest city in the world and it has certainly been a center of culture and learning for over 2000 years.  With it's narrow streets it feels very old but in fact few of its buildings are more than a century or two old.  Formerly known as Benares, its current name is older still and reflects its position between two rivers, the Varuna and the Assi.  It has an auspicious location as the Ganges at this point flows from the South to its origin in the Himalayas in the North
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