Benares – The beginning

The next few posts will be a continued progression of my experiences¹ in the mysterious city of Benares²! Hope you enjoy it.

Benares – The beginning

I’m thinking, How do i even start telling you about this mysterious city of Benares!
How about death?
First day of my Benares visit. It’s Dusk time!
I crossed the Main Ghat and was walking towards the eastern  ghats. There it was.
Harishchandra Ghat!
Harishchandra Ghat, Benares

Photo – Himanshu Sachdeva

My first encounter with the feeling of death and grief, after i lost my granny. It was a cremation area! I saw one body was being setup over the furnace to be burnt as per the Hindu tradition of the cremation. Few people were involved in the setup including a Pandit. In front of the cremation area was a high platform which was connected to the ground by two staircases going from both left and right sides to the center of the platform. On the center there was another Pandit involved in the last processes of the cremation. He was holding a ‘Shankh’.
Harishchandra Ghat, Benares

Photo – Himanshu Sachdeva

Near that platform there was another higher platform which was smaller in size. A pier was built over it. On the pier there was a small temple of Shiva having a Shivlinga and a Trishul!
Near the cremation area there were few more big wide piers where people could stand and sit on the bench which was grounded there.
Harishchandra Ghat, Benares

Photo – Himanshu Sachdeva

I was standing right there on that pier overlooking the holy river. The Ganges! But my whole focus from the river shifted once they started burning the body and that’s when the chants started!
I was just feeling empty! It was that feeling of seeing death and the end process, which took everything out of me and made me ’empty’. I couldn’t even move my face, i was just looking into the burning wood which was consuming the body slowly leaving that rusty smell of flesh in the atmosphere.
Harishchandra Ghat, Benares

Photo – Himanshu Sachdeva

I could smell it. It was intense. But i could breathe!
Few moments past, i don’t know why but i felt like going to the other side from where the right side staircase was leading to the platform where that Pandit was standing holding a big Shankh in his hand. Just in front of the platform there were couple of benches grounded. Few foreigners were sitting, feeling the same feeling i was.
Harishchandra Ghat, Benares

Photo – Himanshu Sachdeva

To be continued…

Thanks for reading.

Footnotes – 

  1. The above travelogue is from my first solo travel experience. People say solo travels suck. Solo Traveling is hard i would say, cause you are out there by on your own, there is no one else there to take care of you. But i found that that’s the best way to explore the unknown and meet new people. I discovered many places and met with amazing people, few good friends as well. Many of which I wouldn’t have even imagine meeting in my life. Even people from the countries I’d never heard of.

    But the bottom line, solo traveling is amazing and is full of adventure. If you are up for it.

  2. Benares – I love to call Varanasi as ‘Benares’, so you’ll find it like that everywhere in my posts. 

    For more Information on Benares, click here.

Do you have any solo traveling experiences? Please share it in the comments below, i will love to hear about it.

A Quote I’m pondering on lately – 

“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
– Jim Rohn, Motivational Speaker

My Travelogues Archives:

Click here to access the list of all my Travelogues.

Leave a Reply