Morning on the Ganga

“Making a pilgrimage there in Benares every day for a whole year, still she did not reach all the sacred places…for in Benares there is a sacred place at every step.” (Padma Purana)

In November of 2006 I finally made my first trip to Varanasi (Benares, Kashi) solo. I took my bath in the Ganga and did a puja for my ancestors there. I hope to return there some day soon. The Sanskrit root “kash” actually meanys to shine, to look brilliant or beautiful. The sunrise on the Ganges is something I will never forget.

“Are there not many holy places on this earth?
Yet which one of them would equal in the balance once speck of Kashi’s dust?
Are there not many rivers running into the sea?
Yet which of them is like the River of Heaven in Kashi?
Are there not many fields of liberation on earth?
Yet not one equals the smallest part of the city never forsaken by Shiva.
The Ganges, Shiva, and Kashi: Where this
Trinity is watchful, no wonder here is found the grace that leads one on
to perfect bliss.” (KKh 35. 7–10) Khashi Khanda

“Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together!” – Mark Twain