Where death is celebrated. For Hindi’s being cremated on the banks of the Ganges at Varanasi is the ultimate religious statement, it releases the soul to achieve external salvation. Birds of prey hang in the air, the many stray dogs that roam the lanes all seem to have a bone to gnaw on and orange robed Yogis use the ashes of the dead as a face pack. It’s also the place where dodging the various forms of shit on the floor is an art form beautifully mastered by the locals, while hapless tourist can be seen sliding down the cobbles on shoes full of cow dung.
Despite its slight whiff and the smoke of death hanging in the air, Varanasi manages to have true spirituality, every person is a committed, practising Hindu and that strength of belief encompasses the town. With a population of just over 4 million it has 22,000 temples, now that must be a world record.