Ganga River Workshop – 2nd Part Varanasi – 10/02/2018

Varanasi is the last stop of our journey, but it would deserve an entire chapter of our story. It is the end and the begin of everything, Varanasi is ancient and nowadays India. Everything since anytime in one unique town. It’s mysticism and spiritual energy. Many unexplainable things for us are part of the Hindus spiritual everyday life. Every breath and step, I felt I was raising more and more. I was surprised, moved and enchanted, I felt in love with this eclectic city. Every time you visit Varanasi, it can be the first or the hundredth time, you feel like you belong there. You fell like you were born there or you lived there in some past lives. It is like this for me, there’s something mine there and there’s something of Varanasi inside me. In this town life and death are closely connected. Both of them assume here a different meaning, compared to Western belief. Life is nothing material, it has to be pursued in religious path, in every action you do. All day long, morning to night, you can find people standing on Mother Ganga ghats doing the puja, asking the river to purify their karma, by repeating pray or sitting in meditation. Death here is part of the daily life. The cremation functions take place on special ghats. Every day they burn about 200 bodies. This important ceremony happens out in the open because it’s considered an essential step, especially here in Varanasi. It is believed that if you are buried here, you will close your reincarnation circle, you become free and you can reach the Nirvana. As I mentioned before, in Varanasi I met an Aghori again. They’re a special group of sadhus responsible of funeral functions. They always dress in black, it is said they practice cannibalism and tantric rituals under alcohol and drugs. They’re quite weird people. Last but not least, they’re often naked and they always have with them a human skull. They’re crucial in Hindus lives, but still they’re not well-saw by the rest of the community. Varanasi is not just ghats. I personally love to walk around the narrow streets and get lost there, in the old part of the city. Be careful, you can actually get lost, but trust me it would be your best experience ever. Here flows the real life, the real India and you can not miss it.

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Riccardo Cornaglia