Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bold Benares #8

What, you might ask, is bold about the Indian city of Benares or Varanasi--(other than being the setting for my novel Sister India)?

It sits by a holy river, the Ganges, which purifies the sins of sunrise bathers, draws millions of devout visitors, and floods regularly high up the city walls. It is the city of Shiva, Hindu god of both creation and destruction. Since it is the auspicious place for a Hindu to die, dead bodies carried on stretchers are a steady traffic. It is believed to be a microcosm of "sacred India"and the first created bit of land, the Hindu Eden. It's the world's oldest continually inhabited city. The gods themselves bathe in the water here. That's a lot to live up to.

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