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Varanasi: sacred city

A short documentary about one of India's most sacred cities, Varanasi. Learn more about Varanasi on education.asianart.org. Created by Asian Art Museum.

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Video transcript

[Music] one of the holiest sites in India is Varanasi located along the banks of the river Ganges each year millions of pilgrims come to visit the sacred city also known as Banaras or Kashi the City of Light the principal deity here is Shiva he and other gods and goddesses are worshiped at thousands of temples throughout the city stone steps called carts lead pilgrims down to the river every morning devotees can be found immersing themselves in the holy waters chanting to the Rising Sun the waters are taught to clean and purify along the carts are platforms where Brahmin priests and other holy men dispense prayers debate texts and conduct various rituals the riverfront is a meeting place there are beggars and astrologers tourists renting boats and Men offering haircuts and massages Varanasi is a center of pilgrimage scholarship and tourism five men five masters but it is also a place where the old come to die to be liberated from the cycle of rebirths to be released from suffering the dead are cremated here and their ashes are strewn in the holy waters of the Ganges [Music] [Music] you