Varanasi (Benares) is one of India’s oldest cities, dating all the way back to the Vedic World of 1500-500 BC. As the City of Lord Shiva, Varanasi is also on of India’s holiest of places. Lord Shiva is the God representing death and destruction in the cycle of life (alongside Lord Brahma – ‘the creator’ – and Lord Vishnu – ‘the preserver’). It was said that cremated ashes laid to rest in the Ganges River (Ganga River) breaks the rebirth cycle allowing one’s soul to reach Nirvana.
As a result, Varanasi is filled with religious pilgrims, holy men and those living out the rest of their days awaiting their end. At pretty much every time of day there are bodies carried through the streets as part of the ritual to take them to the river bank, cremate them and to finally lay their ashes to rest in the holy Ganges River.