Monday, March 13, 2006

HOLY HINDU CITIES
VRINDAVAN AND VARANASI

VRINDAVAN

The birthplace of Krishna, the cowherd god of Hindus, who played with the gopis and vanquished demons, Vrindavan occupies an important position in Hindu mythology. Temples dedicated to Krishna and his favorite gopi Radha dot the entire city.

Late last year National geographic teamed with National Public Radio (NPR) to showcase beautiful vignettes of this ancient and holy Hindu city.

"The heart of Vrindavan pulses to the beat of its pilgrims -- thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds, many of whom make an arduous, month-long circuit of all of the area's holiest sites on foot and often sleeping outdoors."

The narrow streets, the cows and the teeming poverty: they are all here. Amazing pics all. For more click here.

Reminders of the Hindu faith are everywhere. There are countless temples, pilgrims marching through narrow streets following holy men in saffron robes, devotional music and singing. There is also stark, third-world poverty and suffering. It's city of narrow, trash-blown streets and open sewers, alongside a river black with pollution -- the overcrowded capital of New Delhi lies upstream.


VARANASI

Varanasi, the holy city of Hindus was also an ancient seat of learning: its gurukuls and schools dating back to more than 2000 years. Probably the oldest city of India, Varanasi is a sacred pilgrimage spot: devout Hindus believe that people dying on its ghats or river banks are assured moksha or deliverance from the cycle of birth and rebirth. The city which was in news recently with the bomb blasts at Sankat Mochan, is featured in this brilliant piece of photojournalism by Tyler Hicks.

Here are more pics of the ghats of Varanasi






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