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After Mumbai we flew to Varanasi, one of the holiest and most ancient cities in India. Varanasi was amazing - a maze of impossibly congested, twisty alleyways, markets, and temples.
Varanasi is most famous for the river Ganges and the ghats - riverside platforms which are used for bathing, praying, washing clothes, getting a massage, selling food and flowers, and of course cremating the dead. It is said that anyone who dies in Varanasi attains instant englightenment. It's hard to believe that people swim, bathe, and brush their teeth just a hundred feet or so downriver from where cremations take place.