Archive for the The Oldest Living City in the World Category

The Legend of Savitri

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2014 by designldg

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Savitri, a princess, fell in love with a poor man called Satyavan.
Narada Muni warned her not to marry Satyavan as he would die at an early age.
He even told her when Satyavan was going to die. But Savitri was unmoved and married Satyavan.
On the day of Satyavan’s death, she saw that Yama himself had Savitri begging Yama for her hushband lifecome to take him.
She begged Yama not to take Satyavan.
But Yama said that no one could stop death.
Savitri followed them for miles and miles. Impressed with her determination, Yama said, “I will give you two boons; you can ask for anything except the life of Satyavan.”
For the first boon, Savitri asked for the well-being of her father-in- law.
For the second she cleverly asked for a hundred sons.
Without thinking, Yama granted her two boons.
At this Savitri asked Yama to return her husband because without him, she could not have any sons.
Defeated, Yama returned Savitri her husband.

This painting explains the life of Savitri, it is on a wall temple dedicated to Sati in a gali of the old Kashi, somewhere nearby the Chowk in Varanasi (Benaras).

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Becoming A Sati

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2013 by designldg

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“Let these women, whose husbands are worthy and are living, enter the house with ghee (applied) as corrylium ( to their eyes).
Let these wives first step into the pyre, tearless without any affliction and well adorned.”
(Rig Veda X.18.7 )

This is a picture of a Sati stone sculpture shot near Raj ghat along the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
This statue shows a married couple and it is marking the site where a woman died on the funeral pyre of her husband.
Nowadays many of these stones are worshipped as images of Shiva and Parvati.
The practice is banned since 1829.

The term is derived from the original name of the goddess Sati, who self-immolated because she was unable to bear her father Daksha’s humiliation of her (living) husband Shiva.
It may also be used to refer to the widow.
A sati is now sometimes interpreted as “chaste woman”.
Sati appears in both Hindi and Sanskrit texts, where it is synonymous with “good wife”; the term suttee was commonly used by Anglo-Indian English writers.

(Being the son of a contemporary sati, I carry ambivalent thoughts for those ladies even though I have a deep respect for their courage)

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Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

An Endless Well

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2013 by designldg

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“Vel once told me that the heart isn’t like a cup of water.
You can’t drain it.
It’s more like an endless well, and the more you love, the more it pumps out.”
(From “Endgame” by Ann Aguirre)

After sunrise this lady was pumping water near Raj ghat along the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).

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Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
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Out Of The Depths

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2013 by designldg

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“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.
These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.
Beautiful people do not just happen.”
(Elisabeth Kübler-Ross – Swiss American psychiatrist, 1926–2004)

This man was enjoying the first monsoon rain nearby Raj ghat along the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
I thought that there was a real elegance coming from his attitude, the kind of elegance which belongs to those who know the depth of life…

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Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
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The Holiest Situation Upon Earth

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2013 by designldg

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“Benares. This holy city of the Hindus was at the height of its prosperity at least a thousand years before the birth of Christ, and was already old when Plato taught in Athens and when the earliest Roman fortress rose upon the Palatine.
The first view that I gained of Benares from across the Ganges quickened my pulse and made me catch my breath, not merely from its great antiquity, but from the fact that to a vast proportion of the human race this is the holiest situation upon earth, raised spiritually as far above the ordinary abodes of man as the unrivaled summits of the Himalayas soar above the plains of Hindustan.”
(From “India – John L. Stoddard’s Lectures” by John L. Stoddard, published by Norwood Press in 1901)

This is a view of the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras) from Scindia ghat to Munshi ghat.
It was shot at the end of the day when the light comes from the west and gives the feeling that sunsets don’t last very long in the Eternal city…

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Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
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A Revealed Paradise

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2013 by designldg

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“It is this admirable, this immortal, instinctive sense of beauty that leads us to look upon the spectacle of this world as a glimpse, a correspondence with heaven.
Our unquenchable thirst for all that lies beyond, and that life reveals, is the liveliest proof of our immortality.
It is both by poetry and through poetry, by music and through music, that the soul dimly descries the splendours beyond the tomb; and when an exquisite poem brings tears to our eyes, those tears are not a proof of overabundant joy: they bear witness rather to an impatient melancholy, a clamant demand by our nerves, our nature, exiled in imperfection, which would fain enter into immediate possession, while still on this earth, of a revealed paradise.”
(Charles Baudelaire – French poet, 1821-1867)

This amazing mansion gathering classical Indian and European styles stands at Rani ghat along the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
This ghat is far from the center, in a very quiet place away from the noise and the turmoil of the city.
On this side of the river many other buildings recall the splendour of the past which once made the renown of the City of Lights…

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Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
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Ageless, Outside of Time

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2013 by designldg

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“There is a certain part of all of us that lives outside of time. Perhaps we become aware of our age only at exceptional moments and most of the time we are ageless.”
(From “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera)

Sometimes I walk in the maze of the galis, the narrow lanes making the old Varanasi (Benaras), while I am simply following the scent of a deep incense.
I meet pilgrims, beggars, sadhus, lost foreigners and cows along my way who make the essence of the oldest living city in the world…
There is no use to daydream anymore among those ubiquitous little beams of magic soaked in nostalgia…

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© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.