Archive for Manikarnika Ghat

A Cosmic Journey

Posted in Dev Diwali with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2013 by designldg

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“We are travelers on a cosmic journey,stardust,swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity.
Life is eternal.
We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.
This is a precious moment.
It is a little parenthesis in eternity.”
(from “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho)

This picture was shot at Manikarnika Ghat along holy waters of the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras) during the celebrations of Dev Diwali on the occasion of Kartik Poornima.
The festival of Lights is a mark of welcome to the Gods as it is believed that they descend on earth on that special day.
While all the banks of the sacred river are celebrating with hymns and fireworks, the burning ghat is still at work, the pyres carry on the eternal fire which has been burning continuously for more than three thousand years.

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© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
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

bena

“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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As a Wild Hunter

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2012 by designldg

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The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

“With my mouth I speak slander, day and night.
I spy on the houses of others – I am such a wretched low-life !
Unfulfilled sexual desire and unresolved anger dwell in my body, like the outcasts who cremate the dead.
I live as a wild hunter, O Creator !”
(From the Guru Granth Sahib – the religious text of Sikhism)

This is a picture of the burning ghats of Manikarnika shot at sunset from a boat on the holy waters of the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
Antyesti, the Last Rite, is an important Sanskara, sacrament of Hindu society
According Hinduism cremation is releases an individual’s spiritual essence from its transitory physical body so it can be reborn.
If it is not done or not done properly, it is thought, the soul will be disturbed and not find its way to its proper place in the afterlife and come back and haunt living relatives…

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Between Destruction and Creation

Posted in Hinduism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2012 by designldg

© 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.

“Without an understanding of myth or religion, without an understanding of the relationship between destruction and creation, death and rebirth, the individual suffers the mysteries of life as meaningless mayhem alone.”
(Marion Woodman – Canadian author, b.1928)

Manikarnika Kund is a sacred pond located next to Manikarnika Ghat along the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
Each year in November it is dug out from the dirt which covers it up from the holy river floods of the rainy season.
This large rectangular structure, with surrounding steps is mythologically related to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.
The Chakra-Pushkarini Kund or “Discus Lotus-Pond” is said to be so ancient that it was present before King Bhagiratha brought the Ganges to Varanasi and is supposed to have been dug by Lord Vishnu at the time of creation with his disc.
The word “Manikarnika” refers “Jeweled Earring” and this name was given because Lord Shiva’s earring fell into the well when it was a very large lake.
This historic place symbolizes creation, and the cremation ghat next to it is all about death, the hot ashes of the burnt bodies nearby makes one remember the inevitable destruction of everything in the world.
Many pilgrims take a bath here after performing the rituals of cremation. It is also said to be lucky for couples to take a bath together in this well.

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Until Eternity

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2011 by designldg

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“Love is from the infinite, and will remain until eternity.
The seeker of love escapes the chains of birth and death.
Tomorrow, when resurrection comes,
The heart that is not in love will fail the test.”
(Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi, known as Jelaluddin Rumi – Persian poet, jurist, theologian, and mystic, 1207–1273)

This view of the Ganges was shot from the window of a private Shiva mandir (temple) which is at the end of Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi (Benaras).
The owner of this place allows me to come and I enjoy the quietness and the peace I find there as much as I want.
Sometimes a young palmist sits and study there, I often take pictures of what he is doing but I never asked him to read my palms…

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The Way to Heaven

Posted in Dev Diwali with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2011 by designldg

© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
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“If only the bone of a person should touch the water of the Ganges, that person shall dwell, honored, in heaven.”
(A popular śloka from the Mahabharata)

This is Manikarnika Ghat during the night of Dev Diwali in Varanasi (Benaras).
This place has a great significance not only in Hindu mythology and way of life but also in the philosophies of life and death as this is the “Maha-Shmashan” or the Great Cremation Ground of the entire Universe.
Hindu mythology teaches that this ghat is especially sacred and that persons cremated there receive moksha and are granted instant salvation, it is an instant gateway to liberation from the cycle of births and rebirths.
There stands the sacred fire (dhuni) which might be the oldest fire, it is said that this place is the “navel of the world”.

Today Western Christians will observe All Saints’ Day and I thought that this picture could make a bridge between the two cultures.
Catholics celebrate All Saints’ Day in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual communion between those in the state of grace who have died and are either being purified in purgatory or are in heaven and the “church militant” who are the living.
Tonight the tradition is to light candles while visit ing the graves of deceased relatives in cimeteries and the atmosphere will be very close to what I see along the sacred river at the same time of the year…

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So Many Tomorrows

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2011 by designldg

© 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.

“Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying.
Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day.
Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now!
There are only so many tomorrows.”
(Pope Paul VI, born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini. 1897-1978)

This is a view of Manikarnika Ghat (मणिकर्णिका घाट) shot from a boat on the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
This is the place where one comes face to face with life and death.
Manikarnika Ghat symbolizes mortality of the world and is one of the oldest and most sacred Ghats in Benaras.
According to the Hindu mythology, being burned here provides an instant gateway to liberation from the cycle of births and rebirths.
It is lying at the center of the five tirthas which are representing both creation and destruction.
there the mortal remains are consigned to flames with the prayers that the souls rest in eternal peace.
This place is also called “the great cremation ground” (Mahasmasana), this is where Lord Siva gives Taraka mantra ( “Prayer of the crossing”) in the ear of the dead.
The name Manikarnika derives its origin from the dropping rings of Siva during His transcendental dance here.
The historical sources mention this site in the Gupta inscriptions of C.E.4th century.

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