Our stay in Varanasi was almost too spectacular to put into words. Considered the spiritual capital of India, Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, located in the middle of the Ganges valley between two confluences – the Ganges and Varuna rivers. In addition to being a cultural center of North India, this is a very sacred site, and we feel so privileged we got to witness the rituals taking place there.

varanasi river 2

The Ghats in Varanasi, riverfront steps leading into the Ganges

The steps were filled with people coming to bless baskets of fruit and themselves. It was amazing to see. A few sections of the Ghats are dedicated to cremations; Hindus come here to perform the last rites of their dead in a sacred ritual, immersing the ashes in the river, believed to bring salvation.

National Geographic explains in depth the spiritual significance of Varanasi and these sacred rituals—learn more here.

We’ve now moved on from Varanasi to Bihar. The river changes its feel every day, dressed with white sand beaches, babul forests or tiny hillocks adorned with forts from lost civilizations. Today we have a blanketed Ganga, as if cuddling under the warm embrace of fog.

Krushnaa Patil misty morning in Bihar

A misty morning in Bihar on Day 36 of Access Water-Ganges!