Backpacker in Varanasi, India

Backpacker in Varanasi, India

Backpacker in Varanasi, India

By Liz Jakubisin

The air breathes with prayers and sacrifices.

I´m the backpacker in Varanasi. Everywhere you look, around every corner and on every face is a constant reminder that death is near. The crematory is always busy-they burn 150 bodies a day. The houses are full of the ill, and the ill are full of expectation and pain.

They´re awaiting death, and the moment they die, they will be ground to ashes and devotedly swallowed by the sacred river, Shiva’s hair- the Ganges. If you want to be enlightened and released from the suffering involved in being subject to the cycle of repeated death and rebirth your ashes need to be thrown in the Ganges. No children under the age of 7 get burned, neither do pregnant women or holy men, a heavy stone get tied to their legs, so the sink to the ground in the river.

Children follow their parents prayers, with scared eyes they observe the passion and devotion.

The sun keeps coming out. Hope.

Thousands of people come down the holy stair case that leads to the holiest water on earth, as some belive. They come here expecting some miracle. Or just to say they have touched the water.

People do everything here. They give offerings, they bathe, swim, wash clothes, row their boats and even bring their animals to get refreshed. This is one of my favorite places on earth. Every where you look there is something unbelievable.

To see more images of the backpacker in Varanasi, route, videos (Adrian´s and mine) go to:

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The mornings are the best times to go down to the river. Oh brothers let´s go down, let´s go down, come on down. Oh brothers let´s go down, down to the river to pray.

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Gentelmen gathered around their Guru, chatting, having a special moment.

DSC_0017The ritual begins. Offerings are prepared while prayers are repeated outloud.


Paying full attention to the Guru´s instructions.



Serious prayers.

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Being totally present.

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Curious, worried and precious soul.

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Wisdom, awarness and patience.

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Early yoga and prayers.



The best chai around. Hands down!

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Lonely street child.

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When I saw this I instantly thought “Marley and Osama chillin” Anyway, the swriting on the wall says “savadhan” means be patient. 🙂

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Holy men gathered at the meeting table/bed.

DSC_0235 copyA body being transported to the crematory. Sad faces.

Impermanence (Pāli: अनिच्चा anicca; Sanskrit: अनित्य anitya; Tibetan: མི་ རྟག་ པ་ mi rtag pa; Chinese: 無常 wúcháng; Japanese: 無常 mujō; Thai: อนิจจัง anitchang, from Pali “aniccaŋ”) is one of the essential doctrines or Three marks of existence in Buddhism. The term expresses the Buddhist notion that all of conditioned existence, without exception, is in a constant state of flux. The Pali word anicca literally means “inconstant”, and arises from a synthesis of two separate words, ‘Nicca’ and the “privative particle” ‘a’.[1]  Where the word ‘Nicca’ refers to the concept of continuity and permanence, ‘Anicca’ refers to its exact opposite; the absence of permanence and continuity. From Wikipedia



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