Varanasi or Kashi, known as the land of pilgrimage, is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is the place where Hindus have been traveling for ages for its religious importance and historical sites. The city is most well-known for the performance of the Hindu religious ritual for the dearly departed called Asthi Visarjan. This Hindu religious homage for the deceased requires the immersion and scattering of the deceased person’s ashes and bones in the flowing waters of a holy river in India. In Varanasi is found what is known as the holiest of Indian rivers, the holy river Ganga or the Ganges River.
According to Hindu sacred scriptures and religious epics, anyone who bathes in a holy river, or have the ashes of the departed immersed in the waters, achieves moksha or salvation. This is helpful in the soul’s journey toward uniting with the Divine Power. Moksha also means freedom from the cycle of rebirths. People come to visit Varanasi or Kashi for salvation and freedom from all sins incurred in one’s lifetime, and the way to achieve that is through bathing in the Ganges River for the living mortals, or having the cremated remains immersed in the same river for the departed loved ones.
Varanasi or Kashi is known to be the holy abode of Lord Shiva and Parvati. The Ganges in Varanasi is said to have its origin from the tresses of Lord Shiva and is, thus, immersed in the religious fervor of Lord Shiva. The city showcases one of the ancient centers of civilization in India, dating back to more than 3,000 years. According to the ancient Hindu scripture Tristhalisetu, whatever is sacrificed, offered, or chanted at this place, even in the smallest amounts, yields infinite fruits or benefits. Varanasi is one of the most powerful religious centers in India. The ancient science of medicine called Ayurveda was born in Varanasi.