The horizontal line signifies the horizon, the vertical lines show the times of sunrise and sunset. How to use this Sun's current position over Earth Day, night, and twilight times in Varanasi today. The darker blue shadings represent the twilight phases during dawn (left) and dusk (right).
Altitude and heading are displayed in a separate box.
Every year in March (the date depends on the lunar cycle), locals come together to offer their city to their god. If you need money, train tickets, a bus booking, don’t expect it to be prompt.
Thousands of people take an early morning dip in the Ganges, visit the Kashi Visvanath temple to offer their devotion and join a street parade at night. Walking through the walled city is a languid, perfect pastime, but don’t forget to spend time on the river, the city’s uproarious soul. Here in Varanasi, jobs are split five ways: when a boat needs to be booked, you will talk to a man who will talk to a man who will talk to another man who will finally send an 11-year-old your way.
And did I mention that there are goats that wear sweaters? Varanasi takes its identity from the great Hindu epics, but like every other city in India, it hosts many religions.
Muslims, Hindus, a handful of Jews, and Japanese Buddhists all cohabit. If you’ve ever dreamed about fried rice balls dipped in saturated, spiced cream (what they call (flour and sugar) fried in a pan.
This small, crowded, crumbling city is not all survival and no play. (The saying goes that beating an Indian at badminton is like beating a Russian at drinking.) Banarasis also love solo football, and diving in the Ganges to collect coins.
You can place bets on this activity: Sunday afternoon means brunch on the riverside and betting on 10-year-olds diving into the river. Shivratri, the birthday of Banaras’s patron saint and the world’s favorite psychedelic god Shiva, is a big party in Varanasi.
It has lived more than a hundred cultures, many of which it hasn’t fully let go.
If you are rational, logical, and have little patience with things complex, sublime, and chaotic, Varanasi will not appeal. Goats wearing sweaters, old men taking dips, boys flying kites, and burning bodies are everyday sights.
As the holiest of seven sacred cities for Hindus and Jains, it’s a pilgrim-drawing spiritual capital of India.
Varanasi is a bustling city with more than 3.5 million occupants (known locally as Banarasis).
It’s poor; it lacks services and infrastructure, and has been exploited by the state government for decades. It might, however, teach you a few things about the cycle of life and death.