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In Varanasi, the Holiest City in India, The People's Pilgrimage receives a warm welcome from Banaras Hindu University students.back to listing
by Yeb Saño,
As the sun rises over the horizon in the plains of Uttar Pradesh, the river basks in golden glory, and to the sound of the conch, the burning of incense, and chants of mantras, pilgrims gather at the ghat to pay homage to the great Ganges and partake in the dawn ritual ablutions in its sacred waters. This time of the year, with the rains setting in, the waters of the Ganges are a milky brown, redolent of the delectable traditional Indian chai tea served in earthen clay cups.
A pilgrimage in India will never be whole without paying homage to the Ganges, or mother Ganga Ji as she is reverently called by the Hindus.
And such a pilgrimage will never be complete without setting foot in what is considered as the spiritual capital of India and one of the holiest sites of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Varanasi, otherwise known by its 108 names in Sanskrit, sits on the banks of the Ganges about 800 kilometers southeast of New Delhi, and over a thousand kilometers from the very source of this great river.
The People’s Pilgrimage had arrived in Varanasi and we were warmly welcomed by dozens of students in a public lecture at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU), one of the biggest universities in Asia and home to the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology BHU. Discussing the significance of the spiritual and moral aspect of the climate crisis with the students was a heartening experience and the engagement with spirited students showed us a lot of promise for this homegrown environmental movement.
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