(Happy Valentine’s Day from me to you.)
"Today we visit the east and west temple complexes that the Chandelas constructed. The erotic stone carvings here have come to symbolize the important role of love and prana energy in Hindu thought. British archaeologists excavated these intricate stone carvings during colonial times, when the scandalized post-Victorian English sensibilities.
We will take the 40 minute flight to Varanasi, the holiest of Hindu cities. Known as Benares during British times, Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in the world, with a written history dating back more that 4000 years. It has an intense, almost palpable atmosphere of spiritual devotion, a feeling of an unending religious festival. Hundreds of temples propitiate the thousands of deities in the Hindu pantheon. Pilgrims from every part of this vast nation crowd the narrow streets and the riverside ghats.
This evening, we’ll witness the aarti ceremony on the Ganges. As the day comes to a close, we’ll travel to the bathing ghats located alongside the sacred River Ganges. People flock in large numbers every day to bathe and worship in the temples built beside the riverbank. Feel the timelessness of Varanasi as the sun sets and as the temple priests perform aarti, the sacred light ceremony, on the banks of Mother Ganga. The aarti performance is best viewed while having a boat ride on the river."
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