Places I WISH to VISIT : BENARAS

My latest artwork is that of the holy town of Benaras in Varanasi, in Uttar Pradesh. It is also called Kashi. I painted it under my series, ‘Places I wish to visit’.

I’ve wanted to visit Benaras since a long time but since its not the kind of holiday destination where one lets their hair down, we haven’t gone. The city is located on the left bank of the river Ganges.

Benaras is one of the seven sacred sites of Hinduism. Hindus believe that taking a dip in the Ganga will purge them of their sins. As per Hinduism, when a person passes away, he or she is cremated. It is believed that if a person is cremated here or the deceased’s ashes are laid in the Ganges, the person will attain salvation and will be liberated from the cycle of birth and death. My reason for going there was more from the point of view of seeing the place as a tourist rather than a place of pilgrimage. There’s something about the place as I have seen in photographs and paintings that I find enigmatic.

I painted this on the 7/9/20. On the 8th I read the book, ‘The Diary of Mrityunjaya,’ by G.S. Subbu. Mrityunjaya means the ‘conquerer of death,’ which also talks about Varanasi and the Ganges. I will be writing a review of it soon. Coincidentally, my grandma passed away on the 9th at 1.00 a.m. I am not a superstitious person but I’m not sure what to make of this except that it’s probably a sign that I should be visiting and taking her ashes to put in the Ganges. I hope I am able to do it. Amma loved to travel but hadn’t travelled in years for various reasons. Maybe she wanted to go there.

The below has been done using watercolors on watercolor paper.

Based on a painting by Pandit Mulay which I found on Pinterest

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7 comments

  1. Great painting. It expresses some common themes. I see people on the right near the shadows who seem burdened by their guilt. Hopeful people in the water who are cleansing their sin and hopeful people ascending back into the light on the steps. Common amongst religions, this need for a tangible ritual to restore our rightful relationship to God and humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jo. I love how you’ve actually looked at each of the figures and thought about it. Your comment brought the painting to life. True that every religion has a similar ritual…different paths to the one God.

      Like

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