In this sixty-third archive story by Kristian Bertel, we meet an Indian man at Vidyapeeth Road in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
Located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the city of around 1.2 million inhabitants is not only the holiest city of the Hindu faith, but also one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. It was first mentioned in the Indian epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata more than 3,000 years ago under the name of Kashi and was already a center of Hindu faith and pilgrimage from all over India, believing that Varanasi is the center of our universe. where the portrait of this Indian man was taken at Vidyapeeth Road.
Located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the city of around 1.2 million inhabitants is not only the holiest city of the Hindu faith, but also one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. It was first mentioned in the Indian epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata more than 3,000 years ago under the name of Kashi and was already a center of Hindu faith and pilgrimage from all over India, believing that Varanasi is the center of our universe. where the portrait of this Indian man was taken at Vidyapeeth Road.

Vidyapeeth Rd portraiture

At the same time, Varanasi is considered the city of the god Shiva, which is why the hundreds of temples and places of worship within the city were largely dedicated to him. Many of the pilgrims come here to experience salvation and to purify themselves of their sins in the holy river Ganges. This is as sacred to the Hindus as hardly anything else. Some even settle down by the river to spend the last days of their lives and die by the river. Here, too, the body of the deceased is regularly burned, and the ash is handed over to the river. But Varanasi is not the one center of India's Hindu faith, but is also known industrially for its silk processing, perfumery and ivory arts.

There's something to see in Varanasi
While traveling through Varanasi, you will not be able to avoid visiting the ghats on the Ganges. The ghats are the countless bathing steps along the south bank of the river, spread over a length of over 5 kilometers. What is worth seeing here is not the construction of the steps, but the religious practices practiced at their feet. A large part of the ghats were once built by wealthy princely families, such as the ghats of Daswamedh and Manikarnik, which are among the most visited. On them are simple held, small temple in honor of the goddess Ganga, the goddess of the sacred river and the pilgrims come here for a variety of reasons, such as asking for health, salvation, and happiness during the bath, or to say farewell to their loved ones, who are burned here. After the bath follows a blessing through one of the many priests who wait above the steps and the awarding of the forehead signs. Along the entire route, you can watch believers in their rituals and listen to the melodious prayers they recite. However, we would ask you to keep your distance from the worshipers so as not to disturb you during the ritual.

After visiting the ghats, it is a good idea to follow some of the pilgrims who, after their bath in the river, head towards the city to visit the Vishvanath Temple, the holiest temple in Varanasi, which is also known to the god Shiva. According to tradition, the first Vishvanath Temple was built over 2000 years ago and rebuilt after every hostile takeover and destruction that overtook the city. In the seventeenth century, under the Emperor Aurangzeb, a mosque took the place of the Hindu temple. The present-day temple has since remained intact to the delight of the faithful. Not only the history of the temple is something special, the architecture also impresses the visitors of the facility. The roof consists of a large round dome and two towers. The temple houses the so-called Shiva-Linga, a symbol of the god Shiva and its creative, as well as preserving and destructive power. This is often bathed by the pilgrims during prayer with holy river water. In addition, many offerings such as flowers or sweets. The interior of the temple may only enter Hindus. Instead, you can examine the narrow streets around the temple buildings around and they are filled with different shops of local sellers, in which you can buy one or two rarities. As you walk around, you will notice that the area around the temple is heavily guarded, but you do not need to worry. This is due to tensions between Hindus and Muslims in the past.

Vidyapeeth a place in Varanasi
As a photographer and traveler in Varanasi you can really feel the historic past. With the city's 3000 years of existence, it is no surprise that Varanasi has an exciting and eventful history. It was founded as a result of Kaysha, the son of Suhottra. After being taken over by the Ghurids for the first time at the end of the twelfth century, it was under Muslim rule for more than half a millennium, so many of them were forced to convert to Islam because of Hinduism. After many Hindu religious institutions had been rebuilt in the sixteenth century under the rule of the tolerant Emperor Akbar, the summit of the reunification was reached at the end of the seventeenth century, when the ruler Aurangzeb closed several schools of Hindu doctrine and destroyed the Vishvanath Temple. in whose place he had a large mosque built. Only after his death in the early eighteenth century, the city was able to recover under the reign of Raja Zamindar and find their way back to Hinduism. After India gained independence from Britain, the city of Varanasi was declared a Tel of the state of Uttar Pradesh. The portrait above was taken in the Vidyapeeth area, where the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith also is located. Established as Kashi Vidyapith and later renamed, it is administered under the state legislature of the government of Uttar Pradesh. Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith owes its birth to the educational, cultural and political aspirations of pre-independence India. The early period of this institution pulsated with the national freedom struggle and the teaching provided original dimensions to the concept and movement of Indian socialism.

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of an Indian man in Varanasi. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.