ID card of India
Name : India, or in Hindi « Bharat »
Capital City : New Delhi
Offical languages : Hindi and et l'Anglais en seconde langue, but India count 21 regional languages and many dialects
Currency : INR, indian rupee
Population : 1 210 193 422 hab.
Superficie : 3 287 263 km²
Independance Day : 15 Aout 1947
Government : Federal parliamentary constitutional republic promulgated on January 26th 1950
States : 28 states et 7 territories, all subdivided in districts.
Motto : "Truth Alone Triumphs" (Satyameva jayate)
Anthem : le Jana-Gana-Mana, since Janvier 1950.
Name : Varanasi, a city situated between Varuna and Assi (two rivers of the Ganges), also known by the name of Benares or Kashi (luminous) and Banāras.
Location : In Uttar Pradesh, the most populated state (200 million inhabitants) and one of the poorest states in India – along the left bank of the Ganges, sacred river of Hinduism.
Offical Language : Hindi and Urdu
Population : 3.7 millions
Characteristics : Sacred city of Shiva, where Indians come to die in order to break the cycle of reincarnations and to enter directly into Nirvana. The city is equally famous for its ghats, a long flight of steps allowing the devouts and pilgrims to decend to the sacred river in order to practice their ablutions and puja (religious ceremony, prayer).
Benares, one of the most ancient cities in the world…
On the banks of the Ganges, mystical citadel dedicated to Shiva, God of Death and source of creation of the World…according to belief, from the hair of Shiva flows the Ganges river, born from the feet of Vishnu and consecrated by Brahma. Along the banks, a maze of back alleys filled with shops, of tourists, of pilgrims, of sacred cows, of children in school uniforms… then the ghats, this is the heart of the city !
At sunrise, a few Indians carry out their ablution in the sacred water while others sip their first chai of the day. A few metres farther along, men wash their laundry by hand, and lay out the colourful saris on the stairs… As the hours go by, the ghats come alive, the small boats go up the Ganges, the fire from the cremation brings out odours of sental wood, the herds of buffalos refresh themselves in the cool Ganges, while children sell postcards and ornaments to tourists, all at once disoriented and charmed, intrigued and enthralled… As night falls, the bells and carillons of the puja gather together pilgrims and tourists, the small boats quickly fill up with the faithful desiring to offer a candle to Shiva.
The Ganges, the sacred river:
Here is one of the versions on the Origin of the Ganges, the one who most seduced us...
Once upon a time... Vishnu heard Shiva to playing flute and pleased with the melody he sat down to listen. His feet started to melt, to liquefy and Brahma collected the water... Ganga was born, also known under the name of Vishnu-padi, the one who arose from feet of Vishnu.
The 60 000 sons of king Sangar died because of the vanity of their father and as they didn't receive the funeral rites, their restless souls roamed during many years. Bhagiratha, one of descendant of Sagar, made the promise to bring them rest and prayed Brahma. Affected by his request, he asked Ganga to come down on Earth to purify the souls and allow them to reach the niravana. But the vain Ganga felt offended and taken in her anger, decided to flood Earth. Freaked out, Bhagiratha asked Shiva to step in, and Shiva catched Ganga into his hair. After a few years in the meanders of the hair of Shiva, Ganga, quietened down came down on earth, bringing life and purity.
Today, the Indians consider the Ganges as sacred and still purify themselves in there. Scattering the ashes of a deceased in the Ganges can bring good things in the next life and diying to Varanasi ( Benares) can help to reach the moksa (the relief) and thus the nirvana.