For those who have been to India, Varanasi was surely on your destinations list. For travelers planning to go in the future the case should be the same. The stories you will read and hear about Varanasi are all true: monkeys, cows, rivers, ghats, alleys, crowds, smells, corpses, cremations, touts, every bit of it. As the noted birthplace of the Hindu deity Shiva, this city on the water has been seen in Hindu texts for thousands of years. Thus, “the luminous one” is a propitious place for Hindus in India and throughout the world to come and rinse their sins off in the Ganges. It is also believed that dying and being cremated in Varanasi confirms the freedom of an individual’s soul from its cycle of wandering.