Transcending Dark Tourism and Embracing Spirituality in the City of Light ‘Varanasi’

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Anshuman Rana, Dr Naresh Kumar


Travelling and moving to places which are inspired by a search for a better life and real authentic self has given a boost to lifestyle migration and spiritual tourism. The holy city of Varanasi is popular among the pilgrims and travellers for taking dips in the holy river the Ganges, endless ghats, famous temples, fascinating rituals and vibrant religious festivals. The experience of being in the city cannot be limited to words as from birth to death, every aspect of earthy existence and salvation is achieved in this 5000-year-old city. International travellers come to the city to spectate the beating heart of Hindu culture and the cremation of dead bodies. The city offers moksha i.e., liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Dark tourism is associated with visiting the sites which are associated with death-related rituals and cremation grounds. In this paper, we have tried to understand how the concepts of dark tourism and lifestyle migration gets interwoven. How a traveller embraces these customs. How these dark sites reflect that life is a struggle and one can achieve liberation through moksha in this holy city. People come and embrace their dark side in the dark sites of the spiritual landscape of Varanasi. A person truly awakens when the dying has begun. Spiritual awakening is an end to all pain which is witnessed by seeing the dead bodies in Varanasi.

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