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Pictures | Wed Mar 26, 2014 | 7:45pm IST

Varanasi beyond politics

<p>A boatman rows a boat on the waters of the river Ganges past holy "ghats" (banks) in Varanasi July 21, 2009. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw/Files</p>

A boatman rows a boat on the waters of the river Ganges past holy "ghats" (banks) in Varanasi July 21, 2009. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw/Files

A boatman rows a boat on the waters of the river Ganges past holy "ghats" (banks) in Varanasi July 21, 2009. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw/Files

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<p>A Hindu devotee is helped by her relatives as she takes a dip in the waters of river Ganges in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files</p>

A Hindu devotee is helped by her relatives as she takes a dip in the waters of river Ganges in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

A Hindu devotee is helped by her relatives as she takes a dip in the waters of river Ganges in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

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<p>A Hindu devotee stands in the waters of river Ganges to offer prayers to Sun god at dawn in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files</p>

A Hindu devotee stands in the waters of river Ganges to offer prayers to Sun god at dawn in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

A Hindu devotee stands in the waters of river Ganges to offer prayers to Sun god at dawn in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

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<p>Hindu priests hold oil lamps as they perform prayers on the banks of river Ganges during the Karthik Purnima festival on the occasion of Dev Deepawali at Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi November 28, 2012. REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash/Files</p>

Hindu priests hold oil lamps as they perform prayers on the banks of river Ganges during the Karthik Purnima festival on the occasion of Dev Deepawali at Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi November 28, 2012. REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash/Files

Hindu priests hold oil lamps as they perform prayers on the banks of river Ganges during the Karthik Purnima festival on the occasion of Dev Deepawali at Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi November 28, 2012. REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash/Files

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<p>A Hindu devotee lights an earthen lamp on the steps of Sindhiya Ghat during the Karthik Purnima and Dev Diwali festival in Varanasi, November 10, 2011. REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash/Files</p>

A Hindu devotee lights an earthen lamp on the steps of Sindhiya Ghat during the Karthik Purnima and Dev Diwali festival in Varanasi, November 10, 2011. REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash/Files

A Hindu devotee lights an earthen lamp on the steps of Sindhiya Ghat during the Karthik Purnima and Dev Diwali festival in Varanasi, November 10, 2011. REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash/Files

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<p>Hindu devotees gather to offer prayers on the banks of river Ganges during the "Dashahara or Ganga Dussehra" (festival marking arrival of Ganga on the earth) at Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi June 21, 2010. REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash/Files</p>

Hindu devotees gather to offer prayers on the banks of river Ganges during the "Dashahara or Ganga Dussehra" (festival marking arrival of Ganga on the earth) at Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi June 21, 2010. REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash/Files

Hindu devotees gather to offer prayers on the banks of river Ganges during the "Dashahara or Ganga Dussehra" (festival marking arrival of Ganga on the earth) at Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi June 21, 2010. REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash/Files

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<p>Hindu holy men pray on the banks of river Ganges during the start of a solar eclipse in Varanasi July 22, 2009. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw/Files</p>

Hindu holy men pray on the banks of river Ganges during the start of a solar eclipse in Varanasi July 22, 2009. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw/Files

Hindu holy men pray on the banks of river Ganges during the start of a solar eclipse in Varanasi July 22, 2009. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw/Files

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<p>A boy jumps off a promenade into the river Ganges in Varanasi July 21, 2009. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw/Files</p>

A boy jumps off a promenade into the river Ganges in Varanasi July 21, 2009. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw/Files

A boy jumps off a promenade into the river Ganges in Varanasi July 21, 2009. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw/Files

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<p>An Indian masseur gives a massage to a tourist on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, April 15, 2009. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files</p>

An Indian masseur gives a massage to a tourist on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, April 15, 2009. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files

An Indian masseur gives a massage to a tourist on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, April 15, 2009. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files

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<p>Hindu devotees perform their rituals from a "ghat" (series of steps) on the banks of river Ganges on an early morning in Varanasi February 20, 2009. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli/Files</p>

Hindu devotees perform their rituals from a "ghat" (series of steps) on the banks of river Ganges on an early morning in Varanasi February 20, 2009. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli/Files

Hindu devotees perform their rituals from a "ghat" (series of steps) on the banks of river Ganges on an early morning in Varanasi February 20, 2009. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli/Files

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<p>A Hindu man rubs with his foot on the back of another man before taking a holy dip in the waters of river Ganges on an early morning in Varanasi February 20, 2009. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli/Files</p>

A Hindu man rubs with his foot on the back of another man before taking a holy dip in the waters of river Ganges on an early morning in Varanasi February 20, 2009. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli/Files

A Hindu man rubs with his foot on the back of another man before taking a holy dip in the waters of river Ganges on an early morning in Varanasi February 20, 2009. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli/Files

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<p>An Indian masseur (R) gives a massage to a foreign tourist on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi June 14, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files</p>

An Indian masseur (R) gives a massage to a foreign tourist on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi June 14, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files

An Indian masseur (R) gives a massage to a foreign tourist on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi June 14, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files

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<p>Family members of weaver Mohammad Mobin (rear L, white cap) sit together in their single room house in Varanasi June 10, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files</p>

Family members of weaver Mohammad Mobin (rear L, white cap) sit together in their single room house in Varanasi June 10, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files

Family members of weaver Mohammad Mobin (rear L, white cap) sit together in their single room house in Varanasi June 10, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files

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<p>A man repairs his boat on the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi June 13, 2007.  REUTERS/Pawan Kumar/Files</p>

A man repairs his boat on the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi June 13, 2007. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar/Files

A man repairs his boat on the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi June 13, 2007. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar/Files

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<p>Indian wrestlers pose for a photograph at a traditional Indian wrestling training centre called "akhaara" on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi June 12, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files</p>

Indian wrestlers pose for a photograph at a traditional Indian wrestling training centre called "akhaara" on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi June 12, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files

Indian wrestlers pose for a photograph at a traditional Indian wrestling training centre called "akhaara" on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi June 12, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files

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<p>Boys jump from a boat into the river Ganges in Varanasi June 12, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files</p>

Boys jump from a boat into the river Ganges in Varanasi June 12, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files

Boys jump from a boat into the river Ganges in Varanasi June 12, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files

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<p>Indians wash clothes by the river Ganges in Varanasi January 7, 2007. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood/Files</p>

Indians wash clothes by the river Ganges in Varanasi January 7, 2007. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood/Files

Indians wash clothes by the river Ganges in Varanasi January 7, 2007. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood/Files

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<p>An Indian youth jumps into the water on the banks of Ganges in Varanasi December 4, 2001. REUTERS/Kamal KishoreKK/PB/Files</p>

An Indian youth jumps into the water on the banks of Ganges in Varanasi December 4, 2001. REUTERS/Kamal KishoreKK/PB/Files

An Indian youth jumps into the water on the banks of Ganges in Varanasi December 4, 2001. REUTERS/Kamal KishoreKK/PB/Files

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<p>A group of widows worship the sun god along the banks of the Ganga river in Varanasi November 6. REUTERS/Files</p>

A group of widows worship the sun god along the banks of the Ganga river in Varanasi November 6. REUTERS/Files

A group of widows worship the sun god along the banks of the Ganga river in Varanasi November 6. REUTERS/Files

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<p>A woman rests inside a widows' home in Varanasi December 16, 2006. REUTERS/Parth Sanyal/Files</p>

A woman rests inside a widows' home in Varanasi December 16, 2006. REUTERS/Parth Sanyal/Files

A woman rests inside a widows' home in Varanasi December 16, 2006. REUTERS/Parth Sanyal/Files

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<p>A beggar smokes outside a Hindu temple in Varanasi December 14, 2006. REUTERS/Parth Sanyal/Files</p>

A beggar smokes outside a Hindu temple in Varanasi December 14, 2006. REUTERS/Parth Sanyal/Files

A beggar smokes outside a Hindu temple in Varanasi December 14, 2006. REUTERS/Parth Sanyal/Files

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<p>A boy walks through trousers hung up to dry by local washermen on the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi December 16, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files</p>

A boy walks through trousers hung up to dry by local washermen on the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi December 16, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files

A boy walks through trousers hung up to dry by local washermen on the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi December 16, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files

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<p>A pyre burns at a cremation ground on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi December 15, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files</p>

A pyre burns at a cremation ground on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi December 15, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files

A pyre burns at a cremation ground on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi December 15, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files

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