'1st view of the city of Benares'. Aquatint, drawn and engraved by James Moffat, published Calcutta 1804
Artist: Moffat, James (1775-1815)
Aquatint of a view of Benares drawn and engraved by James Moffat (1775-1815)and published in Calcutta in 1804. Varanasi (Benares) is situated on the west bank of the River Ganges. Founded in the sixth century BC, Varanasi is one of the seven sacred cities of Hinduism. The waterfront is lined with over hundred ghats where residents and pilgrims come to perform their ablutions. This area is known as a tirtha, or ‘crossing place’ which allows the devotee access to the divine and where gods and goddesses can come down to earth. This aquatint depicts Panchaganga Ghat. The Great Mosque of Aurangzeb is also shown on the right. Like other mosques in the city, it was built on the site of a Hindu temple. The minarets of the mosque reach a height of around 70 metres.