Benares (U.P.) from the Ganges
Artist: Lyndon, Herbert (fl. 1879-1898)
Water-colour painting of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, from the Ganges by Lyndon Herbert (fl. 1879-1898) in 1898. Inscribed on the front is: 'Herbert Lyndon. 98.'
The River Ganges is said to have descended from heaven to earth and is regarded by Hindus as amrita, the elixir of life; those who touch the water are said to be absolved of sin. The waterfront of the city is lined with over 100 ghats, or long flights of stone steps where residents and pilgrims come to perform their ablutions and worship in the temples. Varanasi, founded in the sixth century BC is one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus and 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.