India’s Changing Spiritual Capital
Salopek has been exploring the city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Varanasi is an important spiritual hub for India's Hindu communities. The city draws pilgrims to bathe in the Ganges river as well as to perform cremations and funeral services on the ghats, riverside steps leading down to the water.
Salopek observed traditional cultural ceremonies but he was also struck by the pace of change in the city. Residents told him that they were fearful of losing their heritage. Many of the city's ancient maze-like neighbourhoods are being razed to make way for new beautification projects.
Leaving Varanasi, Salopek will continue east towards Kolkata.