Varanasi is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities, and one of the holiest in Hinduism. Pilgrims come to the ghats lining the Ganges to wash away sins in the sacred waters or to cremate their loved ones. It’s a particularly auspicious place to die since expiring here offers moksha (liberation from the cycle of rebirth). Most visitors agree Varanasi is magical – but not for the faint-hearted. Intimate rituals of life and death take place in public, and the sights, sounds, and smells on the ghats can be intense. Walking the ghats and alleyways or watching the sunrise from a boat in the City of Lights is an unforgettable experience.