complete video at http://youtu.be/D9xCT7SGqbw
When visitors search for the famous rituals of Varanasi, most of them look at the temples spread across the city and concentrated along the river Ganga.
But if you want to follow a more traditional perspective, you have to turn 180 degrees and look towards the River.
Ganga herself is seen as a Goddess and she is worshipped in popular elaborated rituals. But even the Ganga pūjā, is not the highest form of worship here. More sacred than a pūjā is the yajña, i.e. the Vedic sacrifice,
Most people do not see the altar of this sacrifice even while moving alongside it. There is a threshold to cross in order to perceive it: the threshold of devotion.
The whole city is a temple in the form of a crescent moon shaped amphitheatre. The Ghats are the mandapa, Ganga is the altar, and Agni, the sacrificial Fire, is the light of the Sun reflected on the river.
The reason why Banaras, or Kashi, the splendent, is a special place for worship is because here the river, which normally flows eastward, takes a sudden turn northwards. In Banaras, the sun rises perpendicular to the Ganga, forming at dawn a burning line that cuts across its waters.
Rising from the purifying dip in the river, the devotee pours the Ganga into the burning stream of light. In this religious offering, a unity is created between the Sun and the Earth, the fire and the water, the soul of man and the soul of nature.