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'Hotels of death' in Indian holy city
Designated hotels in Varanasi cater to only the old and the infirm, waiting to die and attain "salvation".
Last updated: 05 Dec 2013 11:51
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The holy city of Varanasi in India's northern Uttar Pradesh state is the gateway to salvation, so goes a Hindu belief. Fuelled by such faith, thousands over the last many centuries have travelled to Varanasi, also called Kashi, with a desire to die there. Dying in Varanasi is supposed to break the cycle of death and rebirth. Once one dies in Varanasi, he or she is never reborn, and thus attains salvation.

To house those wanting to die, all sorts of hotels and lodging have sprung up over the years. One such place is the Mumukshu Bhawan (Home for the Ailing) established in 1920. Locally known as the Moksha Bhawan (Salvation Home), the elderly settle here, stubbornly waiting for death. Some, for decades.

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Eighty- year -old Manbudh Tripathi has been staying at Mumukshu for the past 17 years. "I have been waiting for the day to come when I will leave this world never to return. My sons send me money every month but it has been more than 10 years since I last saw them," he says.

"More than 300 people stay in Mumukshu and most of them are above 60. They come here to die," says Manish Pandey, 43, the manager. "In Varanasi death is not mourned but considered a blessing." he says.

Mumukshu charges a minimal rent for accommodation and electricity. Those who cannot afford are also allowed to stay. 

Kashi Labh Mukti Bhawan is another home where you come to die. But unlike Mumukshu, Mukti Bhawan houses only those who are expected to die within 15 days of admission.

Bhairav Nath Shukla, 60, has been managing the Mukti Bhawan for more than four decades. "In a year we get around 800 people from around the country who come to spend their last days in Kashi. Some non-residential Indians too have come. On an average people are allowed to stay for 15 days. For some it could be two or three days or even a month till they die," he says.

A fee of 20 Indian rupees (less than half a dollar) is charged for those who can pay. It is free for the poor. "We even help the poor to buy wood and other materials needed for cremation. Moreover, after being here for so long, I can easily calculate when a person will die," says Shukla.

Bharat Singh and his wife have come from the eastern state of Bihar with their old and suffering aunt. "It's been two days that we have been waiting and we expect that she will die within two or three days. It was her wish to die in Kashi and we have got her here," he says.


/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
The Mumukshu Bhawan, started in 1920, accommodates those who want to spend their last days in Varanasi.
/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Accommodation is only for those who are expected to die soon and Mumukshu caters to this section of people.

/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
Vimla Devi,89, has waited at Mumukshu for 40 years. She arrived from the southern city of Hyderbad.
/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Urmial, 40, congenitally blind, is from the eastern state of Bihar. She has been waiting for the last 30 years to die.

/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
Retired government school teacher Manbodh Tripathi was studying religion and came to Varanasi 17 years ago to die.
/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
Subha Kant Jha,75, for the last 20 years has hoped that this day will be his last.
/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
Sati Devi and her husband left home three years earlier to die in Varanasi.
/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
Mukti Bhawan accommodates those who expect to die in 15 days.
/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
The Mukti Bhawan is lenient. Once 15 days are over, it gives them more time to die.
/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Tiljaro Devi,75, has patiently waited two years for her "salvation".

/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Bharat Singh and his wife Ramina Devi are waiting for their aunt Tiljaro Devi to die..

/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
Bhairav Nath Shukla, the manager of Mukti Bhawan for over four decades claims he can calculate when a person will die.
/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
After all the wait, bodies are cremated in the Manikarnika Ghat.
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images:
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captions:
The Mumukshu Bhawan, started in 1920, accommodates those who want to spend their last days in Varanasi.;*;

Accommodation is only for those who are expected to die soon and Mumukshu caters to this section of people.

;*;Vimla Devi,89, has waited at Mumukshu for 40 years. She arrived from the southern city of Hyderbad.;*;

Urmial, 40, congenitally blind, is from the eastern state of Bihar. She has been waiting for the last 30 years to die.

;*;Retired government school teacher Manbodh Tripathi was studying religion and came to Varanasi 17 years ago to die.;*;Subha Kant Jha,75, for the last 20 years has hoped that this day will be his last.;*;Sati Devi and her husband left home three years earlier to die in Varanasi.;*;Mukti Bhawan accommodates those who expect to die in 15 days.;*;The Mukti Bhawan is lenient. Once 15 days are over, it gives them more time to die.;*;

Tiljaro Devi,75, has patiently waited two years for her "salvation".

;*;

Bharat Singh and his wife Ramina Devi are waiting for their aunt Tiljaro Devi to die..

;*;Bhairav Nath Shukla, the manager of Mukti Bhawan for over four decades claims he can calculate when a person will die.;*;After all the wait, bodies are cremated in the Manikarnika Ghat. Daylife ID:
d178c9e1b45a17106f8b6cb79b843fed
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Destination death: Varanasi, IndiaThousands travel to this Hindu holy city with the hopes of breathing their last breath there, and attaining "moksha".http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_Indiaen-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Mon, 02 Dec 2013 09:57:32 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/b2c31264e2befcb964649b9a81ebebc4

The Mumukshu Bhawan, started in 1920, accommodates those who want to spend their last days in Varanasi.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/b2c31264e2befcb964649b9a81ebebc4Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

The Mumukshu Bhawan, started in 1920, accommodates those who want to spend their last days in Varanasi.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/6f76ad913b30cde0933be96a1efd8285

Accommodation is only for those who are ready to die and Mumukshu caters to this section of people.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/6f76ad913b30cde0933be96a1efd8285Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Accommodation is only for those who are ready to die and Mumukshu caters to this section of people.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/3c2fe3b43c36f1d3ca08d5bf15f6e309

Vimla Devi,89, has waited at Mumukshu for 40 years. She arrived from the southern city of Hyderbad.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/3c2fe3b43c36f1d3ca08d5bf15f6e309Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Vimla Devi,89, has waited at Mumukshu for 40 years. She arrived from the southern city of Hyderbad.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/86d04c2a9c0063c00a1019d7d3d11320

Urmial, 40, congenitally blind is from the eastern state of Bihar. She has been waiting for the last 30
years to die.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/86d04c2a9c0063c00a1019d7d3d11320Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Urmial, 40, congenitally blind is from the eastern state of Bihar. She has been waiting for the last 30
years to die.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/ac2527ba5fbc65fd5dd8095c90d3474c

Retired government school teacher Manbodh Tripathi was studying religion and came to Varanasi 17 years ago to die.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/ac2527ba5fbc65fd5dd8095c90d3474cShowkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Retired government school teacher Manbodh Tripathi was studying religion and came to Varanasi 17 years ago to die.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/ed6504603b9855e9f855f16723c15576

Subha Kant Jha,75, for the last 20 years has hoped that this day will be his last.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/ed6504603b9855e9f855f16723c15576Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Subha Kant Jha,75, for the last 20 years has hoped that this day will be his last.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/68be8f7ae096bf8aa9783b7d16481d12

Sati Devi and her husband left home three years earlier to die in Varanasi.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/68be8f7ae096bf8aa9783b7d16481d12Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Sati Devi and her husband left home three years earlier to die in Varanasi.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/300c21be678296f206fc3b4a0fe2c3d6

Mukti Bhawan accommodates those who expect to die in 15 days.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/300c21be678296f206fc3b4a0fe2c3d6Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Mukti Bhawan accommodates those who expect to die in 15 days.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/01fc6695de0ca0e7a74717a9d301c35a

The Mukti Bhawan is lenient. Once 15 days are over, it gives them more time to die.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/01fc6695de0ca0e7a74717a9d301c35aShowkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

The Mukti Bhawan is lenient. Once 15 days are over, it gives them more time to die.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/e8c383ff3240141db0507f304f766ca2

Tiljaro Devi,75, on her death bed has patiently waited two years for her D-day

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/e8c383ff3240141db0507f304f766ca2Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Tiljaro Devi,75, on her death bed has patiently waited two years for her D-day

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/0125e45ba7acb9c96d674d9ba140369e

Bharat Singh and his wife Ramina Devi are waiting for their aunt Tiljaro Devi to die asap.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/0125e45ba7acb9c96d674d9ba140369eShowkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Bharat Singh and his wife Ramina Devi are waiting for their aunt Tiljaro Devi to die asap.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/e1acbd3d46494bf03c1c5d5225f31fa6

Bhairav Nath Shukla, the manager of Mukti Bhawan for over four decades claims he can calculate when a person will die.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/e1acbd3d46494bf03c1c5d5225f31fa6Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Bhairav Nath Shukla, the manager of Mukti Bhawan for over four decades claims he can calculate when a person will die.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/f86a5939c29ab209884188928315354f

After all the wait, bodies are cremated in the Manikarnika Ghat.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Destination_death%3A_Varanasi%2C_India/slideshow/no-caption/f86a5939c29ab209884188928315354fShowkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

After all the wait, bodies are cremated in the Manikarnika Ghat.



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