Just as Banaras is a prototype for sacred India , her sacred features are prototypes for the divine roles of the city as a whole. Foremost among these features are the Ganga and the two famous cremation grounds ( Shmashans ) along her banks. Pilgrims commonly say that Banaras is like the Mother Ganga, who accepts and purifies anyone and anything that come to her and transforms them into herself… each of these features, - the Ganga, the Shmashans and the city as a whole – functions as a kind of cosmic sink, a sacred dumping ground…
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