Kashi Labh Mukti Bhawan
Bishop Heber who visited Banaras in 1824, described how every year: Many scores… of pilgrims from all parts of India, come hither expressly to end their days and secure their salvation. They purchase two large Kedgeree pots between which they tie themselves, and when empty these support their weight in water. Thus equipped, they paddle into the stream then fill the pots with the water, which surrounds them, and thus sink into eternity. Government have sometimes attempted to prevent this practice but with no other effect than driving the voluntary victims a little further down the river; nor indeed, when a man has several hundred miles to die, is it like that a police officer can prevent him (Heber 1861:168)
This was when there weren’t any salvation homes in Kashi. As our research continues to explore the idea of dying a good death in Kashi, India’s holy city, here’s a view from the dying pilgrim’s room at Kashi Labh Mukti Bhawan.