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At this hotel, guests check in to breathe their last

August 04, 2014 12:54 IST

At this hotel, guests check in to breathe their last

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After checking in at the Mukti Bhawan hostel, guests have two weeks to die or else they are gently asked to leave.

Situated a short walk from the Ganga, Mukti Bhawan is a final stopover for elderly Hindus hoping they will shortly end up on one of the hundreds of funeral pyres lit on the riverbank each day.

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Image: Bhogla Devi, 97, is comforted by her grandson Divyesh Tiwari as she cries in pain at Mukti Bhawan.
Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

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At this hotel, guests check in to breathe their last

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Mukti Bhawan -- or Salvation House -- offers 12 bare, tatty rooms arranged around a courtyard in a 100-year-old red-brick building with green shutters. It was established in 1958 by the Dalmiya Charitable Trust.

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Image: A woman stands outside Mukti Bhavan in Varanasi.
Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

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At this hotel, guests check in to breathe their last

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The manager of the hostel says that to take God’s name and die in Varanasi is to attain moksha. It’s from this idea that Mukti Bhawan was built and continues to stand tall for the almost 6 decades.

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Image: Kishore Pandey, 82, lies on a bed as his daughter, Usha Tiwari, holds him and a priest stands by them.
Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

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At this hotel, guests check in to breathe their last

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A fee of Rs 20 is charged for those who can pay and it is free for the poor. In many cases, the hostel organises the wood and other materials needed for cremation. And the services aren’t reserved only for Indian. Many foreigners, hoping to attain nirvana have also visited Mukti Bhawan.

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Image: Bhairav Nath Shukla, manager of Mukti Bhavan looks through the records inside his office in Varanasi.
Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

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At this hotel, guests check in to breathe their last

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Between 30 and 70 people die here every month. At especially busy times, the manager of the place will sometimes let people in to die in his office. If it's quiet, he sometimes waives the two-week rule.

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Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
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At this hotel, guests check in to breathe their last

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They do not allow anyone who is below 60 years old or looks like they are not dying and one of the services they offer is that a priest of the temple visits the people living there and reads the Ram Charit Manas at least for five minutes at four different times in a day. 

 

 


Image: People watch as pyres burn at a cremation ground on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi.
Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
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