In a unique ritual, the Varanasi sex workers gathered at the creamation ground and dances through the night, in order to pray for salvation and better next life. The ritual is nearly 450 year old and it is celebrated at the ‘Manikarnika’ crematorium. These sex workers worship former Emperor ‘Man Singh’ (Rajput King) and seek his blessing.
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This ritual coincides with the Navaratri. “During Chaitra (first month of the Hindu calendar) Navratri (Nine nights), from the fifth day to the seventh day, a musical programme is performed as a ritual that started during the time of Emperor (Man Singh). Today is the last day of the programme where sex workers in order to please the king perform music and dance. This ritual is very ancient,” said Gulshan Kapoor, Caretaker of Mahashamshaan Nath Temple. “We come here with the same desire at the Emperor’s place, that we achieve liberation, we get purification from our deeds,” said a sex worker.