Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the oldest in India. The city is the beating heart of the Hindu universe, a crossing point between the physical and spiritual worlds, and the Ganges is viewed as a river of salvation, an everlasting symbol of hope to past, present and future generations. Once in every lifetime an observant Hindus prepare to make the pilgrimage to the holy city of Varanasi. Some come to wash away sickness and sin in the Ganges River. Others bring their dead to be burned. Still others come to live their last days here, die and be cremated which in Varanasi guarantees eternal release from the cycle of birth and death.
Probal Rashid is a documentary photographer and photojournalist working in Bangladesh, represented by Zuma Press, USA. He has studied a Post Graduate Diploma in Photojournalism through a scholarship program of World Press Photo at the Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism (ACFJ) at Ateneo De Manila University in the Philippines. He also holds an MBA. His works have been published in many national and international newspapers and magazines such as The Forbes, GEO, New York Post, Days Japan, Paris Match, The Wall Street Journal, Stern, RVA, The Telegraph, Focus magazine and The Guardian. Moreover, his photographs have been exhibited in Bangladesh, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, UK and USA. Probal is the recipient of numerous awards for his work including the Pictures Of the Year International (POYi), Days Japan Photojournalism Award, China International Press Photo Award (CHIPP), NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism Awards, Yonhap International Press Photo Awards, KL International Photo award, FCCT/OnAsia Photojournalism, "Zoom-in on Poverty" Global Photo Award, CGAP microfinance photo award, WPGA Annual Pollux Awards in U.K, International Year of Biodiversity Award, The 68th, 71st and 72nd International Photographic Salon of Japan (Ashahi Shimbun) Award. www.probalrashid.com