Perhaps the most extraordinary activity that takes place along the ghats is the public cremation of bodies. The one in the image is the main burning ghat, where a dozen or so cremations happen at any time. Bodies are burned non-stop, all day and all night, several hundred each day. Each one is wrapped in a white Muslim cloth and placed in its own stack of wood. It takes 2-3 hours for the body to be reduced to ashes. Hindus believe that if you die in Varanasi, you are guaranteed release from the birth and rebirth cycle. Being cremated in Varanasi is considered a desirable thing.