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Varanasi, India

Once in every lifetime, an observant Hindu hopes to make a 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 or come to live their last days here, because to die and be cremated in Varanasi guarantees eternal release from the cycle of birth and death.

I took this photo during my first trip to Varanasi in 2011. I stayed at the Alka Hotel right next to the shores of the Ganges, with a room that had a nice big terrace from where I had a fantastic view of the scenery below. The father trying to give his daughters a swimming lesson, immediately caught my attention and the shot turned out to be one of the best taken that summer.

- This postcard comes to us from MatadorU student Nisa Maier, an Austria-based freelance travel photographer who has visited more than 80 countries. She maintains the travel photography site www.cookiesound.com/ with her mom, and you can follow her on twitter @cookiesound.

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