Saturday, September 20, 2014
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Going to die by the Ganges

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Family members carry a relative's corpse down to the banks of the River Ganges for cremation. (Image courtesy Gayle Ferraro)

St. Paul, Minn. — Hindus believe that if they die in the city of Varanasi, on the banks of the River Ganges, they will ascend straight to paradise. They no longer have to go through the painful cycle of death and rebirth.

U.S. filmmaker Gayle Ferraro visited the city to learn about the river. But she soon became fascinated by the way the city is tied to the business of death. It is set up to help those who come to Varanasi to die.

Ferraro made a film "Ganges: River to Heaven." It's about the city, and it's people. It'll be shown this weekend at the Bell Auditorium. She told Minnesota Public Radio's Euan Kerr early on she visited a charitable hospice where families bring their relatives to spend the last few days of their lives.

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