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Those seeking salvation want Mukti Bhawan to reopen

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Those seeking salvation want Mukti Bhawan to reopenBy Amita Verma

Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Jan 29 (IANS) Sumitra (name changed) is waiting for ‘Mukti Bhawan’ to reopen so that she can go to Varanasi and spend her last days in peace.

At 83, she is living with her sons and their families in Lucknow but has lost the will to live on. She is completely dependent on others for her own chores and needs help to move around.

“I know I am a burden on my sons’ families. My husband died last year and I also want to leave this world. I am a heart patient and a diabetic. My friends in Varanasi have told me about Mukti Bhawan, also known as Moksh Bhawan, and I am desperate to go there,” she says.

The Mukti Bhawan, however, has been shut since past ten months due to the pandemic.

“We had to shut down Mukti Bhawan – for the first time in several decades-due to Corona scare. We did not want people coming here and spreading infection among others,” says Ravi Vishwakarma, a manager at Mukti Bhawan.

The Mukti Bhawan is actually a tiny lodge in Gudauliya locality in Varanasi, that offers rooms at a meagre rent of Rs 20 a day to those who wish to breathe their last in Varanasi and attain salvation or ‘Moksh’.

The lodge found itself in the spotlight in 2016 when a film named ‘Mukti Bhawan’ was made on subject and received critical acclaim.

“More than 14,000k people have breathed their last here. The in-house priests perform the last rituals and rites if there are no family members accompanying the inmates. We also hold prayers for the deceased,” says Vishwakarma.

Hindus, incidentally, believe that those who die in Varanasi, attain Moksha or salvation.

The Mukti Bhavan has only 12 rooms with a small temple and priest and every facility for the guests.

The ailing can check-in and stay there for two weeks. However, if they are still alive after two weeks, they will have to leave Mukti Bhavan and give their room to someone else.

“This is not a place for anyone committing suicide. In fact, we keep close watch on the inmates. Only people on their death bed are allowed to stay in Mukti Bhavan,” he says.

Sources at the Mukti Bhawan say that almost every day, they have people inquiring about reopening of lodge.

If the situation normalizes within the next two months, the manager says that Mukti Bhawan may open its doors sometime in April.

And when it does, Sumitra will be one of the many who are waiting to reach Mukti Bhawan and find their salvation.




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