The Wait for Death at Varanasi’s Mukti Bhavan


The Wait for Death at Varanasi’s Mukti Bhavan

Illustration: Akshita Monga


n a narrow lane in the oldest city on the planet, the Kashi Labh Mukti Bhavan and Kashi Mumukshu Bhavan stand next to each other. Barring their huge gates, there is nothing remarkable about the yellow structures located at a walking distance from Assi Ghat and Ramu’s famous tea stall – except, this is where people come to die.

Last year, the movie Mukti Bhawan, by debutant director Shubhashish Bhutiani opened to widespread acclaim. The film follows Daya, the patriarch of a middle-class Kanpur family, who decides to breathe his last at Varanasi’s famed death hostel. Because Mukti Bhawan isn’t merely a place to die: It is a sure-shot path to attaining salvation.