This is a beautiful documentary on Varanasi by two New Yorkers. I think they have done an excellent work and in many ways I admire their commitment to what they love doing!
Varanasi is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world! And it has been known as a place where, if someone ever died, would get liberated. Some who go there say that the act of just visiting the Ghat where dead bodies are cremated is bound to give you a unique perspective of life itself. Something that one of the young man also says.
Sadhguru, an Enlightened Master, who takes meditators to this city says the following about Varanasi. (Source)
Another name for Kashi is ‘Maha-smashana’ which means ‘Great cremation ground’ and the central point, the core of Kashi is Manikarnik, where at least one corpse will always be burning. The point is that a necessary atmosphere was created for those who died and for those who were burnt there because people were looking at life and death as a means of rising beyond the elemental play, the elemental hive created in the form of individual body and the cosmic body. If anybody penetrated these seven layers, for sure he would have risen – he would be beyond the play of five elements. Nowadays it has just become a belief, but back then, there was a live process of Enlightenment and the city was constructed as a tool for enlightenment where if a person went through the seven layers, by the time he reached Manikarnik, he would be a realized being. ~ Sadhguru