Complexity in Space: Pilgrimage mandalas in Varanasi.


 The Avimukta yatra starts at the Manikarnika Ghat and involves 72 shrines or sites, which include representatives of the four major cardinal points of India. The number 72 may symbolize the 12 months of the year, the two hemispheres traversed by the sun in its yearly journey, and the three mythical realms of earth, atmosphere, and heaven.

The Antargriha yatra, the journey to the "inner sanctum", follows seven spiraling turns around Vishvesvara. The number seven comes from the seven visible planets and thus from the seven realms of the heavens.