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Varanasi Introduction



Varanasi is quite famously known as the city of temples", "the holy city of India", "the religious capital of India", "the city of lights", and "the city of learning.

Varanasi is located on the west bank of the River Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, India. It is popularly also known as Banaras, Benrares or Kashi. It is a city regarded holy and religious by Hindu, Buddhist and Jains alike. It is one of the oldest populated cities in the world. The famous writer Mark Twain in praise of the city wrote "Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together." The city is said to be 3000 years old. It has the headquarters of Varanasi district. Varanasi's "Old City," the quarter near the banks of Ganga, has jam-packed constricted meandering streets that are bordered by road-side kiosks and innumerable Hindu temples. As impressive as it is perplexing, Varanasi's labyrinthine Old City is rich with traditions and is a popular destination for explorers and tourists. The language of the residents though is Kashika Bhojpuri but it is quite close to Hindi.

The city is famous for its musical history and all the famous people that have originated from the city. The Banaras Gharana of Classical Music has its roots in this city and is looked upon with lot of respect by music connoisseurs. Music Maestros like Pandit Ravi Shankar, Girija Devi, Hariprasad Chaurasia and Ustad Bismillah Khan to name a few have their roots in this city. The famous poet Kabir wrote his couplets here and Tulsidas wrote the Shri Ramacharitamanas here. Also Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath near Kashi. There are innumerable Hindu temples; the most coveted being the Shri Kashi Vishwanath temple which s counted amongst the 12 venerated Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Varanasi is one of the four pilgrimage sites said to have been chosen by Gautama Buddha himself, hence the city has holy significance for the Buddhist and it also is the birthplace of Parshvanatha, the twenty-third Tirthankar hence sacred for the Jains. Banaras is also said to be the centre of learning with 'Benares Hindu University, the biggest University in Asia to be housed in the city. Varanasi has lots to offer to tourists and travelers as its rich in culture, a city with immense history and a famous attraction spot for shopping.

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