“Benaras is Older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, And looks twice as old as all of them put together”
History of Varanasi is, perhaps, as old as the Indian civilization itself. In the Indian mythology, Varanassi or Kashi finds an important place. Varanasi, the holy city of India, is also known by the name of Kashi and Benaras. Kashi, the city of Moksha for Hindus since centuries, is known for its fine-quality silks, 'paan' and Benares Hindu University and Avimukta of the ancient days, Varanasi is the most popular pilgrimage point for the Hindus. It has a rich heritage of Arts, Music, Dance and Literature and is regarded as centre of excellence for studying astrology, sanskrit, yoga and ayurveda.
The great river banks at Varanasi, built high with eighteenth and nineteenth-century pavilions and palaces, temples and terraces, are lined with an endless chain of stone steps – the ghats – progressing along the whole of the waterfront, altering in appearance with the dramatic seasonal fluctuations of the river level. Each of the hundred ghats, big and small, is marked by a lingam, and occupies its own special place in the religious geography of the city.
This City also has an eminent place in the Buddhist pilgrimage. Sarnath, 10 km away from Varanasi, which attracts thousands of
Buddhist pilgrims every year, is the place where lord Buddha taught his first sermon.