History of Varanasi

Varanasi is of the oldest lived-in cities in the world and the oldest populated city in India. It is a famous city in the state of Uttar Pradesh, south-east of Delhi. It is also called ‘Banaras’ and ‘Kashi’. and also known as baba Bhola Nath Nagari. It is considered one of the most divine cities in Hinduism and is called Avimukta Kshetra. Aside from this, it is also considered divine in Buddhism and Jainism. The culture of Varanasi has an inextricable relationship with the river Ganges, Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple and its religious importance. This city has been the Cultural and Religious center Across India, for Thousands of years.

Varanasi is generally referred to by adjectives like ‘City of Temples’, ‘Religious Cultural Capital of India’, ‘The City of Lord Shiva’, ‘City of Lights’, ‘City of Knowledge’ etc.

The famous American writer Mark Twain writes: ” Vanarash is older than history, older than tradition, older than legends, and when put together, it is twice as old as that collection.” Today the world-famous The Banaras Gharana of Hindustani classical music was born and developed in Varanasi itself. Many philosophers, poets, writers, musicians of India have lived in Varanasi, including Kabir, Vallabhacharya, Ravidas, Swami Ramananda, Trailanga Swami, Sivananda Goswami, Munshi Premchand, Jaishankar Prasad, Acharya Ramchandra Shukla, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Girija Devi, Pandit Hari. Prasad Chaurasia and Ustad Bismillah Khan etc. are few.

Goswami Tulsidas wrote Ramcharitmanas, the most revered book of Hindu religion, here and Gautam Buddha gave his first discourse here at Sarnath.

Four major universities are located in Varanasi: Banaras Hindu University, Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies and Sampurnanand Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya. The residents here mainly speak Kashika Bhojpuri, which is a dialect of Hindi.

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