Varanasi is the oldest and still inhabited city in India. From the ancient times the city is popular, holy and powerful centre. In the ancient times the city was known as Kashi and then Benares, and hold prominent place in the Hindu mythology. Even today Varanasi is having plenty of temples literally in every corner of the road there is temple. There are around 23000 temples estimated in this city.
This city in North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is located on the banks of the River Ganga, the holiest river as per Hindu culture and belief. The city is sacred city for both the Hindus and Jain. Varanasi is the spiritual capital of India, and is prominent amongst the seven holy cities in India, the other sacred cities in India being Ayodya, Mathura, Gaya, Kanchi, Avantika and Dwaravati.
Varanasi has been cultural centre from the ancient era as the city is closely linked to holy river Ganga, the Hindus believe that those who die in the city and are cremated at the banks of the holy river achieve salvation. The city therefore is a major pilgrimage and tourist centre. There are numerous Ghats on the banks of the River Ganga, prominent amongst them are the Dashashwamedh Ghat, where people take holy dip in the waters of River Ganga. There is Manikarnika Ghat where Hindus cremate their near and dear people after death. There are plenty of other Ghats as well like the Harischandra Ghat of mythological importance and Panchaganga Ghat.
The city however is popular in the world due to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is one of the most prominent Jyotirlinga, one out of the 12 Jyotirlinga as per Hindu culture. The city also has Durga Temple and the Sankat Mochan Hanuman mandir which are popular and visited by every visitor in Varanasi.
In the ancient time Maharaja of Kashi, Kashi Naresh was fond of art and culture and has taken tremendous efforts in the development many legendary poets, writers, philosophers and musicians stayed in this city and prospered. Varanasi has one of the largest university, the Banaras Hindu University BHU which is also conducting the residential courses. The archaeological evidence points that the city was inhabited right from 11th century or the 12th century BC, which means this is the oldest city which is still inhabited.
Varanasi has developed into main industrial centre, popularly known for the production of fine muslin cloth and silk fabrics. The city is also famous for perfumes, ivory works. Gautam Buddha, who is considered as the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, founded Buddhism in 528 BC, who delivered his first sermon here at a place called Sarnath. Several prominent individuals from the Bhakti movement are from Varanasi prominent among them are Sant Kabir and Ravidas. Varanasi thus have a rich cultural and historic significance.
The city has an airport and is well connected by rail and road with most of the prominent cities in India. Tourists can visit from any international airports in India to Varanasi.