Varanasi also known as Banaras is one of the oldest cities in India. It is also one of the seven holiest cities for the Hindus. The importance arises from its situation on banks of River Ganga, the holiest Indian River.
A special spiritual significance is accorded to Varanasi hence it is the centre point of all Hindu rites and rituals. It is the hometown of many past and the present literally-genius, artists, and scholars.
It is every devout Hindus desire to be cremated at the shore of Ganges in Varanasi. A large number of ashes of Hindus are immersed in the River Ganges as part of the sacred ritual. The stepped embankments at the ghats are a unique feature and place for conducting rituals. The banks are the focal point of all activities but the sacred temples also receive a lot of visitors.
The holy city is one of the most important pilgrimage centers for Hindus. A large number of tourists also arrive here in quest of spirituality. Many foreigners discover Hinduism and its spiritual learning here. Gautam Buddha delivered his first sermon at Sarnath near Varanasi.
Varanasi is a cultural hotbed in Northern India. It is home to many renowned music and artists like Bismillah Khan, Gopal Mishra, Kisan Maharaj, Samta Prasad and Pandit Ravi Shankar are associated with this city.
Banaras Hindu University is one of the noted institutions of learning in India. The popular Banarasi Sari woven in this city is exported to all parts of the World.