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Famously known as Banaras or Kashi, the holy city of Varanasi is located on the banks of river Ganga and is considered the holiest city in India owing to its location and history and the numerous temples in it.
The city of temples or Banaras, as it is popularly known, is a holy city on the banks of the River Ganga. Said to have been discovered by Lord Shiva, this city has immense historical as well as religious importance. Not just a place where pilgrims throng to visit the temples, Varanasi is also the destination where most people come to spend their last days as it is believed that a person who dies in this sacred place can attain salvation. Varanasi is one of the oldest continually inhabited places of the world and oldest in India. Its narrow lanes are filled with temples, amazing food outlets, cows and bulls standing midway and numerous people flocking here and there. Varanasi is also called the "Galiyon ka sheher", meaning the city of lanes, "the city of temples", "the religious capital of India". It is also called the "city of learning" as it has always been a big learning centre since the ancient past. The Benares Hindu University, one of the oldest and biggest Indian universities is also situated here. Varanasi is also famous for its Kashi Vishwanath Temple, which houses one of the 12 revered jyotirlingas. Sarnath, which is one of the biggest pilgrimage site for Buddhists, is located nearby and Varanasi is typically the base to visit Sarnath. However, the biggest attraction here is the River Ganga itself. The evening ritual, called the Ganga Aarti is a must see for everyone, without which, perhaps, a visit to Varanasi is incomplete.