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 town 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 an individual who dies in this sacred place can attain salvation. Varanasi is one of the oldest continually inhabited places in the world and oldest in India.
Varanasi grew as an important industrial centre, famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture. Buddha is believed to have founded Buddhism here around 528 BCE when he gave his first sermon, "The Setting in Motion of the Wheel of Dharma", at nearby Sarnath. The city's religious importance continued to grow in the 8th century, when Adi Shankara established the worship of Shiva as an official sect of Varanasi. During the Muslim rule through Middle Ages, the city continued as an important centre of Hindu devotion, pilgrimage, mysticism and poetry which further contributed to its reputation as a centre of cultural importance and religious education. Tulsidas wrote his epic poem on Rama's life called Ram Charit Manas in Varanasi. Several other major figures of the Bhakti movement were born in Varanasi, including Kabir and Ravidas. Guru Nanak visited Varanasi for Maha Shivaratri in 1507, a trip that played a large role in the founding of Sikhism.