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Native ameVaranasi
StateUttar Pradesh
MayorKaushlendra Singh
Total Area598.3 sq mi (1550 km2)
Altitude80.71 m
Total Population3, 682, 194 (2011)
Density (pop.)1995/km2 (5167.1/sq mi)
Other information
Time zoneIST (UTC+5:30)
Pincode221 001 to** (** area code)

     Home | City | Varanasi

Varanasi (Sanskrit: वाराणसी Vārāṇasī, -hnsʋaːˈraːɳəsi-hi-Varanasi, also commonly known as Benares or Banaras ( , , Banāras -hnsbəˈnaːrəshi-Banaras and Kashi ( , , Kāśī -hnsˈkaːʃihi-Kashi, is a city situated on the banks of the River Ganges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, 320 km (198.8 mi) southeast of state capital Lucknow. It is regarded as a holy city by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and probably the oldest in India.

The Kashi Naresh (Maharaja of Kashi) is the chief cultural patron of Varanasi and an essential part of all religious celebrations. The culture of Varanasi is closely associated with the River Ganges and the river's religious importance. The city has been a cultural and religious centre in North India for several thousand years. The Benares Gharana form of the Indian classical music developed in Varanasi, and many prominent Indian philosophers, poets, writers, and musicians resided or reside in Varanasi, including Kabir, Satguru Ravidass, Trailanga Swami, Munshi Premchand, Devkinandan Khatri, Bhartendu Harishchandra, Jaishankar Prasad, Acharya Shukla, Ravi Shankar, Girija Devi, Sitara Devi, Gudai Maharaj, Hariprasad Chaurasia, and Bismillah Khan. Tulsidas wrote Ramacharitamanas here, and Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath located near Varanasi (Kashi).

Varanasi is home to four universities: Banaras Hindu University, Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies and Sampurnanand Sanskrit University. Residents mainly speak the Hindi and Kashika Bhojpuri, which is closely related to the Hindi language. People often refer to Varanasi as "the city of temples", "the holy city of India", "the religious capital of India", "the city of lights", and "the city of learning."

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