10 things you must know about Varanasi
- Varanasi, or Benaras, (also known as Kashi) is one of the oldest cities in the world, and is regarded as one of Hinduism’s seven holy cities.
2. It is a city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh dating to the 11th century B.C.E. Regarded as the spiritual capital of India, named after the confluence of two rivers, Varuna and Asi.
3. According to legend, Varanasi was founded by the Lord Shiva and was his favorite abode. In one verse of the ancient religious text of Skanda Purana, Shiva says, “The three worlds form one city of mine, and Kashi is my royal palace therein.”
4. Kashi Vishwanath Temple, one of the most important places of worship in the country, considered to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva, is situated in Varanasi.
5. The old city of Varanasi is situated along the western bank of the Ganges.
6. India’s current prime minister, Narendra Modi, is a Member of Parliament (MP) from Varanasi, so it has been getting some extra attention of late, with new projects, roadworks etc.
7. Silk weaving is the dominant industry in Varanasi, but is in turbulence lately due to rise of power looms and computer-generated designs and by competition from Chinese silk imports.
8. It is home to the Banaras Hindu University (BHU), which is one of the largest residential universities in Asia with more than 20,000 students.
9. Varanasi is the only place from where the revered Ganga is Uttar Vahini (flows towards North). It is here from where the powerful stream of the river Ganga turns directions.
10. Varanasi is the quintessential India – colourful, chaotic, dirty, overwhelming, and yet magical.