The holy city of Varanasi or Banaras is located on the banks of the Ganges River in Uttar Pradesh and is among the most important pilgrimage destination for Hindus, Jains and Budhists. It is considered to be one of the oldest cities in the world and India.
On your India Tour, you ought to include a visit to Varanasi to understand the melting pot of India. This city has been an integral part for three of the main religions originating in India Hindus, Jains and Buddhists and boasts a large population of Muslims.
Some say the name Varanasi originates from the rivers Varuna and Asi, which bound the old city with the Ganges in the south. There is no clear date of when the city was established, but is considered to be the first major city in the Indian Peninsula.
Mark Twain on his travels, said "Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together." This city has always been part of the cultural fabric of India, and will continue to define the 'soul of India' for generations to come.
Exploring the heart of IndiaHindus believe that a dip in the holy river Ganga on the Ghats of Varanasi will wash your sins away. This city has influenced India and what it means to be Indian probably more than any other city in the country. It has maintained this influence by being the birth place of some of India's most talented musicians and writers, and continues to do so to date.
There are a number of all-night, open music concerts spread over the year and are a must if you wish to experience Indian classical music in its pure form when on a North India tour. Some of the famous events include Hori, Kajari and Chaiti Mela.
Varanasi is home to a number of museums, with the oldest site museum of the Archaeological Survey of India located in the city.
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