India's oldest city of spirituality & secularism

At the confluence of two tributaries of the Ganges river, Varanasi, is a city of many names, bearing a history of over 3000 years, and had reached its zenith as a centre of religion and learning in the 7th century BC . A city steeped in spiritual sanctity and knowledge, which three great world religions – Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism, acknowledge as a place of homage. Later named Benares, the city saw the establishment of the Benaras Hindu University, a pre-eminent center of Sanskrit language, culture, philosophy and learning. As a thriving trade post for many centuries, Benaras was also an important center of crafts and culture under the patronage of various rulers, and is world-renowned for its Benaras silk weaving motifs, metal and brass work, and for its wrestling tradition! Today, Varanasi’s riverbanks (known as ghats) with their temples, shrines and the sacred waters of the Ganges, draw millions of pilgrims seeking spiritual salvation.

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