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The holy city of Varanasi, known as the city of temples and learning , is a place of great historical and cultural importance.
Varanasi, the oldest living city in the world, is the spiritual, cultural, religious and educational capital of the country. It has inspired curiosity as well as reverence among people around the world.
Many names have been given to Varanasi.
It probably derives from the two rivers that flank the city, the Varuna to the north and the Asi to the south. Other names are Kashi ,the "City of Light", Kashika, "the shining one", referring to the light of Shiva. Another epithet, Avimukta, meaning "Never Forsaken", refers to the city that Shiva never deserted, or that one should never leave.

Further alternatives include Anandavana, the "forest of bliss", and Rudravasa, the place where Shiva (Rudra) resides. No other city on earth embodies the spiritual and socio-cultural soul of a nation better than Varanasi. This religious capital of India is situated on the banks of the holy river Ganges and is presided over by Lord Shiva. It is the heart of India and an epitome of the synthesis of cultures, religions and races.

The river-front of the city is decorated by hundreds of well built ghats which is a unique feature.

The holy Buddhist place, Sarnath is in its precincts. Varanasi, as depicted in history was a centre of both Hindu and Buddhist learning during the Gahadavalas age which saw the onset of decline in Buddhism.

It has three universities, one Tibetan Institute and an Institute of Arabic Studies. Banaras Hindu University, the largest residential university of Asia, is a glorious tribute to its illustrious founder Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya.

The city is reputed for silk fabrics, perfumes, artistic brass and copper wares and a variety of handicrafts.
It is an important centre of literature, art and culture.
It has produced great poets, writers, musicians and scholars.
This vibrant city of joy, knowledge and liberation has a magnetic attraction for people all over the world.

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