Varanasi also Benares, Banaras or Kashi, is a city on the banks of the Ganges (Ganga) in Uttar Pradesh, 320 kilometres southeast of the state capital, Lucknow. It is holiest of the seven sacred cities (SaptaPuri) in Hinduism and Jainism. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the oldest in India.
The name Vārāņasi possibly originates from the names of the two rivers: Varuna, still flowing in Varanasi, and Asi, a small stream near AssiGhat. Its sights, sounds, colors absorb everyone in its endlessly fascinating spectacle of ritual activity.