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National Geographer, Vol.XLVIII, No. 1 + 2 (Jan-June, July-Dec. 2013), Pages 85-94

Etymology and Historical Aspects of Varanasi City

Gownamani Dhanaraj
Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

Abstract

Varanasi City is an ideal, vibrant, a world famous historical and sacred city. The credit of the city remains as such as it was thousands of years before. This present paper throws light on its nomenclature and its historical aspects.  Some of the administrative procedures are also dealt in detail.

Key words: Etymology, Nomenclature, Cultural Landscape, Cultural Capital

INTRODUCTION

      Varanasi city is the headquarters of the district Varanasi of Eastern Uttar Pradesh. Varanasi city has been held sacred by the Hindus since very early times. The name is derived from the combination of the two river names, Varuna and Assi. Varanasi is one among the oldest living city in the world. Its culture as well spiritual nature has remained till today since the time immemorial. Kayastha (2004) mentioned in one of his articles that Varanasi is a unique city whose origins go back to hoary antiquity. It is so distinctive nationally and internationally, by its characteristics as a great seat of learning and a centre of religion, philosophical and culture with an uninterrupted continuity. As per Hindu traditions, Varanasi is the city of Lord Shiva, the city of death and liberation, the City of Lights etc. The city consists of innumerable temples and a number of entry points (Ghats) along the river Ganges. “Varanasi is perceived as a site of  vigor and rigor where religious culture, people, and society get interconnected deeply as mosaic called microcosmic India (Singh 2013)”. Varanasi is the city which is famous for a number of prominent personalities in the area of traditional music, dance, literature and philosophy.  The city is also famous for “Banaras Silk”, “Banaras Pan” and other handicrafts.

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