Banaras also known as Varanasi (Hindustani pronunciation: [ʋaːˈraːɳəsi]), also known as Benares, [bəˈnaːrəs] , or Kashi, is a city on the banks of the Ganges in the Uttar Pradesh state of North India, 320 kilometres (200 mi) south-east of the state capital, Lucknow, and 121 kilometres (75 mi) east of Allahabad. A major religious hub in India, it is the holiest of the seven sacred cities (Sapta Puri) in Hinduism and Jainism, and played an important role in the development of Buddhism and Ravidassia.
Varanasi is also one of 72 districts in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. At the time of the 2011 census, there were a total of 8 blocks and 1329 villages in this district. Main languages of Varanasi are Banarasi, Bhojpuri/Awadhi.
Varanasi grew as an important industrial centre, famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture. Buddha is believed to have founded Buddhism here around 528 BCE when he gave his first sermon, “The Setting in Motion of the Wheel of Dharma“, at nearby Sarnath. The city’s religious importance continued to grow in the 8th century, when Adi Shankara established the worship of Shiva as an official sect of Varanasi. During the Muslim rule through Middle Ages, the city continued as an important centre of Hindu devotion, pilgrimage, mysticism and poetry which further contributed to its reputation as a centre of cultural importance and religious education. Tulsidas wrote his epic poem on Rama’s life called Ram Charit Manas in Varanasi. Several other major figures of the Bhakti movement were born in Varanasi, including Kabir and Ravidas.
Source of Information: Wikipedia