History of Varanasi or Kashi

Varanasi takes its identity from the great Hindu epics, but like every other city in India, it hosts many religions. Muslims, Hindus, a handful of Jews, and Japanese Buddhists all cohabit. There is occasional strife, but the city is symbolic of the country’s diversity, cramped into one space.

Most Hindus are employed by the temples or associated firms, and the Islamic population includes some of the oldest weavers in the country. The Banarasi sari, known for its intricate weaves and borders made with zari—woven threadwork done with threads made of gold—is a coveted specialty.

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