Varanasi, or Benaras, (also known as Kashi) is one of the oldest living cities in the world. Varanasi`s Prominence in Hindu mythology is virtually unrevealed. Mark Twain, the English author and literature, who was enthralled by the legend and sanctity of Benaras, once wrote : "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together " .
According to the ‘ Vamana Purana’, the Varuna and the Assi rivers originated from the body of the primordial Person at the beginning of time itself. The tract of land lying between them is believed to be ‘ Varanasi ’, the holiest of all pilgrimages. The word ‘ Kashi ’ originated from the word ‘ Kas ’ which means to shine. Steeped in tradition and mythological legacy, Kashi is the ‘original ground ‘ created by Shiva and Parvati, upon which they stood at the beginning of time. Varanasi is the microcosm of Hinduism, a city of traditional classical culture, glorified by myth and legend and sanctified by religion , it has always attracted a large number of pilgrims and worshippers from time immemorial. To be in Varanasi is an experience in itself…. an experience in self–discovery… an eternal oneness of the body and soul.