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The spiritual capital of India derives the name from a amalgamation of two rivers Varuna still flowing and a small stream named Assi near Assi Ghat. The old city is located on the north shores of the Ganges, bounded by its two tributaries: Varuna and Assi. As per the legend, Varanasi was founded by the god Shiva, regarded as one of seven holy cities which can provide Moksha. Buddha is believed to have founded Buddhism here around 528 BC when he gave his first sermon, “The Setting in Motion of the Wheel of Dharma”, at nearby Sarnath. Varanasi has been a cultural centre of North India for several thousand years, and is closely associated with the Ganges. Hindus believe that death in the city will bring salvation, making it a major centre for pilgrimage. The city is known worldwide for its many ghats. Varanasi also grew as an important industrial centre, famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture.

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