Kashi or Banaras (Benares)
The word Benares (anglicized version of Banaras) has been used extensively in British documents and by British writers.
Hindu religious beliefs regarding Banaras.
AVIMUKTA “NEVER FORSAKEN”
According to this mythological History, Kashi is a place of the most profound antiquity, sanctity and splendor: it has survived in age a hundred lives of Brahma each of whose days is equal to 4320 millions of years; it stands apart from the earth, supported upon the trishul or trident of Mahadev, never
shaken by earthquakes ; and the whole city was once of pure gold, but has since degenerated into stone and brick, along with the rapid deterioration of human virtue.
At the period of universal dissolution, Benares is unharmed,
never being abandoned by Shiva, from which it derives another of its appellations, of frequent occurrence in the Puranas or Avimukta.
According to the great Irish poet W.B Yeats, high quality literature cannot be produced in the absence of faith. It is this faith among the Hindus that had gradually developed over thousands of years ago and has given rise to such high quality literature.
In mythological times, there was a king named Haryashwa in Kashi state who was killed by Veetahavya between Ganga and Yamuna.
Haryashwa’s son Sudev became the king of Kashi, Veethavya’s descendants defeated him as well, then Sudev’s son Divodas became the king here, the brilliant Divodas, knowing the strength of the Haihayavanshis, settled the city of Varanasi near the northern bank of the Ganges as per the orders of Indra.
King Divodas continued fighting for many days and later after the armies were weakened, and quite a lot of soldiers had died, he left.
Kings of Kasi, found in several Puranas, that it owed its rise to a branch of the lunar line of kings, whose dominions extended to the Dodb or Antarvddi, and whose capital was Pratishthdnay at the confluence of the Ganges and Jumna. Of this family, AVUS the son o f PUKIRAVAS , the grandson o f SOMA or the moon, had several sons: the elder continued to reign at Pratishthdna, but the second, KSBETRAVRIDDHIK was the first of the KASHI branch.
It seems probable) however, that the city was founded not by him, but by his grandson or great-grandson, denominated KASA and KASHI RAJA .
@ Kashiraj was on the side of Pandavas in the war of Kurukshetra [Bhishma Parva]
@ Kashi has been mentioned at many places in Ramayana and Mahabharat also.
@ The word Kashi is also found in Atharva Veda as well.
World’s oldest written stories are Jataka tales which is a collection of about 600 stories. This incident dates back to around 300 BCE.
There is a detailed description of Varanasi in the Jataka stories. And one thing becomes clear from this that by the time Buddha arrived in Varanasi about 2600 years ago, Varanasi had already established itself as a major religious, economic, business and educational centre.
It becomes quite clear from this that Varanasi was established as a major city at least 3500 years ago, hence human settlement in Varanasi must have been established thousands of years earlier.
Evidence of ancient Varanasi city in archaeological excavations.
The remains obtained from the excavation of Rajghat prove that humans first started living here by clearing this swampy area around 1500 BC. At that time the main occupation of the residents was agriculture. The residents here lived in mud houses and thatched huts.
Many archaeologists believe that if a few more phases of excavation are conductec, the history of Varanasi can be traced back to at least 5000 years.
The authenticity of religious texts has been further strengthened by archaeological excavations.
Surprisingly, the existence of some Shivalingas as mentioned in the Puranas is being verified by the material obtained in the archaeological excavations.
Seals of Avimukteshwar, Gabhasthatheeshwar, Shri Saraswat, Yogeshwar, Pitkeshwar and Shivalingas have also been found.
These temples are also mentioned by the famous Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang who visited India in 630 AD.
The remains found in archaeological excavations near Rajghat in Varanasi are a slap on the face of Nehruvian and Marxist historians who deny the ancient history of India and consider Hindu religious texts inauthentic.
There is no doubt that Varanasi is a very ancient city, I believe that as modern technology develops, the ancient mystery of Varanasi will be revealed, may the glory of Varanasi always remain like this, this is what I pray to Mahadev.