Varanasi also known as Benares is a city on the banks of the Ganges in the Uttar Pradesh state of North India. Traditional etymology links "Varanasi" to the names of two Ganges tributaries forming the city's borders: Varuna, still flowing in northern Varanasi, and Assi, today a small stream in the southern part of the city, near Assi Ghat. The old city is located on the north shores of the Ganges, bounded by Varuna and Assi.
In the Rigveda, an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns, the city is referred to as Kāśī (Kashi) from the Sanskrit verbal root kaś- "to shine", making Varanasi known as "City of Light", The "luminous city as an eminent seat of learning". The name was also used by pilgrims dating from Buddha's days.
Hindu religious texts use many epithets to refer to Varanasi, such as Kāśikā (Sanskrit: "the shining one"), Avimukta (Sanskrit: "never forsaken" by Shiva), Ānandavana (Sanskrit: "the forest of bliss"), and Rudravāsa (Sanskrit: "the place where Rudra/Śiva resides").