Varanasi (Hindustani pronunciation: [ʋaːˈraːɳəsi] ( listen)), also known as Benares, Banaras (Banāras [bəˈnaːrəs] ( listen)) or Kashi (Kāśī [ˈkaːʃi] ( listen)), is a city on the banks of the Ganges (Ganga) in Uttar Pradesh, 320 kilometres (200 mi) southeast of the state capital, Lucknow. It is the holiest of the seven sacred cities (Sapta Puri) in Hinduism and Jainism, and played an important role in the development of Buddhism.
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