Mark Twain, the English author enthralled by the spiritual beauty of Banaras or Varanasi, once wrote:”Banaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together. On the banks of the ganga, rests the Indian city of Varanasi. Formerly known as Benares, which came to be known as the anglicized name of Banaras, it became famous because it was the first city where Buddha preached his first sermon Lit up with little candles at night amidst the incense and floral petals thrown into the sea, its has earned the sobriquet as being ‘ The land of sacred light.’ Varanasi is popularly known by a number of nicknames such as: “Kashika”, “Avimukta” and “Rudravasa”, “Sarva” but “Vidya Ki Rajdhani “seems most fitting. That’s because Varanasi has been an ancient seat of Indian learning and education.
For centuries, scholars from all across the world have been visiting Varanasi to learn the ancient disciplines of astrology Sanskrit and philosophy. But today, Varanasi is more than the land of spirituality. The course of the city was transformed from being a spiritually inclined city to an educational hub when Annie Besant established the Central Hindu School in the year 1791, which much later became the Benaras Hindu University and a Sanskrit college was to train the servants of the East India Company. Recognized as a formal educational institute that imparted both modern as well traditional educations, the Banaras Hindu University today churns out thousands of students on an annual basis. The Central Institute of Tibetan Studies was also set up as an institute of cultural preservation for the Tibetans. Varanasi has a number of schools which have been aptly described as powerhouses of knowledge and citadels of education. A popular education hub of eastern UP India, Varanasi is home to some of the best schools that follow syllabi at par with some of the Institutes abroad.
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