Kashi – the epitome of Indian civilization represents a flow of her culture that has treaded the passage of many aeons and ages. It is her older name, meaning the ‘City of light’. Like the column of eternal time (maha kala), Kasi is one of the oldest sustainable habitats in the world, and it presents a feeling ‘where everything is changing and dying and everything is in a state of flux; and yet nothing has changed thereby capturing and freezing an eternal, immutable body of immortal truth, consciousness and bliss (ananda). The flow of the great river, southbound ‘Ganga’, from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal becomes unique as it reaches Kasi. Here, in Kasi, Ganga becomes northbound.
Ganga’s flow is synonymous with the flow of the timeless Indian civilization. The to-and-fro relationship results in Kasi, captured between two smaller rivers, Varuna and Asi, which gives her the most popular name – ‘Varanasi’. In the timelessness of Kasi, there are of course some, a trickling down of many ages, many kings, empires, saints and personas, and the evidences stretch over a a long, long time. Here it is: