Greaves, Edwin
Kashi the city illustrious or Benares — Allahabad, 1909

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BENARES, or Kashi, "the illustrious," is a city of
great antiquity, of unrivalled sanctity, and of
boundless renown. So great is its antiquity, that
its existence, apparently, long anticipates the dawn of
history. It seems perfectly clear from tradition that
Benares first existed, and then the rest of the world was
formed round it. On equally good authority we find that
the Benares thus referred to was not the Benares now
included in the municipal limits, but the whole territory
enclosed by the Panchkosi Road. With facts like these
before us who could dream of enquiring, "who founded
Benares?" As well impertinently enquire, "who built
the Himalayas ?"

That Benares dates from very early times is a matter
that admits of no doubt, and likewise that it was from
very early times renowned for its religious associations.
Some Puranic stories give a measure of plausibility to
the theory that the Aryans made it one of their import-
ant centres, and that it has been, from time to time, a
battle-ground for rival religions. There is a tradition
that Mahadeva and his votaries were ousted for a time,
and later on again resumed their sway.
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