Benares (219), the most sacred city of the Hindus, and an important
town in the NW. Provinces; is on the Ganges, 420 m. by rail NW. of
Calcutta. It presents an amazing array of 1700 temples and mosques with
towers and domes and minarets innumerable. The bank of the river is laid
with continuous flights of steps whence the pilgrims bathe; but the city
itself is narrow, crocked, crowded, and dirty. Many thousand pilgrims
visit it annually. It is a seat of Hindu learning; there is also a
government college. The river is spanned here by a magnificent railway
bridge. There is a large trade in country produce, English goods,
jewellery, and gems; while its brass-work, "Benares ware," is famous.
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