ghats in Varanasi
The ghats in Varanasi, India. Taken by Wikimedia Commons user Marcin Białek.

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Varanasi, India (also called Benaras/Banaras) is considered to be one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world, and the oldest in India. It is located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, in the Ganges valley of North India along the bank of the Ganges (Ganga) River. The ghats are the steps which lead down to the water of the River Ganges, and there are almost 100 ghats in the city. Most ghats are used to allow people to bathe in the river, but some serve other purposes, including for cremation. Some nicknames for Varanasi include:  “the city of temples”, “the holy city of India”, “the religious capital of India”, “the city of lights”, “the city of learning”, and “the oldest living city on earth”.