It is the holiest of the seven sacred cities (Sapta Puri) in Hinduism, and Jainism, and played an important role in the development of Buddhism. Some Hindus believe that death at Varanasi brings salvation. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Varanasi is also known as the favourite city of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva as it has been mentioned in theRigveda that this city in older times was known as Kashi or "Shiv ki Nagri". Varanasi is the spiritual capital of India. It is often referred to as "the holy city of India", "the religious capital of India", "the city of shiva", and "the city of learning".
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