Varanasi district is a district of Uttar Pradesh with its administrative headquarters located Varanasi city. Probably, the district got its name from the names of the two rivers namely Varuna, flowing in Varanasi and Asi, a small stream situated near the Assi ghat. Natives of the district believe that earlier the Varuna River was popularly known as Varanasi and this is from where the district derived its name. According to legends, Lord Shiva founded the place, Varanasi. The place Varanasi is also called by different names such as Benares, Banaras or Kashi. As per Hinduism and Jainism, it is one of the holiest of the seven sacred cities called Sapta Puri. It is believed that the region is 3000 years old. The Mughal era was started in the place when Mohammed Ghori invaded it in 1193 CE. The place was witnessed a series of plunder during the Mughal rule. At the period of British rule it remained as a commercial and religious centre. In 1791, when the place was under the rule of the British Governor-General named Warren Hastings, Jonathan Duncan, established a Sanskrit College in the region of Varanasi. Even the Varanasi Municipal Board was also set up during the British Rule in 1867 and the establishment led to significant improvements in the infrastructure and basic amenities like health services, drinking water supply, sanitation in the place. Then in 1910, the British declared Varanasi as a new Indian state and made Ramnagar as its capital, but there was no proper jurisdiction over the city.
Pandit Kishan Maharaj, an eminent Indian tabla player and a musician was born on 3th September, 1923 at Benares. He was honoured by India’s two most prestigious awards of such as Padma Shri in 1973 and Padma Vibhushan in 2002.
Geographically, the district lies at 25°32'N latitude, 82°97'E longitude and 81 m altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 1.17% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 1,535 sq kms. and in terms of geographical area it occupies the rank of 67th in the state and 542nd in India. It is bounded by Jaunpur district on the north, Mirzapur district on the south, Ghazipur district and Chandauli district on the east and Sant Ravidas Nagar district on the west. The prominent rivers that flows through the district are Ganga and Varuna. The climate of the district is characterised as humid subtropical climate. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1169.2 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into two tehsils namely Varanasi and Pindra. There are 1 Lok Sabha seat and 8 Assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 2 sub-districts, 39 towns and 1,294 villages.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 36,76,841 out of which 19,21,857 are males and 17,54,984 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 913 females for every 1000 males. During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 17.15% including 16.53% were males and 17.82% were females. The population density in the district is 2,395 persons per sq. kms. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 90,718 including 47,145 were males and 43,573 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 17,768 out of which 10,619 were males and 7,149 were females. As per 2011 census the major religions in the district are Hindu and Muslim with 84.52% and 14.88% of the total population. According to 2011 census the principal languages in the district is Hindi with 95.94%.
Varanasi is world famous for its very fine silk and Banarasi saris. One of the leading industries in Varanasi is the silk weaving. Most of the Muslims in the district are engaged in the silk industries in order to earn their livelihood. Some other foremost industries in the district include the industries of automobiles, diesel locomotives, glass beads, bangles, etc. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from these industries remarkably helps in its economy. The agricultural sector also contributes in its economy to some extent. The core agricultural products in the district are rice, wheat, pulses, mangoes, etc. Tourism in Varanasi is its second most vital industry. Though the overall tourist infrastructure in the district is not well developed yet it able to draw numerous travellers from far distance places. In the year 2020-21 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 28,30,538 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 19,09,675 lakh at Constant Prices during the year 2011-2012. The Net Domestic Product in the district during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 24,63,314 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 16,19,831 lakh at Constant Prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the district during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 59,530 at Current Price and Rs. 39,146 at Constant Prices in the year 2011-2012.
Varanasi is a renowned centre of learning for ages. Banaras Hindu University (BHU), one of the largest and oldest residential universities in Asia is located in Varanasi. Varanasi is also fortunate enough to have one of 16 Indian Institutes of Technology which is designated as an Institute of National Importance. Some other reputed educational institutions in the district are Imania Arabic College, the Institute of Integrated Management and Technology (IIMT), Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith, Nav Sadhana Kala Kendra, Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Sri Agrasen Kanya P.G. College, Udai Pratap Autonomous College, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 75.6% including 83.78% are males and 66.69% are females.
Lal Bahadur Shastri, an illustrious Indian politician and the Second Prime Minister of the Republic of India was born on 2nd October, 1904 at Varanasi. "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan", the famous slogan was given by him during the Indo-Pak war of 1965. He was a leader of the Indian National Congress party. Sampurnanand, a distinguished Indian politician and the second Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 1954 to 1960 was born on 1st January, 1891 at Benaras (present day Varanasi). He was also served as the Governor of Rajasthan from 1962-1967. He was a member of the Indian National Congress party.
During the year 2021, there were 35,95,813 domestic tourists and 2,891 foreign tourists who visited these places of the district. The district has numerous centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Jantar Mantar observatory, located above the ghats along the Ganga River was constructed in 1737. Ramnagar Fort, constructed by Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh in the 18th century is situated on the eastern bank of Ganga River, opposite the Tulsi Ghat. It was built by using the cream-colored chunar sandstone. Moreover, it depicts the Mughal architecture with carved balconies, open courtyards, and scenic pavilions. Some notable ghats and temples in the district are Dashashwamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Panchganga Ghat, Harishchandra Ghat, Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, Durga Temple, Annapurna Temple, New Vishwanath Temple, Tulsi Manas Mandir, etc.