When did Kashi become Varanasi?

Kashi, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, has a history that spans beyond 3,000 years. It is believed to be the first settlement in the Ganges valley and holds immense spiritual significance in Hinduism. Kashi, which translates to “shining” or “luminous,” represents the city as a source of illuminating knowledge and divine grace.

Over the years, it has been referred to by various names, with Varanasi being one of the most commonly used. But when exactly did Kashi become Varanasi? Let’s find out the story behind this name transition.

Transition from Kashi to Varanasi

The name Kashi finds its roots in ancient Hindu texts, particularly in the Rigveda, one of the oldest known scriptures. It signifies the city’s spiritual essence and association with knowledge and enlightenment. Beginning in the eighteenth century, the city of Varanasi developed as an independent Kashi Kingdom. Slowly, from Kashi the name transforms to Varanasi. It is possible that this is due to the fact that the city is located between the river Assi, which flows from the south, and the river Varuna, which flows from the north. Throughout its long and illustrious history, Varanasi has continued to be a centre of spirituality, culture, and pilgrimage, captivating visitors from all corners of the world.