The history of Varanasi, also called Benares, can be traced back to the time of Gautama Buddha 2,500 years ago when it was the capital of Kashi.
Among the earliest postcards of Varanasi, this court-sized card was made from an albumen photograph (its title is still inscribed in the negative) and framed by a floral design.
[Original caption] General View of Ghats, Benares. The landing places leading to the many temples which look down upon the River Ganges, whose waters are held so holy that they can wash away all sin. [end]
Nautch dancers inspired stories like Hassan Shah’s The Nautch Girl, “the first known modern Indian novel” in the 1790s, as well as the first Urdu novel, the story of the Lucknow courtesan Umrao Jaan Ada in 1899.
A version of this card was sent by
Assi Ghat is on the southern end of the city, where the Assi River meets the Ganges, and where the Goddess Durga is said to have thrown her sword after killing the demon Shumbha-Nishumbha.