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Varanasi is situated on the left (west) bank of the River Ganga & is generally believed to be about 3,000 years old. It is regarded as holy by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. The culture of Varanasi is closely associated with the River Ganges and the river's religious importance. The city has been a cultural and religious center in northern India for several thousand years. Many prominent Indian philosophers, poets, writers, and musicians resided or reside in Varanasi, which includes Kabir, Ravi Das, Munshi Premchand, Jaishankar Prasad, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Hariprasad Chaurasia, and Ustad Bismillah Khan. Tulsidas wrote his Ramacharitamanas here, and Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath.