The north Indian city of Varanasi, or Benares, is regarded as sacred by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Situated in the fertile Gan-ga valley and on the banks of the Ganges, Varanasi is a place of pilgrimage for Hindus, who come to bathe in the holy river. Known as the City of Temples and a beacon of culture, Varanasi has pro-duced many renowned writers. It’s also a centre of silk weaving, so practise haggling at the chaotic bazaar for some beautiful souve-nirs. Rickshaws are the best way to get about.