Besides being the oldest religious centre of India, Varanasi is also known for its rich culture. It pioneers its own cultural heritage and excels in fine arts and literature. Avid writers like Kabir, Tulsidas and Ravidas resided in this city. Varanasi has also given birth to some eminent writers like Munshi Premchand, Bhartendu Harishchandra, Jaishankar Trivedi, Hazari Prasad Dwivedi and many more. The musical tradition of Varanasi dates back to the period of Puranas. Eminent musicians like Surdas, Kabir, Meera and Raidas from the medieval era were associated with this city. \n\nThe contemporary music giants like Girija Devi, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Pandit Ravi Shankar and many more belonged to Varanasi. The city owes its musical patronage to Indian classical music like Dhrupad, Dhamar, Hori and Chaturang. Varanasi is also a centre to arts, like gold and silver thread work, carpet weaving, ivory work, wooden toy-making, brass and copper works and a variety of handicrafts. Being one of the major centres of pilgrimage, Varanasi celebrates almost all the religious festivities with tradition, faith and grandeur. The festivals like Mahashivaratri, Hanuman Jayanti, Nag Nathaiya, Kartik Poornima, Ganges Festival, Ramzan, Shab-e-Barat, Muharram etc. are celebrated with pomp.
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