Varanasi is a city in northeast India. In ancient writings it is called Kashi. During the colonial era the British introduced the name Benares. Located on the banks of the River Ganges, the city is sacred to all Indian religions and an important, especially for Hindus. The pilgrimage includes bathing in the Ganges for the purpose of cleansing one’s sins. Hindus believe that if a person dies in Varanasi and his or her body is consigned to the holy river, he or she will immediately be redeemed and released from the eternal cycle of .