In my travelogue TV series on my local West Hollywood TV talk show I present to you all this great twenty eight and and half minute interview with local West Hollywood resident, Gene Smith who is a world traveler. Many of us may never get to visit so many countries and cities so this is a great way to see Gene Smith's over 300 photographs and stories of his trip to Varanasi and then to Deli.
FACTS ON VARANASI: Varanasi, also commonly known as Benares, Banaras or Kashi, is a city situated on the banks of the Ganges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, 320 kilometres southeast of state capital Lucknow.
Varanasi also commonly known as Benares, Banaras is a city situated on the banks of the Ganges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, 320 kilometres (199 mi) southeast of state capital Lucknow. It is regarded as a holy city by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the oldest in India.
Varanasi is today considered to be the cultural capital of India where scholarly books have been written. Ramcharitmanas was composed by Tulsidas here while there is the temple Tulsi Manas Mandir that is famous here. In addition to this, the largest residential University of Asia, Benares Hindu University is located here. People often refer to Varanasi as "the city of temples", "the holy city of India", "the religious capital of India", "the city of lights", "the city of learning", and "the oldest living city on earth."
According to legend, the city was founded by the Hindu deity Lord Shiva, several thousand years ago, thus making it one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in the country. It is also a general belief that it stands on the weapon "The Trishool" (Trident) of Lord Shiva. It is one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus. Many Hindu scriptures, including the Rigveda, Skanda Purana, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata, mention the city.
FACTS ON DELHI: Delhi is officially the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT) that includes the Indian capital New Delhi, is the second most populous metropolis in India after Mumbai, with a population of 16.3 million in 2011. The city is also the eighth most populous metropolis in the world. The NCT and its urban region have been given the special status of National Capital Region (NCR) under the Constitution of India's 69th amendment act of 1991. The greater NCR urban, which includes the neighbouring cities Baghpat, Gurgaon, Sonepat, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida and other nearby towns, has nearly 22.2 million residents.
Delhi is known to have been continuously inhabited since the 6th century BC. Through most of its history, Delhi has served as a capital of kingdoms and empires. It has been invaded, ransacked and rebuilt several times, particularly during the Medieval era, and therefore the modern city of Delhi is a cluster of many cities scattered across the metropolitan region. Delhi is also believed to have been the site of Indraprastha, the legendary capital of the Pandavas during the times of the Mahabharata. Delhi re-emerged as a major political, cultural and commercial city along the trade routes between northwest India and the Gangetic plain after the rise of the Delhi sultanates. It houses many ancient and medieval monuments, archaeological sites and remains.
The name Delhi is often also used to include urban areas near the NCT, and to refer to New Delhi, which lies within the metropolis. Although technically a federally administered union territory, the political administration of the NCT of Delhi today more closely resembles that of a state of India with its own legislature, high court and an executive council of ministers headed by a Chief Minister. New Delhi is jointly administered by the federal Government of India and the local Government of Delhi, and is the capital of the NCT of Delhi.