Kathak has three gharanas or genres named after three culturally-rich places, Lucknow, Banaras and Jaipur.
Just as Banaras is a prototype for sacred India , her sacred features are prototypes for the divine roles of the city as a whole. Foremost among these features are the Ganga and the two famous cremation grounds ( Shmashans ) along her banks. Pilgrims commonly say that Banaras is like the Mother Ganga, who accepts and purifies anyone and anything that come to her and transforms them into herself… each of these features, - the Ganga, the Shmashans and the city as a whole – functions as a kind of cosmic sink, a sacred dumping ground…
This is one element I always missed in a Mysore silk saree. So, I had to go for Kancheepuram, Peddapuram [saris] or Banaras when I needed to wear a very heavy-looking sari. Now, I have bought one and even gifted another to my sister-in-law as part of her wedding trousseau.Nandana Roy
Although any point along the Ganga can serve as a pilgrimage site, a number of especially powerful thirthas (sacred crossings) along her banks allow pilgrims to cover multiple spiritual bases with a single visit. Banaras is the largest and most visited of these thirthas, presenting itself as Kashi (“the luminous”), an otherworldly abode that rests Shiva’s trident and grants instant liberation to all who die within its boundaries.