Peter Bisschop Peter.Bisschop at ED.AC.UK
Mon Feb 15 11:37:05 UTC 2010

A brief note on the history of the derivation of the name  
Vaaraa.nasii. While the name of the town is indeed commonly connected  
to the two rivers Vara.naa and Asi, earlier sources (in particular  
the original rather connect it to the name of the  
river Varaa.nasii (nowadays known as Vara.naa).

See Vol. IIA (The Vaaraa.nasii Cycle), edited by Hans  
Bakker and Harunaga Isaacson, Groningen 2004, p. 222.

Peter Bisschop

Dr Peter Bisschop
Asian Studies
University of Edinburgh
7/8 Buccleuch Place
Edinburgh EH8 9LW
Scotland, U.K.

e-mail: Peter.Bisschop at
phone: +(0)131 650 4174

On 15 Feb 2010, at 09:43, Jean-Luc Chevillard wrote:

> I would be interested in having comments
> on the Tamil form: வாரணாசி [vāraṇāci].
> See the Tamil Lexicon (p. 3610)
> வாரணாசி vāraṇāci, n. < Vāraṇasī. Benares,  
> situate between the rivers Varaṇā and Asī; காசி.  
> வாரணாசியோர்  
> மறையோம்பாளன் (மணி. 13, 3).
> See also another entry (p.3609), which gives a different spelling.
> வாரணசி vāraṇaci, n. < vāraṇasī. See  
> வாரணாசி. (யாழ். அக.)
> The authority quoted by the Tamil Lexicon for the spelling  
> vāraṇāci is the Maṇimēkalai
> and comes from the chapter that tells the story of  
> ஆபுததிரன்.
> -- Jean-Luc Chevillard (Paris)
> Le 2/15/2010 6:42 AM, Gary Tubb a écrit :
>> I am tempted to add, in the section on mispronunciations, an entry  
>> on "vaaraaNasii" (as the name of the city), with a note to the  
>> effect that, for the same reasons as given for "mahaabhaarata" and  
>> "raamaayaNa," the third syllable in this name is the least  
>> appropriate place to apply a stress accent.  But I have been  
>> struck over the years by the frequency with which many people I  
>> respect as experts on Banaras habitually lengthen and stress the  
>> vowel in the third syllable---so much so that I wonder whether  
>> they might be following some local tradition unknown to me,  
>> despite the official spelling of the name.  Are they?  Is there  
>> any good reason to make the third "a" vowel in "Varanasi" long?
>> ---
>> Gary Tubb, Professor and Chair
>> Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations
>> The University of Chicago

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