Archaeological investigations conducted in Varanasi have brought to light three major religious settlements, Varanasi (the capital city of the Kashi janpada), Sarnath and Aktha, dating from the early historical to the early medieval period (Map 4.1). Two of these, Aktha and Sarnath, are located in the Varuna valley, while the capital city expanded along the left bank of the river Ganga, from Rajghat (on the river Varuna) to Dashasamedha and, later, to the river Assi. Geomorphological studies in the region further suggest an inter-se relationship of early settlements with the water channels. Thus, the sites and the geological formations of Varanasi provide satisfactory grounds for the study of sacred spaces in the river valleys, as all the three seem to have adopted the geomorphology of the Ganga valley, but in their make-up and history they differ from each other.