Kāshī ［迦尸国］ (; Pali Kāsī; Kashi-koku): Also known as the Vārānasī kingdom. One of the sixteen great states of India in the sixth century b.c.e. Its capital was Vārānasī (present-day Varanasi, also known as Benares), a flourishing center of commerce in northern India. Deer Park, now Sarnath, where Shakyamuni gave his first sermon, was located a few miles north of Varanasi. Kāshī was situated in the middle Ganges Valley on the fertile Indo-Gangetic Plain, where water transportation was conducive to trade and agriculture thrived. During the time of Shakyamuni, Kāshī fell under the rule of Kosala, another kingdom in the middle Ganges Valley. Later, as the Magadha kingdom in the lower Ganges Valley expanded its political power, its king, Ajātashatru annexed Kāshī.