Banaras Hindu University (commonly referred to as BHU) is a public university located in Varanasi, India and is one of the Central Universities of India. It is the largest residential university in Asia, with over 24,000 students in its campus. BHU was founded in 1916 by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya under the Parliamentary legislation 'B.H.U. Act 1915'. The campus spread over 1350 acres (5.5 km²) was built on land donated by the Kashi Naresh, the hereditary ruler of Banaras. Apart from the main campus, the Rajiv Gandhi South Campus covering 2,760-acre (11.2 km2) is at Barkatcha near the city of Mirzapur, about 80 kilometers from Banaras.
It has 140 teaching departments and more than 55 hostels for boys and girls. The total enrollment in the university stands at just over 15000, including students from all over India and abroad. Several of its colleges, including engineering (IT-BHU), science, linguistics, journalism & mass communication, law and medicine (IMS-BHU), Faculty of Management Studies, are ranked amongst the best in India. Out of these IT-BHU is set to become India's 16th IIT, IIT-BHU from the academic session 2010. Also, the university is well known for its Department of French studies which offers degree and diploma courses. BHU is ranked as the second best university in the field of research in India after Delhi University.It is also ranked as the best overall university of India on all parameters as per the India Today magazine dated 2 June 2010.