It is the object of an ancient and famous pilgrimage due to the tradition that Mary, sister of the Virgin, and Mary, mother of James and John, together with their black servant Sara, Lazarus, Martha, Mary Magdalen and St Maximin fled thither to escape persecution in Judaea.
Of other Indian writers mention may be made of Cridhara, the author of a Ganita-sara (" Quintessence of Calculation "), and Padmanabha, the author of an algebra.
Illiyun, which Mahomet uses of a heavenly book (Sara 83; 18, 19), is clearly the Hebrew elyon, " high " or " exalted."
Two festivals are held in the town, a less important one in October, the other, on the 24th and 25th of May, unique for its gathering of gipsies who come in large numbers to do honour to the tomb of their patroness Sara, contained in the crypt below the apse.
The Ganges is crossed by six railway bridges on its course as far as Benares; and another, at Sara in Eastern Bengal, has been sanctioned.