The idea of this university was mooted as early as 1904. Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya was a barrsiter from Allahabad, but his Karmabhoomi was Varanasi.
In 1907, Annie Besant had also mooted as idea of establishing the “University of India” at Varanasi and she also submitted a memorandum for grant of Royal charter.
In April 1911, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and Annie Besant decided to unite their forces and work for a common Hindu University at Varanasi. This culminated in the “The Hindu University Society”.
In 1915, under Lord Hardinge, BHU act was passed by which Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya established the Banaras Hindu University.
However, to carry out the scheme, a sum of Rupees 50 Lakh was required. Malviya spent the next 4 years gathering support and raising funds for the university. The Nizam of Hyderabad and Berar, Mir Osman Ali Khan, also made a donation of ₹1 lakh for the university. This target was achieved by 1915.
The Central Hindu College was made the part of the University. This was followed by a Bill in the Imperial Legislative Council in March, 1915 by Sir Harcourt Butler. This Banaras Hindu University Bill was passed in October 1915 and on February 4, 1916, Lord Hardinge, laid the foundation stone of the University.
Today, With over 30,000 students residing in campus, it is the largest residential university in Asia.
The most prominent landmark is the Shri Vishwanath Mandir, located in the centre of the campus. The foundation for this 252 feet (77 m) high complex of seven temples was laid in March 1931, and took almost three decades to complete.
It became the Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (IIT- BHU) in 1968. It was designated an Indian Institute of Technology in 2012.
The Sayaji Rao Gaekwad Library is the main library on campus and houses over 1.3 million volumes as of 2011. Completed in 1941, its construction was financed by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III of Baroda.
BHU observes Saraswati puja day (also known as Vasant Panchami) as its foundation day.