20 Best Places To Visit In Varanasi And Arounds

The best way to explain Varanasi in one word would be ‘sacred’. The city is one of the colorful and ritual based destinations on the face of earth. This is one of the oldest inhabited cities, which is still in use. Hindus believe that the city was built and lived by the divinity, himself. The river, which flows through Varanasi is called River Ganges.

It is the holiest river for Hindus. Thus, many Ghats in Varanasi were built on either side of the river for specific purposes. Flaring rituals, godly ceremonies and the fragrance of incense sticks are iconic to Varanasi.

city-of-varanasi

Are you looking for tour packages to visit Varanasi? Top suggested packages are

  1. 9 days Golden Triangle with Varanasi tour
  2. 14 days Rajasthan with Varanasi
  3. 16 days North India with Taj Mahal + Ganges

For more tour packages of Varanasi, click the link

Top 20 Classic Varanasi Destinations

  1. Dashashwamedh Ghat
  2. Assi Ghat
  3. Manikarnika Ghat
  4. Scindia Ghat
  5. Kashi Vishwanath temple
  6. Durga temple
  7. Nepali Temple
  8. Bharat Mata temple
  9. New Vishwanath temple
  10. Kalbhairav temple
  11. Tulsi Manas Mandir
  12. Mrityunjay Mahadev Mandir
  13. Saraswati Bhawan
  14. Ramnagar Fort and Museum
  15. Chunar Fort
  16. Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum
  17. Man Mandir Observatory
  18. Alamgir mosque
  19. Godowlia Market
  20. Sarnath

1. Dashashwamedh Ghat

This is the icon ghat of Varanasi. This is the location of Ganga Arti, the most photographed ceremony of India. It is said that Lord Brahma created this ghat by sacrificing ten horses. By sunset, pilgrims flock this place to watch the arti ritual. Some even hire a boat to watch the ritual from the water. If you want to enjoy a clear view of the ritual, dine at any of the rooftop restaurants near the ghat. The ghat thrives with touristy business. The boat owners will lurk you into taking a Ganges boat ride, while the shop keepers try to make you tour their shops. You can also find some massage practitioners propagating their business in this ghat.

dashashwamedh-ghat

How to reach

From the airport, you can find cabs and autos to reach Godowlia. It is a market region of Varanasi. Beyond Godowlia, vehicles are not allowed. Tourists have to walk for ten minutes to reach Dashashwamedh ghat from the market.

Entrance fee

  • No entrance fee is required.

Dashashwamedh Ghat Attractions

  1. Grand rituals, Ganga arti and other ceremonial activities.
  2. You can find numerous temples around the ghat
  3. Boating from the ghat or toward Dashashwamedh ghat is a major activity. Try to enjoy boating during sunrise or sunset. If you are up for some boating experience, it is best to visit Khidkiya Ghat for luxury cruise.
  4. Pilgrims and locals take a holy dip, early in the morning in this ghat to wash off their earthly sins.
  5. Special rituals take place near the ghat during every Tuesdays
  6. Pouring milk into the river from this ghat is considered to be a very holy act.

2. Assi Ghat

Located on the farther southern side of the river, this ghat is specifically chosen by tourists to worship Lord Shiva. Thus, it goes without saying that this ghat becomes very grand during any festival pertaining to Lord Shiva. It is a lively spot famous among tourists and pilgrims. Ganga Arti is performed in this ghat too. This is one of the biggest ghats of the region.

assi-ghat

How to reach

The ghat is 27 km away from the airport. You can find cabs, autos and other road transportation’s to reach up to the Cantt bus station and hire rickshaw to reach Assi. You can also find e-rickshaw, auto and taxi from the bus stand to the ghat. The bus stand is just ten minutes away from the airport. If you do not have heavy luggage, you can walk to the bus stand.

Entrance fee

  • No entrance fee required.

Assi Ghat Attractions

  1. Finding boats to hire is easier in this region
  2. You can find many music and yoga sessions in this ghat, early in the morning
  3. You can find many entertainers and hawkers in this ghat during evening
  4. This is the right place for finding luxury hotels to stay.
  5. Visit the peepul tree near the ghat. People walk around the tree to worship the lingam under the tree.

Read More : How to Cover Varanasi Tour in One Day?

3. Manikarnika Ghat

Not everyone will consider this as a tourist spot. This is the cremation ground for Hindus. You can always spot glowing pyres in this region. Many earthen oil lamps will be left to flow on the river, as an offering. It is considered to be a sacred place on earth to be burnt to attain eternal salvation.

manikarnika-ghat

How to reach

The ghat is about 28 km away from the airport and just 3 km from railway station. You can find buses and other road transportation from the airport to the ghat. It would not take more than 35 minutes to reach the ghat from the airport.

Entrance fee

  • No entrance fee. If you find someone asking for alms to cremate his/her loved ones, it might be a scam.

Manikarnika Ghat Attractions

  1. You might be a tourist on a well-earned vacation. This does not change the fact that the burning pyre is someone’s dear relative. Do not take pictures or create a touristy effect on the burning ground.
  2. The best way to scale the place is on a boat from Dashashwamedh Ghat to get a glimpse of the ceremonies in the ghat.

4. Scindia Ghat

This ghat is said to be the birthplace of Agni, the demigod of fire. Devotees visit this ghat to pray to Vireshwara for granting a heroic son. From the ghat, visit the Siddha Kshetra alley to find many hidden temples of Kashi.

scindia-ghat

How to reach from airport?

From the airport, you can find vehicles to reach Dashashwamedh Ghat. From the ghat, you can find many ferries to reach Scindia Ghat. In addition, the ghat is very closer to Manikarnika Ghat.

Entrance fee

  • None

Scindia Ghat Attractions

  1. It is famous for a submerged Shiva temple, which was sunken into the water, due to the overweight of the ghat. It is continuously sinking and would soon be completely under water
  2. Visit the alleys near the ghat for visiting many unique temples
  3. Taking a holy dip in the ghat or meditation in the ghat is considered to be very auspicious

Also read : Things To Do In The City Of Ghats – Varanasi

5. Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Do not confuse it with the New Vishwanath temple of Varanasi. This is one of the holiest Shiva temples on earth. It is also called as the golden temple of Varanasi. The temple was destroyed numerous times in the pasts by invaders and rulers. The current structure was built in 16th century. The exact year of initial construction of the temple is unknown. The whereabouts of the temple were indicated in holy scripts, which are several centuries old. In 12th century, the temple was first demolished. You can also find the mosque built by Aurangazeb, near the temple. The mosque was built after demolishing the temple.

Kashi-Vishwanath-temple

According to the legends, during a dispute between Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma, about who the mightiest was, Lord Shiva came up with an idea. He turned into a large column of light and announced that he who could find the end of the light will be the mightiest. After trying, Lord Vishnu admitted that he failed to find the end. On the other hand, Lord Brahma lied about finding the end of the light. He cursed him that he would not have any place of worship on land. The column of light pierced earth on 12 places. These 12 places are considered as jyotirlinga. One of those twelve places is the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

How to reach

The Kashi Vishwanath temple is very close to Manikarnika ghat. From the airport, you can find cabs and other road transportation to reach the temple, with ease.

Entrance fee

  • None

Kashi Vishwanath Temple Attractions

  1. The main deity of the temple is 60 cm tall and is placed in a silver altar.
  2. There is a small well inside the temple called Jnana Vapi well. It is also called as the wisdom well. It is said that during an invasion, the head priest of the temple grabbed the deity and jumped into the well to safeguard the deity and sacrificed his life in the process.
  3. Five rituals take place every days. It is best to visit during a ritual to enjoy interesting activities.

6. Durga Temple

Durga temple is also called as the Monkey temple. Do not confuse it with the temple for Monkey God. This temple literally has huge number of monkeys in the complex. This is one of the reasons to why children would love to visit this place. Located near Durga Kund, this temple has an iconic red color. Built in 18th century, this temple was commissioned by the queen of Bengal. The pond (Durga Kund) lies very close to the temple. On each corner of the pond, there is a watchtower to get a great view of the region.

durga-mandir

How to reach

From the airport, you can find various transportation to reach the temple. It is just 2 km away from BHU and 13 km from Cantt Varanasi. You can find autos, cabs and rickshaws to the temple, easily.

Entrance fee

  • No entrance fee

Durga Temple Attractions

  1. The deity of the temple is said to have appeared on its own. It was not made by human.
  2. If you visit during Navaratri, you can find numerous distinctive rituals and celebrations in this region.

7. Nepali Temple

Also called as Mini Khajuraho and Kanthwala Mandir, this is one of the oldest temples of Varanasi. This temple was built in 19th century for Lord Shiva. The temple is unique as it is made with terraotta, wood and stone and, it is a replica of Kathmandu’s Pashupatinath Temple.

How to reach

The temple is located in Lalita Ghat. It is around 3.8 km away the railway station. You can find buses and cabs from the airport to the temple, directly. If you are visiting Manikarnika Ghat, you can walk to the temple, which is 100 m away from the ghat.

Entrance fee

  • None

Nepali Temple Attractions of the region

  1. Termite proof wood roof
  2. Temple is surrounded by peepal and tamarind trees
  3. All the statues are carved out of wood and are similar to that of the group of temples of Khajuraho

Are you planning to scale Varanasi along with Khajuraho?

  1. 7 days Khajuraho and Varanasi tour
  2. 10 days Golden triangle with North India temple

8. Bharat Mata Temple

This is the temple for Mother India. This is a unique temple, which is dedicated to a country. There are no deities in the temple and it does not represent any religion. It was constructed in 1936 and was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi.

bharat-mata-temple

How to reach

This temple is located inside Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith complex. It is just 2 km away from the railway station. From the airport, you can either take a bus to the railway station and then hire an auto to reach the temple or, find a direct cab to the temple from the airport.

Entrance fee

  • None

Bharat Mata Temple Attractions

  1. The entire structure is built with stone and the main attraction here is a large India 3D map, made with marble.
  2. The map of the temple shows the undivided India along with Pakishtan.

Are you planning to scale more temples? View Pilgrimage Place In India

9. New Vishwanath Temple

This is the biggest attraction of the region. This temple is located inside BHU and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The tower of the temple is the tallest in the world. Built in 20th century, this temple was inspired by the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

How to reach

From the airport, you can find buses, cabs and autos to reach the gate of BHU. From the entrance, you need to scale the place on foot.

Entrance fee

  • None

New Vishwanath Temple Attractions

  1. It contains 9 shrines including shrines for Shiva, Durga, Laksmi Narayan, Hanuman, Saraswati, Ganesh and others.
  2. The walls are made with marbles and the entire script of Bhagavad Gita is carved on the walls

10. Kalbhairav Temple

This temple is located close to Visheshar Ganj. The temple is open from 5 in the morning to 1:30 in the afternoon and from 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm. According to legends, when the Vedas and sages declared Lord Shiva to be the greatest power of all, Lord Brahma became very arrogant and even laughed at the decision. Lord Shiva took the form of Kaal Bhairav and broke the fifth head of Brahma. Lord Shiva then mentioned that his new form, Kaal Bhairav will stay in Kashi (today’s Varanasi) forever to remove the sins from the world.

According to another legend, Lord Shiva took the form of Kaal Bhairav and broke the head of Lord Brahma. At that instant, he was affected by Brahma Hastiya sin (sin of hurting a Brahmin). The fifth head of Lord Brahma stuck to Lord Shiva’s hand. He roamed all around the universe with the severed head. When he reached Varanasi, the head dropped from his hand, indicating that his sins have been washed. Thus, Varanasi became the place for any sin to be washed.

How to reach

You can find direct buses, cabs and autos from the airport to the temple. The temple can also be reached with ease from any part of the city.

Entrance fee

  • No entrance fee

Kalbhairav Temple Attractions

  1. Fierce form of Lord Shiva. The deity can be seen wearing a garland made of skulls and riding on a black dog.
  2. Anyone who wishes to live in Varanasi should take permission from this deity. Also, the locals planning on taking a long vacation trip or planning to relocate to a new place for career or other reasons ask permission from the deity, before doing so.

Also Read : Top 5 Hindu Temples in India

Suggested Tour : 2 Days – Varanasi Tour Itinerary

11. Mrityunjay Mahadev Mandir

This is one of the famous temples of Varanasi, famous for cultural and historic importance. The shrines inside this temple complex are more than thousand years old. The temple holds a shivalinga, which is said to cure chronic diseases. There is a small well in the temple. According to legends, Dhanvantari, the God of Medicine poured all his medicines into the well, giving it medicinal powers.

How to reach

You can find direct buses to Gola Ghat. From the ghat, you can find cabs and autos to reach the temple. The temple is 2 km away from Gola Ghat and 1 km away from Pancha Ganga Ghat. You can also find autos and cabs from railway station and airport, directly to the temple.

Entrance fee

  • No entrance fee

Mrityunjay Mahadev Mandir Attractions

  1. The temple is famous for its serene environment and interesting rituals.
  2. After every ritual, water from the medicinal well is sprinkled on the devotees. This is the main attraction of the temple, which makes thousands of tourists and pilgrims to visit the temple.

12. Tulsi Manas Mandir

This temple was built in 20th century and is dedicated to Lord Ram. The temple was built at the exact spot where Saint Goswami Tulsidas wrote the Ramcharitamansa in 16th century. The temple is open from 5:30 in the morning to 12 at noon and from 3:30 in the evening to 9 in the evening. On the right side of the temple, you will find a lush tulsi (holy basil) garden. In the garden, you will find a small statue of Tulsidas. On the left to the temple, there is a serene pond with four ghats. On the four ghats, you can find numerous statues pertaining to the Hindu Epic. On the northern ghat, you will find Shri Kakbhushundi ji statue. Shri Yagwalkaji Maharaj statue is found on the southern bank, Shri Ashuthosh Shankar statue on the eastern bank and Goswai Tulsidas statue on the western bank.

tulsi-manas-mandir

How to reach

From the airport, you can find auto, taxi or rickshaw to reach the temple. Alternatively, walk to the bus stand from the airport and hire a bus. You can easily find transportation from any part of Varanasi to the temple.

Entrance fee

  • None

Tulsi Manas Mandir Attractions

  1. The second floor of this temple holds numerous paintings and statues of Hindu legends and scenes from numerous epics.
  2. There is a big hall in the temple complex with three shrines in it.
  3. You can find statues of all the important characters of Ramayan.
  4. The marble walls of the temple has engravings of the epic

Also read : Holy City, Varanasi Travel Guide – Visitor Information and Tips

13. Saraswati Bhawan

This is the museum located inside the Ramnagar Fort. This museum is located in the Public Audience Hall of Ram Nagar Fort. The museum holds unique collections of American vintage automobiles, ivory works, royal palanquins, medieval royal costumes, elephant saddles made of silver, Varanasi silk articles and others. The armor hall holds ancient swords, guns of Africa, old matchlocks, daggers, musical instruments and a rare astronomical clock. In addition, you can find many ancient and unique manuscripts, miniature paintings, books and much more.

How to reach

You can find various styles of transportation from the airport to Dashashwamedh Ghat. You can de-board the vehicle near the market and walk to the ghat. From the ghat, hire ferryboats to reach the fort.

Entrance fee

  • There is no entrance fee to enter the fort. Cost of entering the museum is INR 20 per head for Indians and INR 150 per head for foreigner.

Saraswati Bhawan Attractions

  1. Visit during Dusshera or Raj Mangal festival to enjoy a unique time
  2. Once outside the fort, try out lassi in any of the street shop. It is a local drink made with curd, cardamom and sugar.

Suggested Tour : 3 Days – Varanasi Tour

14. Ram Nagar Fort

The Fortification in Ramnagar of Varanasi is called Ramnagar Fort or Ram Nagar Fort. It is located on the eastern bank of Ganga, opposite to Tulsi Ghat. This 18th centurysandstone structure has fallen prey to the passage of time and wear-and-tear. In the past, it was the home to the ruler of Kashi.

ramnagar-fort

How to reach

From the airport, reach Dashashwamedh Ghat and take a ferry ride to the museum. It would take one hour to reach the fort from the ghat. On the other hand, you can also find boats from Tulsi Ghat. However, reaching Dashashwamedh Ghat and finding a ferry is the most common option by many tourists.

Entrance fee

  • Cost of entering the fort via Pontoon bridge – INR 200
  • Cost of entering the fort from Dashashwamedh Ghat – INR 500
  • No entrance fee for the fort

Ram Nagar Fort Attractions

  1. Best place to watch Ram Lila festival. During the festival, the royal antiques and weapons are displayed to the locals.
  2. The king visits the fort during this festival on a decorated elephant.
  3. Explore the fort to spot many palaces, halls, reception rooms, towers and others.

15. Chunar Fort

Chunar Fort is located 23 km away from Varanasi. It is located in Mirzapur district and is famous for its historic importance and legend stories. The fort is located on the banks of the River Ganges. The fort is said to be built in 11th century. The fort also has a spooky supernatural history too.

chunnar_fort

How to reach

You can find buses, cabs and other road transportations from the airport. Chunar is also connected to other cities via rail route and road route.

Entrance fee

  • None

Chunar Fort Attractions

  1. The northeastern region of the fort holds many cannons. You can find gunpowder magazines too, in this region.
  2. The oriel windows of this fort are very similar to that of the windows of Agra Fort.
  3. You can find a hospital, prison and Governor House inside the complex.
  4. The engravings on the Pavilion near the gate is said to be made with gold.
  5. There is a stone slab near a peepal tree in the fort. It is said that the divine power stays on the stone for nine powers a day and the rest in Varanasi.

Also Read : Monuments in Varanasi

16. Bharat Kala Bhawan Museum

This is an archeology and art museum located inside the BHU of Varanasi. This museum is focused on showcasing art and antique of the land. The museum was established in 1920 and was shifted to several locations before reaching BHU in 1962. Mahatma Gandhi visited this museum thrice during his lifetime.

How to reach

From the airport, you can find buses, cabs and autos to reach the gate of BHU. From the entrance, you need to scale the place on foot.

Entrance fee

  • Indian visitor – INR 5 per head for all the sections except Nidhi Gallery. Entry fee of Nidhi gallery is INR 5 (in addition to entrance fee)
  • Foreign visitor – INR 40 for the entire museum
  • Camera – INR 10

Bharat Kala Bhawan Museum Attractions

  1. Buddhism and Hindu sculptures, artifacts, pictures and manuscripts
  2. Miniature painting of Mughals
  3. Statues and contemporary art work from 1st century to 5th
  4. Miniature paintings of Pahari, Gujarati and Rajasthani style

Also Read : 10 Most Interesting and Unique Museums to Visit in India

17. Man Mandir Observatory

In 15th century, Sawai Man Singh of Amber built a magnificent palace named Man Singh Palace. In 19th century, a Hindu observatory was built by Sawai Jai Singh. He was well versed in mathematics and astronomy. He created numerous instruments to calculate the position of the heavenly bodies.

man-mandir-observatory

How to reach from airport?

From Lal Bahadur Shastri International airport,reach Dashashwamedh Ghat. From the ghat, a narrow lane will lead you to the palace. In addition, the vehicles will not reach beyond the market. Thus, you need to walk on foot for 15 minutes to reach the ghat.

Entrance fee

  • None

Man Mandir Observatory Attractions

  1. Mural Quadrant
  2. Samrata Yantra – measures the meridian, declination of heavenly bodies and others
  3. Laghu Samrata Yantra
  4. And many other instruments

18. Alamgir Mosque

Aurangazeb’s mosque or the Alamgir mosque is the 17th century mosque was built after destroying a Vishnu temple, in that location. Other religious tourists are not allowed to visit the mosque. It is built with a blend of Hindu and Islamic architecture.

alamgir-mosque

How to reach

From the airport, you can find many buses, cabs and autos to reach Panch Ganges Ghat. From the ghat, you need to climb a few steps to reach the mosque.

Entrance fee

  • Only Muslims can enter the mosque

Alamgir Mosque Attractions

  1. Famous for domes and minarets
  2. Bamboo staff lamps are lit in October
  3. The place where the mosque is located is the point where five streams join together

Also Read : 10 Most Famous Mosques in India

19. Godowlia Market

Godowlia Market is one of the busiest shopping destinations of Varanasi. You can find seas of shops selling unique and common items. Top items to buy here are Benaras silk, deity statues, ritual items, musical instrument, jewelry, textiles, accessories and others.

varanasi-market

How to reach

From the airport, you can find numerous buses, cabs and autos to reach the entrance of the market. Once inside the market, you need to scale the market on foot.

Entrance fee

  • None

Godowlia Market Attractions

You can find numerous shops of varying genre in this market. You can also find street vendors selling delicacies in the evening. Before shopping, read best things to buy in Varanasi to shop better and wisely.

Must Read : 15 Best Things to Buy in Varanasi

20. Sarnath

Located 10 km away from Varanasi, Sarnath is a destination for Buddhist pilgrimage. This is the place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after enlightenment. In addition, Sarnath is the birthplace of the 11th Tirthankara. Thus, it is of religious importance for Jains too.

Sarnath

How to reach

You can find daily trains from Varanasi to Sarnath. It would take one hour to reach Varanasi from Sarnath via train. The railway station is just one kilometer away from the Lal Bahadur Shastri International airport. You can also find cabs and buses from various parts of the city to Sarnath.

Entrance fee

  • The museums and deer park have entrance fee. All the temples and other religious sites are free of cost to enter.

Sarnath Attractions

  1. Thai temple of Sarnath is famous for the exclusive gardens and architectural style.
  2. Chukhandi Stupa of 5th century is the place where Lord Buddha had his first meeting with his disciples.
  3. Mulagandha Kuti Vihar is famous for frescoes, art works and others.
  4. Tibetan temple is famous for the architecture, Tibetan styled Buddhist paintings, frescoes and others. It holds the Shakyamuni statue.
  5. Visit the Archaeological and excavation area of Sarnath to spot ruins of monasteries and other ancient buildings.
  6. Dhammek Stupa is a Maurya Dynasty structure, which is famous among pilgrims
  7. Ashoka Pillar, the emblem of India is found in Sarnath.
  8. Visit the deer park, if you are visiting with your kids

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Read our exclusive blog Touring from Varanasi to Bodhgaya to enjoy a perfect Buddhist pilgrimage during your next visit.

Are you ready to visit India to enjoy Varanasi? There are numerous way to scale the place. Read India Tourist Visa- A Complete Guide to start the first stage of vacation planning, by getting a tourist visa. With special pilgrimage train to Varanasi, you can also add Varanasi as an add-on destination to your already planned vacation too.

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