Top 11 Things to Experience in Varanasi
When it comes to Varanasi, people always think about a bunch of temples and a river that Hindus consider as holy. Varanasi is as old as the civilization of human beings. It is one of the few oldest inhabited cities that are still in use. This city resides along the banks of the River Ganges. This city is located in Uttar Pradesh of India. Benares and Kashi are a few other names for this place. This city is more than 5000 years old. You can find a lot of unique activities here and these make this city, a real paradise for travellers who look for experience. For travellers, here are 11 different things that you should do in Varanasi.
1. Ganges Boat Ride
A boat ride on the river in dawn is the first thing that you should do in Varanasi. You can find a lot of ritual activities happening on the banks of the river. Ghat is the place where the river can be accessed easily from the banks. Staircases are built in the Ghats for people to reach the river with ease. Each ghat has a mythological power. There is a ghat for curing leprosy, for honoring late relatives and so on. The best time to take this boat ride is either in the morning before 8:30 AM or during sunset.
Also Read : Things To Do In The City Of Ghats – Varanasi
Suggested Tour : 9 Days – Golden Triangle with Varanasi Tour (Ganges Tour)
2. Ganges Bathing
Hindus consider bathing in Ganges would remove their sins and give them a place in heaven. You need not believe that or even think about it. It is slow running water which is cool and refreshing. There are 84 ghats in the city and almost all ghats would be busy with people. Choose the least busy ghat and have a dip. The cool water and refreshing air would do magic to your mood.
Suggested Tour : 3 Days – Varanasi Tour including Sarnath
3. Temples of Varanasi
This is a city of early men thus; temples and other religious sites are very common. Hindus consider that this city has a closer connection with God. The ancient city plan of Varanasi had temples in every nook and corner of the city. Many temples have fallen into dust with time. Many still stand as icons of Hindu mythology. You need not visit all the temples in the city. Choose a few popular ones alone. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple has two gold domes and was built in the 18th century. This is one of the very famous temples here. Other important temples are Durga temple of 18th century, Ankatha temple, Annapurna temple, Mritunjav mahadev temple, Bharat Mata temple (temple dedicated to the Mother India), Tulsi Manas and Kalbhairav temple.
Suggested Tour : 10 Days – Golden Triangle with North India Temple
4. Stroll along the river
Since boating is over, let’s enjoy the river from the other side. Stroll along the banks and watch the ghats for any interesting activities. You can find a lot of ritual activities that are interesting to watch. Top ghats to visit are Dashashwamedh Ghat, Anandaimai ghat, Raj ghat, Munshi ghat, Manikarnika ghat and others. Tulsi ghat is the one where a dip would cure leprosy according to mythology. If you love water, exploring ghats is one of the interesting things that you should not miss in this city.
Suggested Tour : 15 Days – India Nepal Tour with Khajuraho & Varanasi
5. Aarti Ceremony of Dusk
If you visit the banks during evening, you would find a lot of beautifully lit oil lamps used for ritual activities. These lamps would weigh almost five kilograms and people would handle it as if it’s a mere toy. The whole ceremony with glittering oil lamps when the whole surrounding area has become dark would be beautiful. The best way to enjoy this ceremony is to watch it from the Dashashwamedh ghat. The sound of chats, aroma of flowers and other aromatic elements used would be a new experience for all. This ceremony starts at 6:45 PM and is carried out for 45 minutes every day.
Suggested Tour : 15 Days – North India with Nepal Tour
6. Weaver Village
Banarasi silk is considered to be an heirloom in India. Women give their Banarasi silk sarees to their daughter as a tradition and are passed on from generations to generations. This Banarasi silk is world famous and usually sought by kings of India and surrounding nations to impress their queens. Sarai Mohana village is known for making Banarasi sarees. The saree or sari is the traditional dress of Indian women.
Banarasi saree is made out of golden or silver brocade with unspeakably enchanting embroidery. Brides of India prefer Banarasi sarees for their wedding. Visit the village to see people creating cloth out of threads. You can watch how they design their clothes with looms. One Banarasi saree takes 15 days for completion. If you are interested, you can buy a couple of saree as souvenirs.
7. Sarnath Tour
Sarnath is a small site located a little away from Varanasi. If you are ready to make a small day tour from Varanasi, this should be your first stop. This is a famous Buddhist site as it is the place where Gautam Buddha preached for the first time after attaining enlightenment. The relics of this site are very famous among Buddhist pilgrims. This place has many ruins and relics that were built in 200 BC or earlier. Mulagandhkuti Vihara is a place where Buddha spent many days in meditation during rainy season. This site has six temples from various nations which includes a Tibetan and a Sri Lankan temple. There is a museum in Sarnath where you can find some interesting historic sculptures, relics and others.
Suggested Tour : 3 Days – Varanasi Tour
Also Read : Touring from Varanasi To Bodhgaya
8. Remains of old Varanasi
Varanasi has changed a lot in the last few centuries. Yet, there are a few historic places where you can feel the real old Varanasi. Gyan Vapi well of old Vishwanth temple is considered to be the well of wisdom. This well is now in ruins as it was destroyed by Emperor Aurangzeb in 17th century.
Also Read : What is there in Varanasi?
Benaras Hindu University is one of the oldest educational institutes in the country that is still functioning. The Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum has painting from 11th century and earlier. There are more than twelve thousand paintings. If you are an art lover, you should visit this museum.
Ramnagar fort is located near Assi ghat. It was built in 17th century and had been the palace of Varanasi kings for about 400 years. Today it is in ruins and is a common film shooting spot.
9. Shopping spree in Varanasi
Each temple has numerous small shops around it. The number of shops will multiply numerous numbers of times during festival season. You can find interesting, unique and valuable items here. If you do not know to haggle, do not shop in Varanasi without someone’s help. Top things to purchase here are deities of Hinduism or Buddhism, bangles, stone inlay works, silk sarees, carpets, shawls and ornate jewels. There will be a lot of duplicate items too. Remember to bring some expert with you if you are planning to buy something very valuable in the street shops. If you want to buy authentic silk saree, visit the weavers’ village. Top shopping areas in this city are Godowilia, Chowk, Vishwanth lane and Thateri Bazaar.
Also Read : 15 Best Things to Buy in Varanasi
10. Foodie Time in Varanasi
The food in Varanasi is always vegetarian. It is hard to find any non-vegetarian hotels here. You can find many wonderful street side foods like Tamatar chat, Aloo tikki, pani puri and Kachori. Top sweet items to enjoy here are Rabri, Jalebis, Banarasi Kalakand and others. If you are planning to buy some sweets for your friends back in your home town, jalebi is a better option. Paan is a chewing betel leaf that is the speciality of this area. You ought to try paan here. But, beware of the ingredients. Do not buy it from anyone in the street. Choose authentic stores for the real taste of paan.
11. One Day Tour from Varanasi
Other than Sarnath, there are a lot of interesting places near Varanasi. If you are visiting Varanasi, you should visit Chandra Prabha Sanctuary. This place has a lot of picnic spots and is the best place if you are visiting with your children. Other important attractions near Varanasi are Chunar Fort, Vindhyachal, Jaunpur and Ram Nagar.
Read More : How to cover Varanasi tour in one day?
These are the 11 things that you should enjoy in Varanasi. Now, let us get in detail about your Varanasi vacation.
Complete Details : Holy City, Varanasi Travel Guide – Visitor Information & Tips
Suggested Tour : 9 Days – Golden Triangle with Varanasi Tour
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