Things To Do In Varanasi – A Complete Travel Guide

The holy city of Varanasi, also known as Banaras or Kashi, holds a must-experience charm. River Ganga splashes on its 52 ghats, constantly crowded with pilgrims and locals. The water is adorned with flowers and religious diyas as the remains of the dead flow through it. To experience its true essence, the best time to visit here is undoubtedly during festivals.

Table of Contents

  1. Things to do in Varanasi
  2. How to plan a trip to Varanasi
  3. About Varanasi
  4. Hotels and Resorts in Varanasi

Things To Do

If you’re looking to touch the spiritual and religious realms of life, Varanasi is just the right place.

Things to do in Varanasi In One Day

Here’s everything you can do while on a vacay:

  • Boat Ride On River Ganga

Rowing boat rides in the early morning are the best things to do in Varanasi. The Ganges River valley offers a panoramic view of this River and the region. Therefore, this activity tops the list of things to do here. A good time to witness the sunrise is between 5:30 and 8 in the morning.

  • Take A Dip In Ganga.

Varanasi has been blessed with a spiritual allure thanks to the sacred Ganges River. Taking a dip is a must here. Worldwide, pilgrims come to take a bath and achieve moksha, or release from the cycle of birth and death.

  • Godly Encounters In Varanasi Temples

Every nook and corner of the city is home to a temple, with Kashi Vishwanath Temple being the most well-known shrine in this area. It was constructed in 1780 and is encased in two gold domes. Other well-known temples include-

  1.  Durga Temple
  2. Annapurna Temple
  3. Ankatha Temple
  4. Mritunjay Mahadev Temple
  5. Tulsi Manas
  6.  Sankatmochan Temple

Offbeat Things To Do In At Varanasi

Varanasi

Varanasi is not just about places of worship. It also lets its travellers indulge in certain fun and offbeat activities.

  • Visit Festivals And Fairs

Numerous fairs and festivals are held here all year long. These fairs and festivals are often said to be the best places to visit in Varanasi. Some popular fairs here are Bharat Milap Mela, Mahashivtratri, Budhha Purnima, and Dhrupad Mela.

  • Cross The River Via Malviya Bridge

Take a stroll via the Malviya bridge to cross the Ganges. A railroad track is on the bridge’s lower deck, and alongside it you can enjoy the striking view of Ganga River in its entirety.

  • Play Cricket On Ghats

You often find local children playing cricket on the ghats. Don’t be afraid to ask and join in.

[Also read: Things to do in Vrindavan]

Nightlife 

Even though the city appears busy and overwhelming during the day, magic seems to start to happen at dusk.

  • Aarti Ceremony In The Evening

Your memories of the Varanasi evening aarti ceremony at the Ganges River will undoubtedly last a lifetime. The Dasawamedh Ghat is the only and the most famous place to witness the spectacular ceremony. At 6:45 PM every night, as the sun sets, you see the rituals being performed.

  • Dine On The Shore Of Ganga

Visit Assi Ghat for a break, where you can unwind and enjoy dining at authentic Indian restaurants. You can sate your sweet tooth with mithai and laddoos, the traditional fruit lassi and paan.

  • Explore The Culture

Rather than driving through Varanasi, explore the streets on foot. One of the best things to do in Varanasi at night is to take a stroll along the street. You might discover something fascinating while doing so.

  • Watch Sunsets At The Ghats.

A charming sight and the most romantic place to visit for couples are the Ghats. It is an unforgettable experience to stroll along the Ghats at dusk. Some ghats that you must visit are –

  1. Assi Ghat
  2. Dashashwamedh Ghat
  3. Manikarnika Ghat
  4. Scindia Ghat

[Also read: Things to do in Bangalore]

Shopping in Varanasi

A great way to bring back memories of the holy city is to shop here. Visit the local market to see the myriad of colours, intricate patterns, and elaborate designs. The city is well known for its silk saris and ornate jewels. One of the busiest shopping areas is Godowlia Market. Countless stores sell both unique and common items that you shouldn’t miss.

Places To Visit

Varanasi

Varanasi is not just about Ghats, temples, and the river Ganga. Here are some places to visit that depict the city’s culture and history.

  • Man Mandir Observatory

The Man Mandir Observatory was built by Sawai Jai Singh in the 19th century. It was one of the numerous instruments to calculate the position of the heavenly bodies. The different yantras exhibited here will make you wonder about the technology of that time.

  • Fort Ram Nagar

It is situated across from Tulsi Ghat on the eastern bank of the Ganga. Try visiting it during Ramleela to enjoy the trip to the fullest.

  • Bharat Kala Bhawan

If you are a history geek, this museum is a must-visit place. It is within BHU at Varanasi. This museum displays local artwork and antiques.

  • Banaras Hindu University

Since its establishment in 1916, Banaras Hindu University has played a significant role in shaping the city’s identity. Make sure to visit this historic and one of Asia’s largest living universities. There aren’t any hill stations near Varanasi, so if you want to get away from the crowds and the busy city, head to this picturesque 1,300-acre campus.

  • New Vishwanath Temple

This temple, which is housed inside the Banaras Hindu University, sees a daily influx of visitors. The temple actually consists of seven separate temples that work together to form a single large religious complex. This temple’s design was directly influenced by the fabled old Vishwanath temple.

[Also read: Things to do in Puri]

Places To Visit Near Varanasi

Varanasi is surrounded by beautiful places. Here are a few you must explore!

  • Chunar Fort

23 km away from Varanasi, Chunar Fort is a sight to witness. The fort is in the Mirzapur district and is well known for its spooky history. You must add this one to your list of places to visit near Varanasi.

  • Sarnath

Sarnath, a Buddhist pilgrimage site, is 10 kilometres from Varanasi. This is where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon following enlightenment. You will find magnificent stupas, Thai temples, vihars with beautiful frescos, and the Ashoka Pillar.

  • The Deer Park

It is one of the charming places to visit near Varanasi. The Deer Park, spread over 33 acres with flora and fauna, can be a lovely idea to spend quality time and have fun.

Places To Eat

It is a unique experience to eat delicious local street food in Varanasi. Street food is the true embodiment of Indian cuisine and culture, and Varanasi has a wide variety of cuisine to try. 

  • The Street Food

Varanasi’s sightseeing can help you explore its flavours. It offers you some of the most delicious chaats. Banaras is a cheap food affair full of wonders, from inventive tamatar chaat to pani puri, 10-rupee breakfast plates of poori-bhaji-jalebis, and rich lassis.

  • Vishnu Tea Emporium

You can visit this shop to delve deep into this culinary tradition. It provides up-close demonstrations of how to make masala chai from spices and fresh ingredients only four minute’s walk from Dasaswamedh Ghat. 

  • Brown Bread Cafe

This coffee shop is also known as the German Bakery. It offers cuisines from India, Italy, and Europe. Here, every bakery item is freshly baked with organic grains. It is renowned for its breakfast, which includes vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan options

[Also read: Things to do in Hardiwar]

How to Plan a trip to Varanasi

Varanasi

Varanasi, the Spiritual Capital of India, is the most visited and popular tourist attraction. The question of how to reach Varanasi is simple to answer.

How To Reach Varanasi

You can reach Varanasi by adopting one of the following modes/routes –

  • By Air

Route 1: Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport is the one that is closest to Varanasi. It is 26 km away in the town of Babatpur. There are daily domestic flights to and from Varanasi to several Indian cities.

Route 2: Varanasi and Allahabad Airport are both close by. Just 124 km, or two hours, separate Varanasi and Allahabad on the road. The flights to this airport are generally less expensive.

  • By Train

Varanasi’s two main railway stations, Kashi Junction and Varanasi Junction, have rail connections to important Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, etc.

  • By Road

Route 1: Varanasi has excellent road connectivity. To get to Varanasi from important nearby cities like Kanpur, Allahabad, Noida, etc., you can take a private taxi, a cab, or drive yourself

Route 2: You can easily travel by bus if coming from a city like Lucknow, Patna, Gorakhpur, or Ranchi, all located within 500 km from each other. From Lucknow, a well-maintained national highway (NH 2) and another national highway (NH 28) lead to Varanasi; the trip takes 6 to 7 hours.

Best Time To Visit

Best time to visit Varanasi is from October to March, as the weather is pleasant. Winters are cool and can get chilly at night. From April onwards, the temperature quickly rises to an uncomfortable 35 degrees Celsius.

About

about varanasi

Varanasi, one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, is in Uttar Pradesh. The mystique of this city has drawn pilgrims from all over India and abroad for centuries. The most striking feature of Varanasi is that it is both vibrant and fascinating. It houses old domes, ashrams, priests, and narrow lanes lined with shops selling Banarasi sarees. It marks experiences and locations you will not find anywhere else.

History

Varanasi was the centre of Vedic philosophy and religion by the second millennium BCE. During the Buddha’s time, it served as the capital of Kashi. The city is well-known for its sculpture, perfumes, ivory carvings, and silk fabrics. It became an independent kingdom after the Muslim invasions in the 18th century. It was ruled by the British until its independence in 1947.

Facts About Varanasi 

Following are some of the most intriguing facts.

  • Varanasi is home to about 23,000 temples dedicated to different Hindu deities. One serves as a temple to Mother India.
  • All holidays are enthusiastically observed by the locals, but Maha Shivratri and Dev Deepawali are particularly significant.
  • On Maha Shivratri, the entire city enjoys a drink made from cannabis that is sold legally. Talk about an adventure.

Hotels & Resorts

Here is a comprehensive list of lodging options for you.

Hotel Name Address Phone Number
Cresent Villa 126-A, Ravindrapuri Rd, Ravindrapuri Colony, Anandbagh Bhelupur, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh – 221001 9161288222
Hotel Clarks The Mall, Cantt. Varanasi – 221 002. Uttar Pradesh +91542250101120
The Art Hotel by VIA VARANASI Assi Rd, Ganga Bagh Colony, Anandbagh, Bhelupur, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221005 9819377669
Hotel Le Lotus Grand N-10/60 Opal Hospital, Next Building, DLW Rd, Kakarmata, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221005 05422300803
Dwivedi Hotels Palace On Steps Rana Mahal Ghat, D21 / 11, Bangali Tola Rd, near Dashashwamedh Ghat, Bangali Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001 05422450970

There is no denying that Varanasi in India is a fantastic destination. You can plan a wonderful trip here with a bit of preparation. To enjoy your trip more while visiting this city, ensure you set aside enough time to take in all. Witness the magic of the holy destination by booking a car rental to take you to all these places with a local driver. Install the Savaari cab booking app for offers and discounts on outstation rentals.  

About the author

A Journalism Graduate who is a Travel Lover, Photophile and a Foodie..... who also has a small addiction to long roadtrips.

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