Must Things to do in Varanasi for Tourist !


Things
to do in Varanasi is not as numerous as to do lists in other cities,
yet a few of them get overlooked by those planning a trip to this town.
Varanasi is as old as human civilization is. The ancient city nestled at
the banks of River Ganges is located in Uttar Pradesh. One of the seven
holy cities in India, Varanasi also has the names of Benares and Kashi.
From birth to death, every aspect of earthy existence and some say even
salvation is achieved only in the 5000 year old city. The experience of
the city is beyond words.





Two
worlds come together in Varanasi and each one spectacular in their own
way. The beating heart of Hindu culture, pilgrims believe that the city
offers moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death). And then
there are overtures of modernity in activities such as the evening arti
which is a spectacle on grand scale.





1. Boat Ride in Ganges River









The
holy Ganges River supplies Varanasi with a spiritual charm with Rowing
boat rides during the dawn is perhaps one of the best things to do in
Varanasi. The ride along Ganges River is few of the experiences of
Varanasi you shall cherish for a lifetime. It takes one through
different Ghats and former palaces situated close to the banks of
Ganges, giving a panoramic view of this River and the region. Observe
the Hindu rituals.





The best time
to enjoy boat ride of the Ganges River is the dawn hour as well as the
dusk hour. Early morning from 5:30 AM to 8 AM is a good way to see the
sun rise and the city engulf you in its charm. A sunset boat ride
especially during the aarti is also spectacular.





2. Take Bath in Ganges









The
holy Ganges River supplies Varanasi with a spiritual charm. The waters
of Ganges River are sacred. The divine river offers salvation to
everyone who bathes in the water. Pilgrims from all over in the world no
matter their age take a dip in the water to absolve their sins and
attain moksha, liberation form the cycle of birth and death.





Varanasi
has more than 84 Ghats with stairs leading to the waters. Bathing
happens here seen since the crack of dawn. People chant prayers to
appease the River Goddess.





3. Rendezvous with Gods at temples of  Varanasi









Owing
to their religious significance, temples feature high on the list of
things to do in Varanasi. In the holy land of gods, the temples of
Varanasi offer a direct rendezvous with gods. The ancient city has a
temple in every nook and corner. Some temples have links with legends of
Hindu mythology and many are built to honor their faith. The
architecture of the temples are of note. The spiritual ambiance is
soul-cleansing and definitely worth your time.





The
most popular of the temples here is the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
Encased in two gold domes the temple was built in 1780 by Queen
Ahilyabai Holker of Indore. A Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva known as the
Vishwanath is enshrined in here. Other popular temples are the
18th-century Durga Temple, Annapurna Temple, Ankatha Temple, Kalbhairav
Temple, Mritunjay Mahadev Temple, Tulsi Manas, Sankatmochan, Bharat Mata
Temple, etc.





4. A Sunset Stroll Along The Ghats









The
Ghats along the River Ganga in Varanasi is the most charming sight in
the holy city. Strolling along the Ghats at sunset hours is an
unrivalled experience. Exploring the Ghats is one of the best things to
do in Varanasi. The city has almost a hundred Ghats, the steps of each
leading to waters of River Ganges. These are bathing Ghats, praying
Ghats and cremation sites for Hindus from all over the world.





Dashashwamedh
Ghat, associated with two Hindu mythologies is one of the best places
to explore. Some of the other major Ghats include the Assi Ghat, Mata
Anandamai Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Munshi Ghat, Raj Ghat, Scindia Ghat,
etc. Tulsi Ghat is believed to make people get rid of leprosy and is
highly revered by all.





5. Evening Aarti Ceremony at Ganges River









When
we talk about things to do in Varanasi, the evening arti does feature
as one of the top activities when you are visiting Varanasi. The Evening
Aarti Ceremony at Ganges River in Varanasi is undoubtedly a sight you
shall cherish for a long time. The surreal ceremony must be viewed from
the Dasawamedh Ghat. Witness the beautiful rituals unfold themselves in
front of your eyes and spellbind you. Brass lamps of large sizes of
almost 4.5 kgs are used during the spiritual greeting. Chants, aromas of
flowers and incense creates a heavenly blessing.





The dusk sky shines with radiance of divine. The Arti ceremony is performed every evening 45 minute ritual is held at 6: 45 PM.





6. Looking for weavers village in Varanasi?









The
weavers of Varanasi are internationally known for creating some of the
most beautiful masterpieces. The Sarai Mohana village is the weavers’
village is popular for its silk weaving. The Banarasi sarees made by
these waivers are among the finest saris in India. Known for their gold
and silver brocade or zari, fine silk and opulent embroidery. These
saris are mostly worn by Indian brides.





In
the village of Sarai Mohana, get to know with the craftsmanship of the
weavers with their dissimilar design. These weavers work hard on
designing these sarees to keep its individuality. The masterpiece of the
sari needs 15 days to a one month and sometimes up to six months to
complete.





Here’s an interesting article on NYTimes about weaver’s village of Sarai Mohana





7. Go for a Sightseeing Tour of Sarnath









Sarnath
is located just 12 km the holy city of Varanasi. The holy site of
Sarnath is popular because this is where Gautama Buddha first taught the
Dharma after his enlightenment. One of the four holy Buddhist sites,
the relics of the area draw visitors in huge numbers.





Having
faced destruction at the hands of Turks, there are some fascinating
ruins to explore. The Dharmekh Stupa is impressive. Dating around 200 BC
the pillar is 128 feet high, and 93 in diameter. Mulagandhakuti Vihara
mark the place where the Buddha spent his first rainy season in
meditation. The Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath has some interesting carvings.
Also, here are six national temples of various Asian communities,
including a Tibetan temple and Sri Lankan temple. The Archaeological
museum of Sarnath is worth exploring as there are treasures housed here.





8. Reminiscing history in Varanasi









History
has been written in every era Varanasi has seen. Every period of time
has left behind some intriguing remnants. The Gyan Vapi Well, the Well
of Wisdom is believed to shelter the linga from the original Vishwanath
Temple, which was sabotaged by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the 17th
century.





The Benaras Hindu
University, founded by Sanskrit scholar, Madan Mohan Malviya houses the
famed Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum. Browse through its rich collection of
Indian paintings dating between 11th century and 20th century and are
about 12000 in number.





Ramnagar
Fort located across the river beyond the Assi ghat was built in the 17th
century. It has been the home to royals of Varanasi for over 400 years.
Although almost in ruins today, the palace still retains its charm and
memorabilia.





9. Shopping in Varanasi









Shopping
in Varanasi is a great way to bring home memories of the holy city. The
city is widely famous for its silk saris and ornate jewels, visit the
local market to explore the plethora of colours, intricate pattern and
elaborate design.





Apart from
saris, one can buy shawls, carpets, stone inlay work, bangles and idols
of Hindu or Buddhist deities. The main shopping areas to explore in this
city include Vishwanath Lane, Thateri Bazaar, Chowk and Godowilia.





10. Eating Out in Varanasi Or Food in Varanasi









Food
in Varanasi is a gastronomical experience. Relish the wide assortment
of mouth-watering delicacies. The streets of Varanasi present you with
the most famous food and various specialities unique to this city.  The
famous snow cone, roasted peanuts, the delicious chat items like Tamatar
Chat, Pani Puri, Kachoris, Aloo Tikki, variety of sweets like Jalebis,
Banarasi Kalakand, Rabri, etc. Another famous treat of Banaras is their
Paan. It is a speciality of Varanasi made of betel leaf and should be
definitely on your list.





11. Places to Visit near Varanasi









Lying
in the heart of India, Varanasi is almost at the centre of the country.
There are many places to visit near Varanasi. Visitors cannot leave
without touring Vindhyachal, one of the 64 Shaktipeeths. Check out
Chandra Prabha Sanctuary endowed with beautiful picnic spots and blessed
natural beauty. Chunar Fort and Jaunpur is of interest to architectural
historians. There also some charming ruins of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain
temples. Ram Nagar Durg Puja is also an amazing place to explore.


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