Visit the city which is ‘older than history’

Get ready, to take a spiritual dip in the deep pool of hurly burly of Varanasi. Enlighten yourself by rambling in the narrow streets, holy temples and Ghats of one of the oldest city of Asia i.e. Varanasi. No matter, how deep you go into the whirlpools of narrow lanes; you will come out stepping on the stairs of a new Ghat.

The city situated along the bank of Ganges is one of the holiest cities of India. Multitudinous people throng here daily to take their last breath in the pious environment of Varanasi. With bells of temple ringing and sacred river flowing by, it is a perfect place to wash away sins in Ganga or to perform rituals for the departed souls, leading the way to Moksha. Guide yourself amidst the mysticism, spirituality and mesh of alleys of Varanasi and feel the magical power of the city with which it pulls a traveller.

The best time to visit the city is Kartik Purnima when the holy Ghats of Varanasi are rejuvenated in the lights of earthen lamps. The city faces extreme heat and chilling cold, so one should avoid visiting it during the respective seasons.

Take a stroll in the old city of Varanasi and watch the life thriving amidst alleys, antique Ghats and holy temples. Visit one of the old and popular learning centres Banaras Hindu University or make your way to watch Buddhist Stupa of Sarnath. No matter, which place of Varanasi you are visiting you can get the distant past reflected in every corner of Varanasi. Pack your bags, as the city is ready to welcome you.

  1. Take a spiritual tour of Temples

Although you will find a temple on every other street of Varanasi, the city is renowned for its legendary Kashi Vishwanth temple. The temple wrapping one of the twelve Lingas, is the shrine of Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva, and is the most worshipped temple of Banaras. It shields an indispensable part in the spiritual and epic history of India. The other temples, which are scattered in the city and receive offerings by the pilgrims and tourists are Tulsi Manas, Sankat Mochan, Bharat Mata and Durga Temple.

  1. Epical Ghats

The serene water of Ganges, mirroring the lively Ghats makes anyone intrigued by its devout beauty. One can see pilgrims taking a dip in the water of Ganges, remitting them of their sins and purifying their soul. Or you can view people taking a walk, sadhus chanting their prayers, people worshipping, cremation of the dead bodies, vendors selling religious offerings, travellers glancing the sights, boats passing swiftly in the calm water, and much more. Watch eye-catching Arti at Dashaswamedh Ghat flaming the spiritual kernel of Hindu religion. View a number of cremations taking place in Manikarnika Ghat, liberating many souls. Go to Assi Ghat and enjoy the hot simmering tea or take a walk on Tulsi Ghat and behold the calm running Ganga. The finest way to witness all the ghats is to take a ride on a boat.

  1. Banaras Hindu University

A renowned learning centre of North India, the campus of Banaras Hindu University is visited daily by hundreds of people for its New Vishwanath Temple. The stately temple stands proudly at the end of one of the corners of campus. Covered with lush greenery the campus is one of the must-visit centres of Banaras. In addition to this, one can have a relaxing walk on the pavements of the paths of the university, catching sight of its old buildings and clean & green premises.

  1. Get a glimpse of Buddhist Stupa at Sarnath

Located 13 km away from Varanasi, Sarnath is one of the most visited sites by Buddhist followers of the world. At this historical place Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon. Constructed by Ashoka the Great, Dhameka Stupa is the most conspicuous Buddhist structure of India. The tranquil site retells the pilgrim- the message of love and compassion of Lord Buddha. In addition to this Sarnath contains museum, temples and ruins of Dharmajajika Stupa to see. All these sites are located at the walking distance from the main shrine of Sarnath.

The antiqueness of holy city, Varanasi can be well explored in its food heritage. Squeezed between the temples and alleys of the city, there are countless eateries, food-joints, restaurants and thelas; offering spicy snacks and delicious drinks.

Start the day with a hearty breakfast of hot Kachauri with spicy potato curry. To combat the peppery taste there is perfect option of sweet, succulent Jalebi. One should never miss ‘Tamatar-Ki-Chaat’ for which the city takes pride. The ordinary chat mixed with tangy tomato, minced and cooked on hot Tawa forms an awesome fusion to appetize the tongue.

Baati Chokha and Golgappa are other delicacies popular in Varanasi, available in every nook and corner of the city. Chhola-Samosa, a treat for foodies is the staple snack of Varanasi. With a twist in normal samosa it is served with toppings of Chhole, Green Chuteny, and Meethi Chutney.

Malaiyo - a local dessert of Varanasi, served in Kulhads is popular among local folks and visitors also. By going through the streets of Varanasi one cannot resist the temptation of trying Banarasi Lassi – topped with a layer of Malai and served in earthen Kulhads.

After filling your belly with these sumptuous food stuffs one must not miss Banarasi Paan. Holding the hallmark of excellence it is munched with great delight by locals as well as visitors.

Here, we are helping you to explore some local food-joints of Varanasi.

  • Dina Chaat Bhandar

Situated on one side of the buzzing street of Varanasi, this shop takes pleasure in serving famous Banarasi Chaat to its visitors. Feed yourself with the special tamatar-ki-chat and your taste buds will never forget the tangy taste. The Golgappas, Kachauri and Gulab-Jamuns are not-to-be missed items of this eatery.

Opening Hours- 2:30 PM – 10:00 PM

Address- Luxa Road, Near PDR Mall

  • Blue Lassi

Visit this place to taste the best Lassi in Varanasi. Served with added flavours of seasonal fruits the refreshing drink is very popular among locals as well as travellers.

Opening Hours- 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Address- Blue Lassi Shop, Kachauri Gali, Near Manikarnika Ghat, Chowk.

  • Vishwanath Gali

Packed with numberless shops on both side of alley, Vishwanath Gali is all time crowded with devotees as well as foodies. Make your way amidst the narrow alley and explore some of the delectable snacks and food like spicy Pakoras with Chutney, Vada, spongy Idlis , awesome Pani Puris, hot Samosa and Kachoris. For sweet lovers there are mouth-watering delights of succulent Jalebis and Gulam Jamum.

Opening Hours- 9:30 AM – 10:00 PM

Address – Near Kahi Vishwanath Temple.

Events of any place not only intensify the pleasures of holiday, but also give us a chance to get a glimpse of the unseen culture of the city. The main events which are celebrated in Varanasi with utter devotion and spirit are:

  1. Dev-Dipawali

Exclusively celebrated in Varanasi, this festival of light is held in the month of October-November on the auspicious day of Kartik Purnima. The event is marked to welcome the Gods as it is believed that on this very day they descended on the earth. With thousands of Diyas (earthen lamps) lit, the Ghats are resurrected. Floating Diyas in the Ganges presents a serene beauty to watch, which can never be encased in words. The panoramic sight of Ghats can be best seen from the boats.

  1. Ram Leela

Ram Leela is the re-enactment of the popular mythology of Lord Rama. Ram-Leela of Ramnagar (a place in Varanasi) is a legendary event in Varanasi which was started by Kashi Naresh. It is performed every evening for 31 days in Ramnagar at the time of Vijayadashmi. The authentic style of performance is still alive in the Ram-Leela of Ramnagar.

  1. Others

Ganga Mahotsav, Buddh Purnima and Bharat Milap are some other events which hold an important place in Varanasi.

The holy city, Varanasi offers many things to shop in its whirlpools of Ghats and alleys. Just guide your ways through narrow alleys full of bustling shops and buzzing bargains and get a plethora of shopping items to load the bags.

Hand-woven silk sarees of Banaras with intricate thread work is the most picked up item by the visitors. It is a piece of pride for any Indian woman to own a Banarasi silk sari.

Varanasi is also an ultimate place to bargain for precious handicrafts including carpets of Mirzapur, wall hangings and lampshades. For book-lovers the city offers to grab many good books on philosophy, poetry, Hinduism and other miscellaneous topics. Amidst the consecrated temples one can find good quality brassware and copperware items mostly used for religious purposes. In this segment, Kamandalam, which was used to hold water in ancient times by sages, is the top picked item by the customers. A land to produce eminent musicians, Varanasi is a store of handmade musical instruments offering a huge delight for music lovers. Idols of Hindu and Buddhist deities are best medium to carry back spirituality of Varanasi with you.

Here, we are telling some most explored market places of Varanasi.

Vishwanath Gali – The narrow alleys of Vishwanath Gali, although not easily perceptible from outside, is squashed with shops on both sides. Even if you are not an enthusiastic shopper, it is quite interesting to take a walk in the crowded alleys and behold the glittering shops. Step into this famous alley and you will be spoiled with the extensive choices of idols, garments, sarees, brass wares, religious offerings, decorative entities and much more. The shops are best to buy beautiful bangles. Never forget to bargain before buying an item.

Godowlia – Flooded with shops, markets and local vendors, Godowlia is one of the favourite bargaining sites for local folks as well as travellers. The shops are loaded with fabrics, shimmering sarees, glittering bangles, collection of earrings, polished jewelleries, bags, footwear and much more.

Covering a wide range; the hotels, guesthouses, lodges and dharmshalas in Varanasi make enough room for the visitors. There are two most picked up areas in Varanasi by the travellers to stay – one is Cantonment area which is the domain of many luxury hotels also and other is near Dasashwamedh Ghat or Godowlia where one can behold the panoramic view of Ghats and Ganges.

Here, are some of the most preferred staying places by travellers in Varanasi.

  • Nadesar Palace by Taj

Reciprocating the glory of old times this palatial building was once adobe of Maharaja of Varanasi. Surrounded by lush green orchard of Mango and appealing flowers of Jasmine and Marigold, this hotel offers all the luxurious facilities. With royal dining space, the complex has an on-site restaurant offering satiating meals for its guests. Walls of the hotel decorated with embellishments from Maharaja’s collections, recaps the bygone regal era. The expensive property is furnished with additional amenities of golf course and spa.

Address – Nadesar Palace Grounds, Varanasi

  • Ramada Plaza

Surrounded by a sprawling green garden this top class hotel will pamper you with extra luxury. With pleasing interiors, the hotel is noteworthy for its three restaurants – Tadka - serving Indian cuisine, Silk Route - specialised in Chinese and Thai food and Café Fresco offering World cuisine; and two bars. The property is also furnished with a spa, kid’s club and a beauty salon making your stay all the more comfy.

Address – The Mall, Cantonment Area, Varanasi

  • Hotel Clarks

Another five star hotel with all the lavish facilities and services, Hotel Clarks charms the visitors by its traditionally decorated interiors. The pleasure resort entices the guests with its provisions of two restaurants – Amrapali and Kadambari – serving multi-cuisine savoury food and an on-site coffee shop and bar.

Address – The Mall, Cantt Railway Station, Near Varuna Bridge, Varanasi.

  • Radisson

Setting high parameters in the sphere of comfort, Hotel Radisson embraces its guests with top class hospitality. With its two on-site restaurants, well maintained bar, coffee lounge, outdoor swimming pool, and a massage centre, the staying place gives the visitor a lavish opportunity to indulge in luxury.

Address – The Mall, Cantonment, Varanasi

  • Shiv Ganges View

Situated on the banks of Ganges, this bright red and white guesthouse is a good choice to stay for budget travellers. Environed by tranquillity, the guesthouse offers a high rooftop to admire the panoramic view of the Ganges. Provided with all the necessary facilities, the place gives a homely feeling offering choice of home-cooked food.

Address – B-14/24, Mansarovar Ghat, Near Andhra Ashram, Varanasi

Being one of the main tourist sites of Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi is properly connected with air, railway and road transportation.  With mesh of narrow alleys and uneven roads it seems difficult to move smoothly within the city but the well experienced auto-rickshaws and hand-rickshaws drivers will impress you with their capability of moving through bumping crowds. You can be left amazed watching a tonga hopping in the streets. . The most preferred transport is auto for covering long distances and rickshaws for shorter distances. Public bus service, cabs, autos and rickshaws are feasible modes of transportation to go from one part to other part of the city.

Reaching Varanasi by Air – The nearest airport to the city is Babatpur which is around 22 km away from the Varanasi. Direct flight to Varanasi is available from all the major cities of India.

Reaching Varanasi by Train – Varanasi is linked to other major cities of the country through strong Railway networks.

Reaching Varanasi by Road – Varanasi is well connected with road routes and the state and private bus facilities are available from all the major cities of the country to reach the holy city.

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