How to plan trip to Varanasi? Embrace the Spiritual Capital of India: Varanasi .

Sacred Ganges flows,
Varanasi's ancient soul,
Temples, ghats, prayers unite,
Spirituality's sacred rite,
Enchanting city, divine light,
Varanasi's allure, a heavenly sight.

varanasi (banarasi)

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What Varanasi famous for ?

Varanasi, also known as Kashi or Banaras, is famous for its rich cultural and spiritual heritage. Here are some of the key aspects for which Varanasi is renowned:

  1. Spiritual Capital: Varanasi is considered the spiritual capital of India, drawing millions of pilgrims and spiritual seekers every year. It is believed that a visit to Varanasi and a dip in the holy Ganges river can purify one’s soul and lead to spiritual enlightenment.
  2. Ghats: The city is famous for its numerous ghats, which are steps leading down to the banks of the Ganges. The ghats serve as gathering places for rituals, bathing, and cremation ceremonies. The most notable ghats include Dashashwamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, and Assi Ghat.
  3. Ganga Aarti: Varanasi is renowned for its mesmerizing Ganga Aarti ceremony. Every evening, priests perform elaborate rituals, chants, and lighting of lamps to worship the Ganges River. The event attracts a large number of devotees and visitors who are captivated by its spiritual aura.
  4. Temples: Varanasi is home to numerous ancient temples, showcasing magnificent architecture and religious significance. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is a major highlight. Other notable temples include Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, Durga Temple, and Tulsi Manas Temple.
  5. Silk Weaving: The city is renowned for its silk weaving industry, producing exquisite Banarasi sarees. These sarees are known for their intricate designs, delicate craftsmanship, and rich fabrics. Visitors can explore the bustling silk markets and witness the weaving process.
  6. Cultural Heritage: Varanasi is a hub of Indian classical music, dance, and arts. It has been a center of learning for various art forms, with renowned musicians, dancers, and scholars emerging from the city. The cultural heritage of Varanasi is celebrated through performances, festivals, and music academies.
  7. Educational Hub: Varanasi has been a center of education for centuries. The esteemed Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is located here, attracting students from across the country. The university campus itself is a significant landmark, showcasing beautiful architecture and a peaceful atmosphere.
  8. Historical Significance: With a history dating back thousands of years, Varanasi is steeped in historical significance. It has witnessed the rise and fall of empires, the influence of different rulers, and has been a center of intellectual, artistic, and political movements throughout history.

Varanasi’s unique blend of spirituality, culture, and history make it a captivating and revered destination, drawing visitors from all corners of the globe who seek a deeper connection and experience the essence of ancient India.

How to reach Varanasi from Delhi ?

There are several ways to reach Varanasi from Delhi. Here are the commonly used modes of transportation:

  • By Air:
  • The fastest way to reach Varanasi from Delhi is by taking a direct flight. The flight duration is approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
  • Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport in Varanasi are well-connected with regular flights operated by various airlines.
  • Book your flight tickets in advance to secure the best fares and availability.
  • By Train:
  • Varanasi Junction (BSB) is a major railway station in Varanasi, well-connected to Delhi by train.
  • Several trains, including overnight trains and superfast trains, run between Delhi and Varanasi.
  • The journey duration varies depending on the train and class of travel. It typically takes around 12 to 15 hours by train.
  • It is advisable to book train tickets in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to ensure a confirmed seat.
  • By Road:
  • Varanasi is approximately 810 kilometers (503 miles) from Delhi, and the journey by road takes around 13 to 15 hours, depending on the traffic and the route taken.
  • You can opt to drive from Delhi to Varanasi by private car or hire a taxi. It is recommended to have a valid driving license and be familiar with Indian road conditions if you choose to drive.
  • Another option is to take a state-run or private bus. Deluxe and Volvo buses operate between Delhi and Varanasi, offering a comfortable and convenient mode of travel.

How do I start Varanasi(Banaras) Trip?

To start your Varanasi trip, here are the key steps to follow:

  1. Research and Plan:
  • Gather information about Varanasi, its attractions, and cultural significance. Learn about the city’s history, traditions, and festivals to enhance your understanding and appreciation.
  • Decide on the duration of your trip. Varanasi has a lot to offer, so consider spending at least three to four days to explore the city and its surroundings.
  • Create an itinerary that includes the must-visit places, activities, and experiences based on your interests. Leave some room for flexibility and spontaneous exploration.
  1. Book Travel Arrangements:
  • Determine your mode of transportation to Varanasi. You can choose to fly, take a train, or drive.
  • If flying, book your flight to Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport in Varanasi. If taking a train, check the availability and book your tickets in advance to secure a comfortable journey. If driving, plan your route and ensure your vehicle is in good condition.
  1. Find Accommodation:
  • Varanasi offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. You can choose to stay near the ghats or in the old city area for a more immersive experience.
  • Research and book your accommodation in advance to ensure availability, especially during peak travel seasons.
  1. Prepare for the Climate and Culture:
  • Varanasi experiences hot summers and cool winters, so pack accordingly. Carry lightweight and breathable clothing, a hat, sunscreen, and comfortable walking shoes.
  • Respect the local customs and traditions. Varanasi is a deeply spiritual city, so dress modestly and be mindful of your behavior in religious places.
  1. Explore the Ghats:
  • Start your Varanasi trip by visiting the famous ghats, such as Dashashwamedh Ghat and Assi Ghat. Take a walk along the ghats, observe the rituals, and immerse yourself in the spiritual ambiance.
  • Consider taking a boat ride on the Ganges River during sunrise or sunset for a breathtaking view of the ghats and the cityscape.
  1. Visit Temples and Cultural Sites:
  • Varanasi is home to numerous temples and cultural landmarks. Make sure to visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, and Tulsi Manas Temple, among others.
  • Explore other significant sites like the Ramnagar Fort, Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum, and Sarnath, the place where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon.
  1. Experience the Ganga Aarti:
  • Don’t miss the mesmerizing Ganga Aarti ceremony, held every evening at the ghats. Witness the synchronized rituals, music, and lit lamps as devotees pay homage to the holy Ganges River.
  1. Try Local Cuisine:
  • Varanasi is known for its delicious street food and traditional vegetarian dishes. Indulge in local specialties like kachori-sabzi, chaat, lassi, and the famous Banarasi paan.
  1. Immerse in Cultural Experiences:
  • Attend a classical music or dance performance to experience the city’s rich cultural heritage. Varanasi is renowned for its music academies and cultural events.
  1. Embrace the Spiritual Essence:
  • Engage in meditation or yoga sessions offered by ashrams or centers in Varanasi to deepen your spiritual experience and connect with the city’s sacred energy.

Remember to be respectful of the local customs and traditions, maintain cleanliness, and embrace the spirituality and cultural richness of Varanasi. Enjoy your trip to this enchanting city and let its timeless aura leave an indelible impression on your soul.

Best time to visit Varanasi (Banaras)

The best time to visit Varanasi, also known as Banaras, is during the cooler months when the weather is pleasant for exploration and outdoor activities. The recommended time to plan your visit is:

  1. Autumn (October to November):
  • Autumn is a popular time to visit Varanasi. The weather during this period is mild and comfortable, with temperatures ranging from 15°C (59°F) to 30°C (86°F).
  • The skies are generally clear, making it ideal for sightseeing, boat rides on the Ganges, and attending festivals.
  1. Spring (February to March):
  • Spring is another favorable season to visit Varanasi. The temperatures are pleasant, ranging from 15°C (59°F) to 35°C (95°F).
  • The city comes alive with vibrant festivals like Holi, where you can witness the colorful celebrations and experience the unique cultural traditions.

During these seasons, you can explore the city comfortably without extreme heat or rainfall. However, it’s worth noting that Varanasi can get crowded during major festivals and religious events, so be prepared for larger crowds and make your travel and accommodation arrangements in advance.

It’s advisable to avoid visiting Varanasi during the summer months (April to June) as temperatures can soar above 40°C (104°F) with high humidity, making outdoor activities challenging. Additionally, the monsoon season (July to September) brings heavy rainfall, which can hinder sightseeing and outdoor exploration.

By planning your trip during the recommended periods, you can enjoy the spiritual ambiance, witness the rituals and festivals, and explore Varanasi’s ancient heritage in pleasant weather conditions.

Places to visit in Varanasi (Banaras).

Varanasi, also known as Banaras or Kashi, is a city steeped in spirituality and rich cultural heritage. Here are some of the must-visit places in Varanasi:

  1. Kashi Vishwanath Temple:
  • One of the most revered Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.
  • Known for its stunning architecture and religious significance.
  • Devotees from all over the world come to seek blessings and offer prayers.
  1. Dashashwamedh Ghat:
  • The main ghat of Varanasi, known for its vibrant and lively atmosphere.
  • Witness the spectacular Ganga Aarti ceremony held every evening, where priests perform ritualistic worship to the Ganges River.
  1. Assi Ghat:
  • A prominent ghat known for its serene ambiance and spiritual significance.
  • It is believed that Lord Shiva took a dip at this ghat before leaving for Sarnath.
  1. Sarnath:
  • Located just a few kilometers from Varanasi, Sarnath is a significant Buddhist pilgrimage site.
  • Visit the Dhamek Stupa, where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon.
  • Explore the Archaeological Museum showcasing ancient artifacts and sculptures.
  1. Ramnagar Fort:
  • Situated on the eastern bank of the Ganges River, it is the ancestral home of the Maharaja of Varanasi.
  • The fort exhibits a blend of Mughal and Hindu architectural styles and houses a museum showcasing vintage cars, weapons, and royal artifacts.
  1. Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum:
  • Located within the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) campus, the museum houses an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, textiles, and archaeological artifacts.
  • It offers a glimpse into India’s rich cultural heritage and artistic traditions.
  1. Tulsi Manas Temple:
  • A modern temple dedicated to Lord Rama, built at the spot where the famous epic Ramayana was written by sage Tulsidas.
  • The temple walls are adorned with beautifully carved marble panels depicting scenes from the Ramayana.
  1. Manikarnika Ghat:
  • One of the oldest and most sacred cremation ghats in Varanasi.
  • Witness the traditional cremation rituals and gain insight into the Hindu beliefs surrounding death and the afterlife.
  1. Banaras Hindu University (BHU):
  • A renowned educational institution and a sprawling campus that reflects a blend of traditional and modern architecture.
  • Visit the Vishwanath Temple within the BHU premises, which replicates the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
  1. Local Bazaars:
  • Explore the bustling markets of Varanasi, such as Vishwanath Gali and Thateri Bazar, known for their silk sarees, jewelry, handicrafts, and traditional Banarasi goods.

These are just a few highlights of the many attractions Varanasi has to offer. The city’s ancient temples, ghats, spiritual atmosphere, and cultural heritage combine to create a unique and mesmerizing experience for visitors.

Where to stay in Varanasi (Banaras)?

Varanasi offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. Here are some areas where you can consider staying in Varanasi:

  1. Assi Ghat:
  • Assi Ghat is a popular area to stay, especially for budget travelers and backpackers.
  • It offers a vibrant and lively atmosphere with plenty of guesthouses and budget hotels.
  • You can enjoy the proximity to the river, yoga centers, cafes, and local markets.
  1. Dasaswamedh Ghat:
  • Dasaswamedh Ghat is one of the main ghats in Varanasi and is a bustling area.
  • Staying near Dasaswamedh Ghat provides easy access to the Ganga Aarti ceremony and the vibrant street life of the old city.
  • You can find a mix of budget and mid-range accommodations in this area.
  1. Cantonment Area:
  • The Cantonment area, located near Varanasi Junction railway station, offers a convenient location for travelers arriving by train.
  • It has a range of hotels, including budget and mid-range options.
  • Staying in this area provides easy access to transportation and is suitable for those seeking a central location.
  1. Sarnath:
  • If you prefer a quieter and more serene atmosphere, consider staying in Sarnath.
  • Sarnath is a short distance from Varanasi and is known for its Buddhist heritage.
  • There are a few guesthouses and resorts available, providing a peaceful environment away from the bustling city center.
  1. Bhelupur:
  • Bhelupur is a residential area that offers a mix of budget and mid-range accommodations.
  • It is located near the ghats and provides easy access to popular attractions.
  • Staying in Bhelupur offers a more local experience and is suitable for travelers seeking a quieter environment.

When choosing your accommodation, consider factors such as proximity to the attractions you plan to visit, budget, preferred amenities, and the overall atmosphere you desire. It’s recommended to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure the best options and availability.

Things to do in Varanasi

When visiting Varanasi, there are several things you can do to immerse yourself in the city’s rich cultural and spiritual heritage. Here are some popular activities and experiences in Varanasi:

  1. Explore the Ghats: Begin your Varanasi experience by exploring the ghats along the banks of the Ganges River. Take a leisurely stroll along the ghats, such as Dashashwamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, and Assi Ghat. Observe the rituals, witness the daily Ganga Aarti ceremony at sunset, and take a boat ride on the river to get a different perspective of the ghats.
  2. Visit Temples: Varanasi is known for its numerous temples. Pay a visit to the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Explore other significant temples like Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, Durga Temple, and Tulsi Manas Temple. Seek blessings and immerse yourself in the spiritual atmosphere.
  3. Attend Ganga Aarti: Witness the mesmerizing Ganga Aarti ceremony, held every evening at the Dashashwamedh Ghat. Priests perform a ritualistic ceremony involving chanting, incense, lamps, and synchronized movements to worship the river Ganges. It’s a beautiful and spiritual experience that shouldn’t be missed.
  4. Take a Sunrise Boat Ride: Experience the magical ambiance of Varanasi at sunrise with a boat ride on the Ganges River. Watch the city come alive, see devotees performing morning rituals, and witness the beautiful play of light on the water. It’s a serene and peaceful way to start your day in Varanasi.
  5. Visit Sarnath: Located just a few kilometers from Varanasi, Sarnath is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site. It is where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. Explore the Dhamek Stupa, the ruins of ancient monasteries, and the Sarnath Museum, which houses a rich collection of Buddhist artifacts.
  6. Try Street Food: Varanasi is a food lover’s paradise, particularly for vegetarian cuisine. Indulge in local street food delicacies like kachori sabzi, chaat, lassi, thandai, and the famous Benarasi paan. Don’t miss out on trying the local specialty, Malaiyyo, a sweet dessert made from milk and saffron.
  7. Visit the Banaras Hindu University: Take a tour of the renowned Banaras Hindu University (BHU), one of the oldest and largest residential universities in Asia. Explore the beautiful campus, visit the Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum, and discover the rich academic and cultural heritage of the university.
  8. Attend a Music or Dance Performance: Varanasi is known for its classical music and dance traditions. Catch a live performance of Indian classical music, such as a sitar or tabla recital, or witness a Bharatanatyam or Kathak dance performance. Many venues in Varanasi host cultural performances regularly.
  9. Experience a Yoga or Meditation Session: Embrace the spiritual atmosphere of Varanasi by participating in a yoga or meditation session. Many ashrams and wellness centers offer classes and workshops for both beginners and experienced practitioners.
  10. Explore the Old City: Take a walk through the narrow lanes of Varanasi’s Old City, known as the “galis.” Experience the hustle and bustle, witness the daily life of the locals, and discover hidden temples, traditional shops, and vibrant markets.

These are just a few of the many things you can do in Varanasi. The city offers a unique blend of spirituality, culture, history, and gastronomy, providing a memorable and immersive experience for visitors.

What are the famous street foods of Varanasi ?

Varanasi is known for its vibrant street food scene. Here are some famous street foods you must try when visiting Varanasi:

  1. Kachori Sabzi: Kachori Sabzi is a popular breakfast item in Varanasi. It consists of deep-fried, flaky pastries filled with a spicy lentil or potato mixture, served with a tangy potato curry and chutneys. It’s a delicious and filling dish to start your day.
  2. Chaat: Varanasi is renowned for its chaat, a savory snack made with a combination of crispy fried dough, boiled chickpeas, potatoes, yogurt, tamarind chutney, and various spices. The flavors and textures of the ingredients create a delightful explosion of taste in your mouth.
  3. Lassi: Beat the heat with a refreshing glass of lassi. Varanasi is known for its thick and creamy lassi, a yogurt-based drink flavored with fruits, saffron, or rosewater. It’s a perfect beverage to cool down while exploring the city.
  4. Malaiyyo: Malaiyyo is a unique sweet delicacy of Varanasi. It is a fluffy, cloud-like dessert made from milk, saffron, and nuts. Malaiyyo is served in earthen pots and has a creamy and delicate texture. It’s a must-try dessert in Varanasi.
  5. Thandai: Thandai is a traditional cold drink often associated with festivals like Holi. It is made from a mixture of milk, nuts, saffron, cardamom, and various spices. Varanasi is known for its rich and flavorful thandai, which is both refreshing and energizing.
  6. Benarasi Paan: Benarasi paan is a specialty of Varanasi. It is a betel leaf filled with a mixture of areca nut, tobacco, spices, and sweeteners. The paan is folded and served as a mouth freshener after a meal. Trying a Benarasi paan is an essential part of the Varanasi experience.
  7. Tamatar Chaat: Tamatar Chaat is a unique street food dish of Varanasi. It features tangy and spicy tomato-based gravy served with crispy fried bread, onions, and various toppings. The combination of flavors and textures makes it a popular savory snack.
  8. Golgappe/Pani Puri: Golgappe, also known as Pani Puri, is a beloved street food in Varanasi. It consists of crispy hollow puris filled with a mixture of spicy, tangy water, tamarind chutney, potatoes, and chickpeas. The burst of flavors in each bite is a delight.
  9. Ram Bhandar Ki Kachori: Ram Bhandar is a famous shop in Varanasi known for its delectable kachoris. Their kachoris are crispy on the outside and filled with a spicy lentil mixture. It’s a popular spot among locals and visitors alike.
  10. Jalebi: Jalebi is a sweet treat enjoyed in Varanasi and across India. It is made by deep-frying batter in a spiral shape and then soaking it in sugar syrup. The result is a crispy, syrupy dessert that is best enjoyed hot.

These are just a few examples of the famous street foods you can savor in Varanasi. Exploring the street food stalls and eateries in the city is a delightful culinary adventure that shouldn’t be missed.

Things to buy in Varanasi while travelling.

Varanasi is known for its rich handicrafts, textiles, and spiritual artifacts. Here are some things you can consider buying as souvenirs or gifts when traveling to Varanasi:

  1. Banarasi Silk Sarees: Varanasi is renowned for its exquisite Banarasi silk sarees. These sarees are known for their intricate designs, gold and silver brocade work, and zari embroidery. They are a symbol of elegance and make for a beautiful traditional outfit or a cherished gift.
  2. Brassware and Metal Crafts: Varanasi is famous for its brassware and metal crafts. You can find intricately designed brass sculptures, statues, utensils, and decorative items like lamps, candle stands, and incense holders. These items reflect the city’s craftsmanship and make for unique home decor pieces.
  3. Wooden Artifacts: Varanasi is also known for its wooden handicrafts. Look for intricately carved wooden statues, wall hangings, boxes, and other decorative items. These handcrafted pieces showcase the traditional craftsmanship of the region.
  4. Rudraksha Beads and Spiritual Jewelry: Varanasi is a significant center for spiritual seekers, and you can find a variety of spiritual artifacts and jewelry. Rudraksha beads, known for their spiritual and healing properties, are popular items. You can also find necklaces, bracelets, and pendants adorned with religious symbols like Om and Lord Shiva.
  5. Ayurvedic Products: Varanasi is home to many Ayurvedic shops and herbal medicine stores. You can find a range of Ayurvedic products such as herbal oils, soaps, incense, and skincare items. These natural and traditional products make for thoughtful and beneficial souvenirs.
  6. Musical Instruments: Varanasi has a rich musical heritage, and you can find traditional musical instruments like sitars, tabla drums, harmoniums, and flutes. These instruments are crafted with precision and are ideal for music enthusiasts or collectors.
  7. Handloom Fabrics and Textiles: Varanasi is known for its handloom fabrics and textiles. Besides silk sarees, you can find beautiful handwoven scarves, stoles, dress materials, and home furnishings like bedspreads and cushion covers. These textiles showcase the artistry of the weavers and are a testament to the city’s rich textile heritage.
  8. Gemstones and Jewelry: Varanasi is a hub for gemstone trade, and you can find a wide variety of gemstones and semi-precious stones here. Look for unique jewelry pieces featuring gemstones like amethyst, garnet, turquoise, or lapis lazuli. You can also find silver jewelry with intricate designs.
  9. Paintings and Miniature Art: Varanasi has a long history of art and painting. You can find traditional Indian paintings like Madhubani, Tanjore, and miniature paintings. These intricate artworks can be a beautiful addition to your home or a memorable gift.
  10. Spiritual Books and Literature: Varanasi has been a center of learning and spirituality for centuries. You can explore the numerous bookstores and shops offering a wide range of spiritual books, scriptures, and literature. These books provide insights into various philosophies, spiritual practices, and the cultural heritage of Varanasi.

Remember to buy from reliable and trusted sources to ensure the authenticity and quality of the items you purchase. Bargaining is common in markets, so feel free to negotiate the price. Enjoy your shopping experience in Varanasi and bring back unique memories of the city.

What not to do while travelling in Varanasi .

While traveling in Varanasi, it’s important to be mindful of certain cultural and local customs. Here are some things to avoid doing in Varanasi to ensure a respectful and enjoyable trip:

  1. Do not disrespect religious sites and rituals: Varanasi is a deeply spiritual and religious city. Respect the sanctity of temples, ghats, and other religious sites. Follow the rules and guidelines provided, and refrain from engaging in disrespectful behavior or disrupting religious ceremonies.
  2. Do not litter or pollute the Ganges River: The Ganges River is considered sacred in Varanasi, and it’s important to treat it with reverence. Avoid throwing any waste or pollutants into the river. Use designated trash bins and be mindful of keeping the environment clean.
  3. Do not take photographs without permission: Varanasi has many picturesque locations and vibrant scenes, but always seek permission before taking photographs of individuals, especially during religious ceremonies or at cremation sites. Respect people’s privacy and cultural sensitivities.
  4. Do not purchase or support the sale of illegal goods: Be cautious when purchasing goods or souvenirs in Varanasi. Avoid buying items made from endangered species, such as ivory or coral. It is also illegal to purchase and export antiques without proper permits.
  5. Do not wander into unfamiliar or isolated areas at night: While Varanasi is generally safe for travelers, it’s advisable to exercise caution, especially at night. Stick to well-lit and crowded areas, and avoid venturing into unfamiliar or isolated parts of the city alone.
  6. Do not consume tap water: Tap water in Varanasi may not be safe for drinking. Stick to bottled water or filtered water from reliable sources to avoid waterborne illnesses. Additionally, be cautious with the consumption of street food and ensure that it is prepared in hygienic conditions.
  7. Do not disrespect local customs and traditions: Varanasi has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s important to respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. Seek guidance or observe local behavior to ensure you’re following appropriate etiquette.
  8. Do not engage in illegal activities: It goes without saying, but engaging in illegal activities is strictly prohibited and can result in legal consequences. Abide by the laws and regulations of the city and country during your visit.

By being respectful, considerate, and aware of the local customs, you can have a memorable and harmonious experience while traveling in Varanasi.


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