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Varanasi Travel Tips: Explore The Spiritual City of India

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Welcome to Varanasi; it is also known as Banaras, Kashi, and the Spiritual City of India. A visit to this ancient city, founded by Lord Shiva himself, is a huge sacred site for pilgrims of the Hindu faith. It is also situated on the banks of the Ganga. As a Varanasi travel guide, I have witnessed thousands of travelers come here to capture the city’s raw energy and also to experience its history, culture, and spirituality. In this blog, I will guide you on how to plan for an unforgettable Varanasi adventure and share some travel tips to explore the most famous tourist places in Varanasi.

Best Things to Do In Varanasi:

  • Visit the Ghats and witness the Ganga Arti Ceremony at Dashashwamedh Ghat.
  • Explore numerous temples dedicated to various Hindu deities, like Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, and Durga Temple, which are some of the must-visit places in Varanasi.
  • Varanasi is also known for its classical dance and music so attend a live performance to involve yourself in the traditional arts that have thrived in this city for centuries.
  • In the morning, you can witness the sunrise, and in the evening, you can witness the sunset in the ghats.
  • Take a boat ride on the Ganges to see the ghats, temples, and daily lives of the people who live along the river.
  • Go through the narrow lanes of Varanasi’s Old City, where you find the markets selling everything from silk sarees and handicrafts to street food like chats, the famous banarasi pan, and lassi.
  • Visit Sarnath, where Buddha delivered his first sermon. Explore the Dhamek Stupa, Mulagandha Kuti Vihar, and the Archaeological Museum to delve into Buddhist history and art.
  • Capture the beautiful scenery of Varanasi through photography, from stunning sunrise views to sunsets and the vibrant colors and textures of the city’s markets and ghats.

How to reach Varanasi from Assam:

The distance between Varanasi and Assam is about 924 km. You can travel either by Flight or Train.

By Train

If you plan to travel by train, you have to book tickets from Guwahati Railway Station to PT. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Station. This journey will take approximately . 22 hours, and the fare of the AC ticket will cost around Rs. 1400

By Flight

If you plan to travel by flight, you have to book ticket from Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Airport to Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport Varanasi, This journey will take approximately . 4 hours and 30 minutes as there is no direct flight, and the fare of the ticket will cost around 6500

Best Time to Visit Banaras:

Varanasi experiences extreme weather conditions, with scorching summers and chill winters. The best time to visit is during the winter months, when the weather is pleasant. Here are some tips that will help you decide:

Winter ( November to March ):

This is considered the peak tourist season in Varanasi due to the pleasant weather. In the daytime, the temperature ranges from 15 degrees to 25 degrees Celsius, making it possible to explore the city. You can enjoy the boat ride without the heat and explore the temples comfortably.

Summer (April to June):

Summers in Varanasi are extremely hot and dry, with temperatures ranging from 40 to 45 degrees Celsius in May and June. It becomes impossible to tolerate the heat and humidity, but if you can manage, you will get fewer crowds and the cheapest prices during this season.

Monsoon ( July to October ):

In monsoon, you can feel moderate to heavy rainfall in Varanasi, with temperature ranges between 30 and 35 degrees Celsius. In monsoon, the rain can disrupt travel plans, so it is also the low season of the year.

Things To Do In Varanasi in 5 Days:

There are many things to explore in Varanasi, as it is the Oldest & most spiritual city in India, and 3 to 5 days are enough to fulfil your experience.

Day 1: Arrival in Varanasi

Morning:

After arriving in Varanasi by train, you will just wonder how beautiful the city is. Then,  you can just take a rickshaw from station to hotel where you will stay for next 5 days of your journey.

After you get freshened up, you can just ask some of the local people about Varanasi: what are the famous morning breakfasts, which places to explore, where to go, what are the timings, and so on.

Evening:

In the evening, head towards the Dashashwamedh Ghat to witness the mesmerizing Ganga Arti, where the pilgrims offer prayers, oil a Diya, and chant echoing across the river, creating a truly magical feeling.

In night, you can enjoy the street food like kachoris or chat, Banarasi lassi, and thandai, and after ending your dinner, you can try the famous Benarasi pan filled with areca nut, tobacco, spices, and sweeteners, offering unique flavours.

Day 2: Explore Varanasi’s Temples & Hindu Deties:

Kashi Vishwanath Temple:

Start your day by seeking blessings at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, as it is believed to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. It stands as a symbol of faith, devotion, and cultural heritage. The temple receives a large number of devotees, so be prepared for the crowds and follow the dress code guidelines.

Annapurna Temple:

The temple is dedicated to Goddess Annapurna, who is the provider of food and nourishment. You can visit and perform the ritual and offer prayers related to food, nourishment, and prosperity.

Bharat Mata Temple:

The temple is dedicated to the personification of India as a mother goddess. The temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936 and was built by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupta, a freedom fighter and spiritual leader. The temple promotes national integrity & unity among people.

Sarnath:

In the afternoon, visit Sarnath, an important Buddhist pilgrimage site where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon, known as the Dhamek Stupa. This event, referred to as the “Turning of the Wheel of Dharma,” allows visitors to experience the peaceful atmosphere where Buddhist teachings of peace, compassion, and enlightenment are taught.

Day 3: Explore the various ghats of Varanasi:

Dashashwamedh Ghat:

Dashashwamedh Ghat is one of the oldest and busiest ghats in Varanasi, known for its Ganga Arti ceremony. It is believed to have been created by Lord Brahma to welcome Lord Shiva. The best time to visit is early morning for a peaceful start or late evening for the iconic Ganga Arti, which is held every evening around 6:45 p.m. and features rituals with lamps and incense sticks.

Manikarnika Ghat:

Manikarnika Ghat is known as one of the holiest cremation sites, where the cycle of life and death is most evident. Those who are cremated here are believed to attain Moksha. It is best to visit early in the morning for a quiet atmosphere or in the evening to witness cremation rituals and feel a deep spiritual aura.

Assi Ghat:

Located at the confluence of the Ganges and Assi rivers, it is a popular spot for tourists because the famous poet Tulsidas wrote the Ramcharitmanas. The best time to visit is in the in the early morning for a scenic sunrise or in the evening to experience the local vibe. A beautiful Subah-e-Banaras arti is performed at dawn around 5:00 , welcoming the new day with music and chants.

Scindia Ghat:

Scindia Ghat is named after the Scindia Dynasty; it is also known for its partially submerged Shiva Temple, which offers a peaceful atmosphere and is less crowded. Though it is not a main spot for Arti, you can visit for personal meditation and reflection.

Harishchandra Ghat:

Another significant cremation, Ghat, is named after the legendary King Harishchandra and is deeply associated with themes of sacrifice and truth. Families bring the bodies of their loved ones to Harishchandra Ghat for cremation following traditional Hindu rituals. Visitors can observe it from a distance to feel the cycle of life and death.

Day 4: Experience Varanasi’s Cultural Magic:

Galiya’s (Alleys):

The narrow alleys of Varanasi’s Old City, often known as Galiya’s, are a labyrinthine network that forms the heart of local life. These galiya’s are linked with ancient temples and small shops selling religious items, where you can find everything from spices to colorful textiles.

Boat Ride on the Ganga River:

A boat ride on the river Ganga at sunrise or sunset is a beautiful Varanasi experience. From the boat, you can witness the devotees performing morning rituals or evening prayers. The serene view from the ghat is so mesmerizing that you will be wandering, and the river creates a magical ambiance.

Classical music & performance:

Music plays a significant role in Varanasi. The city is famous for its classical music traditions and devotional music. You can often hear melodious rags echoing outside the temples, ghats, and boats of the local people.

Varanasi’s flavor:

Varanasi is also famous for its street food varieties like kachori, aloo tiki chaat, samosas, lassi, thandai, and thali’s (vegetarian platter) at a local restaurant. Don’t miss the famous Banarasi pan after a meal.

Day 5: Explore Varanasi’s Hidden Gems:

Ramnagar Fort Varanasi:

Ramnagar Fort is located across the river from Tulsi Ghat. You can take a boat ride or a road trip via the Malviya Bridge. The best time to visit is from 11:00 to 1:00 . Cross the river to explore the Ramnagar Fort, an 18th-century fortification that was once the residence of the Maharaja of Varanasi. The fort houses a museum showcasing vintage cars, royal costumes, and medieval weaponry. Enjoy the spectacular views of the Ganges from the fort, which offers you a unique perspective of Varanasi.

Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Campus:

After exploring history at the fort, head towards the campus of Banaras Hindu University. Founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, BHU is one of Asia’s largest residential universities. The campus is home to beautiful gardens, the Bharat Kala Bhavan museum, and the Vishwanath Temple. Admire its architectural marvels.

Silk Weaving Demonstration at Varanasi Weavers:

As the evening approaches, witness the art of silk weaving at Varanasi Weavers. This demonstration offers insights into the traditional craftsmanship that has defined Varanasi for centuries. Learn about the techniques passed down through generations and appreciate the skill involved in creating the famed Banarasi sarees.

After completing a 5-day travel journey, lastly, take blessings from Ganga Maa and offer a final prayer, bidding farewell to the holy city.

Conclusion:

Varanasi’s hidden gems offer you a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural tapestry beyond its famous ghats and temples. From historical forts and vibrant university campuses to the artistry of silk weaving and the spiritual serenity of Ganga Aarti, each destination adds a unique flavor to your Varanasi experience. By following this itinerary, you can uncover the lesser-known treasures of this timeless city, making your visit truly unforgettable.

Also read: Sandakphu Adventure Trek

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