places to visit in varanasi

Varanasi, also known as Kashi, is one of the oldest and most sacred cities in India. Nestled on the banks of the holy river Ganges, Varanasi is a melting pot of spirituality, history, and culture. Here’s a detailed travel guide to help you explore the enchanting city of Varanasi.

Getting There:

By Air:

The nearest airport to Varanasi is Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, which is well-connected to major cities in India. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a pre-paid cab to reach the city center.

By Train:

Varanasi Junction is one of the busiest railway stations in the region, with regular trains connecting it to major cities across the country. The station is well-equipped with facilities like waiting rooms, food stalls, and bookshops.

By Road:

Varanasi has a well-developed road network, and you can reach the city by bus or car. National Highway 2 and 7 pass through Varanasi, providing good connectivity to nearby cities.

Places to Visit:

1. Kashi Vishwanath Temple:

This ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism. The intricate architecture and the spiritual atmosphere make it a must-visit. Don’t forget to explore the narrow lanes around the temple, known as the ‘galis,’ which are filled with shops selling religious artifacts.

2. Ghats of Varanasi:

The ghats along the Ganges River are the soul of Varanasi. Take a boat ride at sunrise or sunset to witness the mesmerizing Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat. Other notable ghats include Manikarnika Ghat, where Hindu cremations take place, and Assi Ghat, known for its cultural events and festivals.

3. 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. The Dhamek Stupa and the Ashoka Pillar are significant landmarks in Sarnath.

4. Banaras Hindu University (BHU):

Spread over a vast campus, BHU is not just an educational institution but also a beautiful place to explore. The Bharat Kala Bhavan museum within the university premises houses a rich collection of artifacts, paintings, and sculptures.

5. Tulsi Manas Temple:

Built in white marble, this temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. The walls of the temple are adorned with verses and scenes from the Hindu epic, Ramayana. The serene surroundings make it an ideal place for meditation and introspection.

6. Ramnagar Fort:

Situated on the eastern bank of the Ganges, the Ramnagar Fort is a magnificent structure that showcases the grandeur of the bygone era. The fort houses a museum that exhibits vintage cars, royal costumes, and weaponry.

7. Bharat Mata Temple:

Unlike traditional temples, Bharat Mata Temple is dedicated to Mother India. The temple has a map of undivided India carved in marble, and instead of traditional deities, it houses a relief map of India.

Cultural Experiences:

1. Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat:

Participate in the evening Ganga Aarti, a mesmerizing ritual where priests perform prayers with oil lamps, incense, and chants. The sight of the lit lamps floating down the Ganges is truly enchanting.

2. Boat Ride on the Ganges:

Experience the tranquility of the Ganges by taking a boat ride. You can hire a boat at the ghats and witness the city’s vibrant life along the riverbanks.

3. Ayurvedic Massage and Wellness:

Varanasi offers traditional Ayurvedic massages and wellness treatments. Rejuvenate your mind and body with ancient healing techniques passed down through generations.


1. Varanasi Silk Sarees:

Known for its exquisite Banarasi silk sarees, Varanasi is a paradise for shoppers. Explore the local markets like Vishwanath Gali and Godaulia for a wide range of silk products.

2. Brassware and Wooden Toys:

The city is also famous for its brassware and wooden toys. Visit Thatheri Bazaar to buy intricately designed brass items and handcrafted wooden toys.

3. Banarasi Paan:

Don’t miss the opportunity to savor Banarasi paan, a mouth-refreshing concoction of betel leaves, areca nut, and various aromatic ingredients. You’ll find paan shops in almost every corner of the city.


1. Banarasi Chaat:

Indulge in the local chaat, a flavorful mix of tangy, spicy, and sweet tastes. Kachori Sabzi, Tamatar Chaat, and Aloo Tikki Chaat are popular choices.

2. Malaiyyo:

A winter delicacy, Malaiyyo is a creamy dessert made with milk, khoya, and dry fruits. It’s a must-try for those with a sweet tooth.

3. Thandai:

Quench your thirst with Varanasi’s famous Thandai, a refreshing cold drink made with milk, almonds, and various spices. It’s especially popular during the Holi festival.

Practical Tips:

  1. Dress Modestly: While Varanasi is a tourist-friendly city, it is advisable to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites.
  2. Respect Local Customs: Follow local customs and traditions, particularly during religious rituals. Seek permission before taking photographs at certain locations.
  3. Bargain in Markets: Bargaining is a common practice in local markets. Don’t hesitate to negotiate prices, especially when shopping for handicrafts and souvenirs.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Varanasi can get hot, especially during the summer months. Carry a water bottle and stay hydrated while exploring the city.
  5. Choose Accommodation Wisely: Varanasi offers a range of accommodation options, from budget guesthouses to luxury hotels. Choose accommodation based on your preferences and budget.

Varanasi, with its spiritual aura and rich cultural heritage, offers a unique and unforgettable travel experience. Whether you are a history buff, a spiritual seeker, or a lover of art and culture, Varanasi has something to offer for every traveler. Embrace the mystique of the city and let its timeless charm leave an indelible mark on your soul.