Things to Do in Varanasi

Religious

World's oldest living city, Varanasi - also known as Kashi (City of Life) and Benaras, is the spiritual capital of India. It is one of Hinduism's seven holy cities. Spiritually enlightening, the hear (Read More)t of the city pulsates around the ghats, about 80 of which border the Ganges. Don't miss out on the tasty food the place has to offer.

Here is the list of 23 Things to Do in Varanasi

1. Attend Ganga Aarti on the Banks of Ganga

Attend Ganga Aarti on the Banks of Ganga

Ganga Aarti is an important ritual held on a grand scale every morning and evening on the banks of the holy Ganges. The priests perform the Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat. The entire Ghat gets illuminated with a divine light that can be felt strongly. The magnificent ritual involves huge brass lamps lit with oil and the priests chant the holy mantras that reverberate in the entire location.

2. Take a Boat Ride from Along the Ghats from Assi Ghat

Take a Boat Ride from Along the Ghats from Assi Ghat
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The Assi Ghat is placed at the confluence of the Rivers Assi and Ganga and is famous for the large Shiva Lingam installed under a peepal tree. It has immense religious importance and has been mentioned in the Puranas and various legends as well.

3. Visit Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Visit Kashi Vishwanath Temple
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Situated on the western bank of the holy river Ganga in Varanasi, Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas or temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The main deity of Kashi Vishwanath Temple is Lord Shiva, also known as Vishwanatha or Vishweshwarar meaning 'the ruler of the universe. The city of Varanasi, the cultural capital of India, is thus known as the city of Lord Shiva. The temple has 800 kg of gold plating on its tower.

4. Try Out Paan at Keshav Taambul at Ravidas Gate

Try Out Paan at Keshav Taambul at Ravidas Gate

Want to try the famous Banarasi paan? Look no further. Keshav Taambul near Ravidas Gate offers one of the best paans in Banaras. One stop here, and you’ll be packing paans from Keshav for your folks back home!

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5. Drink Some Refreshing Thandai Godowlia Chowk

Drink Some Refreshing Thandai Godowlia Chowk

Thandai is a special cooling drink that is a favourite treat in North India. Banarasi Thandai is in a league of its own. Prepared with melon seeds, cream, milk, rose petals, saffron, almonds, sugar, cashew and saunf, this drink is something you shouldn’t leave Varanasi without trying! Thandai in Banaras is also available with a dose of bhang, if you’re up for trying. Bhang consists of dried leaves and buds of the female cannabis plant and is consumed lovingly in “Bhole Baba ki nagri“! Baba Thandai and Thandai Ghar are two places to root for at Godowlia Chowk.

6. One of the Main Temple- Durga Temple

One of the Main Temple- Durga Temple
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Located near the Durga Ghat on the bank of the River Ganga, Durga Temple was built in the 18th century. It houses an imposing idol of Goddess Durga and is one of the main temples in Varanasi.

7. The Famous Ghats to Take a Dip in Holy Water

The Famous Ghats to Take a Dip in Holy Water

As the proclaimed proverb in Sanskrit says, death in Varanasi is a blessing for the devout. It is believed that the first ray of light after the creation of this Universe fell upon Varanasi, sanctifying it for eternity. River Ganges, the holiest river in Hinduism flows through the eternal city and beside the river stands the Ghats in Varanasi. Taking a dip in the ghats is considered an important experience.

8. Dashashwamedh Ghat

Dashashwamedh Ghat
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As the name suggests, it is believed that this is the place where Lord Brahma performed the Dasa Ashwamedha sacrifice. This ghat is a religious spot and many rituals are performed here.

9. Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple

Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple
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The Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple is situated by the River Assi and was built in the 1900s by the freedom fighter Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya. It is dedicated to Lord Rama and Hanuman.

10. Indulge in Tasting Lip-Smacking Street Food

Indulge in Tasting Lip-Smacking Street Food

Street food in Varanasi is as elaborate as the city's history. The lanes to watch out for are the – Vishwanath Gali, Bengali Tola Gali, Kachauri Gali, Khowa Gali, Chitraghanta Gali, Bramhanala Gali and Nandan Sahu Lane. Some famous food must-try are Kachori sabzi, choora matar, dahi chutney gold gappe and others.

11. Peaceful Day at New Vishwanath Temple

 Peaceful Day at New Vishwanath Temple
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The New Vishwanath Temple is every pious man's go-to destination to feel overwhelmed by the presence and power of the great Lord Shiva. Not only is it located in the heart of the cultural capital of India - Varanasi, but its divinity is multiplied by the holy river Ganga that flows by its side.

12. Indulge in Abode of Spirituality in Ashrams

Indulge in Abode of Spirituality in Ashrams

Varanasi is known as the sacred land of India which reverberates with the tinkering of temple bells and echoes of the Ganga aarti. There are several ashrams in Varanasi that cater to the accommodation of the several thousand devotees and pilgrims that come here frequently. Other than providing comfortable stay and lodging, these ashrams are also abodes of learning and spirituality.

13. Street shopping in Vishwanath Gali

Street shopping in Vishwanath Gali

Vishwanath Gali is famous for street shopping in Varanasi. A variety of items are sold in the bustling gali at affordable rates. One can easily find modern or traditional apparel, household items, home decor items, brass idols of deities, etc. The Gali is also well known for local snacks and sweets.

14. Visit the Historical Monument of Ramnagar Fort

Visit the Historical Monument of Ramnagar Fort

Located on the Eastern banks of River Ganga, opposite to Tulsi Ghat, Ramnagar Fort is a stunning historical monument in Varanasi. It was built by Raja Balwant Singh in 1750 according to the Mughal style of architecture. Even though the system of Kings was abolished in the region, the current Maharaja, Pelu Bhiru Singh, resides in the Fort.

15. Display of Puppets at Tulsi Manasa Temple

Display of Puppets at Tulsi Manasa Temple
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Constructed in 1964, this temple is dedicated to Lord Rama and is named after the saint-poet Tulsi Das. It displays the Shikhara style of architecture and exhibits various inscriptions from the Ram Charit Manas on the walls of the temple.

16. Banaras Hindu University

Banaras Hindu University

Established by Madan Mohan Malviya in 1916, Banaras Hindu University is a 5.3 square kilometre campus in the city. It has about 30,000 students residing in the campus and is the largest residential university in the continent. The University has a long list of notable alumni and faculty. The Indo-Gothic architecture and the sprawling lawns add to the beauty of the place.

17. Temples to Visit in Varanasi

Temples to Visit in Varanasi

World's oldest living city, Varanasi - also known as Kashi (City of Life) and Benaras, is the spiritual capital of India. It is one of Hinduism's seven holy cities. The old city of Varanasi lies along the western banks of the Ganges, spread across a labyrinth of narrow fails. Temples at almost every turn engulf Varanasi, while the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the most visited and the oldest of the lot.

18. Participate in Yoga Classes

Participate in Yoga Classes

Yoga Training Centres at Varanasi are the best centres to learn Yoga in its true form which involves the body, the mind and the spirit. The trainers are highly experienced professionals or Yoga Acharyas who guide students through the accurate postures and the science of Yoga.

19. Perfect Picnic Spot at Vindham Waterfalls

Perfect Picnic Spot at Vindham Waterfalls

Vindham Waterfalls is a gorgeous waterfall in Mirzapur, 90 kms from Varanasi. The waterfalls are also in close proximity to other popular tourist attractions like Tanda fountains, caves and temples. The mesmerising waterfall is a famous picnic spot and attracts a large tourist influx.

20. Ramnagar Ramlila at Varanasi

Ramnagar Ramlila at Varanasi

Ramlila is a traditionally performed set of plays that depict Lord Ram's journey as told by the Ramayana. The 200-year-old Ramlila grew under the patronage of the Royal House of Benaras. Organized on a grand scale, around 10,000 people take part in the celebrations. The performance usually happens over ten days, but in Ramnagar, it stretches on for more than a month. Over a million visitors, throng to Uttar Pradesh to attend this festival annually.

21. Trek to Lakhaniya Dari Waterfall

Trek to Lakhaniya Dari Waterfall

Lakhaniya Dari Waterfall is situated at a distance of around 48 kms from Varanasi in Latifpur in Varanasi. The waterfalls are a hidden gem away from the din and chaos of the city. Especially popular among trekkers and adventure enthusiasts, the falls can be reached through a small trek in the hills.

22. Waterfalls near Varanasi

Waterfalls near Varanasi

The mesmerizing waterfalls near Varanasi are a popular spot for tourism and attract a large tourist influx all through the year. Besides the city dwellers who flock off to the waterfalls for a weekend break or day-outs, these waterfalls are also frequented by tourists who visit the divine city. The valley offers gorgeous views of sunrise and sunset and can be reached through short treks.

23. Go Shopping for Banarasi Sarees

Go Shopping for Banarasi Sarees

The labyrinth-style lanes are your holy grail for those who wish to buy Banarasi Silk sarees or fabric. However, bargaining is key here. Also, it helps if you can identify silk when you’re buying. Many shopkeepers have refined con men who’ll sniff out your lack of knowledge and rob you accordingly.

This post was published by Avneet Kang

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