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 7 Incredible Places to Visit in Varanasi
June 6, 2024

7 Incredible Places to Visit in Varanasi

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Varanasi, also known as Benares or Kashi, is a historic city in northern India by the Ganges River. It’s one of the world’s oldest cities and a key spiritual place for Hindus. People visit to bathe in the holy river, pray at temples, and perform religious rituals. The city is famous for its narrow streets, lively culture, and colorful festivals. Varanasi is where tradition and spirituality come together in a unique way.

Incredible Places to Visit in Varanasi

Varanasi, also known as Benaras or Kashi, is one of the oldest and most sacred cities in India. This holy place on the banks of the River Ganges is a major pilgrimage destination for Hindus and a place of immense cultural and historical significance. From centuries-old temples to beautiful ghats lining the river, there is no shortage of amazing places to experience in Varanasi. Here are 7 places to visit in Varanasi that should be at the top of your list:

Dashashwamedh Ghat

places to visit in Varanasi

This is likely the most famous and visited ghat (set of riverfront steps) in Varanasi. Every evening, a special Ganga Aarti ceremony takes place here where priests perform ancient rituals while waving lit lamps and offering prayers to the sacred river. It’s a mesmerizing spectacle of music, chanting, and devotion. During the day, Dashashwamedh Ghat offers wonderful views of the Ganges and its bustling waters where you can watch life unfolding on the riverbanks. Nearby is the historic Vishwanath Temple.

How to Reach: Walking is best as it’s in the heart of the Old City

Nearby Places: Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Manikarnika Ghat   

Opening Times: The ghat is open all day and night, Ganga Aarti at 7 pm  

Entry Fee: Free

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

places to visit in Varanasi

One of the most revered Hindu temples in India, this is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located right next to the Dashashwamedh Ghat. Its current structure dates back to 1780, though mythology states the site has been a place of worship going back thousands of years. The temple features beautiful carved pillars and domes topped by a gold spire. Only Hindus are allowed inside the main shrines, but you can explore the outer areas and soak in the spirituality. Lines can get very long.  

How to Reach: Short walk from Dashashwamedh Ghat

Entry Fee: Free for just walking around outside

Opening Times: 3 am to 11 pm  

Sarnath

places to visit in Varanasi

This Buddhist site located around 10km from central Varanasi is one of immense historical importance. It’s where Gautama Buddha gave his first teachings after achieving enlightenment, essentially establishing the foundations of Buddhism over 2500 years ago. The main sight is the Dhamekh Stupa, a huge ancient dome where Buddha preached. You can also visit archeological sites, temples, the Mulagandhakuti Vihara temple, and museums filled with Buddhist relics. It’s a profoundly spiritual and peaceful place.

How to Reach: Around 30-minute drive/rickshaw ride from Varanasi  

Entry Fee: Rs. 10 for Indian nationals, Rs. 300 for foreigners

Opening Times: Sunrise to sunset

Ramnagar Fort

places to visit in Varanasi

On the opposite side of the Ganges from the main city, this magnificent 17th-century fort and palace offers a look into the grandeur and lifestyle of Indian royalty from centuries past. You can tour the extravagant rooms and courtyards of the palace, view ancient weapons and artifacts, and learn about the history of the kings who lived there. The fort also contains temples, pavilions, and beautiful views of the Ganges River below.

How to Reach: Take a boat across the river or drive around 4km from Godaulia

Entry Fee: Rs. 25 for Indians, Rs. 175 for foreigners  

Opening Times: 10 am to 5 pm

Bharat Mata Mandir 

places to visit in Varanasi

While most visitors flock to Varanasi’s ancient temples, this unique temple built in the 1930s is also well worth experiencing. Rather than being dedicated to the gods, it is dedicated to Mother India herself, with an incredible relief map made of marble and precious stones depicting a 3-D rendering of the Indian subcontinent’s mountains, rivers, and more. It’s both visually spectacular and deeply symbolic of national pride. You can also get wonderful panoramic views of the city from the top.

How to Reach: Located just north of the main city, around 3km from Dashashwamedh Ghat

Entry Fee: Rs. 20 for Indians, Rs. 300 for foreigners

Opening Times: 8 am to noon and 2 pm to 8 pm  

Assi Ghat

places to visit in Varanasi

While the more famous ghats like Dashashwamedh can get extremely crowded, the Assi Ghat located in the southern part of Varanasi offers a quieter place to experience the rituals and ambiance along the Ganges. It’s famous for having some of the best views of the river, especially at sunrise, and plenty of space to walk and find moments of tranquility. Many Hindu ceremonies and prayers take place here throughout the day as well that you can observe.

How to Reach: Just a few km south of the main city center  

Entry Fee: Free

Opening Times: Open all day and night

Banaras Hindu University

places to visit in Varanasi

One of the largest universities in India, Banaras Hindu University covers a huge campus filled with beautiful gardens, architecture, temples, and museums. Some of the highlights include the enormous Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum, the Vishwanath Temple, and lush gardens like Nandan and Cant. It’s a green oasis within the city where you can spend hours wandering the grounds and impressive facilities. The university also puts on various music, dance, and cultural performances.  

How to Reach: Central part of Varanasi, 3km from ghats

Entry Fee: Free to wander around public spaces 

Opening Times: All-day, events and performance times vary

Varanasi is truly a city unlike any other in the world, overflowing with spirituality, ancient heritage, vibrant culture, and life lived out along the sacred River Ganges. While the ghats and temples like Kashi Vishwanath are must-visits, the city offers so many other profound places to witness and experience as well. Make sure you give yourself ample time to immerse yourself in everything this timeless, magical place has to offer.

FAQs

Q1. What is the best time to visit Varanasi?

The best time to visit Varanasi is between October and March when the weather is pleasant and ideal for sightseeing and exploring the city.

Q2. What are the best places to visit in Varanasi?

The best places to visit in Varanasi include the Ghats along the River Ganges, Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Sarnath, Ramnagar Fort, and Banaras Hindu University.

Q3. What adventure activities can we do in Varanasi?

Adventure activities in Varanasi include taking a boat ride on the River Ganges, exploring the city’s narrow lanes on foot, and experiencing the famous Ganga Aarti ceremony.

Q4. What is the approximate cost for a 3-day visit to Varanasi?

The approximate cost for a 3-day visit to Varanasi can range from ₹6,000 to ₹12,000 per person, depending on accommodation, transportation, and activities.

Q5. What can we do in a 3-day visit to Varanasi?

In a 3-day visit to Varanasi, you can witness the vibrant Ganga Aarti ceremony, take a boat ride on the River Ganges, visit the iconic Kashi Vishwanath Temple, explore the ancient Buddhist site of Sarnath, and immerse yourself in the city’s rich cultural heritage.

Also Read:

7 Amazing Vrindavan Places to Visit: A Spiritual Journey

7 Amazing Places to Visit in Nashik

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tourist_attractions_in_Varanasi

https://varanasi.nic.in/tourism/

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