Varanasi, also known as Kashi, is one of the most ancient cities in the world. It is located on the banks of the River Ganges in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. This holy city is known for its rich cultural heritage, spirituality, and traditional beliefs. Varanasi is a city of contrasts, where you can experience the chaos of the city and the peacefulness of spirituality at the same time. In this blog, we will explore some of the best things to do in Varanasi.
- Witness the Ganga Aarti Ceremony
One of the most famous and popular things to do in Varanasi is to witness the Ganga Aarti Ceremony. This is a daily ritual that takes place on the banks of the River Ganges, and it is a beautiful and mesmerizing experience. The ceremony involves the worship of the river and the offering of prayers to the gods and goddesses. The Ganga Aarti Ceremony takes place at sunset, and it is a sight to behold. The banks of the river are lit up with candles and diyas, and the chants of the priests fill the air. It is a truly magical experience that you should not miss when you are in Varanasi.
- Visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most important and sacred temples in India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located in the heart of the city. The temple is also known as the Golden Temple because of its gold plating on the dome and spire. The temple has a long and interesting history, and it is believed that the original temple was destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries. The temple is a must-visit for anyone visiting Varanasi, and it is a place of great spiritual significance.
- Take a boat ride on the Ganges
One of the best ways to experience Varanasi is to take a boat ride on the River Ganges. The river is considered sacred by Hindus, and it is believed that a dip in the river can wash away your sins. The boat ride will take you past the ghats, which are the steps leading down to the river. You will see people bathing, washing clothes, and performing religious ceremonies. The boat ride is a peaceful and serene experience, and it is a great way to see the city from a different perspective.
- Explore the narrow streets and alleys
Varanasi is a city of narrow streets and alleys, and exploring them is an adventure in itself. The streets are filled with shops, temples, and shrines, and there is always something new to discover around every corner. The alleys are also home to some of the best street food in the city, and you can find everything from chaat to lassi to kachori. Exploring the streets and alleys of Varanasi is a must-do activity, and it will give you a real feel for the city.
- Visit Sarnath
Sarnath is a small town located just outside Varanasi, and it is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site. It is believed that it was here that Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. The town is home to several important Buddhist monuments and temples, including the Dhamek Stupa and the Mulagandha Kuti Vihar. Sarnath is a peaceful and serene place, and it is a great place to escape the chaos of Varanasi for a few hours.
- Experience the food culture
Varanasi is known for its delicious and diverse food culture. The city is home to some of the best street food in India, and you can find everything from chaat to lassi to kachori. The food in Varan
asi is also heavily influenced by vegetarian and Hindu cultures, with many delicious vegetarian dishes available. Some of the must-try dishes in Varanasi include the famous Banarasi paan, a mouth freshener made with betel leaves and areca nuts, the crispy and spicy chaat, and the creamy lassi. There are also many great restaurants in Varanasi that serve traditional and fusion dishes, including international cuisines.
- Attend a classical music or dance performance
Varanasi is also known for its rich cultural heritage, and one of the best ways to experience it is by attending a classical music or dance performance. The city has a long tradition of classical music and dance, and you can find performances taking place in temples, auditoriums, and cultural centers throughout the city. Some of the most famous classical music styles in Varanasi include Dhrupad, Thumri, and Kajri, while the classical dance styles include Bharatanatyam and Kathak.
- Visit the Ramnagar Fort
The Ramnagar Fort is located on the eastern bank of the River Ganges, and it is a great place to visit if you want to learn more about the history of Varanasi. The fort was built in the 18th century by the king of Varanasi, and it is now a museum that showcases the rich cultural heritage of the city. The museum displays a collection of vintage cars, weapons, and other artifacts from the past. The fort also hosts an annual Ramnagar Ramlila, a theatrical performance of the Hindu epic Ramayana.
- Attend a yoga or meditation session
Varanasi is also a great place to practice yoga and meditation. The city is home to many yoga schools and meditation centers that offer classes and workshops for beginners and advanced practitioners. Yoga and meditation are great ways to relax and rejuvenate, and they are an integral part of the spiritual culture of Varanasi. Some of the most popular yoga styles in Varanasi include Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, and Vinyasa Yoga.
- Shop for souvenirs at the local markets
Finally, no trip to Varanasi would be complete without shopping for souvenirs at the local markets. The city is famous for its silk saris, which are handwoven and intricately embroidered. You can also find beautiful handicrafts, jewelry, and other traditional items at the local markets. Some of the best places to shop in Varanasi include the Vishwanath Gali, Godaulia, and Thatheri Bazaar.
In conclusion, Varanasi is a city of contrasts, where you can experience spirituality and chaos at the same time. From witnessing the Ganga Aarti Ceremony to exploring the narrow streets and alleys, there are many unique things to do in Varanasi. Whether you are interested in spirituality, culture, history, or food, Varanasi has something to offer for everyone. It is a city that will leave a lasting impression on you, and it is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to India.