Varanasi or Banaras is one of the holiest cities in the world. The city of temples, Ghats, Ganges, street food, Culture & love. In all short Varanasi is all about the perfect place to spend some days. I spent almost 48 hours in this Holi city and I gotta tell you there are enough things to do, even 2 Days are not enough to explore all. Hence I will advise you on the places you should cover while being in Varanasi.
Here are the 9 things to do in Varanasi
1. BLESSING OF KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE
Kashi Vishwanath temple, India’s one of the most sacred temples of Lord Shiva. Located in the narrow street of Varanasi. As per legends, Many Hindu saints have visited this site. People believed that A visit to the temple and taking a bath in the Ganges are one of many methods believed to lead one on the path of Moksha (Liberation). Vishwanath literally means the ”God of the universe”. This temple stands on the west bank of the Ganges river and it is one of India’s twelve jyotirlingas. This temple has been destroyed by many times & Built again into existence many times, Surprisingly the temple complex is still under construction by the local state government.
2. EVENING AARTI RITUAL AT GHATS
one of the last long memories which will remain in you forever is the aarti ceremony of the Holy Ganges at the Ghats by the local priests. More than just a daily ritual, this evening prayer becomes more kind of a spot that connects people to their deity. Aarti starts at 6 O’clock in the evening and takes around an hour to complete, As much as Ghats perform their aarti ceremony in the evening but people told me to go to Dashashwamedh ghat as it is one of the main and important ghats. hundreds of people were seated on the steps of ghats, some of them are on Boat to witness this moment, priests were performing their Duty worshiping the Ganges river, sound of chanting, Clapping, Bells enlightened the environment & made you fall in love with this atmosphere.
3. TRY THE LOCAL STREET FOOD
One of the best things to be in Varanasi is its local street food. it is cheap and delicious at the same time, with hundreds of narrow streets full of local markets, dairy shops, snacks, local vendors selling at every corner of the street. From the Roadside Dosa to Malaiyo, Everything corner of the streets is full of colorful cheap, and delicious food. So anytime planning for Varanasi, Never miss to taste the local street food.
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4. WALK ALONG WITH THE GHATS
Ghats (The steps on the bank of the river Ganges) are the best place to witness the significant presence of their sacred city. Varanasi has a total of 88 Ghats, most of the Ghats are Bathing or praying Ghats, while only two of them (Harishchandra and Manikarnika Ghats) are used to perform cremation ceremonies as per Hindu Ritual. Ghats are the spot where people from every corner of the country come to do worship, local people playing Sports, Monkeys, Dogs, Hundreds of Boats calling you to have a ride. Makes it the most livable spot in Varanasi.
5. PAY VISIT AT BURNING GHAT
Out of 88 Ghats, 2 of them ( Manikarnika and Harishchandra Ghat ) are Burning Ghats. Where cremation ceremonies Happen as per Hindu Culture, As Hindu it is believed that ‘To get Burn’ on the Ghats on the ghats of Varanasi is a matter of prosperity. From one corner to another, it is really fascinating to see people on the one side Having prayer to their deity and on the other hand people getting burnt with the blessing of their Diety. In a short words: Ghats are the place where Life and Death go simultaneously.
6. DAY TRIP TO SARNATH
One visiting Varanasi should not miss this beautiful site, Sarnath is about 10kms from Varanasi, This Heritage location is actually a Buddhist pagoda, it is believed that Gautam Buddha the founder of Buddhism taught the ‘Dharma’ to others. This place is very much attracted by tourists, being the closest to Varanasi, People who generally visit Varanasi, find some time to visit Sarnath. This site has three major attractions to visit: Sarnath Museum, Budhha Temple & the archeological site. All comes under ASI (Archeological Survey of India) & one has to pay INR 25 as an entrance to visit.
7. RATNESHWAR SHIVA TEMPLE
one of my main reason to travel to Varanasi was to witness the amazing architecture of this temple, yet Varanasi has thousand of temples with amazing architecture. Unlike all other temples, this temple is constructed at a very low level on Ghat and leaning towards the backside, Locals have many stories about this temple, some believed that there were many temples constructed at a lower level on ghats but this is the only one that remains. Interestingly one of the world’s great wonders, the tower of Pisa is leaning by 4 inches but this temple is leaning by 9 inches and whereas the height of Pisa is 54m while this temple stands at 74m. Ratneshwar Shiva temple needs your attention while visiting Varanasi.
8. RAMNAGAR FORT
Ramnagar fort is located on the eastern bank of the Ganges river, just opposite Tulsi Ghat. This fort was constructed by Balwant Singh ( King of Kashi) in 1750 inspired by the Mughal structure. Ramnagar Fort is not very much popular amongst the tourist visiting Varanasi But this fort is worth visiting once. yet the condition of this fort is not good enough. Old Architecture & Museum are two reasons to explore this fort.
9. EVENING BOAT RIDE ALONG WITH GHATS
One of those memories which will long last in this sacred city is the evening Boat ride along with the Ghats. On one side numbers of Ghats lightning with thousand of people and another side the flow of the Ganges which will make your day for sure. There are Hundreds of Boats on the bank of each ghat calling you to have a tour.
Witnessing performing an aarti ceremony by the priest along with people around them chanting, clapping on the ghats are the memories you can carry forward for the rest of your life.
From the beautiful architecture to Delicious roadside food. Banaras is welcoming thousands of tourists every day even after the COVID. Varanasi is the perfect spot to spend your weekend with your family or Friends for unforgettable memories. with the number of Hotel chains to a cheap guest house or Dharamshalas, finding a stay is not a big issue in this religious city.
So anytime planning for a small weekend trip with your loved one, Go with Varanasi to enjoy the religious and beautiful landscape aspect.
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