Incredible India has no dearth of attractions to offer, and when it comes to step into any pious destination, one cannot skip the name of Varanasi. Nestled on the bank of the river Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi or Banaras is reckoned as one of the seven consecrated Hindu cities in India. The holy city of Banaras is as old as human civilisation and witnesses immense footfalls of pilgrims from all over the sphere. From birth to death, the place has a significance of its own kind.
So let’s take you for a virtual ride to one of the most religious destinations in India and list five important things that one should do as visitor when in Varanasi:
1. Joyful boat riding
Boating in the midst of holy Ganges offers you a spiritual charm across the holy shrines. This is one of the most charming things to experience in Varanasi. The boat ride will take you through different Ghats adjacent to the Ganges where you can behold many Hindi rituals being performed. Besides, the breath-taking vista of the river is something that you will treasure for life span. The best time to experience the boat riding there is either in early morning or after the dusk.
2. Holy bath in the Ganges
The water of the Ganges is considered as sanctified to all Hindu devotees. Pilgrims flock here from various parts of the world to take a holy bath in the waters of the river Ganges. It is believed that taking a holy dip in the waters of the Ganges helps people to absolve their sins. There are more than 80 Ghats that you get to behold on the bank of the river followed by staircases leading to the river waters. Plenty of Hindu devotes and monks flock here in the early morning and chant prayers in the reverence of the river Goddess.
One of the most important things to do in Varanasi is visiting the Hindu shrines, which the city is known for. It is said that the religious terrain of Varanasi has direct rendezvous with the God offering several small to large shrines to behold. Some of the eminent shrines to visit there are Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Annapurna Temple, Tulsi Manas, Bharat Mata Temple, Durga Temple, Mritunjay Mahadev Temple and lot other temples with eye-catching architecture. Besides visiting the divine destinations, you can explore the weaver’s village in Varanasi or plan a trip to Sarnath, which is nearly 12Kms aloof from Varanasi.
4. Evening Aaarti, a must watch
While discussing about the things to do in Varanasi, attending the evening Arti is one of the major activities to perform. The evening Aarti at the Ghats does feature chanting of the Pandits holding the large lamps of brass devoted to holy reviver God. Besides, several religious rituals are also performed here that one can witness in person. The best time to witness the evening Arti at the Ghats is between 6.30PM to 6.45PM. A blend of aromas of flowers and sacred chants turn the ambience completely divine. In addition, one can also go for sunset stroll near the Ghats specifically meant for prayers, bath and cremation.
5. Shopping and Eateries
Be it any destination, shopping add more spices to anyone’s voyage. Bag full of goodies allow you to take home some wonderful memories from the holy city of Varanasi. The place is famous for ornate jewels, silk saris, vibrant carpets, idols of deities and much more. And the key areas of exploration in the city are Thateri Bazaar, Godowilia and Vishwanath Lane.
Akin to shopping, food is evenly an enticing travel factor when you are in any destination. The city is laid out with plenty of street food stalls offering you a wide range of platters including Pani Puri, Aloo Tikki, Tamatar Chat, Kachoris and many sweet items like Banarasi Kalakand, Rabri and Jalebis.
Best time to visit Varanasi
The place is a wonderful destination to visit all across the calendar but the best time to reveal the city is from October to March when the temperature is quite soothing for visitors.
How to go:
If you are planning a trip to Varanasi anytime soon, here’s how you can get there:
By Air: For air travellers, Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport is nearly 24Kms away from the holy city connecting various destinations of India. From the airport, one can easily hire a cab or get into a bust to commute further in the city.
By Train: People who are planning to visit Varanasi by train, the nearest railhead is Mughal Sarai Railway station located nearly 10Kms from the city. The rail station is in good connectivity with various destinations across India. One can easily find cab, taxi and auto from the railway station to enter the city.
By Road: The road network is quite convenient for the visitors from the key cities of Uttar Pradesh and its neighbouring states. There are several state run buses that frequently commute to Varanasi. People can also book cab for a pleasant road journey to reach Varanasi.
Places to stay:
Being one of the frequented spiritual destinations in India, Varanasi is laid out with plenty of hotels and accommodations to stay, some of which are listed here for your convenience:
Address: No.C-21/3, Maldahiya, Station Road, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001
Address: Durgakund Rd, Near to Bank of India, Bhelupur, Banaras, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221010
Address: 22, Gulab Bagh, Sigra, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221002
Hotel Meraden Grand
Address: 57 Patel Nagar, Cantt, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221002
The Landmark Hotel
Address: B-38/7-3, Opp. Akashwani, Mahmoorganj, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221010
Image courtesy: Google