Unveiling the spiritual mystique and captivating history, Varanasi beckons travelers with its enchanting allure. Nestled on the banks of the sacred River Ganges, this ancient city in India is a tapestry of vibrant culture and profound spirituality. As you embark on a journey through the top 12 places to visit in Varanasi, prepare to immerse yourself in a world where time-honored traditions seamlessly blend with the pulsating rhythm of modern life.
Step into the hallowed precincts of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, where devotees seek solace in their prayers or stroll along the Ghats, where the ancient ritual of Ganga Aarti bathes the riverbanks in a celestial glow. Lose yourself in the narrow labyrinthine lanes of the Old City, where every turn reveals hidden gems like the bustling markets and traditional silk weavers crafting intricate masterpieces.
Top 12 Best Places to Visit in Varanasi
|Kashi Vishwanath Temple||5/5||The most important ghat for cremations is located in the heart of Varanasi.|
|Dashashwamedh Ghat||4.5/5||A ghat on the banks of the Ganges River, where Hindu priests perform a fire ceremony every morning.|
|Vishwanath Gali||4/5||A narrow alleyway in Varanasi is lined with shops selling religious souvenirs and snacks.|
|Ghats of Varanasi||4.5/5||The most important temple in Varanasi is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.|
|Manikarnika Ghat||4.5/5||A narrow alleyway in Varanasi, is lined with shops selling religious souvenirs and snacks.|
|Tulsi Manas Temple||4.5/5||A temple dedicated to the Hindu saint Tulsidas, who composed the Ramcharitamanas, a famous epic poem about the god Rama.|
|Bharat Kala Bhawan||4/5||A museum of art and culture, housing a collection of sculptures, paintings, and artifacts from Varanasi and the surrounding region.|
|Ramnagar Fort||4/5||A 17th-century fort located on the banks of the Ganges River, with stunning views of the city.|
|Sarnath||4/5||A Buddhist pilgrimage site, located 13 kilometers from Varanasi, where the Buddha gave his first sermon.|
|Banaras Hindu University||4/5||A prestigious university, founded in 1916, with a beautiful campus located on the banks of the Ganges River.|
|Aarti||4.5/5||The steps lead down to the Ganges River, where people come to bathe, pray, and cremate their dead.|
|Kashi Vishwanath Corridor||5/5||A newly constructed walkway that provides easier access to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.|
From the peaceful tranquility of Sarnath, where Buddha preached his first sermon, to the stunning architectural marvel of the Ramnagar Fort, Varanasi weaves a mesmerizing tapestry of cultural wonders.
Experience the profound spirituality, indulge in delectable street food, and immerse yourself in the timeless traditions that make Varanasi a quintessential destination for seekers of enlightenment and wanderers alike. So, embrace the spirit of exploration and let Varanasi cast its spell on you as you embark on an unforgettable adventure through its captivating places of interest.
1. Kashi Vishwanath Temple Varanasi
At the heart of Varanasi’s spiritual aura stands the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Its sacred significance and architectural splendor make it a must-visit destination. Witness the divine rituals, feel the vibrations of devotion, and admire the intricate craftsmanship that adorns this ancient temple.
- Entry Fee: None.
- How to reach: Located in the heart of Varanasi, it can be easily accessed by rickshaw, taxi, or on foot.
- Best time to visit: Early morning to avoid crowds and experience the morning aarti.
- Timings: 2:30 AM to 11:00 PM
- Temple Schedule:
- Mangal Aarti: 2:30 AM
- Bhog Aarti: 11:30 AM to 12:00 pm
- Sapta Rishi Aarti: 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM (darshan not allowed)
- Shringar/Bhog Aarti: 9:00 PM (only outside darshan allowed)
- Shayana Aarti: 10:30 PM
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2. Dashashwamedh Ghat Varanasi
The iconic Dashashwamedh Ghat is a vibrant hub of activity along the banks of the Ganges. Be captivated by the famous Ganga Aarti, a soul-stirring ceremony where priests offer prayers to the river. Soak in the spiritual atmosphere, take a boat ride on the Ganges, and witness the city come alive with fervor.
- Entry Fee: None.
- How to reach: Located in the heart of Varanasi, easily accessible by rickshaw or on foot.
- Best time to visit: Evening for the mesmerizing Ganga Aarti.
- Aarti Timings: 7:00 PM to 7:45 PM (summers); 6:00 PM to 6:45 PM (winters)
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3. Vishwanath Gali Varanasi
A bustling street lined with shops, Vishwanath Gali is a shopaholic’s paradise. Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy as you explore its narrow lanes filled with silk sarees, jewelry, handicrafts, and spiritual artifacts. Indulge in mouthwatering street food, savor local delicacies, and shop for unique souvenirs to commemorate your Varanasi experience.
- Entry Fee: None.
- How to reach: Located near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, easily accessible by rickshaw or on foot.
- Best time to visit: Anytime during the day to enjoy the bustling atmosphere.
- Location: Godowlia
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4. Assi Ghat Varanasi
Assi Ghat is considered to be the site where the renowned poet Tulsidas breathed his last. Positioned at the southernmost point of the ghats, it stands out as one of the most popular attractions for tourists. On an average day, approximately 300 visitors per hour explore its surroundings, but during festive occasions, this number can skyrocket to 2500 people.
While visiting, you have the opportunity to indulge in a leisurely boat ride along the river or even embark on an adventurous hot-air balloon excursion. Devotees also come here to purify their souls before engaging in rituals, as the sacred waters of the river are believed to possess a purifying quality that prepares them for their spiritual endeavors.
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5. Manikarnika Ghat Varanasi
Manikarnika Ghat holds immense spiritual significance as the primary cremation ground in Varanasi. While it may seem unconventional, it offers a profound insight into the circle of life and death in Hindu culture. Witnessing the rituals and ceremonies taking place here can be a contemplative and thought-provoking experience.
- Entry Fee: None. How to reach: Located on the banks of the Ganges, easily accessible by foot or boat.
- Best time to visit: Morning for a tranquil atmosphere.
- Timings: Open throughout the day
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6. Tulsi Manasa Temple, Varanasi
The Tulsi Manas Temple is a serene place of worship dedicated to Lord Rama. Its walls depict the epic Ramayana, making it a visual delight for art enthusiasts. The tranquil ambiance, beautifully landscaped gardens, and serene surroundings make it an ideal spot for introspection and inner peace.
- Entry Fee: None.
- How to reach: Located in the Durgakund area, easily accessible by rickshaw or taxi.
- Best time to visit: Morning or evening for a peaceful experience.
- Location: Sankat Mochan Rd
- Timings: 5:30 AM to 12:00 PM, 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM
7. Bharat Kala Bhawan (Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum, Varanasi)
Dive into the rich cultural heritage of Varanasi at Bharat Kala Bhawan, a museum showcasing a vast collection of art, sculptures, and archaeological artifacts. From ancient artifacts to contemporary art, this museum offers a comprehensive view of India’s artistic heritage. Immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural tapestry and gain insights into the city’s history and artistic traditions.
- Entry Fee: Nominal charges apply.
- How to reach: Located within the Banaras Hindu University campus, accessible by rickshaw or taxi.
- Best time to visit: Morning to avoid crowds.
- Location: Semi Circle Road, Varanasi
- Timings: Monday to Saturday 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM
8. Ramnagar Fort Varanasi
Step back in time at the magnificent Ramnagar Fort, located on the opposite bank of the Ganges. This architectural marvel reflects the grandeur of a bygone era and houses a museum showcasing vintage cars, armor, and artifacts. Explore the sprawling complex, witness the evening aarti at the nearby Rameshwar Ghat, and experience the regal charm of Varanasi’s royal heritage.
- Entry Fee: Nominal charges apply.
- How to reach: Accessible by boat or road transport.
- Best time to visit: Morning or evening for pleasant weather.
- Timings: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- Entry Fee: ₹ 20
9. Alamgir Mosque Varanasi
Amongst the plethora of temples, the Alamgir Mosque stands as a testament to the enduring presence of Muslims in this region for centuries. Renowned for its breathtaking Islamic architecture, this mosque holds a distinctive position along the banks of the Ganges. It is believed to have been constructed by the Mughal Sultan Aurangzeb, the great-grandchild of Akbar.
The mosque bears the name Alamgir, an epithet attributed to Emperor Aurangzeb. Historically, it is documented that a temple was dismantled to make way for the mosque, a decision attributed to Aurangzeb. However, intriguingly, the mosque incorporates various Hindu influences evident in its unique architectural style and artistic elements.
10. Banaras Hindu University Varanasi
Explore the sprawling campus of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), one of India’s premier educational institutions. Admire the magnificent architecture, visit the Bharat Kala Bhawan museum, and take a peaceful stroll through its lush gardens.
BHU offers a vibrant blend of academia, culture, and spirituality, providing a unique insight into the city’s intellectual and cultural landscape.
- Entry Fee: None.
- How to reach: Located in Varanasi, accessible by rickshaw or taxi.
- Best time to visit: Anytime during the day.
- Location: Ajagara
11. Gyan Vapi Well Varanasi
The name of this well signifies “the well of wisdom,” aligning perfectly with the beliefs associated with its water. It is believed that the water possesses wisdom, and those who drink from it receive its benefits. Regardless of one’s inclination towards superstition, there exists an intriguing history surrounding this legendary well.
According to legend, it is said to house the Jyotirlinga that was removed from the old Kashi Vishwanath Temple destroyed by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. This significant artifact has resided at the bottom of the well since the 17th century when the old temple was demolished to make way for the construction of a nearby mosque. In addition to the mystical aspect of this site, its architectural and artistic expressions further enhance its appeal, making it a destination worthy of exploration.
12. Durga Temple Varanasi
Devoted to the Goddess Durga, this temple represents the embodiment of feminine divinity. The deity enshrined within is believed to have manifested spontaneously, without any human intervention. Adding to the temple’s association with feminism, it was commissioned by a woman. The Maharani of Bengal took the initiative to construct it, specifically requesting the Nagara style of architecture.
However, the temple’s most intriguing aspect lies in its daily visitors—numerous monkeys. In fact, the temple has earned the moniker of the “Monkey Temple” due to the significant presence of these playful primates. Therefore, exercise caution when visiting, as these mischievous creatures can be quite lively!
- Timings: 5:00 AM- 9:00 PM
During which time of the year can I plan a trip to Varanasi?
The best time to visit Varanasi is during the winter months (November to February).
How to reach Varanasi?
You can reach Varanasi by train, bus, or plane. The nearest airport is Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, which is located 22 kilometers from the city center.
What are the must-see places in Varanasi?
The must-see places in Varanasi include the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Dashashwamedh Ghat, Ghats of Varanasi, Manikarnika Ghat, Tulsi Manas Temple, Bharat Kala Bhawan, Ramnagar Fort, Sarnath, and Banaras Hindu University.
What are some must-have experiences in Varanasi?
Some must-have experiences in Varanasi include attending an Aarti ceremony, taking a boat ride on the Ganges River, visiting a ghat, and shopping for souvenirs.
What to shop for in Varanasi and from where?
You can shop for souvenirs in Varanasi, such as religious items, jewelry, and clothing. Some good places to shop include Vishwanath Gali, Chowk, and Dashashwamedh Ghat.
Suggest some good places to enjoy street food of Varanasi.
Some good places to enjoy street food in Varanasi include Chowk, Dashashwamedh Ghat, and Manikarnika Ghat.
Where can I go for dining in Varanasi?
There are many good places to dine in Varanasi, such as Assi Ghat, Lanka, and Godowlia.
Are there any good places near Varanasi for a one-day trip?
Yes, there are some good places near Varanasi for a one-day trip, such as Sarnath, Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, and Ramnagar Fort.
Are 2 days enough for Varanasi?
Yes, 2 days are enough to see the main attractions in Varanasi. However, if you want to experience more of the city, you could stay for longer.
Which is famous for Varanasi?
Varanasi is famous for its religious significance, its historical monuments, and its vibrant culture.
How can I spend 3 days in Varanasi?
Here is a possible itinerary for spending 3 days in Varanasi:
- Day 1: Visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Dashashwamedh Ghat, and the Ghats of Varanasi.
- Day 2: Take a boat ride on the Ganges River, visit a ghat, and shop for souvenirs.
- Day 3: Visit Sarnath, Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, and Ramnagar Fort.
Why is Varanasi famous for tourism?
Varanasi is famous for tourism because it is a holy city for Hindus, it has a rich history and culture, and it is a beautiful city to visit.
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