In Hinduism, Varanasi is one of the most sacred cities, where the first Jain Tirthankara, Rishabhanatha, was born. The city has several temples, notably the Shiva-dedicated Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
Every year, millions of pilgrims from all over India and beyond flock to Varanasi to dip in the river Ganges, which Hindus consider holy. The city’s architectural and cultural history attracts tourists. So what makes Varanasi so unique? Join us as we explore this ancient city.
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Several popular places are within Varanasi and around the city. Here are our recommendations.
The Ghats of Varanasi
The Varanasi Ghats are steps going to the water’s edge. People take baths, washing, and perform religious rituals here. The Ghats are also a popular tourist destination, offering a unique insight into Hindu culture. Over 100 Ghats in Varanasi, each has a distinct history and purpose. The most famous Ghats include the DasaswamedhGhat, the main Ghat; the ManikarnikaGhat, where Hindus cremate their dead; and the AssiGhat, a popular spot for young people to relax and soak up the atmosphere of the city. Whether you’re interested in Hinduism or want to experience something different, visiting the Ghats of Varanasi is an unforgettable experience. The Ghats of Varanasi are 6.5 km from Varanasi.
Sarnath, situated 10 km northeast of Varanasi, is one of the four holy sites of Buddhism. Buddha delivered his first sermon after enlightenment here. Buddha preached at Sarnath’s deer park, and Sarnath is a pilgrimage destination for Buddhists across the world. The main attraction in Sarnath is the Dhamek Stupa, a massive structure built in 500 AD to commemorate the site of Buddha’s sermon. Other notable attractions include the ruins of the monasteries of Mulagandhakuti and Chaukhandi Stupa.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple
It is India’s most sacred Hindu temple. It is of Lord Shiva, also known as Vishwanatha or ‘lord of the world.’ The temple is in Varanasi, one of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples, and Maharani AhilyabaiHolkar built the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in 1780. The temple complex has two golden domes and a tall spire. The main temple has Lord Shiva’s black marble lingam. The temple complex also includes shrines dedicated to Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesh, Lord Hanuman, and other deities. The complex consists of various temples and shrines. Kashi Vishwanath Temple is a famous Hindu pilgrimage destination in India. It is 6.1 km from Varanasi.
Ramnagar Fort is a historic fort located in Varanasi, India. The fort is 14 km east of Varanasi on the Ganges River.Ramnagar Fort was built in the 18th century by Maharaja Balwant Singh, the ruler of the princely state of Benares. The fort is a fine example of Mughal architecture, with its sandstone walls, turrets, and pavilions. Today, the fort houses a museum, which is a popular tourist attraction.
Kushinagar is a beautiful town in Uttar Pradesh. It is situated around 50 km from Varanasi and is an important site for Buddhist pilgrims. It is because it is where Buddha attained nirvana (enlightenment). Nirvana is a Buddhist state of peace and bliss. Thus, Kushinagar is a very sacred place for Buddhists, and many visit it each year to pay their respects.
The TulsiManasa Temple is located in Varanasi, India, and is a popular tourist destination. It is 8.5 km from Varanasi. It’s one of India’s most important Lord Vishnu temples. Its architecture attracts pilgrims from around the country. The temple was built in the 11th century by the Ganga dynasty and is one of the oldest temples in Varanasi. The temple is in the Nagara style of architecture, adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures. The complex comprises smaller temples and shrines. The area’s various temples attract pilgrims. Visitors to the temple can expect to find a peaceful and spiritual atmosphere.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Varanasi is in the autumn or winter when the weather is cooler and more pleasant. October to February are the best times to visit, as temperatures typically range between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius. However, if you want to experience Varanasi’s famous festivals, you’ll need to visit during the spring or summer. March to June are when most of the city’s festivals take place, so keep this in mind when planning your trip.
Nearby hotels to stay images
1. HosteLaVie Varanasi
2. Hotel Radiance Courtyard
3. Taj Ganges, Varanasi
4. Hotel Surya, Kaiser Palace
List of things to carry
When traveling to Varanasi, there are a few general items you will want to pack:
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Bug spray
- Travel with insurance
- First aid kit
- City map to navigate
Local famous & specialty food in Varanasi
Varanasi is home to some of India’s most iconic and delicious foods. From the famous kachori to the mouth-watering chaat, there’s something everyone can enjoy. Here are some of the most popular local foods in Varanasi:
- Kachori: Kachoris are fried pastry balls filled with various fillings, including lentils, spices, and vegetables. People serve it as a snack or a larger meal.
- Chaat: Chaat is a street food originating from Uttar Pradesh. It has fried dough, vegetables, and spices and is served with sauces or chutneys.
- Bhatura: Bhatura is a type of fried bread often served with chole (chickpeas). It is fluffy and light and served with various dipping sauces.
- Panipuri: Panipuri is a type of street food that consists of fried dough balls filled with a variety of fillings, including potatoes, spices, and tamarind water.
Everyone should visit Varanasi at least once since it is such a remarkable and fascinating place. It is a unique city with a vibrant culture and history that will make a lasting impression. Whether you’re looking to explore India’s religious side or want to experience something completely different, Varanasi is the perfect destination.