Banaras City or Varanasi or Kashi is one of the most visited destinations in India. Being from India I was amazed that I have not visited this destination ever.
Earlier in my blog, I explained that there is more to the India state called UP or Uttar Pradesh than the Taj Mahal. Varanasi is one such city in UP which is a revered holy destination and much preferred by travelers.
“I planned my first visit to Banaras as I kept reading many blog post and watching documentaries from many travelers from around the world. It reached a level where I felt that Kashi is, in fact, calling me. It was time to pack my bags and move to another amazing state UP.”
Delhi to Varanasi can be reached by overnight train or even by few hours flight to Banaras Airport.
Map Banaras to Delhi
“Ghats” is the name given to the steps which take you to the river bed.
I have always been enchanted by Colorful Ghat pictures in various blogs and vlogs. I got sure this is one place every traveler must visit.
First feeling while you step into the city, is the feeling of Chaos. The chaos and crowd only add to the charm. For few, it may be a chaotic place but for many, it becomes their favorite destination ever, as the city grows on you for sure.
Here are 10 things you must not miss in Banaras
Subah E Banaras – Mornings of Banaras
Subah E Banaras is the main reason I visited this city. This means morning in Banaras. I planned to get up very early in morning and see the amazing sunrise which many have written about. As I walked along the Ghats early morning hearing the birds chirping and golden sun rays dancing on the waves of Ganga river, I realized the magic around, for which I have only read about till now. I felt peaceful and rejuvenated both as I walked during the sunrise.
Sham E Banaras — Evening in Banaras
As much the morning is blissful so is the evening of Banaras. Called as Shaam e Banaras.The evening is enchanting as it ends with the “Ganga Arti” or the prayer of the holy river. Taking a boat ride is preferred evening option. If that was not enough now there are many theme café opened in the Ghats. The rooftop offers amazing food with the view of the river. So one can sip a cup of coffee watching the sunset.
Night in Banaras and Live Classical Music
The music scene is big in Banaras too. There are Banaras Gharana or families dedicated to the classic music from Banaras. We witnessed live Kathak dance performance in a temple. A perfect end to another perfect day.
Book your stay and Live at the Ghat
Living at the Ghat was an amazing experience. Instead of going further ahead I can keep repeating this Morning Evening and Night ritual at the Ghat. Definitely, book your stays and liver at the Ghat. But I had to explore more. So I planned my next day dedicated to very powerful and famous temples.
Temples and Religion in Banaras
It is a strong belief in Hindu religion that Varanasi is the place where “Lord Shiva” one of the most powerful Hindu God is presiding. We visited famous temple Kashi Vishwanath, Durga Temple, New Vishwanath Birla Temple, Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, Kal Bhairav Temple and many more.
Walk through the city
A walk through the city is much recommended. The chaos can really break you down at first but later as you will go from one lane to other witnessing people rushing on a daily activity you will relate to the chaos and feel the spirit of the city. Plan to go for a walk with an open mind and watch temples and shops as you move each step. Banaras is known for Banaras Hindu University a popular educational institute.We visited a temple inside the university premises known as a new form of Vishwanath temple.
There’s so much to see in this city.
Boat ride at the Ghats of Varanasi
Your visit is incomplete unless you do the Ghat hopping in Varanasi. Walking or boating are two option and I tried both. Still, I did not get enough of the same and wish to go there again. The boat ride was truly magical as we moved from one Ghat to another each telling a different story and history.
There are more than 80 Ghats to visit and this makes it one more reason to visit this city again and again and find something new.
Sadhus in Banaras
I have never seen so many Sadhus in any other place as in Banaras. Have read about them and watched amazing photographs earlier. While many travelers click portrait photos of Sadhu it is a good idea to seek permission before doing the same. Because mostly they are meditating and praying. But we also found some who were friendly and interacting with travelers.
Shopping in Banaras
Food and shopping are another unique experiences to explore here. Banarasi Silk is world famous and one must buy a sari for sure during the visit. I spent hours shopping Banarasi Silk clothes and loved visiting the factory.
Food in Banaras
Food is Banaras is yet another area to explore. The more I explain the less it is. There are amazing vegetarian options. I could find even many South Indian Food stalls selling authentic Idli Dosa. But my favorite remained the Puri Kachori Alu Jalebi breakfast. Deep fried bread served with Seasoned Potato vegetables makes it a great start to the day.
Where to stay
India always has two options to choose from in staying luxury or budget.
If you want to experience the luxury choose the Taj hotel or other luxurious high-end hotels for your stay.
For budget travelers, there are many options attached to the Ghats. You need to choose the best Ghat and plan your stay. It is known to be chaotic reaching these hotels also there might not be lifts so climbing up can be an issue for elderly travelers.
We stayed at the Mansarovar Ghat. It was built by Raja Man Singh of Amber. It has museum build with Jantar Mantar an architectural copy of similar structure in Jaipur.
Dashashwamedh Ghat and Assi Ghat is another good option to book your stay.
Banaras is also called as Kashi which means “city of life”. This is one of the holiest places in India and inhabited for a long time.
Banaras is famous for its historically old culture and traditions.
My next visit
There is so much more to share about my Varanasi Trip in my next blog. Also, I want to revisit this city to live on the Ghats for more days and go boat ride all day long. As a traveler, I would like to explore the fort called as Ram Nagar Fort the next time and maybe take a trip to a nearby destination called as ChunarGarh.
Next time in fact, I want to do nothing else but soak in the intense energy and atmosphere this holy place offers.
Here’s a Vlog on Evening in Banaras