Banaras City, Top Ten Things to do in your first visit !

Top ten things to do in Banaras

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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


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Banaras City, Top Ten Things to do in your first visit !Banaras City, Top Ten Things to do in your first visit !

33 thoughts on “Banaras City, Top Ten Things to do in your first visit !

  1. Kumar rohit

    A comprehensive write up with amazing shots!!!

  2. Josy A

    This all looks amaaaazing! I love all your photos.

    I visited Varanasi yeeears ago and really loved it, it is funny to see that it doesn’t look like it has changed much. I was sort of expecting more modern building to sneak in along the river, but these photos could have been from half a century ago.

  3. Dawn

    Love this post! Varanasi seems to be interesting place. Definitely something to add to bucket list.

  4. Becky

    Sounds like such a wonderful trip. The pictures are really something. I wish I had done more traveling in my youth. I’m not sure I could deal with that much chaos but I did survive time square, so there is hope.

  5. Rajeshwari

    Wonderful description blog will help to visitors. Nice photographs

  6. Archana Singh

    I have always visited Banaras for its food and photography. I love shooting it at sunset as I can never wake up for the sunrise. I love Arti at the ghats. And, it’s food is to die for.

  7. Ada

    Ive never heard about Banaras City before but it seems like a great place to visit! looks like there is so much to do over there! I would also love wake up early for stunning sunrise or see those sunsets in the evenings by the river!

  8. Lauren Pescarus

    I loved your highlights on each spot you visited (both the pictures and the descriptions). The ghat photos are really some of the most iconic, and I’m glad you found such amazing spots to take photos. Also, I love the tip about not taking photos unless you ask if you can first. Often I see people running up to locals to snap photos without asking and it can be so rude, but I don’t think anyone ever told them to ask first.

    A fantastic read, thank you!

  9. Ithfifi

    This is such a well thought out guide, thank you for sharing it! I’ve never been to India but I would love to go one day!

  10. Nicola

    Sounds like a really interesting place to visit. Good on you getting up in time for sunrise (I always struggle with this!) The classical music and dancing in the evening sounds magical. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Tiffany

    The river looks so soothing! I have a friend who visits often and I’ve always wondered what kind of things there are to do there! The Ghat looks like the perfect place to be!

  12. Alaina Monster

    Sounds like a wonderful place to visit! I think I’d love the boat rides at the Ghats of Varanasi. With over 80 different Ghats, I love that you’d always be meeting someone new and seeing something different – all while relaxing on a beautiful river.

  13. Lyosha

    Looks like a very interesting place to visit! I have never been to India but when I caome I will most likely spend months there!

  14. What Corinne Did

    India is so vast and so diverse, everywhere looks like a complete different place with so many things to do! The country is defo on my travel list and now, i know that I need to go to Banaras

  15. Preet

    Banaras is on my bucket list for some time, I really want to visit it. The pictures and the religious ceremonies all look so interesting.

  16. Medha Verma

    I used to live in UP long time ago and remember visiting Banaras (or Varanasi) as a child! I visited the ghats, took a boat ride in the river and watched the evening aarti. However, this is the first time I have read a blog post and I am happy to see it! It has brought back good memories 🙂

  17. Nathan

    I had never heard of Varanasi prior to my favourite travel vloggers recently visiting the city. It looks like an amazing city with rich culture and history emanating throughout the entire area, I would love to visit and explore all that it has to offer.

  18. kailun

    Barnaras sounds like a really chill city. Perfect for exploring but also kicking back. I’ll definitely love to do the things that you suggested on the list.

  19. Khushboo M

    I am planning to visit Banaras this month and it was great reading your post and seeing the pretty pictures. Hope to have loads of fun 🙂

  20. Acupofassamtea

    Such a lovely post. I always wanted to Banaras. The city intrigues me. Your post would be definitely helpful in near future.

  21. Elizabeth

    What a stunning place! I’ve never been to India, but my husband has and he says it was an extraordinary experience.

  22. Elizabeth O

    It sounds like there are so many great places to explore and visit in Banaras City. This is a great article which will help anyone looking for things to do on their visit.

  23. Chelsea Leigh

    OK, food + shopping would be my number one thing to do in Banaras City! Nighttime live music would be awesome too!!

  24. FS Page

    I have always dreamt of witnessing the Ganga Aarti on the ghats of Banaras; but then have heard from a lot of people that it is too much of chaos. I would still love to visit the Ghats of Banaras once to give it a chance. And I would love to stay at Ghat as you suggested. Never knew of the Night classical music there. Thanks for sharing such detailed info about the place. Beautiful vlog and amazing photographs.

  25. Flora_the_Sweaterist

    I’ve never been to India but some of my colleagues are from there, so I mean to educate myself over their country. Such a beautiful place!

  26. Becca Talbot

    Though I’ve been to India, I’ve only been to Delhi, Jaipur and Agra – on a Golden Triangle tour. I would love to explore more of this fascinating country though, and Banaras looks like one of the cities I should add to my list for when I return 🙂 your pics are absolutely breathtaking! x

  27. Feira

    Your photos are absolutely stunning! I’ve always wanted to visit India. Thanks for the information and your insight on a hidden gem.

  28. Bhusha

    Great tip. My MIL is just back from Banaras. I’m yet to go. Thanks for the highlights.
    Evenings, esp watching the Ganga Aarthi must be such a glorious moment.
    I hope I’ll go there soon, now all the more, esp to show it to my little one.

  29. Helene

    Stunning photos!:) Looks like a really cool place, the river looks really peaceful and the lights at night are magical! Thanks for all the info!

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