Varanasi or Kashi or Banaras, the names are many, but the city is one. One of the prominent cities in Uttar Pradesh is one of the holiest places in the world. It is a testament to the culture and tradition of India. People from all walks of life visit this place. They do so in search of peace, spirituality, or to find themselves.
It is one of the oldest habited cities in India and the world, and there is so much to do here and see. For a person seeking a spiritual connection, spending a week in Varanasi is not a big deal. It can be less as there is so much to learn and seek. For all those people, who plan to visit Varanasi in the near future, here is a list of things that they need to see and do here.
Top things to do or see in Varanasi or Kashi
- The magnificent evening aarti
Every evening on the Dasawamedh Ghat, a magnificent evening aarti takes place, which is a sight to behold. The rituals that take place during the evening puja will mesmerize you. If you click an image of this beautiful scene, it can make an excellent cover for a Puja invitation for the future. The whole ghat bustles with people offering prayer, chanting, singing, and floating large brass lamps into the river. The entire ritual and aarti take about 45 minutes, and it starts at 6:45 pm every day. To better experience the ghat and see it in its entirety, reach it an hour or so before the aarti begins. Once the lamps are lit, the night sky shines with its light, and the whole view is spectacular.
A piece of advice for all seasoned photographers, take a boat ride during the aarti if you want to capture its true essence.
- Take a serene boat ride
The city of Varanasi has its legs on the river Ganga, the purest rivers in the world. If you want to experience the serenity that the Ganga river has to offer, do take a boat ride across it at the crack of dawn. The peaceful ride with only the sound of water and nature will surely give you a great deal to think about. Also, if a boat ride doesn’t fancy you, walk along the ghats. No matter what time of the day it is, the city is bustling with some action, and while strolling in the ghats, you will experience quite a few things to last you for a lifetime.
- Explore the several temples
Varanasi is the land of temples, and you will find several of them. In every corner, there is a temple where people go to offer their daily prayers. But there are also few temples with historic importance, like the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. It is one of 12 Jyotirlinga temples with Lord Shiva’s jyotirlinga. Another name for this is the golden temple, and its architecture was ahead of its time in 1780.
The Durga temple is another shrine you should visit, especially if you are here in the month of Navratri. The myth says the Goddess herself built the statue. Also, its architecture is fascinating and will appeal to all students of this craft.
- Take a rickshaw ride
This point is exclusively for all foreign tourists visiting Varanasi and India for the first time. You should definitely take a rickshaw ride whether the motor one or the cycle one. It is a must, and hold on to tight as the driver will rush through the traffic. But the feeling is exhilarating and you get to see a lot of things, that you would have missed sitting in the car.
- Gorge on food at Vatika café
Food makes you happy and on vacation, worrying about diet is a fool’s errand. So, enjoy the apple pie or a hot beverage and local food at this place with a view of the Ganga and enjoy the cool breeze.
- Visit Sarnath
Singhpur near Varanasi has Sarnath fort, which is known for its Buddist monuments. Visiting this place will enlighten you about the Buddhist culture and its significance in India. Sarnath also has deep meaning for Jainism, and the stupas and Ashoka Emblem erected by King Ashoka are also here.
- Street food
When in Varanasi, you cannot miss eating the local street food. It is delicious and cheap. Also, visit the local market for shopping.
Spend a few extra days here to enjoy every little thing that makes Varanasi so unique.