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Varanasi Travel Guide

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About Varanasi

Varanasi, also known as Kashi, Benaras or Banaras, is a magical city in its own way. Located on the banks of the holy Ganges River, Varanasi is considered as the oldest continually inhabited city in the world. Yet, when a traveller sets foot in Varanasi, this spectacularly colourful city can feel overwhelming with all its sights, smell and sounds. Infused with spirituality, travellers can walk around in the labyrinth of alleyways. These alleyways are lined with everything from houses to heritage monuments to temples and shops too. Strolling through the ghats or catching a sunrise from a boat, there is no shortage of experiences in Varanasi. Each of the Ghats in Varanasi is marked by a lingam and has its own special place in the geography of the city. Witnessing the beauty of the Ganga Aarti on the ghats is an ethereal experience in itself. The spiritual calm along with the chaotic reality can put any traveller in awe of Varanasi.

Varanasi Tourism: City Details

Dial Code

0542

Population

1,198,491 (as of 2011)

Currency

Indian Rupee

Area

112.10 sq km

Languages Spoken in Varanasi

The official language of Varanasi is Hindi. However, given the high number of tourists that visit the city every year, English is also spoken and understood in tourist hot spots in Varanasi.

Best Time to Visit Varanasi

November to February is the best time to visit Varanasi. However, travellers should avoid the summer months as the mercury can peak during this time of the year.

The seasonal breakdown is as follows:

Summers in Varanasi

Summers in Varanasi starts from March until June. The months of April and May are the hottest with mercury levels rising as high as 45 degrees.

Monsoons in Varanasi

The months of July to September is when the rains hit the city. The downpour should generally be avoided as the river banks get a little challenging to tread through.

Winters in Varanasi

The best time to visit Varanasi is when the temperature dips to 5 degrees minimum and rises only to a maximum of 15 degrees. This happens in the winter months of November until February. This is the ideal time to take a stroll in the alleyways or go sightseeing in the city. 

Festivals or Events of Varanasi

Many festivals are celebrated in Varanasi with great joy and pomp. Varanasi Tourism is immensely dependant upon these festivals which is also the time when tourists frequent the city in large numbers. Mahashivratri, Holi and Diwali are the three prominent festivals during which Varanasi is worth a visit. Other than these, Ramlila, Ganga Mahotsav, Buddha Mahotsav, Chhath Puja are a few other festivals that are celebrated here.

Places to See in Varanasi

Many famous places in Varanasi are worth a visit. These locations are touted as the best tourist places for sightseeing in Varanasi.

Dashashwamedh Ghat

The Dashashwamedh ghat is considered as one of the best places to visit in Varanasi for its Ganga Aarti in the evenings. Witnessing this aarti give one a transcending spiritual experience.

Assi Ghat

This is where the pilgrims pay homage to Lord Shiva in this holy city. They worship a lingam situated right below a peepal tree.

Panchganga Ghat

The Panchganga Ghat is where there is a confluence of 5 rivers, Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Dhutpapa and Kirana.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most-visited Shiva temples in India. It is believed that the King of Kashi used to visit this temple on Mahashivratri. Situated on the banks of the Ganga river, this temple witnesses around 3000 devotees daily.

Tulsi Manas Temple

Tulsi Manas Temple is where the poet-saint Tulsi Das wrote the Ram Charit Manas. The temple walls have the engravings of the verses from the epic. This temple is also, where the locals perform the Ram Lila. 

Things to Do in Varanasi

Experience Culture and Spirituality

Travellers can take a holy dip in the Ganges and get a sense of salvation. A morning boat ride in the Ganges River is a must as it gives a serene view of the sunrise. Banarsi Holi and Diwali are popular experiences among tourists.

Street Food Trail

The true essence of any city lies in its lip-smacking street food stalls. A visit to this holy city is incomplete without a taste of its street food. The famous delicacies that are a must-try are Kachori, Tamatar Chaat, Dum Aloo, Banarsi Kalakand, Rabri, Bati Chokha and Thandai. Banarsi Thandai is famous across the whole country for its sweet taste and celebratory spirit.

Shopping Fiesta

Banarsi silk sarees are world-renowned. Gulab Minakari is an art native to Varanasi. Travellers can by souvenirs such as birds or elephant models decorated in Gulab Minakari and use them for home decor.

Airports in Varanasi

Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport

The Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport is the nearest airport for entering the city of Varanasi. It is located at 18 km from the main city of Varanasi and is equipped with all the necessities to make travel easy for passengers.

Varanasi Airport Address:

Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Babatpur, Uttar Pradesh 221006, Gujarat – 380003.

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