Places to visit in Varanasi : Arrived at Varanasi junction and wondering the best places to visit in Varanasi during your stay? Do not break a sweat. We got you covered. Varanasi has been a center of attraction to tourists for many reasons.
Experiencing the inner peace in the chaotic surroundings is the one strange emotion in this city. There are places with their own vibe and noise that one should experience when in the city. Here is the list of places to visit when you are in Varanasi, the city of lights.
1. Kashi Vishwanath Temple
One of the twelve Jyotirlingas, Kashi Vishwanath Temple is a major sacred attraction to all hindu pilgrims and tourists who travel across thousands of kms to reach the temple. The dome tower of this temple is plated with gold which is astonishing to see. There is a history of loot and destruction with this temple, so one might notice that the Shiva Linga is behind the Nandi statue.
Four gates have been made to ease out the crowd but still in festive season, there are hours of waiting and 2 – 3 km stretched queues. The temple is a must visit if you are in Varanasi.
Note : No electronic devices, shoes, belts are allowed inside
Location : 6km from Varanasi Junction
Timings : 2:30am – 11:00pm
Originating from the Himalayas in the north and meets in the Bay of Bengal, the Ganges river has been the source of life to everywhere it flows and touches. In Varanasi, people took a dip in this holy river to purify themselves. The Ganges river also acts as a fixed point for navigation in the city.
What one must do is to book a boat in the early morning or in the evening and cruise along the river. This way you can see all the life happening around the river and also will get to see why Varanasi is the city of lights.
Location : Near Ghats in Varanasi
3. Dashashwamedh Ghat
The Lord Brahma performed a sacrifice of ten horses at this place and since the name. ‘Dash’ means ten and ‘ashwamedh’ means horses. One can see all the colors of Varanasi at this ghat. You can just sit there for hours and enjoy the micro activities happening like an amalgam of flowers being sold by praising its importance, sadhus wearing peach color dhotis with their face painted and chanting mantras, the boat owners gazing for next customers to arrive and people negotiating with vendors to get maximum discounts.
Another major attraction is the Ganga Aarti which is held everyday at dusk. 45 minutes of rejuvenating humming of bhajans with deepam held by priests going up and down is a sight that hundreds of people foregather everyday to relish.
Location : Near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple
‘Knowledge imparts immortality’ is not just the motto of this esteemed college but the essence in every student’s life. Established 1916, nearly 106 years from now, BHU has been imparting knowledge to almost over 30600 students coming from 48 countries. Besides its massive campus, another attraction is the Shri Vishwanath Temple, not to be confused with Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple mentioned above.
The temple is also known as New Vishwanath Mandir or Birla Temple. It is located almost in the middle of the BHU campus and has the tallest temple tower in the world with height being around 250 ft. Bharat Kala Bhavan is an on-campus museum featuring a collection of miniature paintings, along with other artifacts. One should also make a stop here while visiting the campus.
Location : 7km from Varanasi Junction
5. Assi Ghat
It is one of the 87 ghats in Varanasi and hence the name. The main attraction here is Shiva Lingam beneath the sacred fig tree. Like any other ghats, their beauty can be seen in the morning and evening. Many people can be spotted doing morning yoga with live music everyday and there is also Ganga Aarti, just like in the Dashashwamedh Ghat, in the evening where people gather to find themselves touched to the rhythmic humming of the aarti.
Location : 6.5km from Varanasi Junction
6. Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple
Dedicated to Lord Hanuman, this temple was established by the famous poet Sri Goswami Tulsidas. The temple is situated on the banks of Assi river. It is believed that this temple is exactly where Tulsidas had a vision of the monkey god. ‘Sankat Mochan Sangeet Samaroh’ is organized annually which is usually in the months of April or May. It is a 100 year old event which is held in a series of five or six days of classical music and dance recitals.
Location : 1.6km from Assi Ghat
Timings : 8:00am – 7:00pm
7. Manikarnika Ghat
Piles of firewood stacked up every other hour and the fire is lit for the cremation. It is said that the fire at Manikarnika Ghat has not been put out for a single second. The funeral pyre burns 24/7 at this Ghat. Closer to Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the Manikarnika Ghat is the most auspicious ghat of all. In Hindu religion, this Ghat is the place to reach moksha for the departed.
The image of funeral pyre burning might be disturbing for most of the tourists, so it might not be the attraction in the conventional way but you can get a chance to see cremation up close for a fee. You have to be respectful and avoid taking pictures of the mourners and the departed. One can also book a boat and pass by the ghat to get a glimpse of what’s happening if they are troubled with the view of funerals burning.
Location : Near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple
8. Darbhanga Ghat
The ghat is named after the royal family from Darbhanga. They built the palace around the 1900s so they could watch the rituals at the ghat. The ghat is located between Dashashwamedh ghat and Rana Mahal ghat. The ghat is a great spot for all the photographers to get amazing shots. The palace, the stairs leading down to the rivers and the boats, all add to the beauty of the ghat which makes it a great attraction to the enthusiastic photographers.
Note : The beauty of this ghat with the sun setting to the horizon of the Ganges river can be captured at the dawn.
Location : Near Dashashwamedh Ghat
9. Kedar Ghat
Named after the famous Kedareshwar Temple, the ghat is believed to be the second most crowded ghats in Varanasi. The temple is said to be an exact imitation of the Kedarnath temple. Gauri Kund lies at the base of the temple which remains dry except in monsoon. The touch of South Indian architecture is what differentiate this ghat from others in Varanasi. The Aarti is also performed here and is a great place to capture beautiful pictures.
Location : 5km from Varanasi junction
10. Dhamek Stupa
Not particularly in the heart of Varanasi, the Dhamek Stupa is located just a few kms away in the village, Sarnath. It is the exact spot where Buddha gave his first sermon. This was the place where Buddha revealed the eightfold path leading to nirvana.
The stupa has a cylindrical tower which rises upto 43m with a massive diameter of 28m. There are other attractions too if you are in Sarnath. Chaukhandi Stupa, Sarnath museum and Tibetian Temple can take your whole day while you are here.
Location : 9.3km from Varanasi junction
11. Ramnagar Fort
Ramnagar fort was designed for the defense of territories in warfare. It is located a few kms away from the center of Varanasi, near the Ganges on the eastern bank, opposite to Tulsi Ghat. But now, it has a museum of antique stuff like weapons, jewels, hookahs, automobiles and one of a kind astronomical clock. The museum is known as Saraswati Bhawan.
Location : 10km from Varanasi junction
Timings : 10:00am – 5:00pm
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Frequently Asked Questions About Places to Visit in Varanasi
During which time of the year can I plan a trip to Varanasi?
Between the months of October and March, the weather is pleasant but if you want to see the real land of Kashi then visit during Mahashivratri or in the Sawan.
How to reach Varanasi?
Varanasi has a railway station and an airport (Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport) which are connected to every major city in India.
What are the must-see places in Varanasi?
Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple is a must if you are in Varanasi then pay your visit to Dashashwamedh ghat to enjoy the Ganga Aarti in the evening.
What are some must-have experiences in Varanasi?
The Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh ghat is an experience that even locals come every evening to enjoy and indulge. Also, try cruising the boats in the evening and admire the happenings around the ghats in Varanasi.
What to shop for in Varanasi and from where?
Markets like Thatheri Bazar, Godowlia market, Vishwanath gali and chowk & urban haat are some great places to buy.
Are there any good places near Varanasi for a one-day trip?
Sarnath is 10kms away which is a great attraction to all the Buddhism pilgrims. It has stupas and museums that you must see.