If there is any city in India that is beautiful, colorful, spiritual, enchanting, and much more, then it has to be Varanasi. This ancient city of India is culturally-rich and holds so much history that it adds more to its unlimited charm. Earlier Varanasi was famous as Kashi which means city of lights. But it was renamed to Varanasi after the Varuna as well as Asi Rivers.
No wonder, if you are traveling to Varanasi then you got to plan a long trip because a few days is not enough to explore and experience this magical city. A lot of people across the globe visit this city mostly for its bathing Ghats that are located near the holy river Ganga. Also, some people come to Varanasi for their spiritual enlightenment, and salvation of their sins, and others come for everything including different activities. With time there have been new introductions which means you can do an ample number of things in Varanasi as a traveler and be charmed by it.
However, to sort things out for you, we have compiled a list of things that you can do when visiting Varanasi:
- Morning Aarti At Assi Ghat
The ideal way to start your exploration of Varanasi is by attending the morning aarti at Assi Ghat. This morning aarti is commonly called Subah-E-Banaras. The aarti starts with Vedic verses and then continues with Ganga aarti. You will also see that a tribute is paid to the main four elements which are earth, water, sky, as well as fire. This aarti is somewhat similar to the evening aarti performed at Dashashwamedh Ghat. After the morning aarti completes, classical musicians from the famous Banaras Gharana arrive to perform classic music as well as ragas which will be a treat to your ears. The morning aarti at Assi Ghat starts at 5 am.
- Evening Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat
Attending the evening aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat will allow you to experience the dazzling and unbelievable celebration of Ganga aarti. This ghat is one of the holiest ones in the city and will allow you to keep worldly things aside and connect with god. The amazing evening at this place will be full of bells melody, chanting of the priests, blowing conch shells, and a lot more. The evening aarti is usually 45 minutes long and the priests perform various Hindu rituals which are taken from the Vedas as well as Upanishads. Also, the ghat is filled with diyas in the river which you don’t want to miss.
- Panchganga Ghat
This is another famous ghat in Varanasi and is a highly famous tourist place as it was built at the confluence of 5 main holy rivers. However, you can find 5 black stone idols on this ghat that defines 5 river goddesses. Also, Panchganga ghat holds history and is famous for Alamgir Mosque which was made by Aurangzeb. No wonder, visiting this ghat should be on your list as will make you learn more about Varanasi in a better way.
- Ramnagar Fort
This fort in Varanasi is located opposite Tulsi ghat. This is an 18th century red sandstone fort that is known to be made in Mughal style by the Kashi ruler. By taking a 30-minute boat ride you can reach this impeccable place. This fort has temples which are dedicated to Lord Hanuman and Ved Vyasa. Also, you will be able to see the amazing structure of the fort and other details of it. If you are visiting Varanasi, especially during Ram Leela Festival then taking a short trip to Ramnagar Fort should be on your list.
- Man Singh Observatory
Man Singh Observatory is located in the Man Mandir Ghat and is a masonry observatory. It is one of the five existing ones in the country and the last one constructed by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. The mahal was constructed in the 16th century but in the year 1911, it was restored. You will find its infrastructure to be a mix of Rajasthani as well as Mughal architectural styles. Its eastern front faces the Ganga River. However, in the year 2019, it started functioning as a museum and showcase light shows, art, 3D show, and much more. Visiting this observatory means knowing the brilliance of Indian astronomers and much more.
If you visiting Varanasi then see this esteemed Buddhist pilgrimage center across the globe. However, to visit Sarnath you need to visit 10 km away from the city. It is said that after getting enlightenment, Lord Buddha made his initial sermon at this place which is called Maha Dharma Chakra Pravartan Sutra. You will find various structures at this place like Dhamekh Stupa, as well as Chaukhandi Stupa. Sarnath should be on your list if you are intrigued to know more about Lord Buddha.
- Varanasi Trade Facilitation Centre
Varanasi Trade Facilitation Centre is the best place for artists who want to enhance and show their talent. This facilitation Centre is built within 8 acres parameter and has various attractions for visitors as well. Its craft museum allows people to get their hands on various art pieces from the artist itself. Also, while visiting this place you can get to explore its handicraft gallery, carpet gallery, museum shops, and much more.
- Tomb of Lal Khan
If you are looking to visit an offbeat place in Varanasi then the Tomb of Lal Khan is one of them. This place is situated near Malviya Bridge at Raj Ghat. It is known as a mausoleum of the famous Mughal Nobel which is known inside the Raj Ghat fort. The tomb has excavated remains of the prehistoric settlement of 1-3rd century AD. Overall, it is highly maintained and the entry is free of cost. Visiting the Tomb of Lal Khan will make you feel time moving at a slow pace. Also, watching the stunning views of Raj Ghat Bridge, Ganges, etc. from the tomb is worthwhile.
- Namo Namah Govardhan Ghat
This is the 85th ghat of Varanasi which has main three pairs of folded hands signifying Namaste which Indians do to greet each other. The two statues are 25 feet tall and one smaller one was installed on the ghat a few years back. Also, a 75 feet tall statue behind the Namo Namah statues has various facilities for visitors or travelers. You can visit Namo Namah Govardhan Ghat whenever you are visiting Varanasi.
- Boat Ride
Getting on a boat ride at the Ganges is the best decision you can take when visiting Varanasi. No wonder the holiest river Ganga looks spectacular during the day time but for a boat ride, sunrise is the apt time. The soft and pastel-colored sky and the amazing Ganga River will offer a surreal experience Also, you will able to encounter different Ghats and pass by various temples while on a boat ride.
- Alamgir Mosque
This mosque was built in the year 1663 by Aurangzeb. It is situated at the Panch Ganga Ghat. You will be intrigued by its Indo-Mughal style of structure along with a pond. There are rumors that the pond of the mosque is two times deeper than the mosque’s height. Also, the mosque overlooks the famous Ganga River and offers stunning views. Visiting Alamgir Mosque will offer you peaceful and serene vibes.
- Manikarnika Ghat
Manikarna Ghat is known as the most auspicious as well as sacred ghat. It is known as the ground of cremation which is situated between Dashashwamedh Ghat as well as Scindia Ghat. You will find a pond near this pond which is said to be dug for Lord Shiva as well as Goddess Shakti. Getting up to the step of this ghat you will be able to see Manikarnika well. There is Hindu mythological history related to this ghat which makes it special and a must-visit.
- Gaay Ghat
Whether you call it Gai or Gaay Ghat, it is another famous ghat that you can find near the banks of the Ganges. The meaning of Gaay means cow. It is said that during ancient times, the people of Varanasi used to wash their cows here. However, this ghat is known to have a beautiful 3 feet tall bull sculpture which stands true to its name. There are many stories and history attached to this ghat and attracts a lot of crowds for various ceremonies and religious functions. Gaay Ghat is a nice location that you can visit in Varanasi.
- Banaras Hindu University
BHU comes under the list of India’s oldest varsities. It was founded by the renowned Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya before partition. You can find this university on the outskirts of the city. It has well-maintained roads, massive temples, various buildings, as well as an airstrip involving architectural importance. The university can accommodate 30,000 students and is the largest residential university in the entire Asia. You should visit BHU for its buildings, and museums, and can interact with the students.
The city of Varanasi has numerous spots to visit take will take you years to fully explore them. No wonder this ancient city will leave you mesmerized and you will soon fall in love with it. But it is essential that if you are traveling here, you get to experience and visit the best places and do wonderful things without wasting your time. The above-mentioned things will allow you to make the most out of your Varanasi trip and you will leave with a bag full of divine memories.