- Kashi Vishwanath Temple – A beautiful and mystical temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kashi Vishwanath is also one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has a deeply spiritual and religious environment and is crowded at most of the times. The temple is situated on the banks of the river Ganges. It has been destroyed and reconstructed many times and the present structure was built by Ahilya Bai Holkar in 1780.
|Website : www.shrikashivishwanath.org|
Tips : You cannot carry your cell phone, coins, pen, any metallic item, belts with metal buckles, shoes or etc. so it is best to not carry them. You can hire a locker either inside or outside the temple at a nominal charge and keep your things there.
If you are interested in just darshan, then the best time to visit is 7:00 AM in the morning.
Also please keep your arms and legs covered.
You can also book online for you quick darshan. The website is informative.
- Dashashwamedh Ghat – The ghat is very close to the Vishwanath Temple and is a must visit. It is one of the oldest ghats and is very lively at all times.
- Evening Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat –Not to be missed, this spectacular Aarti or puja with flaming lamps is performed in the evening around dusk. The ghat comes alive at this time, and the atmosphere becomes beautiful, the air heavy with the intoxicating smell of sandalwood and chants of ‘Har Har Mahadev’ and ‘Jai Ganga Ma’. The priests perform the puja, draped in saffron robes, with bhajans, mantras, flaming lamps and dance. The atmosphere is electric and you feel you have become one with God. You can view the aarti either from a boat or you can reach a bit early and take your place on the ghat.
- Shop for Banarasi Sarees – Banaras has been a hub of weavers since the Mughal era, when craftsmen migrated here from Persia. Today, its many thousands of weavers weave beautiful sarges from golden threads and create beautiful motifs on silk. Do shop for them, not from the hundreds of shops selling them for cheap but the proper gaddidars, the wholesale operators who have a family tradition of weaving.
- Assi Ghat – Assi Ghat is a relatively peaceful and serene ghat and also one of the most famous Ghats in Varanasi. Many piligrims visit it to offer the water on the lingam of Lord Shiva which is located under a Banyan Tree. The morning aarti performed near sunrise is a beautiful one and if possible one should try to see it.
- Manikarnika Ghat-The ghat is used for cremation of dead bodies by Hindus, by burning the body on a funeral pyre. It is said that the ghat is very sacred and people created there receive liberation from the cycle of re-birth and death. The ghat is known as the gateway to heaven. One can view the cremation process but one should not take pictures or videos the ceremony to respect the dead.
- Sankat Mochan Temple-This serene and holy Temple is dedicated to the Monkey God or Lord Hanuman. One can see a lot of monkeys inside the temple premises. Sankat Mochan means relief from all the problems (Sankat means problem and Mochan means relief giver). It is said that the temple was built from the time when the great saint Goswami Tulsidas, the author of Ramcharitamanas had a vision of the Hanuman.
The Sankat Mochan Sangeet Samaroh (classical music and dance concert celebration) is organised every year in April, where celebrated musicians and performers from all across India come to take part and is a good opportunity to visit and listen to the super performers.
- Banaras Hindu University (BHU)-BHU is an University established in 1916 by Madan Mohan Malaviya, with co-operation from Annie Besant. It is the largest residential university in Asia and has over 30,000 students residing in its campus. The main campus is spread over 1,300 acres and is very clean and green and definitely worth a visit.
- New Vishwanath Temple-This temple is inside the BHU campus and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The construction of this beautiful temple commenced in the year 1931 and was completed in the year 1966 taking a long time of 35 years. It is also known as the Birla Temple. The height of the temple is 250 feet.
- A stroll along the ghats of Varanasi to experience the local culture –This can be done easily as almost the entire old city is built on Ghats. It is the best way to know the place and its culture.
- Kashi Chaat Bhandar – Have their awesome ‘Tamatar ki chat’.
- Deena Chat Bhandar – Have their Golgappas, Aloo Tikki, Paalak chat
- Blue Lassi – Has also been featured in Lonely Planet. Though I didn’t find anything so great, it serves a variety of lassis and is on top of the list of the tourists visiting the city
- Ram Bhandar – Try their amazing Kachauri-Sabzi and jalebi. Remember to go early since their food gets sold very fast.
- Day trip to Sarnath – Just half an hour from Banaras, Sarnath is a place located north-east of Varanasi city. The deer park in Sarnath is where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma. There is a great museum.
Good to know…G\
Good to know…
- Banaras is reasonable and you can have a whole day of food and travel under Rs. 200.
- E-rickshaws, autos and rickshaws are the main and convenient modes of transport in the congested city. You can travel from any point to any point, most of the times, from Rs. 10 to Rs. 100
- All kinds of hotels are available in the city, from cheap to luxury. Many people prefer living on or near the ghats so that they can explore the old city easily. You can find the type of accommodation you need at https://en.tripadvisor.com.hk/Hotels-g297685-Varanasi_Varanasi_District_Uttar_Pradesh-Hotels.html
The luxury ones which come highly recommended are :
Brijrama Palace – https://en.tripadvisor.com.hk/Hotel_Review-g297685-d8871544-Reviews-Brijrama_Palace-Varanasi_Varanasi_District_Uttar_Pradesh.html
Taj Nadesar Palace – https://en.tripadvisor.com.hk/Hotel_Review-g297685-d1235764-Reviews-Taj_Nadesar_Palace_Varanasi-Varanasi_Varanasi_District_Uttar_Pradesh.html
The above is a list of places / things which I consider as being important. You may have questions and I will be more than happy to answer them in the comments section.