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Varanasi


Packages start from

Rs. 2,000 per person

Best time to visit

October - March

Recommended stay

1 to 2 days

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Highlights

About Varanasi

Famous for its beautifully built temples, the city of Varanasi shines on all days and nights. Bringing in the religious flocks from all over the country, this city offers a sense of calmness and composure to its tourists. It is believed those who die in Kashi attain salvation. People from all over come here to perform the last rites of their loved ones. The city is also famous for its silk products and one can always shop for beautiful silk sarees from here. The history buffs can enjoy places like Ramnagar Fort and Museum in this city. Apart from this you will come across a number of temples and ghats here including the Asi Ghat, Darbanga Ghat, Durga Temple, Hanuman Ghat, Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Kedar Ghat, Man Mandir Ghat and Manikarnika Ghat. Being a holy place, this city invites the pilgrims with open arms.


Places To See


Ramnagar Fort
The fort is located at the banks of River Ganga, about 14 miles from Varanasi. This eighteenth century fort was built by the King of Benaras to serve as his royal residence. Today, the fort houses the Ramnagar Musuem and a temple. An interesting feature is the giant clock which not only shows the time but also the month, year, day and position of the sun, moon and other star constellations.

Ramnagar Museum
The museum is located on the banks of the River Ganga. According to mythological beliefs, Rishi Ved Vyas, who penned the epic Mahabharata used to meditate here. The museum is today a venue to the 31 day ramleela that is conducted in September and October. Inside the museum, you can see intricately carved balconies, imposing pavilions and open courtyards. On display are exhibits and artworks related to the royal families such as medieval costumes, old armory, clocks, vintage cars, jewelery, furniture and ivory work.

Varanasi Ghats
Ghats refer to the stone steps that lead to the waters of the river. In case of Varanasi ghats, they refer to the long steps leading to River Ganga. It is on these ghats that Hindu religious ceremonies are held including the mystic aarti (fire worship). Several ancient temples dot the ghats. Visit the city any time of the year and you will be able to see people performing rites and rituals and taking a dip in the holy waters to absolve their sins.

Dasaswamedh Ghat
The ghat is one of the most ancient ghats in Varanasi with a history going back to thousands of years. The literal meaning of Dasaswamedh is the sacrifice of ten horses. Legend has it that a sacrificial ceremony was performed by the Bhara Shiva Naga rulers. An early morning and late evening aarti is performed on the ghat. The evening aarti is especially mesmerizing as people light diyas (earthern lamps) and set them to float on the river. The accompanying sound of the cymbals and hymns add to the mystic experience.

Darbhanga Ghat
The ghat takes its name from the royal family of Darbhanga. A palace was also built along the banks from where the royals could witness the religious ceremonies being performed. The ghat is a bit steep and at places very narrow. A temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is also located at the ghat.

Assi Ghat
Assi ghat is located on the southernmost side of the sacred Ganga River at the place where the River Ganga merges with River Assi. The ghat is frequented by a lot of foreigners, and especially by visitors from Israel. Legend has it that Goddess Durga threw away her sword here after killing a fearful demon. River Assi originated from the place where the sword fell. The ghat is an ancient one and finds mention in Hindu puranas.

Manikarnika Ghat
According to Hindu beliefs, a person who dies at the Manikarnika Ghat, or whose last rites are performed here, achieves salvation. The story goes that Lord Shiva would spend a lot of his time with his devotees – a fact that did not go down too well with his consort, Parvati. She pretended that she had lost her earing in the River Ganga and requested Lord Shiva to find it for her. The idea was to keep him busy and away from the devotees. According to the legend, Lord Shiva is still trying to locate the lost earing and when ever a person is cremated here, He asks them if they had seen it. The dead, therefore, come in direct contact with the lord and achieve salvation. Visit the ghat anytime and you will see funeral pyres burning in the open.

Vishnu Charan Paduka
Charan Paduka refers to footprints. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva performed the tandav, with the aim to destroy the world. In order to prevent Lord Shiva from destroying the city, Lord Vishnu visited Varanasi and performed penance here. Pleased with his prayers, Lord Shiva spared the city. Lord Vishnu’s footprints or charan padukas can be found imprinted in the Adi Kesava temple located at Manikarnika ghat.

Jantar Mantar
Built by Raja Jai Singh of Jaipur in 1737, the observatory is located near Dassaswamedh Ghat. Even though the observatory is smaller than its counterparts in other parts of the country, its equatorial sun dial deserves a special mention. The dial is still working fine and makes accurate measurements. There are other astronomical instruments of interest including Digansha Yantra, Krantivritta Yantra, Disha Yantra, Samrat Yantra Prakash Yantra, and Ram Yantra.

Alamgir Mosque
Built by Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb, the mosque is located close to Lalita Ghat. It has imposing minarets and is built out of material from a temple that he destroyed. The remains of the temple can still be seen in the columns and the rear side of the mosque.