Varanasi, known as well as “The Holy City”, was one of our favorite places in India because it’s really authentic. After some days in Varanasi, we were fascinated by his religion, devotion and history of the place.
In this post we want to recommend what to see and what to do in Varanasi.
Get ready to dive in the deep cultural India!!
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1. GANGES RIVER
Varanasi is situated near the Ganges River, which is known to be a sacred river that purifies people from the evil eye. It’s also true that is one of the most dirty rivers in the world.
For that reason, Varanasi is very popular among the believers, who want to spend the last days of life in the holy city and then be burned in one of the ghats by the river.
Also popular by the holy baths. Pilgrims from all around the world take a dip in this river because they believe that this sacred river offers salvation for everyone who bathes in this water.
2. BOAT RIDE
This is one of the experiences that you can’t miss. To see the city and the ghats from the other side, from the river.
You can go on a private boat or share it with more people and you easily will find a boat driver near the river. You can do it early morning and enjoy the sunrise or in the afternoon to enjoy the sunset and night ceremonies.
Try to close a good price with the driver and share with more people. Usually the price is 300 INR (approx. €3,80) per person. However we paid 100 INR (approx. €1,25) per person, because we shared with more people.
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3. AARTI CEREMONY
The Aarti Ceremony starts after the sunset.
This is not one of this performances or ceremonies made for tourists. The surreal ceremony must be viewed from the Dasawamedh Ghat. It happens every night and it’s a mix of aromas, incense, dancing, colors, fire, flowers and devoted people. Hundreds of people watch it in the ghat or from the boats in the river.
4. AROUND THE GHATS
This place is amazing for photography lovers!
Varanasi has more than 80 ghats with stairs that lead the river. It’s interesting to see the real life here. You can see people bathing in the river, playing cricket, praying, washing clothes, washing cows and buffalo’s, eating or making rituals.
In this city there’s some burning ghats that you will find when walking near the river. Funerals happens at any time of the day. The ritual is to burn the bodies and then throw the ashes and parts of the body in the river.
Cremations are always happening and tourists are allowed to see but usually photos of the cremations are not accepted.
Travel Tip: In some burning ghats there is local people that provide you a “free” explanation of the story and how they do it. But in the end they will ask you for a “donation”. So be aware of this tourist scam.
5. CITY CENTER AND TEMPLES
Varanasi, the holy city of Gods has temples in every corner. It’s really nice to see the people in their rituals and spiritual ambiance. Some of the most populars are Durga Temple, Annapurna Temple, Ankatha Temple, Kalbhairav Temple, Mritunjay Mahadev Temple, Tulsi Manas, Sankatmochan and Bharat Mata Temple.
Varanasi is a raw place, authentic and the people are hospitable. It’s a nice place for street food and get lost in the markets. Sometimes when we were walking on the streets, we saw 4 people carrying bodies to the burning Ghats. It’s a strange feeling but it’s the real life of Varanasi.
It’s a city that you should include in your travel plan.
IT’S BED TIME!! 💤 WHERE TO STAY IN VARANASI?
Safe and Happy Travels Everyone ✈
SARA & JORGE