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Varanasi Travel Guide The Best Places to Visit, Eat and Stay in Varanasi | Niraan – The Tent City, Varanasi

Varanasi. A city that holds a special significance to each individual who visits it, is one of the oldest cities in the world, located in the southern part of the Indian state, Uttar Pradesh, by the holy river Ganges. A city that is constructed over centuries, Varanasi is a living landscape that holds elements of antiquity, symbolism, culture, and endless stories that are imagined, real and fluid. The streets of Varanasi can be defined as timeless and the ones that hold a truly old-world charm to them. They are full of life and almost seem like an interplay of myths. With rickshaws ringing their bells, Banarasi sarees being sold on the roadside, bicycles making their way through the alleys, taxis that dwell in the maze, and horse-drawn tongas, camels, and pedestrians going about their business.

It has always been a destination for pilgrims and seekers for the past 2500 years. From the Buddha and Mahavira to Lahri Maharaj and Shankaracharya, many enlightened ones have spread the profound meanings of life and the Vedas through this city seeking pilgrims from all over the world.

Why do you need to visit Varanasi

Why do you need to visit Varanasi?

“In my imagination, there’s a city full of flowers,
Where always lives spring-the most loveable city”

Mirza Ghalib, Chiragh-e-Dair (21), 1827

The city of Varanasi has been widely imprinted with adjectives like ethereal, eternal and timeless through centuries of endless stories that have been told, untold and repeatedly told. There are temples, shrines, mosques, monasteries, ghats and cremation grounds that are governing this space. Since its inception, Varanasi has been the ultimate pilgrimage spot for Hindus. It is believed that one who is graced to die on the land of Kashi, would attain salvation and freedom from the cycle of birth and re-birth. It is known as the abode of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Although the name of the city is duly mentioned in many ancient Hindu scriptures like the Rigveda, Skanda Purana, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata, the origins of this city are yet unknown.

Another significant positioning that Varanasi holds to its name, is the home to the holy river Ganga. The ancient city evokes a strong sense of divinity and spirituality in its ghaats. Fascinatingly, the city derived its name from the ghaats. From Varun to Assi, these ghaats have a charm of their own, with interesting stories that are built around them. They are the confluence of the three holy rivers, Ganga, Yamuna, and Brahmaputra which makes Varanasi tourist places even more auspicious.


Sarnath-What are the famous places in Varanasi

What are the famous places in Varanasi?

The city of Varanasi is magical. The intimate rituals of life and death, the sights, sounds and smells of the old town, and the colours of the land, water, and sky on earth. Every single sight has a charm attached to it.

Carrying this piece of culture and the magic that is weaved along with it, are many spiritual and heritage places to visit in Varanasi that have been steeped in history, stories, and traditions since time immemorial.

Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple

The Divine Gateway of Spiritual Enlightenment

Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple is considered to be the divine abode of Lord Shiva, located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh one of the holiest places in the country. The existence of temple is believed to be over 4000 years on the western bank of the holy river Ganga and is known to be one of the Jyotirlingas. The central dome of this temple is covered with gold plating which also leads it to be called the ‘golden temple’. The complex of the temple consists of a series of small shrines, adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures and is a masterpiece of traditional Indian architecture.

The Dhamek Stupa

Embrace the Marvellous Shrine of Lord Buddha

Approximately 13 km northeast of Varanasi in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is the village of Sarnath, home to the Buddhist stupa known as Dhamek. It is thought that Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon after achieving enlightenment in this particular space. It is one of the most sacred locations for Buddhists. The Dhamek Stupa is a sizable brick and stone cylindrical stupa. Its base measures 28 meters in diameter and it has a height of 43 meters. With a stone fence and four doorways, the stupa is adorned with statues of seated Buddhas around it. The harmika, a typical element of many Buddhist stupas is thought to symbolize the buddha’s seat. The walls are decorated with carvings and reliefs that represent scenes from buddha’s life and significant moments in Buddhist history.

The Banaras Hindu University

Excellence in Education and Diversity in Culture

The Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is a public central university located in Varanasi. Shri Madan Mohan Malaviya founded it in 1916 with the help of Maharaja of Darbhanga. BHU in total has about 35000 students from in and around the world today. The institution has constantly earned a reputation for having a strong academic standard and has been termed as one of India’s top universities. It is comprised of more than 140 departments divided into 6 institutions, which provide programs in a variety of academic fields including the humanities, social sciences, law, engineering, and medicine. In accordance with the culture of Varanasi, BHU is surely one of the places that are a must-see on every visitor’s list.

Ramnagar Fort

Experience the Grandeur of Intrinsic Artwork

The Ramnagar Fort is a majestic sandstone building constructed by Shri Kashi Naresh Pelu Bheru Singh in the 18th century that stands towering along the riverbank by the Ganges. As you take a stroll through the fort, you’ll witness some of the biggest and oldest astronomical clocks, carved balconies, pavilions, and open courtyards, that are sure to leave visual imprints of the ancient times in the viewer’s minds. The fort also has a Durbar Hall and a Reception Chamber that is constructed in the Mughal style with Chunnar Sandstone in hues of creme that are adorned with ornamental balconies, pavilions, and a sizable courtyard. The fort contains two magnificent temples, one honouring Lord Vishnu and the other the great guru Veda Vyasa, the author of the renowned Indian scripture Mahabharata.

Assi Ghat

A Place Where You Feel the Magic of Ganga

According to the Kashi Khand, Assi Ghat is Assi “Saimbeda Tirtha,” which indicates that anyone who takes a plunge there just once in their lifetime will receive punya of all the Tirthas. The focal point of Assi ghaat, Varanasi is a Shiva lingam, a phallic depiction of the Hindu deity, which is located beneath a revered peepal tree. This ghaat is also mentioned in the Matsya Purana, Kurma Purana, Padma Purana, Agni Purana, and Kashi Khanda of holy ancient Hindu literature and is therefore one of the best nearby places to visit in Varanasi. It is known to draw hundreds of pilgrims each day who, after bathing in the river Ganga, come to worship Lord Shiva.

Manikarnika Ghaat

Where the Cycle of Life and Death is Celebrated

Considered to be one the most oldest and sacred ghats, the Manikarnika ghaat is also known as the main cremation site in Varanasi. This ghaat is named after the Hindu goddess Parvati. According to many legends, this ghaat was created by Lord Shiva who dug a pit to find water for his wife Parvati to bathe, where she lost one of her earrings (Manikarnika) on the spot.
It is believed that to die in Varanasi and to be cremated at Manikarnika ghaat is to attain instant moksha or liberation from the cycle of reincarnation. The ghaat is a well-liked tourist destination and is well-known for its religious and cultural significance.

Dasaswamedh Ghaat

Embrace the Beauty of Spirituality

The Dasaswamedha ghaat, Varanasi is one of the most revered locations in the city and is among the oldest and most significant ghats in Varanasi. Named for the fabled horse sacrifice that Lord Brahma carried out to welcome Lord Shiva, this ghaat is famous for the daily evening Agni Pooja performed there by a group of priests who are devoted to Lord Shiva, the River Ganges, Surya, Agni, and the entire cosmos. Visitors can enjoy the fantastic and vibrant riverfront scenery where many groups of rishis and sadhus are observed engaging in religious activities.


What are the top things to do in Varanasi

What are the top things to do in Varanasi?

Varanasi is existential in its nature. Looking into the entwined nature that exists in this city’s existence, one can very easily explore the entertainment and sociocultural life of Varanasi. However, like every other component that makes Banaras, there are a lot of verticals in the city where you can engage yourself either to merge in the culture or simply enjoy the city’s essence.

The Boat Ride

Around The Sacred River

No trip to Varanasi is complete without a sunrise or sunset boat ride of the Ganga or an exploration of its historic winding streets. From choosing a traditional rowing boat to a motor boat you can immerse yourself in the sacred atmosphere of Varanasi and visit many tourist attractions while on a boat ride. You can also witness the world-famous Ganga aarti in Varanasi from a boat.

The Ganga Aarti

A Spiritual Treat for the Soul

Holding a deep impression in religious imaginations as well in everyday lives, the holy river Ganga is a magnificent abode of purification and salvation. It is addressed as the pranadayani or the giver of life in many ancient Indian scriptures. Owing to this spiritual belief, the holy river is worshipped every day in the form of an Aarti. Doubtlessly, the world-famous Ganga Aarti on the banks of Varanasi has attracted people for many decades. Performed at the Dasaswamedh ghat, close to Shri Kashi Vishwanath temple, it is one of the most spectacular sights of the city. The ceremonies are held at dusk and dawn, with one of the senior pundits decorating the brass idol of Gangaji along with the ringing of bells and chanting of mantras. This is the most sacred part of the experience when one visits the city of Banaras.

Thatheri Bazaar

The Narrow Lane of Varanasi

Thatheri Bazar, a neighbourhood market made well-known as a treasure trove of brass goods, is located adjacent to the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple. The Thatheri Market is well known for metal and brass crafts. One can discover the numerous styles and patterns of brass ornaments and utensils crafted by the local smiths by taking a stroll through its winding streets. The very famous product marketed in this area is the kamandalam, a brass water pot that is used by many for puja purposes. Some other commonly found pieces are elaborate minakari accessories, clay pots, copper bowls, and handmade rugs which are available for purchase. This market specializes in bells, door knobs, home décor items, vases, grills, copperware, hand-crafted rugs, and clay toys and is regarded as one of the guests’ favourite places to shop.

Vishwanath Lane

Utmost Quality and Craftmanship

Teeming with eager tourists and locals, this market offers a vast selection to satiate its patrons. Everything from bespoke and ready-made fabrics to wooden handicrafts that are intricately crafted and carved can be found here. One can go along the street enjoying the many-hued fabrics on sale while enjoying the lovely aroma of delicious meals that fill the alleyways. Visitors often purchase fashionable carpets, embroidered shawls, funky jewellery, traditional accessories, and Banarasi sarees in large quantities. You can’t help but be impressed by the local craftsmen’s talent the moment you look at the beautiful metal and wooden effigies of Hindu gods and goddesses

Godowlia Market

Utmost Quality and Craftmanship

Visitors who love to shop often make a pit stop in Varanasi’s bustling Godowlia Market. The approximately 3-kilometre-long, narrow street is packed with local stores and booths that offer a range of goods. It is bordered by old houses. One of the city’s oldest local bazaars, this market is located close to Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The short street is dotted with shops and stalls of local vendors offering a variety of goods, with old houses defining the boundary of its lanes. This market is frequented by people who go there to buy food, hardware, and home goods. Renowned for its silk embroidery, it sells a lot of high-quality products at affordable costs, including Bhadohi carpets, Zari worked fabrics, wooden carvings, and beautiful silk sarees that offer the perfect feel of the city’s life and culture.


The Hustle and Bustle of Varanasi

Another such cobbled lane of Varanasi that is filled with locals and tourists, is the Golghar. The phrase “Golghar Market” was first used in reference to the granary monument, which is also known as the “Round House.” One of Varanasi’s main markets, this is a great place to buy gifts and authentic goods that are wrapped in the culture of the city. Visitors can also purchase designer shoes, handicrafts made by skilled local artisans, home decor accessories, jewellery, shoes, shawls, beads, and bracelets, which makes Golghar a convenient location or a one-stop solution for all purchases.

Urban Hatt

Discover Unique Handcrafted Treasures

The Urban Haat is a fascinating recurring market in Varanasi situated in the cultural complex near Chowka Ghat where regional craftsmen display their world of material arts, ornamentation and embellishments. Created by the Uttar Pradesh government to revive the cultural tradition and art of the city, along with making it easier for tourists to shop and appreciate this precious kala, Urban Hatt tops the charts when it comes to the best places to shop. Known for its craftsmanship in creating souvenirs, some famous products include jewellery, metalwork items, and brocade silk saris. Urban Haat is your go-to place if you enjoy shopping but don’t like crowded streets.

Banaras Art Gallery

Where Art and Inspiration Meet

Varanasi is a city that values art and culture, and over the years, it has produced a variety of gems, including sculptors, musicians, actors in theatre, dancers, and artists. With a long history of being linked to creativity, the city is frequently mentioned in religious scriptures and inscriptions as the epicentre of art and architecture. In order to promote the original and innovative works of tribal and urban artists in the city, the Banaras Art Gallery was established in the year in 1988. The gallery currently operates from four locations throughout the city and features 50,000 works of art created by local artists including sculptors, photographers, and painters.

The weaves of Banaras

From the Love of Threads

Banarasi sarees are well known for their designs all over the world. These sarees possess the breathtaking energy of Varanasi and the vibrant spirit of the people weaving them. Ranging from Tanchoi, Ektara, Jangla, Jamdani or Kinkhab, there are quite a few handwoven designs or patterns that are available for you to flaunt the heritage across the city.

The Story of Streets

The Hub of Visual Impressions

The city of Varanasi is like a feeling of stepping back in time. A special place where life is taking place at every step. From young boys having a water fight in the Ganges to beautiful women weaving on the handloom, from street vendors making tourists laugh to old men smoking pipes. Every taanga, alley or shop brings you to feel the essence of the city and blossoms up the culture of Varanasi.


What are the best foods to eat in Varanasi?

In the depth of the city of Banaras, lies its most invigorating love. The love for food-delicious, succulent and seasonal. Ranging from ‘kachoriwale’ to ‘malaiwale’ to ‘rabdiwali’ or the ‘paanwala’ to ‘thandaiwala’, the city is known to leave its traces across discourses for gastronomical love.

The Story of Streets

The most popular breakfast option in the city, this dish consists of a badi kachori stuffed with dal ki pithi and a choti kachori filled with a potato mixture. These kachoris are served with a bowl of hot aloo ki sabzi is one of the most famous foods in Varanasi.

Chena Dahi Vada


The Chena Dahi Vada is a variation of the regular dahi vadas and resembles rasmalai in appearance. This famous street food in Varanasi is prepared by dipping the vadas in yoghurt and adding a pinch of salt and jeera on top.

Tamatar Chaat

The famous Tamatar Chaat is prepared by mixing boiled tomatoes, mashed potatoes, onions, green chillies and coriander leaves and topping them up with spices like garam masala, hing, red chilli powder and black pepper.


A delicacy in Varanasi, malaiyyo is a melt-in-the-mouth sweet dish available only in winter. It is made of milk foam or froth with a special preparation process and is served in a local earthen cup called the kulhad.


Launglata is a sweet delicacy that has a crispy covering made of maida, with a delicious filling of khoya, saffron strands, chopped nuts, sugar and cardamom powder. It is deep-fried in ghee and soaked in sugar syrup.

Banarasi Paan

Your meal at Varanasi is incomplete if you do not have a Banarasi paan at the end of it. Prepared by stuffing betel leaves with a combination of ingredients, like betel nuts, fennel seeds, cardamom, gulkand, and a few suparis.


Where to stay in Varanasi - niraan tentcity varanasi

Where to stay in Varanasi?

Whether you aim to go on a spiritual journey the moment you step foot in Varanasi or are just an admirer of rich culture and history, we bring to you the most peaceful, pleasant and luxurious stay in Varanasi situated on the banks of the Ganges.
Built on a riverbed, Niraan – The Tent City, Varanasi is an uber-luxurious glamping resort situated on the ghats of Varanasi. It offers you the most perfect and peaceful stay with majestic views of blissful ghats. Brimming with natural beauty, it celebrates the confluence of timelessness and breathtaking scenic river views. The most unique thing about this retreat is the exclusive experience that you get only during certain months of the year.

It is just like waking up to the gurgling sound of flowing the Ganges and meditating in the radiance of the winter sun. Experiencing silences that speak volumes on inner peace and finding yourself amid the goodness of nature. Nourishing your senses in nature’s pristine forms and enriching your imagination

Exclusive Luxury

A new address for luxury at Varanasi, Niraan – The Tent City, Varanasi offers stays curated to your needs just off the shore to the majestic views of the ghats of river Ganga. Along with the most thoughtfully put-together aesthetic surroundings, that give this location the perfect and blissful vibe, comes the calmness and opulence of the stay.

What began as a project towards the dream of the country’s Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Niraan – The Tent City, Varanasi today is envisioned as a project that aims to revive the culture of the city. Offering a range of facilities to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable, it has a clubhouse, a business centre, a conference hall, a badminton court, a volleyball court, a rejuvenation centre, and a riverside cafe and dining area.

Come, and experience the tales of cultural regality, with Niraan – The Tent City, Varanasi, where you lose yourself to find yourself.

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