Skip to content Skip to footer

Varanasi Travel Guide

Know Everything about this Spiritual City

Nestled along the sacred Ganga in Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi is an ancient narrative of civilization and learning. For over 3000 years, its bustling streets, filled with the lively hum of vendors, have borne witness to this rich heritage. From Buddha to Shankaracharya, seekers have been drawn to its spiritual essence, making Varanasi a timeless symbol of humanity’s pursuit of wisdom and transcendence.

Varanasi’s name is steeped in historical significance. Initially known as Kashi, derived from ‘Kasha’, meaning brightness, it symbolised the ‘shining city’. As Varanasi flourished, its boundaries expanded towards the Ganges, Assi, and Varuna rivers, earning it the name Varanasi, signifying the land between these rivers.

In the early 1600s, under Mughal Emperor Akbar’s reign, the city rose to prominence. Akbar bestowed the name Banaras, signifying ‘the city of light’ in Sanskrit. This renaming marked a significant chapter in the city’s historical journey.

Varanasi’s historical name and vibrant past encapsulate its timeless allure as a spiritual and cultural icon.


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

Varanasi, described by Mirza Ghalib as a city perennially in spring, captivates with its ethereal beauty. It’s a place where the spiritual and the earthly intertwine, marked by its ghats, temples, and the timeless flow of the Ganga. Believed to grant moksha to those who depart from its soil, it stands as the epitome of spiritual liberation and divine connection.

The ghats, stretching from Varun to Assi, each have their own stories that contribute to the unique charm of the tourist places in Varanasi. Here, the holy river Ganga is more than just a river; it’s the heart of the city, around which countless stories and the deep spirituality of Varanasi unfold.

What are the famous places in Varanasi?

Varanasi’s charm lies in its ability to hold the old alongside the new, the spiritual alongside the bustling life of the city. This essence of Varanasi makes it one of the best places to visit in India. Let us wander through the notable attractions of Varanasi, from heritage sites to spiritual landmarks.

Shri Kashi

Vishwanath Temple

The Divine Gateway of Spiritual Enlightenment

A beacon of devotion, Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple stands as a testament to Varanasi’s spiritual heart. Home to Lord Shiva, it boasts a history spanning over four millennia. The golden dome gleams by the Ganga, making it a pivotal pilgrimage site and an architectural marvel.

nearby places to visit in Varanasi | Top places to visit in Varanasi | tourist places


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. A site of profound Buddhist significance, its ancient stones and carvings tell tales of enlightenment and history.



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.

LP-ramnagar fort-min


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 holy river GangaIts walls house timeless artefacts and whisper stories of a bygone era, inviting visitors into a world of historical splendour.


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 place is where faith and tradition converge. Bathing here is believed to bestow blessings, making it a revered spot and one of the best nearby places to visit for both pilgrims and seekers of serenity.
Manikarnika-Ghaat (1)


Where the Cycle of Life and Death is Celebrated

Considered to be one of the oldest and most sacred ghats, the Manikarnika ghaat is also known as the main cremation site in Varanasi. This ghaat is named after the Hindu goddess Parvati. 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.

Dasaswamedh-Ghat - varanasi nearest tourist places - nearby places to visit in varanasi - varanasi nearby places to visit - top places to visit in varanasi


Embrace the Beauty of Spirituality

The Dasaswamedha ghaat, Varanasi 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 Ganga, Surya, Agni, and the entire cosmos. A spectacle of faith, the ghat pulsates with energy, drawing visitors into the fold of its sacred rituals.


A Sanctuary of Divine Blessings

The Sankat Mochan Temple in Varanasi is a sacred haven dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Founded in the early 16th century by the renowned saint and poet, Goswami Tulsidas, this temple witnesses thousands of devotees who gather to chant the Hanuman Chalisa and Sundarkand, enveloping the atmosphere in divine devotion.

Tulsi Manas Mandir in Varanasi (2) (1)


Experience Sacred Serenity

Shri Satyanarayan Tulsi Manas Mandir stands on the sacred grounds where the Ramcharitmanas was penned by Goswami Tulsidas. It is a serene destination adorned with verses from the epic. Here you will find the main temple devoted to Lord Satyanarayan and a separate shrine for Lord Ram and Mata Sita, offering a peaceful retreat.

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.



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.


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. 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.

thatheri-bazaar-varanasi (1)


The Narrow Lane of Varanasi

Thatheri Bazar, a neighbourhood market well-known as a treasure trove of brass goods, is located adjacent to the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple. 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. This market specialises 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.



Heaven for Shopaholics

Bustling with tourists and locals, this vibrant market is a treasure trove of bespoke fabrics, wooden handicrafts, and intricate carvings. Stroll through, captivated by colourful textiles and the scent of enticing street food. Here, shoppers find everything from fashionable carpets and embroidered shawls to funky jewellery and traditional Banarasi sarees. The craftsmanship of local artisans, especially evident in the exquisite metal and wooden idols of Hindu deities, leaves a lasting impression.

nearby places to visit in Varanasi | Top places to visit in Varanasi | tourist places
Fabric-market (1)


Utmost Quality and Craftsmanship

Shoppers flock to the vibrant Godowlia Market in Varanasi, a stone’s throw from the Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple. This historic bazaar, stretching over 3 km, is dotted with local shops and stalls nestled among ancient houses. It’s a hub for those seeking to immerse themselves in the city’s bustling life, offering everything from food and household items to exquisite silk embroidery. Renowned for its quality and diversity, the market features treasures like Bhadohi carpets, Zari fabrics, wooden crafts, and the iconic Banarasi silk sarees, encapsulating the essence of Varanasi’s rich culture and tradition.



The Hustle and Bustle of Varanasi

Another such cobbled lane of Varanasi that is filled with locals and tourists, is the Golghar. 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.

golghar-imgs (1)


Discover Unique Handcrafted Treasures

The Urban Haat, nestled in a cultural complex near Chowka Ghat in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, stands out as a vibrant market where artisans showcase their craftsmanship. Established by the Uttar Pradesh Government to rejuvenate the city’s traditional arts and crafts, it provides a unique shopping experience for those keen to explore Varanasi’s rich cultural heritage without the hustle of crowded markets. Here, you can find exquisite souvenirs ranging from jewellery and metalwork to brocade silk saris, making Urban Haat a premier destination for selective shoppers in Varanasi.

nearby places to visit in Varanasi | Top places to visit in Varanasi | tourist places
banaras-art-gallery (1)


Where Art and Inspiration Meet

Varanasi, also known as Banaras, values art and culture, home to sculptors, musicians, and artists whose creativity is celebrated in the Banaras Art Gallery. Established in 1988, this gallery showcases over 50,000 works from local talents, spanning sculptures, photographs, and paintings. Located across four venues in the city, it highlights Varanasi’s rich artistic heritage and serves as a vibrant showcase of both traditional and contemporary art.


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.

nearby places to visit in Varanasi | Top places to visit in Varanasi | tourist places

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. 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.


Kachori Sabji

A breakfast favourite in Varanasi, this dish pairs fluffy kachoris filled with spicy lentils or mashed potatoes with a tangy aloo sabzi, making it a must-try for a hearty start to your day in Varanasi.

Chana Dahi Vada

Imagine soft vadas soaked in creamy yoghurt, topped with a sprinkle of salt and cumin – a refreshing snack having a similar appearance to the beloved rasmalai.


Tamatar Chaat

A spicy mix of boiled tomatoes, potatoes, and a burst of spices, this street food staple is a tangy treat that encapsulates the vibrant spirit of Varanasi.

Malaiyo-Banaras (1)


Exclusive to winter, this frothy delight served in a kulhad offers a taste of heaven with its light, creamy texture, unique to Varanasi’s culinary landscape.

laung-lata (1)


Launglata, a hallmark of the food culture of Varanasi, offers a crispy shell filled with sweet mawa, nuts, and a hint of saffron, deep-fried and soaked in syrup. Celebrated across India, especially during festivities, its crunch and rich sweetness make it an essential taste of Varanasi’s culinary heritage.


In Varanasi, lassi is a must-try, and the Blue Lassi Shop stands out as one of the best spots to indulge. With its cosy ambience and a wide array of flavours, from traditional mango to exotic blueberry, it promises a deliciously refreshing experience that captures the essence of Indian culinary delights.

Baati Chokha

Baati Chokha, a street snack, is well-known in Varanasi’s culinary scene. Enjoy Baati – stuffed whole wheat dough balls filled with roasted chana dal and spices – roasted over charcoal. Served with a side of Chokha, a spicy blend of boiled potatoes, tomato, and eggplant, it is a flavorful delight worth experiencing.

Banarasi-Paan-800x665 (1)

Banarasi Paan

Culminating the feast is the Banarasi paan, a masterpiece of flavours wrapped in a betel leaf, signifying the perfect end to any Varanasi meal.

As you embark on your journey through the sacred city of Varanasi, let the essence of its rich history, spiritual heritage, and vibrant culture infuse your soul. From the divine ghats of the holy river Ganga to the ancient sanctity of Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple, each corner of Varanasi tells a story of devotion, enlightenment, and timeless tradition. Whether you’re seeking spiritual solace, cultural exploration, or a taste of Banaras’ exquisite culinary delights, you are invited to experience the soul of Varanasi, where every visit becomes a pilgrimage of the heart.

nearby places to visit in Varanasi | Top places to visit in Varanasi | tourist places