Things to Do in Varanasi

Visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Explore Manikarnika Ghat, Stroll on the Assi Ghat, Go For Outing at Sarnath, Witness the Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat, Behold the Miracle at Panchganga Ghat, Peek into the History at Tulsi Manas Temple, Visit the Durga Kund Temple, and many more. 

Colourful and spiritual are the two words best describe the charm of Varanasi. This Indian travel destination is famous for its bathing Ghats that line River Ganges. Considered to be one of the holiest places around the world, it is visited by millions of Hindus and travellers each year. While some come for spiritual enlightenment, others come for salvation of their sins. With a number of things to do in Varanasi, travellers are increasingly being enchanted by this beautiful destination.

Varanasi was once known as Kashi, the city of lights. Renamed after the Varuna and Asi Rivers, it shimmers and shines with millions of lights, candles, floating diyas and large Jyotis (items used for lighting during Hindu Prayers). The city is known for being an auspicious place to die, but still has a beating heart of its own. It is where physical and spiritual worlds beautifully combine. River Ganges here is the river of salvation, which offers Moksha or liberation from the cycle of birth and death. The magical Indian destination will captivate you with its Ghats and endless lines of Sadhus and Saints.

Here are some of the best things to do in Varanasi:

1. Visiting the Kashi Vishwanath Temple: 

Also known as the Golden temple, this temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is one of the 12 prolific Jyotirlingas in the country. Tourists can visit this temple to witness the holy grand Shivling and to worship Lord Shiva. It is one of the most prominent things to do here in Varanasi. Also, the dome of this temple which is said to be made from pure gold and constitute as one of the finest architecture of the city is a gem to the eyes.

Location: Lahori Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001

Timings: 3 am – 11 am, 12:30 pm – 08 pm, & 09 pm – 11 pm

2. Witnessing the Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat:

What a spectacle it is to witness the Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat! Ganga Aarti is one true example of the rich cultural and traditional history of this place. It is what makes this ghat one of the few best things to do in Varanasi at night. Watching this Aarti is a truly phenomenal experience in itself.

Location: Dashashwamedh Ghat Rd, Ghats of Varanasi, Godowlia, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001

Timings: 24 Hours

3. Strolling on the Assi Ghat:

One of the most important things to do in Varanasi is visiting this ghat which is located in the south of the city. Assi ghat is the heart of Varanasi and the locals. Famous for its Shiva Lingam under a tree, Assi Ghat is one of the most lively places around the city. People also travel all the way to this ghat to witness the amazing sunrise and sunset.

Location: Assi Ghat, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Timings: Can visit anytime

4. Exploring Manikarnika Ghat:

Considered as the holiest place in the city, Manikarnika ghat is the prime location for the cremation of bodies as per Hindu traditions. One can visit the Manikarnika ghat at any hour of the day and observe the whole cremation process which takes place here. People travel all the way especially to witness the cremation process which apparently provides peace to both dead and alive. 

Location: Near Rajendra Prasad Ghat, Garawasi, Jugul Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001

Timings: Open 24 hours

5. Explore Durga Temples:

Durga Temple, built during the 18th century is also a popular in this city. According to legends, the statue of Goddess Durga in here was made by the Goddess herself. Every year, devotees visit this revered place during auspicious occasions, particularly Navratri. It is popular among architecture students who visit it to see the Nagara Style of architecture, wherein the temple is layered in multi-tiered spires and has a rectangular tank of water. Among other shrines, Baba Keenaram Sthal, is regularly visited by researchers, tourists, documentary makers and writers.

6. Outing at Sarnath:

It is believed that Lord Buddha preached his first sermon here. Situated 13kms to the north of the city, Sarnath is the perfect location for a one-day outing outside the city. The place is surrounded by lush green gardens and lawns which serve as the best place for a small picnic and also you can visit the famous Buddhist monasteries around and the Jain temples. It's the best place to visit near Varanasi for those who seek interest in the history of Buddhism and India.

Location: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221007

Timings: 24 Hours

7. Beholding the Miracle at Panchganga Ghat:

Varanasi is known to be the place for the Sangam(meeting) of the five holy rivers namely Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Dhutpapa and Kirana. At Panchganga Ghat the travellers can witness the place where these five rivers meet and can also explore the various small temples nearby the ghat.

Location: 7/111, Sonarpura Rd, Ghats of Varanasi, Bangali Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001

Timings: 24 hours

8. A Peek into the History at Tulsi Manas Temple:

Just as the Bible is to Christianity and the Quran is to Muslims, Ramayana is to the Hindus. This epic holy book of the Hindus was written by Tulsidas here in the Tulsi Manas Temple. The most important thing to do at this beautiful white marble temple apart from gazing at its beauty is to capture the greatness of the original verses and scriptures of Ramayana which are engraved on its walls and which give you literal peek into the history.

Location: Sankat Mochan Rd, Durgakund Rd, Near Jalan, Varanasi, 221005

Timings: 5 am – 12 pm & 04 pm – 09 pm

9. Visiting the Durga Kund Temple:

Built-in the honour of Goddess Durga, this temple is popularly known as the monkey temple. It is also one of the major highlights of the city. The main attraction here is the temple itself which is completely painted in red and draws tourists who love its architecture and strolling in and around the temple feeding the monkeys eatables.

Location: 27, Durgakund Rd, Durgakund, Anandbagh, Bhelupur, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221005

Timings: 5 am – 11 pm

10. Morning Boat Ride in Ganges River:

Rowing boat rides during the dawn is perhaps one of the best things to do in Varanasi. The ride along Ganges River offers the quintessential Varanasi experience. It takes one through different Ghats and former palaces situated close to the banks of Ganges, giving a panoramic view of this River and the region. The best time to enjoy boat ride of the Ganges River is from 5:30 AM to 8 AM. This is when the colour and clamour of the place will enthral you. Travellers will be surprised to see that the city is awake and cheery even during 5 in the morning. Morning experience of the boat ride will leave an indelible imprint on your heart, especially because you will get to see the faith that people have in River Ganges.

11. Take a Holy Bath in Ganges:

River Ganges is considered to the holiest Hindu River. Legends suggest that taking a dip in the holy waters here will offer salvation of sins and purification of the soul. In fact, the religious texts of Hinduism widely suggest that one should get a salvation by bathing in River Ganges to purify all sins accumulated in current or previous births. Taking a dip or bathing in the holy waters of Ganges is one of the major things to do in Varanasi. The river’s personification is Ganga, the elder sister of Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva. It is said that Ganga came to earth for giving salvation to 60000 ancestors. She came to earth as human, but her falling force is said to be so enormous that Lord Shiva had to hold her in his matted hair and he was the one who ultimately released her in the form of river. The river, associated to Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh is therefore revered by Hindus. Varanasi has 84 Ghats and their steps lead to the River Ganges. The Ghats can be accessed easily and used for dipping or taking bath in Ganga. To complement this, travellers are recommended to opt for boat rides, which will help you gain insight into the culture and historical significance of the mystical river.

12. Stroll Along the Ghats:

Exploring the Ghats is one of the best things to do in Varanasi. The city has almost a hundred Ghats, the steps of each leading the banks of River Ganges. These are bathing Ghats, praying Ghats and cremation sites for Hindus from all over the world. It makes them alluring and enthralling for a traveller as it is associated with some legend or mythologies. The privately owned ones here are known for morning boat rides which provide impeccable, panoramic views of the place. Some of the major Ghats that one can visit during their trip to Varanasi includes the Mata Anandamai Ghat, Assi Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Munshi Ghat, Raj Ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat, Scindia Ghat and Raj Ghat. Of these, Dashashwamedh Ghat is perhaps the most popular. It is located close to Vishwanath Temple and therefore, its spectacular appearance makes it an enchanting place to visit in Varanasi. The Ghat is associated with two Hindu mythologies.

13. Shopping in Varanasi's Local Market:

Shopping in Varanasi is the best thing to do on a free afternoon or evening. The city is widely famous for its silk saris and ornate jewels. Visit the local market to buy different items of interest. The intricate pattern of floral designs and elaborate zari or thread work saris must be purchased from this beautiful place. The local market here is filled with illustrious fine silk and apart from saris, one can buy shawls, carpets, stone inlay work, bangles and idols of Hindu or Buddhist deities. The main shopping areas to explore in this city include Vishwanath Lane, Thateri Bazaar, Chowk and Godowilia.

14. Savour Local Street Food:

If you are a gastronome, relishing the local food on the streets is one of the best things to do in Varanasi. Here you can start with a sumptuous breakfast of Kachori Sabzi at Ram Bhandar or Thatheri Bazaar or relish a plate of Baati Chokha. If you are in a mood for snacking, Choora Matar and Meethe Gol Gappe will send you into a food coma. For your sweet tooth, there is the popular Makhan Malaiyoo or Nimish that is offered during the winter season in Varanasi.

15. Have Lassi at Blue Lassi Cafe:

One of the most famous lassi shops in Varanasi, this place offers something unique for all the foodies. Here, you can get lassi with a twist as it is offered being infused with different flavors like apple, banana, custard apple etc. This humble shop in Varanasi is a wonderful place to hang out with loved ones and savor a glass that will have a blast of flavors in your mouth. You can choose among various toppings like mango, papaya, ice cream or rose syrup to add to the flavors. Remember, it has very little seating space. So make sure to choose a time to avoid the crowds and make the most of your food trail in Varanasi.

Read More
Kashi Vishwanath Temple
One of the oldest, richest, and holiest shrines of India is located in the sacred city of Varanasi and is known as Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Named Kashi, due to the ancient name of Varanasi, the glorious temple commemorates the mighty Lord Shiva and is a part of the 12 Jyotirlingas. Thousands of devotees travel from miles away to witness its soothing spiritual ambiance and seek blessings from their god. Sun glistens on the towering spires and domes made out of pure gold.

As you walk through the gates, you can hear the soft rushing sounds of river Ganges nearby. Miniature shrines of various Hindu deities encircle the main hall of Sabha Griha. And at the heart of this hall, standing on a silver platform is the magnificent brown stoned effigy of Lord Shiva. Having braved the ravages of cultural wars, this temple has been demolished and reconstructed many times. Hence, this temple is not only an eminent pilgrimage site but also a prominent historical landmark.

Distance from Varanasi: 5.3 km

Best Time to Visit: Shivratri and Rangabhari Ekadashi
Dasaswamedh Ghat

Dashashwamedh Ghat is known for conducting the liveliest aartis along the holy river Ganga to immerse the visitors into divine bliss. A prominent member of the tourist attractions in Varanasi, Dashashwamedh Ghat, got its name due to the legend of Lord Brahma sacrificing 10 horses, or das Ashwamedh, in order to perform a yajna. Every sunset, the ghat gets illuminated by the light of diyas lit to commence the sacred rituals.

Priests gather and chant prayers in unison as they move the diyas in circles and pay their obeisance to the god. A huge crowd gathers to participate in this ceremony. The refreshing aura that sets in during the evening witnesses hundreds of tourists thronging the ghat to relax on the steps leading to the river waters. You can also spot many boats floating in the river. Due to the divine ambiance and religious significance, it is a must amongst the places to visit in Varanasi in 2 days.      

Distance from Varanasi: 5.5 km

Best Time to Visit: Kartik Purnima

Assi Ghat
Another name amongst the unmissable places to visit in Varanasi is Assi Ghat. Frequented by college-goers and tourists alike, this ghat offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of Varanasi's chaotic lanes. Pilgrims bathe in the holy waters of River Assi and offer flowers to the Shivlinga before resting on the steps of the ghat.

Ancient texts claim it to be the place where the revered saint and poet, Tulsidas, retired before his death. You can relax under the shade of peepal trees lining the shore, or take a boat ride to witness the panoramic sunsets. Every day, at the break of the dawn, the ghat is crowded by devotees chanting prayers as the priests light the diyas and perform the ceremonial aarti.      

Distance from Varanasi: 7.2 km

Best Time to Visit: Shivratri
Manikarnika Ghat

Many legends surround the etymology behind Manikarnika Ghat, the oldest riverfront and one of the most religious tourist attractions in Varanasi. Mentioned in many ancient scriptures and religious texts, Manikarnika ghat is said to be the place where Devi Sati set herself on fire and also the birthplace of the fearless queen of Jhansi, Rani Lakshmibai.

Temples of many Hindu deities surround its periphery while the holy waters of river Ganga flow peacefully alongside. Giving a peek into the traditional life of Varanasi, this place is visited every year by thousands of pilgrims performing the last rites of their departed loved ones. A holy well, believed to be dug by Lord Shiva to recover the fallen earring of Goddess Sati, is present at the top of the stairs. 

Distance from Varanasi: 5.5 km

Best Time to Visit: Summer season, from March to June

Shivala Ghat
Another prominent riverfront in this pilgrimage city is Shivala Ghat. Surrounded by historical landmarks and some of the most intriguing places to visit in Varanasi, this ghat is visited by photography lovers who wish to capture the captivating vistas of sunrise and sunset.

Also known as Kali Ghat, this site is often visited by localities who perform their morning prayers or take a dip in the holy water of River Ganga. On one side, you can spot the charming fortress of Oudh's Nawab's representative Chet Singh. While on the other side, you can spot the 19th-century exquisite mansion of Nepali royal, King Sanjay Vikram Singh. Tourists here enjoy resting peacefully near the banks and taking a boat ride in the tranquil river. 

Distance from Varanasi: 6.2 km

Best Time to Visit: Shivratri
Monkey Temple (Durga Temple)
Monkey temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga and was constructed in the 18th century by the Queen of Bengal as a center of devotion. The temple is known to be guarded by monkeys, which can be even fed by the devotees. It also has a kund that is known to be connected to Ganga, and its water is known to have therapeutic properties.

This temple is a must-visit place in Varanasi if you wish to seek the blessings of Goddess Durga, who is known to be the principal deity of this temple. The prayers and bhajans that are chanted in this temple make its aura extremely blissful.  

Distance from Varanasi: 6.6 km

Best Time to Visit: Morning
Tulsi Manas Temple
Pearly white facade greets the eyes as one walks through the lush green gardens of Tulsi Manas Temple. Constructed in 1964 by the Thakur Surekha Das family, the marble structure of this temple is renowned for its mesmerizing architecture. Believed to be the site where the ancient poet Tulsidas sat to pen down the holy epic of Ramcharitmanas, this temple is now one of the most revered religious places to visit in Varanasi.

Symbolizing the grace and simplicity of the Hindu religion, Tulsi Manas Temple celebrates the glorious journey of Lord Rama and his wife, Goddess Sita. Intricate carvings depicting the scenes from Ramayan form the colorful murals lining the inner walls. During auspicious festivals, tales from Ramcharitmanas are narrated through puppets by local performers. 

Distance from Varanasi: 6.7 km

Best Time to Visit: Monsoon season, from June to August
Ramnagar Fort & Museum
Resting near the quiet shores of River Ganges is the majestic historical monument of Ramnagar Fort. Chunar sandstone forms the foundation of this creamy colored structure, which was built as the residential fort of Raja Balwant Singh. Even today, it houses the present Maharaja of Varanasi, whose residential quarters are separated from the rest of the fort. Two temples worshipping Lord Hanuman and Veda Vyasa are present inside the complex.

Verdant gardens, fountains, elaborate halls, carved balconies, and decorated courtyards mark the beautiful features of its Mughal architecture. The Durbar Hall was converted into a museum which is now known as Saraswati Bhawan. The museum houses an intriguing collection like an armory, vintage cars, royal palanquins, and multicolored murals of Maharajas. Situated opposite the Tulsi Ghat, Ramnagar Fort is one of the best places to visit in Varanasi and can be accessed by pontoons.      

Distance from Varanasi: 14 km

Best Time to Visit: October to March, during the festivals of Raj Mangal and Dussehra
Chunar Fort
This is a small fort located on the little diversion between Varanasi and Prayagraj, and it has played a significant role in shaping the history of India. The fort is situated on the banks of river Ganga and is also called Tilismi Quila or Magical Fort because it was featured in the novel “Chandrakanta”.

Some of the most popular movies, like Gangs of wasseypur were also shot here. The Fort has witnessed the reign of several dynasties such as the Mauryans, Gupta dynasty of the Mughals, etc. Chunar Fort is also known for stone trading as it is located in Kaimur Hills, which is the only place in this region that is known to produce good quality stones.

Distance from Varanasi: 32 km

Best Time to Visit: Anytime between 9 am to 5
Alamgir Mosque
Humans have eventually provided their reverence, a new richer meaning, simpler and more precise language in the forms of shrines. This has enabled every single being to have the accessibility of that divine source. With such words, we can aptly describe the exquisite shrine named Alamgir Mosque. This mosque is located near Panchganga Ghat and is amongst the top religious attractions of Varanasi. On the bank of the Ganges, this 17th-century monument stands tall and glorious.

This mosque is also known as “Beni Madha Ka Darera” and “Aurangzeb’s Mosque” from the fact that Emperor Aurangzeb built it. It has 2 minarets and 3 domes that gives its structure a distinguishable and magnificent outlook. But a tragedy in 1948 demolished a few portions of the mosque, which is now being guarded and preserved by our government. A perfect amalgamation of evening sunset near the giant mosque and the water gushing out from the fountains in the garden, one can absorb the best of nature at this site.

Distance from Varanasi: 5.6 km

Best Time to Visit: October
Godowlia Market
The favorite stop of shopaholics visiting Varanasi is the bustling lanes of Godowlia Market. Stretching at a distance of about 3 km, this market is present in the vicinity of Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple and is one of the oldest local bazaars of the city. With old buildings forming the boundaries of its lanes, the narrow street is lined with shops and stalls of local vendors selling all kinds of commodities. Frequented by locals who visit the market to purchase groceries, hardware, and household items, this market is famous for its silk embroidery.

From Bhadohi carpets and zari work to wooden carvings and fine silk fabrics, high-quality goods are sold at reasonable prices. Skilled craftsmen also sell their exquisite handicrafts that work as excellent decoration items. You can also buy beads, bracelets, shoes, shawls, and jewelry. Not only is it the perfect place to purchase traditional items, but it is also a nice place to acquaint yourself with daily city life and culture.

Distance from Varanasi: 5.6 km

Best Time to Visit: October to March
Chowk & Vishwanath Gali
Another beloved stop of shopping lovers is the crowded market of Vishwanath Gali. Packed with excited tourists and localities, this market is smaller compared to Godowlia Market but has a wide variety to satisfy its customers. From tailored and readymade fabrics to wooden handicrafts, you can find anything and everything over here.

The sweet aroma of delectable dishes fills the lanes as you walk through the street, admiring the multihued fabrics at display in the stalls. Banarasi sarees, designer carpets, embroidered shawls, funky jewelry, and classic accessories are bought in huge numbers by travelers visiting Vishwanath Gali. Looking at the metal and wooden effigies of Hindu deities, you cannot help but admire the talent possessed by the local craftsmen.

Distance from Varanasi: 5.3 km

Best Time to Visit: All year
Man Mandir Observatory
An outing to the revered Man Mandir Ghat is incomplete without a quick visit to the Man Mandir observatory. Commonly known as Jantar Mantar of Varanasi, it was built under the supervision of Maharaja Jai Singh, the king of Jaipur. His innate thirst for science led to the construction of this observatory, which is noticeably similar to a few observatories around the country with the same name.

This scientific marvel was created to observe the different positions of sun, stars, planets, and other celestial bodies concerning time and eclipses. The observatory is full of innumerable pieces of equipment used to record the speed and motion of such celestial bodies.

Distance from Varanasi: 5.3 km

Best Time to Visit: All year
The Banaras Silk Emporium
Silk has been the legacy of India and has been used extensively for so many purposes. But the art and craft behind Banaras Silk Emporium came with the invasion of Mughal Emperors and the spread of their craftsmen as they came with this concept of weaving and integrating silk in a piece of cloth.

Today, it is a popular name to shop for authentic silk sarees and amongst the best places to visit in Varanasi. Currently, this Banaras Silk Emporium is in huge demand and has wide networking serving lakhs of customers per year. Traditional techniques are used by skilled craftsmen to tailor high-quality silk embroidery sarees, fabrics, and weavings. 

Distance from Varanasi: 4.4 km

Best Time to Visit: All year
Manmandir Ghat
This ancient yet beautiful ghat was built more than 400 years ago by Maharaja Man Singh. He also constructed an enormous palace on banks of the ghat, which is admired by countless architects around the world. The Jantar Mantar on the top adds a scientific layer to the ghat, which makes it stand out. Jam-packed with Hindu mandirs, the ghat is known to be a heaven for Hindu deities’ worshippers.

The ravishing views, especially during dawn and dusk, will give you a reason to stick around longer than usual. Situated on the banks of river Ganga, it is one of the most beautiful places not only in Varanasi but in entire India.

Distance from Varanasi: 5.3 km

Best Time to Visit: Early morning
Tulsi Ghat
Tulsi Ghat is an important landmark where Tulsidas created the holy version of ramcharitmanas and it should be one of the must visit places in Varanasi in 2 days. Located on the banks of River Ganga, it is a member of the chain of ghats present in Varanasi. But what makes it stand apart amongst the other riverfronts is its historical legend and religious significance.

Named after the Hindu poet Tulsidas, stories claim this to be the place where he lived while he was working on the Awadhi version of the Hindu epic Ramayana. Pilgrims gather in thousands to wash away their sins by taking a dip in the blessed waters of Ganga. The waters are also said to have healing powers to cure skin diseases and leprosy. An annual festival called Lolark Sasthi sees huge masses gathered at the ghat to worship Lord Rama and pray to be blessed with a son. 

Distance from Varanasi: 6.7 km

Best Time to Visit: Lolark Sasthi, Kartik Month
Darbhanga Ghat
In a city brimful of ghats, the Darbhanga Ghat stands out due to its rich heritage and an amazing palace situated near the bank. A royal family from Darbhanga named the ghat on themselves and erected the magnificent palace with sandstone from Chunar. It is one of its kinds when it comes to architectural grandeur.

Set amongst other ghats such as Dashashwamedh ghat and Ranamahal ghat, it is a popular choice for many religious events. What makes Darbhanga Ghat the best place to visit in Varanasi is the gigantic Shivalinga which is known to fulfill your wishes.

Distance from Varanasi: 5.5 km

Best Time to Visit: All year
Scindia Ghat
Revered as one of the best ghats in Varanasi Scindia Ghat is an important pilgrimage spot for the Hindus. It was built by Baija Bai in 1850, and it is believed that the Lord of fire, Agni, was born here. Located near Ghasi Tola, this ghat houses a Shiva temple that is partially submerged in the water. It is believed that the idol of Lord Shiva is sinking continuously, and in a few years, it will be completely submerged under the water.

You can also find the saints meditating over here to attain peace and tranquility. The alleyway of the ghat is known to be the hideout of a number of important temples of Varanasi. There is a popular belief that people who pray with full faith in this ghat are blessed with a son. 

Distance from Varanasi: 5.6 km

Best Time to Visit: Morning
Lalita Ghat
This is one of the most famous ghats in Varanasi that is located on the banks of the holy river Ganga. The long stretch from Raj Rajeshwari Ghat to Vishnu Ghat is known as Lalita Ghat, and it is dotted with some of the most famous temples in the world. It has been named after the Hindu Goddess Lalita and is revered to be the center of spiritual belief and enlightenment. Nepalese king Rana Bahadur Singh built it in the 19th century, and it is known to be one of the most venerated Ghats of Varanasi.

The ghat houses Lalita Gauri Mandir, Lord Vishnu’s Ganga Keshava shrine, and a Nepali Mandir. The Nepali Mandir is a typical Kathmandu-style temple that houses the image of Pashupateshvara and also sports an intricate selection of erotic carvings. Devotees from different parts of the world throng into this ghat to take the holy dip in river Ganga. 

Distance from Varanasi: 5.9 km

Best Time to Visit: Morning
Harishchandra Ghat
This is known to be the cremation Ghat of Varanasi and has been named after King Harishchandra, who is known to be the symbol of charity and truth. This is one of the oldest ghats of Varanasi where sandhya aarti takes place with complete fervor and joy. According to a popular belief, he prayed at this cremation center, and God rewarded him for his truthfulness and determination by giving him back his lost throne and dead son.

Followers of Hinduism bring the body of their loved ones from distant places to this ghat as it is believed that if you perform their last rights here, they will get salvation. This ghat is also known as Adi Manikarnika and is a legendary site for the Hindus. An electric crematorium was opened at this ghat in the 1980s in order to modernize the ghat. 

Distance from Varanasi: 5.9 km

Best Time to Visit: Morning, evening

Our Partners

Varanasi Things To Do FAQs

What things you should not miss in Varanasi?

1) Boating in the Ganges: Offering an unbeatable experience, boating in the Ganges will leave you with spectacular memories of Ganga Ghats. It is an unmissable activity during the sunset and offers a gorgeous view during the Ganga Aarti.

2) Visiting the Temples: Varanasi is hailed for its spiritual ambience and it is best seen in the temples which bring in devotees from far and wide. The most popular temples to see here are Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Durga Temple, Annapurna Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple, Sankatmochan Temple etc.

3) Take a Stroll on the Ghats: Varanasi enchants everyone during the sunsets if you are in a mood for a casual stroll. Here, you can see people indulged in many Hindu rites and offering prayers. The must-visit Ghats in Varanasi are Assi Ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat etc.

4) Buy a Banarasi Silk Saree: Varanasi is known for its weavers’ community and it is recommended that you must buy a saree known for its finest silk and embroidery. You can take a tour of Sarai Mohana to watch the weavers working brilliantly on their craft and take a glance at the culture of Varanasi.

What are the things to do in Varanasi at night?

The city is full of surprises at night. Even though it's restless and overwhelming during the day, it's full of magic at night. In the evening rituals and Aarti's takes place alongside many river ghats which not only attract the locals but also the foreign tourists. Here are a few things to do in Varanasi at Night.

1. Experiencing the famous Ganga Aarti : One of the most famous things to do in Varanasi is experiencing the Ganga aarti that takes place every night from 7 PM to 8 PM on the Dashashwamedh Ghat. Watching this Arti is a true blessing in itself.

2. Taking boat rides alongside the ghats: During the dusk time, the aura of Varanasi is something that everyone who travels to this city in the first place should encounter. This time of the day is perfect to ride a boat alongside the ghats and see the beautiful sun setting from the boat.

3. Going shopping in the local markets: Varanasi is also famous for some of its local products such as silk saree, wooden handmade toys, pearls and stones etc, which are a must-buy for everyone. The street vendors start setting up their shops near the ghats as soon as the Ganga aarti gets over so that the people can directly head towards the market after the aarti.

4. Experiencing traditional classical music and dance on the ghats at night: The city sleeps in sinking silence during the night and has an atmosphere that makes it worth stepping out of the houses and staying up late for it.

Which are the famous Ghats to visit in Varanasi?

Situated on a riverbank, Varanasi is also known as the city of Ghats and has miles of Ghats in and around the city. Each outshining the other differently.

Here are the most famous Ghats to visit in Varanasi:

1. Assi Ghat: Assi Ghat is one of the most vibrant and lively ghats of all. Lord Shiva is worshipped here on the ghat through a Shiva Lingam which is under a giant pipal tree. It's spacious and is usually less crowded than the other ghats during the daytime. Recently, the Ghat started having Aarti in the morning which is a must-watch if you want to experience the true feel of Varanasi.

Highlight: Shivalingam under the pipal tree.

2. Chet Singh Ghat: Built-in front of the Chet Singh fort, this ghat has quite an importance from the historical view. Maharaja Chet Singh, who ruled Varanasi, fought the 18th century battle with the British on this Ghat. 

Highlight: History of the Fort

3. Darbhanga Ghat:  Darbhanga Ghat has quite an appealing view and an architecture that just makes then that more appealing to the eyes. It also features the luxury Brijrama Palace Hotel beside the ghat. Famous for its photogenic view, this ghat attracts a lot of tourists who love to capture pictures on the steps of this ghat and are driven off by its beauty.

Highlight: Palace alongside the ghat

4. Dashashwamedh Ghat: The enchanting famous Ganga Aarti takes place on the steps of this ghat every evening. It is one of the oldest ghats in Varanasi. Hundreds of priests and pandits come together every evening to perform this Arti in unison. The prayers and mantras are being sung by each of them simultaneously and there are diyas and lamps flowing everywhere.

Highlight: Ganga Arti

5. Manikarnika Ghat: Also known as the burning ghat, Manikarnika ghat is one of the prime locations for cremation as per Hindu traditions. It's believed that getting cremated here will free them from the never-ending circle of life and death and will bring peace to the dead.

Highlight: Witnessing how the whole process of cremation takes place

6. Panchganga Ghat: One of the most sacred ghats of Varanasi, Panchganga Ghat is the point of the meeting of the five holy rivers, namely Ganga, Yamuna, Dhutpapa and Kirana. The water of this ghat is considered holy and pure. People also come to worship the meeting point of these rivers here, as they consider it a miracle. 

Highlight: The point of Sangam(Meeting) of rivers.

Which are the famous temples to visit in Varanasi?

Varanasi is believed to be one of the most important cities according to the Hindu religion. Mark Twain recognized the historical importance of this city when he wrote, "Varanasi is older than history,older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together". Varanasi is the epicentre of temples which are spread all across the city. Few of those famous temples are: 

1. Vishwanath Temple: Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple has one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in the country. It is one of the oldest temples in the city. The domes of this temple are said to be made of pure gold and its considered as one of the most important temples in the country.

2. Sankat Mochan Temple: Said to have been established by Saint Tulsidas, this temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman as the name itself suggests. People come to this temple chanting verses related to the lord in the most problematic situations because of their firm belief in Lord Hanuman

3. Tulsi Manas Temple: The epic Hindu Mythology read 'Ramayana' was written at this place by Saint Tulsidas. Ramayana is a very precious book of Hindu mythology. Verses of Ramayana are also engraved on the walls of this temple

4. Durga Kund Temple: Also known as the monkey temple, this temple dedicated to Goddess Durga is one the main highlights of the city. The temple is painted red which represents the colour of the goddess Durga

5. Kaal Bhairav Temple: It is considered to be one of the oldest temples in Varanasi. Kaal Bhairav is believed to be the guardian of the city. Fun fact is, unlike other temples, alcohol is served to the lord of the temple.

What is famous in Varanasi that I should buy?

The trip to this holy place is incomplete without stepping into the local markets and making your way into buying these local things.

Varanasi has a huge local market where you can find traditional hand made things for international products. Some of these famous things to buy in Varanasi are:

1. Famous Banarasi Silk saree

2. Wooden handmade toys

3. Crystals and Stone Shivling

4. Glass Beads

5. Hand-knotted Carpets

6. Bangles and other glass accessories

7. The holy water of river Ganga

8. Rudraksha Malas

9. Wooden flutes

10. Ramnami cloth

11. Mouth-Watering Sweets

12. Stone Carved Curios

13. Ancient Books related to Hindu Mythology

Where can I find the best street food in Varanasi?

Varanasi is also famous for its spicy mouth splashing traditional street food which might turn out to be the best food you've ever had in your life. Few of this famous street food is -

1. Chacha ki Dukan in Lanka: Chacha ki Dukan is a very famous shop in Varanasi which serves the most delicious Kachori Sabji. There are a lot of places that serve the same dish but this one’s the best.

2. Deena Chat Bhandar, Dashashwamedha ghat: This chat bhandar has it all. It serves a variety of dishes that are famous in Varanasi such as Chana Dahi vada, Laaiya Chana, Chooda Matar etc. It is the one-stop destination for everything that you want to try.

3. Godowlia Chowk: This place serves the best Malayyio of Varanasi, which is a famous masala malai drink.

4. Rabri Malai Lassi: The best-known lassi in Varanasi is the Blue lassi, of the Kachori Gali Chowk, served in smallkuldefinitelys.

5. Deepak Tambul Bhandar, Dashashwamedh Ghat: There’s no point coming to Varanasi if you go without trying the famous Banarasi Pan. There is one thing that is a must-try out when you visit this place and that is having a Banarasi Pan here at this shop which is again the best in the city.

One can also find several small street food vendors across each ghat having some special delicacies of its own.

Where Can I go for Ganga Aarti?

The spectacular Ganga Aarti takes place at the Dashashwamedh ghat every evening. The Arti ceremony is performed in the evening for 45-minutes, this ritual is held at sharp 6: 45 PM every day. It is truly mesmerising to watch the whole ritual taking place in commotion, the priests and pandits chanting together and circling the heavy brass lamps together in motion. Watching this Arti and listening to the mantras automatically makes you feel more positive and energized. During the Aarti people also put lit diya’s into the river on a leaf which in turn makes the whole place more bright and alive by adding this to its beauty.

One can also observe the astonishing beauty of this ritual on a boat ride alongside the same ghat surrounded by hundreds of Diya's and Flowers flowing in the river.

What is Varanasi Famous For?

Also known as the spiritual capital of India, Varanasi is not just famous for mere one or two things but a lot of things that make the city so special.

Varanasi is known to be the city of Ghats and Temples, one can find a temple at almost every corner of the road here. This city situated on a riverbank has several ghats, from Manikarnika ghat to Assi ghat and many more, each being different and special in its way. The city also has a rich culture and history to look out for.

What should I wear in Varanasi?

Varanasi is hailed as one of the most spiritual cities in India and deeply embedded with the beliefs and customs of Indian culture. Therefore, it is imperative that when you are visiting Varanasi you wear modest clothes so as not to attract unnecessary attention and any unwarranted trouble.

Women should wear clothes that cover their shoulders and legs and men should try to wear full clothes, especially while visiting temples and other religious places.

Where can I do Boating in Varanasi?

One of the best things to do in Varanasi is going on a boat ride which takes you across the different ghats in the city. All the ghats in Varanasi have boats standing across them which will take you to a beautiful ride in the holy Ganges for a mesmerising tour. The best time to enjoy a boat ride of the Ganges River is the dawn hour as well as the dusk hour. Early morning from 5:30 AM to 8 AM is the best time to witness the sunrise on a boat.

Is Varanasi safe for tourists?

The city and its people offer warm hospitality to everyone travelling in and around the city. Varanasi is quite very safe and sound for all the tourists coming here. Being of the oldest city, the city caters beautifully to those who come to visit the place. The people here are a bit keen on serving the tourists and taking care of their safety by even going out of their way.

Newly Added Varanasi Experiences

Why Choose Thrillophilia