30 Best Places to Visit in Varanasi 2019 (Photos & Reviews)
Deemed as the spiritual capital of India, the list of places to visit in Varanasi is virtually endless. Lined with ancient temples, mosques, ghats, museums and forts, Varanasi is home to the holiest of all rivers - the mighty Ganga. A city that thrives alongside the banks of the holy Ganges, Varanasi is the ultimate destination for seekers of spirituality, culture and religious revelations.

The literal heart of Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi is a melting pot of religions, cultures and traditions from all over India. Besides being an important destination for Hinduism, Varanasi also invites several Buddhists and Jains to travel to the city every year in pursuit of nirvana / moksha.
There are countess tourist places in Varanasi to engage your fancy, regardless of where your inclinations lie. To make your trip easier, here are thirty spots in Varanasi that you cannot miss.

Here are some of the best places to visit in Varanasi:

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most popular places to visit in Varanasi, and all of India! It is amongst the most important temples of Lord Shiva, and graces the western flank of the Holy Ganges. Being one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the temple holds tremendous religious significance for Hindus who flock here every year as a mark of their devotion.

As a result of the ever-growing number of devotees visiting the temple, there’s now a Special Darshan booking system made available to ease the hassles of long queues. About 2 km away from heart of Varanasi city, the temple’s reigning deity is known as ‘Vishwanath’ or ‘Vishweshwara’.

Timings:
04:00 AM to 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM to 07:00 PM everyday

Location:
 Lahori Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001

Dasaswamedh Ghat

In close proximity to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Dashashwamedh Ghat is one of the oldest and most significant ghats in Varanasi. Lodged along the banks of the river Ganga, the name of the ghat literally translates to ’the place of 10 sacrificed horses’. Steeped in Hindu mythology, it is believed that Lord Brahma organised a sacrifice of ten horses here in order to welcome Lord Shiva.

The structure dates back several centuries, and had to undergo a couple of reconstructions during the 18th century. Another reason for the popularity of Dashashwamedh Ghat is the legendary Ganga aarti that takes place post sunset! You can also admire the aarti from a boat afloat the river. If you’re a devotee, you must visit the ghat on Kartik Purnima, when a grand Ganga aarti is hosted here.

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

Assi Ghat
Amongst the most fascinating tourist places in Varanasi, Assi river is believed to be the place where Maa Durga disposed of her sword after slaughtering the demon Shumbha-Nishumbha. Settled at the confluence point of the rivers Ganga and Assi, Assi Ghat is one of the holiest places for Hindus all over the country.

It is also said that taking a dip in the waters of the Assi river, one can wash away all the sins they’ve committed throughout their lives. A colossal Shiva Lingam can be found right under a Peepal tree, where worshippers offer their prayers and pay respects. Assi Ghat is tucked in a quiet little corner in Varanasi, and one can also enjoy a few undisturbed moments of peace by the river

Location: Shivala, Ghats of varanasi, Godowlia, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001
Manikarnika Ghat

One of the most religious, yet underrated, places to visit in Varanasi, Manikarnika Ghat is the most sacred crematorium for Hindus. Social outcasts known as doms take care of the dead, who are draped in cloth and transferred to the waters of the Holy Ganges through the winding alleys of the Old City.

If you wish, you can witness the cremation process, but bear in mind that this is a sacred procedure, and you must act respectfully. Also keep in mind that photography is strictly not allowed here.

Location: Garawasi, Jugul Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001

Tulsi Manas Temple

One of the most popular places to visit in Varanasi, the Tulsi Manas Temple graces the sacred Durga Kund, in close proximity to the Monkey Temple. Close to the Durga Temple, Sankat Mochan Temple and the New Vishwanath Temple, this religious cluster is one of the most visited places in Kashi.

A religiously important monument, the temple is also said to be the very place where the eminent Goswami Tulsidas penned the Hindu epic Ramacharitamanasa, describing the life story of Lord Ram. Harbouring beautiful statues of Lord Rama, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, the temple is visited by thousands of devotees every year. 

Timings: 
05:30 AM to 12:00 PM, 04:00 PM to 09:00 PM everyday

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

Ramnagar Fort & Museum

Built in the 18th century by the king of Varanasi, Ramnagar Fort is a sandstone edifice overlooking the banks of the holy Ganges. It is presently home to the current king of Varanasi, Anant Narayan Singh. The structure is built in a typical Mughal architectural style, and houses several temples, huge pavilions and balconies, and a massive Darbar Hall.

Saraswati Bhavan is the museum centred in the fort, and exhibits a rare assortment of ivory works, medieval clothes, ornaments, palanquins and other vintage items. Although the fort lies in partially ruins, the unmistakable glory of its olden days is beautifully reflected in the walls.

Timings: 
10:00 AM to 05:00 PM

Entry Fee: 
Rs.15 per person

Location:
Mirzapur - Varanasi Road, Purana, Ramnagar, Uttar Pradesh 221008

Alamgir Mosque

Reigning over the spot where a Vishnu Temple once stood, Alamgir Mosque was the skilful creation of Aurangzeb. The imposing structure beautifully dominates the Panchganga Ghat, while portraying the subtle nuances of the architecture born by the fusion of Indian and Mughal styles.

The Hindu style stands out in the lower reaches of the mosque, while the higher ends remain rooted in Mughal design. It is also of the most architecturally beautiful places to visit in Varanasi.

Timings: 
07:00 AM to 07:00 PM everyday

Entry Fee: 
No entry fee

Location:
 Panchganga Ghat, Ghasi Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001

Godowlia Market

One of the most go-to shopping destinations in Varanasi, the Godowlia Local Market is always buzzing with tourists and locals. Lined by several shops and street-vendors, the market carries everything, right from household items and decor materials to hardware, clothes, jewellery, and groceries.

It is the one-stop shop for all your shopping needs, literally. It is like a mini version of the city, crammed into a few street blocks!

Timings: 
10:00 AM to 09:00 PM

Location: 
Dashaswmedh Road, Ramapura Luxa, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, 221001

Chowk & Vishwanath Gali

Another name that crops up when shopping in Varanasi, Vishwanath Lane is spread over a considerably smaller area than that of Godowlia Market, but is by no means any lesser in competition. Dotted with various shops either side of the street, Vishwanath Market is ideal for religious items, jewellery and accessories, fabrics, wooden toys, and classic Banarasi Silk sarees.

A favourite amongst travellers and locals alike, Vishwanath market is relatively less crowded than Godowlia, with more or less the same benefits as the latter.

Timings: 
10:00 AM to 09:00 PM

Location: 
Dashaswmedh Road, Ramapura Luxa, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, 221001

Man Mandir Observatory

Resting on top of the famous Man Mandir Ghat, Jantar Mantar, or Man Mandir Observatory is one of the most popular places to visit in Varanasi. Established in the year 1737 by Jai Singh, the King of Jaipur and a patron of science, the observatory was built to measure and observe time and eclipses with reference to the position of the Sun and other celestial bodies.

Strikingly similar to the observatory of the same name in Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain and Mathura, the observatory was a huge success.

Timings:
08:00 AM to 05:30 PM everyday

Entry Fee:
INR 15 per person

Location:
Observatory, Man Mandir ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat Rd, Observatory, Man mandir, Godowlia, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001

The Banaras Silk Emporium

The leading brand when it comes to manufacture of Banarasi and handloom sarees made from pure, top-quality silk, Banarasi Silk Emporium is the ultimate shopping destination. Their sarees come in a beautiful variety of colours, designs, fabrics and patterns in order to suit the taste of each buyer.

Placing the quality of fabric above everything else, each saree is unique, and marries Indian ethnicity with glamour. Irrespective of your taste or the occasion, Banarasi Silk Emporium is one place in Varanasi where you just cannot return empty-handed from!

Location
: Buddh Bihar Colony, Behind Hotel Clarks, Buddh Bihar Colony, Varanasi-221002, Uttar Pradesh

Shivala Ghat

One of the many religious places to visit in Varanasi, Shivala Ghat, also known as Kali Ghat, is built right beside a colossal 19th century mansion. The early morning boat ride at Shivala Ghat is a must-have experience when visiting Varanasi. Besides the boat ride, the ghat is also celebrated for the Shiva temple and Brahmendra Math (spiritual centre) that watch over Shivala Ghat.

Built by the great king Balwant Singh, the ghat is named after its prevailing deity Lord Shiva. Buried waist-deep in mythology and Indian folklore, Shivala Ghat also offers stunning views of the ribboning Ganga, which roughly translates into ‘perfect photography spots’!

Location:
Near Rajguru Math, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001

Tulsi Ghat

Believed to be the place where the great Tulsidas composed the Hindu epic Ramacharitamanasa, Tulsi Ghat is home to various relics of the great saint. One of the most important religious tourist places in Varanasi, Tulsi Ghat is brimming with spirituality and religion.

It is believed that when Tulsidas’s manuscript slipped and fell into the Ganga river, it stayed afloat instead of having sunk. Legend also has it that the very first rendition of Ram Leela, a visual portrayal of the life of Lord Rama, was performed at Tulsi Ghat. Corroborating this, a beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Rama stands here too.

Location:
Assi Rd, Assi ghat, Near, Shivala, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221010

Manmandir Ghat

Erected in the 17th century by Raja Man Singh, and restructured during the mid 1900s, Man Mandir Ghat is located on the north of Dashashwamedh Ghat. Known as Someshwar Ghat in the earlier days, the ghat is presided over by a magnificent palace carrying intricate carvings and paintings.

Falling now under the purview of the Archaeological Survey of India, the palace offers unmatched views of the Ganga river and the rest of Varanasi from above. Another great tourist attraction here is the famous observatory called Jantar Mantar which sits atop the palace. It is one of the mot unmissable places to visit in Varanasi.

Location: 
Bangali Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001

Darbhanga Ghat

Sitting at a distance of 6 km from Varanasi, Darbhanga Ghat falls towards the southern flank of Dashashwamedh Ghat. Sandwiched between Causatthi Ghat and Babua Pandey Ghat, this is the most sought-after place for the performance of the final rites and rituals post death.

The structure is quite steep and narrow, but widens up noticeably as it approaches Babua Pandey Ghat. Resting at the foot of a massive building, the ghat affords great views of the ceremonies and rituals that it hosts. The ghat is also honoured with the presence of a stunning Shiva Lingam, along with an equally beautiful temple.

Location:
Near Ahilyabai Ghat, Uttar Pradesh 221010

Scindia Ghat

Also known as Shinde Ghat, Scindia Ghat is one of the most interesting places to visit in Varanasi. The temple of Lord Shiva that stands guard over this ghat is partially submerged in the holy river Ganga! Rooted deeply in Hindu mythology, this place is also believed to be the birthplace of the Hindu God of fire, Agni.

Presently, the ghat is a famous medication spot, especially early in the morning, when heaps of people rush here to enjoy the peace and cleanliness of the place. This 150 year old structure is also known for its crematorium, one of the most sacred ones in Varanasi.

Location:
 Near Manikarnika Ghat, Ghats of varanasi, Ghasi Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001

Harishchandra Ghat

Named after the mythological King Harishchandra, Harishchandra Ghat is one of the oldest ghats in Varanasi. The king is said to have worked diligently at the crematorium in order to ensure the prevalence of truth and clarity, for which he was rewarded by getting back his lost throne and dead son.

The Harishchandra Ghat and Manikarnika Ghat form two halves of a cremation ghat / burning ghat. It is believed that a dip in the river waters of the ghat will assure moksha / spiritual transcendence to the visitor. There is also an electric crematorium which was installed here in the late 20th century.

Location:
Bangali Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001

Lalita Ghat

Dating back to the early 19th century, Lalita Ghat is one of the most important ghats in Varanasi, and its name is a tribute to the HIndu Goddess Lalita, an incarnation of Druga. Lying quite close to Manikarnika Ghat, Lalita Ghat was the creation of a Nepali King who sought to build a structure resembling the revered Pashupatinath mandir in Nepal.

The Lalita Palace is a two-storeyed building, and is home to a couple of ancient shrines from the 18th and 19th century. The ghat is host to a wide variety of music festivals throughout the year!

Location: 
Near Meer Ghat, Lahori Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001

Ahilyabai Ghat

One of the most venerated ghats in Varanasi, Ahilyabai Ghat, formerly known as Kevalagiri Ghat, is dedicated to the eminent queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore. Built in 18th century, the ghat went a complete reconstruction and extension under the orders of the namesake Queen.

It is one of the several heritage structures contributed by her to the city of Varanasi. The premises of the ghat also harbour a palace and residence inside. Apart from that, the ghat is home to a cluster of about ten houses built by a Brahmapuri, along with a service cost and a few temples. 

Location: 
Dashashwamedh Ghat Rd, Ghats of varanasi, Bangali Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001

Rana Mahal Ghat

Built in the 17th century, the Rana Mahal Ghat is flanked by the Darbhanga Ghat on one side and Chousatti Ghat on the other, with the holy Ganges flowing by. The palace built atop the ghat is a testimony to the beautiful Rajput style of architecture.

When the grandeur of the place began to dwindle due to time, Rana Jagat Singh of Udaipur ordered a renovation to restore the glory. There are also a handful of ghost stories that surround this ghat, making it all the more interesting to visit!

Location: 
Ghats of varanasi, Bangali Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221010

Causatthi Ghat

One of the most important tourist places in Varanasi is the scenic Causatthi Ghat, which is believed to have been the shelter of Madhusudan Saraswati, the great Sanskrit scholar. The ghat is honored with a beautiful temple adorned with images of Lord Shiva, Goddess Kali, Ganesha, and Kartikeya.

Somewhere between March and April, on the new moon night, several devotees from all over the country come here to take ritual dips in the water by the ghat, in the hopes of attaining salvation. Holi is another significant festival here, when devotees flock here in herds to pay their respects.

Location:
Bangali Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001

Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum
Located about 10 km away from Varanasi, Bharat Kala Bhavan shares the location of Banaras Hindu University, and is a hot tourist spot. Exhibiting the rich variations of India’s culture and heritage, it is one of the oldest museums in India. Guarding over 100,000 ancient artefacts, the museum is a record of the cultural and traditional phases of the country.

The centre hall is marked by a beautiful figure of Lord Krishna holding up the Govardhan mountain. Besides fascinating artefacts, one can also find photos dating back to the 15th century, confirming the presence of a Krishna cult during the Gupta era!

Timings: 
10:30 AM to 04:30 PM everyday, except Sundays.

Location: 
Banaras Hindu University, Semi Circle Road No. 3 Opp Institute of Mgmt Studies, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221005
Panchganga Ghat

As the name suggests, Panchganga Ghat is the place that marks the beautiful conflux of five holy rivers - Ganga, Saraswati, Dhupapapa, Yamuna and Kirana. Out of five, only Ganga remains visible, while the other four are said to have disappeared.

The Ghat itself is one of the most culturally important places to visit in Varanasi. Madhav Ka Darera, also known as the Mosque of Alamgir graces the exact spot where the Bindu Mahadev Temple is believed to have stood. The mosque carries a fine blend of the Indo-Persian architectural styles, reflected in the intricate pillar carvings, domes and turrets.

Location: 
Near Aurangazeb Mosque, Ratan Phatak, Katesar, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001

Monkey Temple (Durga Temple)

The famous Monkey Temple, also known as Durga Temple, is a significant religious site for the devotees of Goddess Durga. Constructed in the 18th century, the temple carries beautiful nuances of the Nagara architectural styles. Painted a fiery red, the temple sits atop a tank known as Durga Kund.

Legend has it that this stunning temple is a guardian of the city of Varanasi. Named ‘Monkey Temple’ owing to the countless monkeys found inside, the temple sees an increase in the number of devotees every year.

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

Banaras Hindu University

Formerly called Central Hindu College, Banaras Hindu University, established in the year 1916 in one of the oldest educational institutes in India. Harbouring over 30,000 resident students on campus, it also bags the honour of being Asia’s largest residential university!

A leading name in the field of education, the campus also features the marvellous Bharat Kala Bhavan museum, a tourist favourite. Offering a plethora of courses and degrees, it is a well-respected name in India.

Timings: 
10:00 AM to 05:00 PM on weekdays.

Location:
 Ajagara, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221005

Chunar Fort

Lying about 45 km away from Varanasi, Chunar Fort is one of the most popular and ancient monuments in Mirzapur. Built on the orders of the great King of Ujjain, Vikramaditya, the monument allegedly dates back to the 12th century. The fort has seen various dynasties reigning over, until the British finally made their foray.

Graced by the Holy Ganga river on either sides, the fort is well applauded for the rich culture and history that surrounds it. Spanning 34,000 sq.ft., the fort is also the centre of several paranormal stories. The steep, rocky face of the fort makes it difficult to be accessed, and requires some navigating over the river.

Timings:
08:00 AM to 05:00 PM everyday

Location:
Tammanpatti, Uttar Pradesh 231304

Varanasi Fun City

The ultimate destination for fun, thrill and adventure, the Varanasi Fun City is one of the most popular tourist places in Varanasi. Fusing modern technology with entertainment, the place is home to countless water rides for kids and adults alike.

It is also a common destination for family outings and school picnics. If you’ve got a day to spare, indulge in the inviting adrenaline rush that the water park offers, or visit it just to unwind and relax with friends!

Timings: 
11:00 AM to 05:00 PM Monday to Saturday

Entry Fee: 
Approx. INR 350 per person

Location:
 Pandeypur Panchkoshi Road, In Front of St. Mary Convent School Daniyalpur, Sona Talab, Uttar Pradesh 221007

28

Sarnath

Sarnath

Sarnath is amongst the most culturally important places to visit in Varanasi, resting about 10 km to the north-east of the city. Also a significant Buddhist pilgrim destination, Sarnath is believed to be the place that received the very first sermons of Lord Buddha post his attainment of Nirvana.

It is home to many sculptures and idols of Lord Buddha, one of the most beautiful ones being places in Thai Monastery, which exemplifies the Thai architectural style. Chaukhandi Stupa is another great monument to pay a visit. Marked widely for the iconic national emblem Ashoka pillar, Sarnath also holds some religious significance for devotees of Jainism.

Location: 
Roughly 10 km away from Varanasi.

29

ISKCON

ISKCON

Founded by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in the mid 1900s, ISKCON temple in Varanasi is a favourite tourist spot. Not as crowded as the other religious places in Varanasi, the temple carries stunning paintings and art pieces depicting the greatness of Lord Krishna, and his life tales.

It is one of the most beautiful temples of ISKCON in India, and has been seeing an increase in footfall with every passing year. When in Varanasi, a visit to the ISKCON temple is almost obligatory if you’re a religion buff.

Location: 
B 27/80 Durgakund Road Near ICICI Bank ATM, Anandbagh, Bhelupur, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221010

Chaukhandi Stupa

One of the most important places to visit in Varanasi, the Chaukhandi Stupa at Sarnath is believed to have been constructed in somewhere between the 4th and 6th century, during the Gupta era.

Installed to commemorate the place where Lord Buddha encountered his very first disciples on the way to Sarnath from Bodh Gaya. Shrouded well in history and religion, the Stupa falls under the maintenance of the Archaeological Survey of India. It falls en route the famous Deer Park, the place where Lord Buddha is believed to have delivered his first sermon.

Timings: 
06:00 AM to 06:00 PM everyday

Location: 
Rishpattan Road, Near, Sarnath, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221007

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