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    Varanasi Sightseeing Places

    Image Credit: DFAT photo library - Flickr

    Varanasi, one of the ancient and pious cities in India is known for its sanctity and holiness. Located on the banks of the sacred Ganga, this city has always been associated with mysticism, spirituality and decadence.

    Whether the melodies of the temple bells or the devotion of the devotees, the tranquil ghats or the chanting of the prayers, the array of temples or the imprints of a rich and splendid era, the devout lands Varanasi has always attracted tourists from all over the world.

    Best Time to Visit: October and March

    Distnace From Delhi: 816 kms

    Our Best Selling Package: Golden Triangle with Varanasi and Khajuraho

    Listed below are some of the best Varanasi sightseeing places:

    1) Varanasi Ghats

    Image Credit: freebird  - Flickr

    The ancient city of Varanasi is known famously for its ghats. These ghats dot a stretch of up to 7 kms along the holy Ganges. These ghats offer some of the most spectacular views of the early morning activities that take place on the banks of the holy river.

    These ghats make for great sightseeing in Varansai city. There are close to 84 ghats and each of them holds their own significance and importance. Some of the more priestly ghats in Varanasi include Tulsi Ghat, Bhadaini Ghat, Panchkoat Ghat, Dasaswamedh Ghat and Man Mandir Ghat.

    Image Credit: kuba - Flickr

    These ghats have been named after famous poets and members of the royal families and are therefore a part of the rich and vibrant history of Varanasi. A famous tourist destination, these ghats come of life during some of the major festivals; these ghats offer certain uniqueness to the many Hindu festivals that are celebrated here.

    It is during these festivals that these ghats buzz with several enchanting and saintly activities. However, in order to experience the sanctities of these ghats and their relevance, one should take an early morning stroll along the ghats and imbibe the spirituality of the holy suburbs of Varanasi.

    Some of the famous ghats of Varanasi:

    • Tulsi Ghat
    • Bhadaini Ghat
    • Panchkoat Ghat
    • Dasaswamedh Ghat
    • Man Mandir Ghat

    2) Kashi Vishwanath Temple

    Image Credit: Ramón - Flickr

    The Vishwanath Temple is considered as one of the most sacred temples in Varanasi, and is also considered as one of the best Varanasi sightseeing places. The temple is visited by thousands of pilgrims throughout the year as they gather at the temple to perform ‘abhishekam’ to the holy ‘Jyotirlingam’ or ‘the pillar of light’.

    Besides being known as a place of worship, the temple is also considered as an architectural marvel. The temple is also commonly referred to as the ‘Golden Temple’ because of the gold plating done on the spire. The gold for the plating was donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

    [Planning a tour of Varanasi? Contact us to grab best deals]

    Upon entering the courtyard of the temple, you can easily witness the presence of a number of shrines. The temple premises also have a well which is considered as one of the sacred wells in the Hindu mythology. The temple comprises of a mandapa as well as a sanctum.

    Even though the interiors of the temple are not as spacious as other temples in Varanasi, the Vishwanath Temple reflects tranquility and is considered as the abode of peace and solace.

    3) Ramnagar Fort

    Image Credit: kimtetsu - Flickr

    This fort is considered as the last remaining fort of the kings of Ramnagar and is therefore considered as one of the best places of interest for sightseeing in Varanasi city. Located on the other side of the holy Ganges, a portion of this fort is still used by the royal family as their official residence. The easily accessible location of the fort makes it one of the highly visited places in Varanasi; rickshaw and boat rides are the most popular rides to this fort.

    The Ramnagar Fort has now been converted into a museum that houses ancient royal artifacts as well as other pieces of historical significance. A section of the fort houses a vintage collection of cars which were used by the royal family in the past.

    Image Credit: Ben Beiske - Flickr

    You will also get to view some of the old howdahs and palanquins as well as a collection of weapons which were used by the family during warfare. Some of the other parts of the fort showcase some wonderful works of art as well as gifts of the royal family.

    The highlight of the fort is the presence of an ancient clock which not only showcases the date, year and month but also offers some insightful information about astronomy.

    4) Chunar Fort

    This famous fort was a military establishment and has earned a reputation as one of the popular Varanasi sightseeing places. In fact, it is often said that most kings took over the fort and converted it into an army camp. The famous, Babar, the Mughal ruler also captured this fort and used it as an army camp too. The impounding and massive walls of the fort proved to be the best line of defense; they also restricted the escape of the inmates.

    Upon looking closely at the fort walls, you will notice the slanted apertures of rifle butts which were made by the sentries stationed at the fort. The fort also has a tiny temple right in the heart of the premises which was used earlier as a place of worship but has since been abandoned.

    The fort also has a jail on its premises which boasts of small dungeons which were used to capture enemies. The dungeons only have small holes which were used for ventilation. Above the dungeons were the army barracks where the soldiers would stay and keep guard.

    You will also come across an execution chamber among the ruins of the fort. However, there are quite a few people who come to visit the fort round the year as it has an interesting story behind it.

    5) ABC Art Gallery

    This famous art gallery can be found on Durga Kund Road and is considered to be one of the best Varanasi sightseeing places. The gallery offers visitors a look into the ancient culture of Varanasi as well as provides a glimpse of the transition from the ancient way of life to a newer and modern world with contemporary looks.

    The gallery houses some important works of several well known artists and painters of India. The colourful and thoughtful ambience of the art gallery will surely make you feel connected with the canvases and portraits within the gallery.

    This feeling will gradually get strengthened with your visit to many different exhibitions. The paintings and other works of art are a true depiction of the contemporary society of Varanasi. These paintings highlight the contrasted fusion of old and new facets of the holy city through the strokes of various colours.

    Amidst all the modernisation, Varanasi still holds the charm and benevolence of a rustic and balmy world, and this can be witnessed with a visit to the ABC Art Gallery. Also, the art gallery does not charge an entry fee and is therefore open to the general public from around 3-7 pm.

    If you are longing to know more about Varanasi and its vicinity, you must visit this art gallery. For history buffs, this art gallery is the Shangri-La of knowledge and facts about Varanasi and its piousness.

    6) Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum

    Image Credit: Jeff Hart - Flickr

    This famous museum was constructed in the year 1902 and is among the places of sightseeing in Varanasi city. The museum is also internationally recognized as a place of interest as it houses some ancient pieces of art and various other artefacts that enrich the history of Varanasi. Over the years, the museum has grown steadily through the addition of a modest collection of historical pieces of art.

    The museum houses close to more than 100,000 memorable pieces of art which include some of the oldest archaeological materials, paintings and decorative art. In addition to paintings, the museum also houses memorabilia, textiles, costumes, large collection postage stamps of ancient India. This collection is quite rare and has been exquisitely preserved by the Government.

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    The museum has become famous owing to the fact that it houses a priceless collection of ancient materials as well as a great collection of miniature paintings.

    Most of the visitors who frequent this museum include scholars, teachers, students, alum from the nearby universities and enthusiasts of art and history. Well, the uniqueness and vivacity of this museum makes it one of the preferred Varanasi sightseeing places.

    7) Ashoka Pillar, Sarnath

    Image Credit: Scott Dexter - Flickr

    The Ashoka Pillar, or more commonly referred to as the ‘Lion Capital’, is a world renowned sculpture of four lions, standing back to back. Constructed by King Asoka, the structure stands 7 feet high and is grand and elaborate. Its historical significance bestows it to be the best Varanasi sightseeing places.

    This sculpture was initially placed on top of the A?oka Pillar at Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh. This pillar is also sometimes referred to as the A?oka Column and can still be found in its original location; however the Lion Capital has been shifted to the Sarnath Museum.

    It is interesting to note that the Lion Capital of Ashoka, which is located in Sarnath was adopted as the National Emblem of India. The ‘Ashoka Chakra’ that can be found at the base of the structure has also been placed right in the centre of India’s National Flag. The capital has been carved from sandstone and stands as a separate entity from the entire structure.

    8) Sarnath Archaeological Excavation Area

    Image Credit: Yusuke Kawasaki - Flickr

    It should be noted that from the year of 1907 onwards, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has continued repeated excavations at the historical place of Sarnath, making it one of the best Varanasi sightseeing places.

    Sarnath’s main excavation site is composed of a vast expanse of low lying monuments and structures. It is interesting to note that you can also witness the various elements of Buddhist history, their growth origin as well as other facets which can be found in and around this site.

    While visiting this excavation area, you can also witness the ancient relics of the various aspects Buddhist Art. Most of these scripts were written with signs and symbols and were used to communicate the preaching and ideology of the Buddhist faith.

    Image Credit: Terry Feuerborn - Flickr

    Among these relics, one of the most significant relics is located in the area is the famous Asoka Pillar which was erected during the early 250 B.C. As you delve deeper into the open complex, you will find a considerable amount of ruins; you will also be able to find monasteries which date back to older periods.

    It should also be noted that these monasteries were constructed around the 4th to the 12th century, and they outlooks a clear picture of the architectural skills of the ancient era. The Dhamekh Stupa is one of the most remarkable structures in this area; it is estimated to be constructed during the reign of the Guptas.

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Sightseeing in Varanasi

Attractions

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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

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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

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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
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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Most Popular Places Around Varanasi

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