Varanasi is one of the most ancient cities of the country lying on the banks of the holy Ganges in the state of Uttar Pradesh. According to myths, this is the most ancient, continuously inhabited cities in the whole of the world. In the yesteryears, Varanasi was popular by the names of Kashi or Benaras.
Many religions have thrived on this city side by side since time immemorial. The city is home to a conglomeration of many temples and shrines. Hindus consider it to be the city of salvation and yearn to die in Varanasi in order to get freed from the cycle of birth and rebirth. Though Varanasi is an extremely holy place to die on yet it vibrates with the warmth and pulsation of a beating heart quite unique to itself.
The city enjoys great fame due to several reasons such as the unique Varanasi silk weaving craft, the typical Banarasi Paan or Betel leaf, the classical Hindustani music, special milk sweets or khoya, the ghats and Galis and many more such quintessential things. Varanasi receives visitors all year round and to discover the city in its true charm and colors, you need to undertake the following activities while at Varanasi:
Witness the Beauty of Ganga Aarti at Dasaswamedh Ghat
The grand evening aarti is a 45mins long session that begins at 6.45 pm every day and the venue of the aarti is the Dasaswamedh ghat of Varanasi. Spiritual invocation and divine greetings of the Goddess Ganga is undertaken through this aarti session. Heavyweight brass lamps go high up in the air as priests perform the aarti amid holy chants and conch shell blowing. The ambiance turns highly surreal and enchanting.
Embark On A Temple Tour at Varanasi
The city is dotted with many famous and not-so-famous temples and each one reflects the city’s religious vivacity and mythical legacy. So, when you are at Varanasi, make sure to visit the following temples of Varanasi: Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Sankat mochan hanuman temple, Durga temple, Annapurna devi temple, Nepali temple.
Go On An Excursion to Sarnath
The ruins of Sarnath are truly worth a visit. This is the place where Lord Buddha has delivered his first sermon on Dharma post his enlightenment. Sarnath is an important Buddhist destination nearly 12kms from Varanasi city. The best attractions of Sarnath include Dharmek Stupa, Archaeological museum, Mulagandhakuti Vihara, Sri Lankan temple, Tibetan temple.
Savor the Local Delicacies of Varanasi
When you are out on the streets of Varanasi, make sure to dig into the super tasty local delicacies of the place. The roadside vendors sell a vast assortment of snack food items to pamper your taste buds. So, don’t forget to binge on the pani puris, snow cones, Aaloo tikkis, roasted peanuts, tamatar chats, kachoris. Top it off with some of the local sweets like jalebis, Rabris, Benarasi kalakands. And last but not the least, don’t forget to taste the famous Benarasi paan or betel leaf.
Go Shopping at Varanasi
When you set out to shop in the ‘gallis’ and marketplaces of Varanasi, time is sure to fly away! The city is famous worldwide for its gorgeous Benarasi silk sarees and ornate heavy jewelries. Godowilia market, Thatheri bazaar, Vishwanath gali and chowk are some of the best shopping hubs of Varanasi.
A Slice of Wildlife!
If you are fond of wildlife, you must visit the Deer park. Jataka ruler of Varanasi founded the park around 528 BC. The sight of deer roaming freely in the wilderness and the melodious chirping of a wide variety of birds makes the ambiance of the park sonorous and enchanting.