If you wish to experience the most vibrant part of India, which gives you a glimpse into the country’s deep spirituality, then Varanasi is the place. Varanasi is a sight to behold and is one of the Hindu’s seven holy cities. You will experience many emotions simultaneously, ranging from exhausting and liberating to emotional experience.
The places to visit in Varanasi attract tourists annually from all over the world, including ghats, colossal temples, and many other places and events. You can experience several places during your trip to Varanasi apart from the city’s ghats, temples, and music attracting you with its old-world charm.
Many devotees believe that Varanasi helps them reach the divine upon death by assisting them in breaking free from the cycle of rebirth. Therefore, before you go backpacking to one of the oldest cities in India, go through this article to learn about all the must-visit places in detail. Read on!
How to Reach Varanasi:
You can reach Varanasi by Road, Rail, and Airways. The details of the three possible ways are:
- By Air: Varanasi has the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, which connects the holy city to all the other cities in India.
- By Rail: All the major cities in India are well-connected to Varanasi through the Varanasi Junction Railway Station.
- By Road: Several buses are available from all the adjoining cities in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to reach Varanasi.
Famous Places to Visit in Varanasi:
Also known as “The city of lights,” Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in India. It attracts tourists from India and all over the world with its charm. The city is known for artistic brassware, bangles, perfumes, carpet weaving, wooden toys, and gold and silver thread. Let us know more about the places to visit in Varanasi to enjoy the city more.
1. Explore Varanasi Temples:
Varanasi has a rich culture and heritage and houses many prominent temples in India. If you ever plan to visit the spiritual city of Varanasi, then don’t forget to explore the temples in Varanasi that give you a glimpse into the city’s traditions and culture on a deeper level. Here is a link that gives you a list of all the famous temples you can visit in Kashi.
2. Tulsi Manas Mandir Temple Varanasi:
The Tulsi Manas Mandir temple in Varanasi is one of the best tourist places in Varanasi, where Tulsidas wrote the Ramayana in the Awadhi dialect. The built-up temple was constructed in white marble in 1964, funded by the Birla family. The mandir walls have the verses and scenes from Ramcharitmanas beautifully engraved. The Sureka family of Howrah initially built the temple.
3. Assi Ghat:
Located far South, Assi Ghat is one of the must-visit places in Varanasi where pilgrims pay homage to Lord Shiva. There is a colossal lingam right under a peepal tree in Assi ghat, which receives reverence from people worldwide. You can experience the ancientness of Kashi in the Assi ghat since it is a lively space rippling in commotion and chaos. Varanasi is considered one of the most beautiful places in the country because of the alluring sight of Aarti in this ghat.
4. Dashashwamedh Ghat:
Dashashwamedh Ghat is a fantastic place known for its spiritual transcendence. It is the main ghat to explore in Varanasi on the banks of the river Ganges. As per common knowledge, this ghat’s name is relevant to the sacrifice of 10 horses in the yagna by Lord Brahma. It is a compelling space to dawdle in this small town because Dashashwamedh Ghat tops the places to visit in Varanasi at night. As it is popularly called, you can attend the Ganga aarti or Agni pooja at this ghat. This ghat was built in 1748 by Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao, and special aartis are conducted at religious festivals every Tuesday.
5. Manikarnika Ghat:
Manikarnika Ghat is among the pivotal places to go in Varanasi, which is considered an excellent place to be cremated. Nothing is considered sacrilegious in this ghat; therefore, you can get an exasperating and startling experience. Manikarnika ghat is a sight to behold when the sun sets, the glowing pyres and the candle-lit flower bowls float down the Ganga river. Bajirao Peshwa built this ghat in 1730.
6. Chet Singh Ghat:
Chet Singh Ghat is a historically fortified and one of the famous ghats in Varanasi. It is located at a distance of 2 km from Dashashwamedh Ghat and 5 km from Varanasi junction. The banks of the Ganges have the Palace of Raja Chet Singh, which is an inspiration for this ghat’s name. It is one of the cleanest and less crowded ghats in Varanasi. This ghat is called Khirki Ghat, which houses three shiva temples from the 18th century AD. The famous Budhwa Mangal festival is celebrated for seven days till the first half of the 20th century.
7. Harishchandra Ghat:
One of the popular Varanasi tourist places is the Harishchandra Ghat which is located 6 km from Varanasi junction and 2 km from Assi ghat. This ghat is one of the oldest in Varanasi. It is named after the legendary King Harishchandra, who spent his life as a crematorium keeper. It is believed that god gave King Harishchandra his dead son and kingdom back to reward his determination, charity, and truthfulness.
Also referred to as Adi Manikarnika, the Harishchandra ghat is another cremation ghat besides Manikarnika Ghat. Many people believe that one can achieve moksha or salvation if their last rites are performed in the Harishchandra
8. Shivala Ghat:
One of the famous places to visit in Varanasi that reflects the history of the city. A Shiva temple built by a Nepalese king in the 19th century is a popular attraction in this ghat. The craftsmanship used in this splendid architecture takes you by surprise. This ghat is one of the best places to dip in the holy water. King Sanjay Vikram Shah built this ghat in 1600.
9. Sarnath Tourist Places:
Sarnath is among the famous Buddhist pilgrimages to visit; that is located 13 km northeast of Varanasi. For people seeking peace after jostling their way through the busy roads and ghats of Kashi, then Sarnath is the place to visit. It is believed that Buddha came to Sarnath seeking his former companions and gave his first sermon here after achieving enlightenment at Bodhgaya. Dhamekh Stupa & Monastery Ruins, the Chaukhandi Stupa, the Ashoka Pillar, the Archaeological Museum, the Chinese &amp; Thai Temple and the MulagandhaKutiVihar, and Monastery are some of the popular tourist places to visit in Sarnath.
10. Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum:
Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum is located within the prestigious Banaras Hindu University. It bears testament to the characteristic of an endless stream of madness and distinct classical sound that rings through the holy city of Banaras. The museum is among the prominent tourist places today. It had Rabindranath Tagore as its honorary chairman and was set up in 1920. This museum showcases multiple things, from miniature paintings and sculptures to local history displays.
11. Bharat Mata Mandir:
As the name suggests, this unique temple is dedicated to our country, Mother India. The temple is not committed to any specific lord or deity and, therefore, is very different from others. India’s relief map is carved in marble in this temple which was a brainchild of freedom fighter Babu Shiv Prasad Gupta.
12. Iskcon Temple in Varanasi:
Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada established ISKCON to educate people about the teachings of Lord Krishna and promote Krishna consciousness as per Bhagavad Geeta. Chanting sessions, kirtans, and regular poojas are popular in this temple; anyone can join these sessions. The chant of Hare Krishna by the devotees to the accompaniment of dholak and cymbals make this temple’s aarti time electrifying. The temple hosts a feast every Sunday from 7:30 PM in summer and 12 PM to 2 PM during winter.
13. Banaras Hindu University:
Another popular place to visit in Banaras is the Banaras Hindu University. This university houses 30,000 students who study and reside within the 5.3 square kilometre campus, making it Asia’s largest residential university. The immense beauty of this university is attributed to the Indo-Gothic architecture and sprawling lawns. Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya built this university in 1916.
14. Ramnagar Fort and Museum:
The Ramnagar Fort is a crumbling ruin from the 18th century that is in dire of restoration; that is located right opposite the Tulsi ghat. However, the Ramnagar Fort is still considered one of the top places to visit in Varanasi because of the crimson sunset view from inside the closure. There is also a vintage museum famous for its ivory works, medieval costumes, a vast astronomical clock, and a collection of old American cars in this old rampart. Therefore, this place is a must-visit when looking at relics with a history.
15. Jantar Mantar / Man Singh Observatory:
Jantar Mantar is an observatory atop Man Mahal Palace near the famous Dashashwamedh Ghat. It is located at a distance of 4 km from Varanasi Junction and 500 m from Sri Kashi Vishwanath temple. Jantar Mantar was constructed by Jai Singh, the Maharaja of Jaipur, in 1737 CE; who was passionate about astronomy and a great admirer of science and technology.
A replica of other observatories in New Delhi, Ujjain, Mathura, and Jaipur, the Jantar Mantar, was built to evaluate the declination of the sun, stars, and planets to determine eclipses. It also helps us assess the time and altitude of the place precisely. Several astronomical calculations are still made with the help of Disha Yantra, Dhruva Yantra, Krantivritta Yantra, Digansha Yantra, Prakash Yantra, Samrat Yantra, and Ram Yantra.
16. Alamgir Mosque:
The Alamgir mosque is among the popular places to see in Varanasi; that was built in the 17th century on the site of a desecrated Vishnu temple. This mosque dominates the Panchganga Ghat, proof of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s ludicrous methods. Though the mosque doesn’t allow non-muslims to enter, it is still one of the famous places in Varanasi.
17. Godowlia Market:
Godowlia is among Varanasi’s famous tourist places and the town’s busiest and most significant market. This market sells daily household items to glass bangles and trinkets. You can surely get drunk on the divine from the smell of camphor wafting out of every second shop in the market. The Godowlia Market is the best place to visit in Varanasi when you want to shop for something memorable.
18. Varanasi Fun City:
Suppose you are looking for a tourist attraction in Varanasi that can entertain your kids and your family. In that case, Varanasi Fun city can be an excellent option. The park highlights include a thrilling roller coaster, several activities, and fun rides that can make your time memorable. In addition, you can also enjoy some delicious food and drinks with your loved ones from the food court in the Varanasi Fun city.
19. St Mary’s Church:
St Mary’s Church is an excellent and famous place in Banaras, Varanasi’s relevant building structure. They have existed for over 200 years, making them one of the oldest churches in the city, built in 1810 by Reverend George Wheatly. The European and British communities living in Banaras used the church as a place of worship. St Mary’s Church is also South Asia’s oldest remaining garrison church.
20. Aqua World Varanasi:
Located on the Varanasi-Allahabad highway, Aqua World is a popular theme park that is a popular destination and is liked by kids and adults. Though it is a small place, you can have a good time in the water with your family. The huge main pool is connected to several colourful slides, making the park more enjoyable.
Places to Visit Near Varanasi within 100 KM:
We have listed some of the famous places you can visit in Varanasi. However, we have made another list of sites present 100 km within Varanasi.
21. Maa Vindhyavasini Mandir:
The presiding deity of Vindhyachal Dham, Mirzapur, is Maa Vindhyavasini Vindhyachal Mai, a manifestation of Maa Durga. She is Eastern Up and Bihar’s regional, protecting, and family goddess. Many devotees settled around the world come to this place to take blessings from Maa Vindhyavasini. Located strategically between two sacred Hindu cities, Prayag and Kashi, The city of Vindhyachal is on the banks of the river Ganga.
Things to do:
- You can offer prayers in the temple and dip in the holy river Ganges.
- There are also several other small temples nearby that one can visit and embrace spirituality.
Timings: Open 24 hours.
How to Reach:
- Several trains, buses, and private taxi services help you reach Vindhyachal from Varanasi. Once you get to Vindhyachal, you can hire a local auto to reach the temple.
- 15231 BjuGondia is the fastest train from Varanasi to Vindhyachal, which takes about 1 hour and 35 minutes.
Distance from Varanasi: 63.7 KM.
22. Sita Samahit Sthal:
Sita Samhita Sthal is one of the important places near Varanasi. It is a revered temple and a popular pilgrimage spot in the Bhadoi district of Uttar Pradesh. This place has a lot of mythical importance because it is considered where the goddess Sita descended to the earth. Another attraction of this place is the 110 feet high statue of Lord Hanuman. Moreover, the area becomes a lot more alluring. It draws several tourists because of the quaint pond that surrounds the temple.
Things to do:
- Rama Navami is celebrated with great vigour and enthusiasm.
- You can enjoy the view of the lake surrounding the temple in addition to the tall Hanuman statue.
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM.
How to Reach:
- Several taxis, trains, and bus services from Varanasi will take you to Sita Samahit Sthal, out of which the train is considered cost-effective.
Distance from Varanasi: 78.5 KM.
23. Vindam Falls, Mirzapur:
90 km from Varanasi, Vindham waterfall is a gorgeous waterfall in Mirzapur. Many popular tourist attractions like Tanda fountains, caves, and temples are close to these waterfalls. The mesmerizing waterfall in India attracts a large tourist influx and is a famous picnic spot.
Things to do:
- You can visit the caves, temples, and Tanda fountains near the Vindham waterfalls.
- This waterfall is perfect for a picnic spot to spend time with your family.
Timings: 24 hours.
How to Reach:
- If you are going by car, it takes a 90 km drive to reach Mirzapur. You can also get to Mirzapur from Varanasi by train.
Distance from Varanasi: 90 KM.
24. Chunar Fort:
Chunar Fort is one of the best sightseeing experiences in Varanasi, situated in the Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh. This tomb’s earliest recorded history is from the 16th century. Many of Mughal emperor Babar’s soldiers are venerated here in tombs. Chunar Fort is one of the best and most popular places you can visit around Varanasi and is believed to be divinely blessed. However, most of Chunar Fort flourished during the Mughal dynasty’s rule. Only some parts of this fort remain. You can see large ramparts and gates of the fortress in addition to a citadel, houses built during British time, and a well inside the fort.
Things to do:
- You can visit the places such as well-built during the British period to enjoy the surroundings.
- Look around the fort to enjoy its historical significance.
Timings: 8 AM to 5 PM.
How to Reach:
- The fort is 44 km from Varanasi, and you can hire a private vehicle to reach the place without hassle.
Distance from Varanasi: 44 KM.
25. Rajdari Waterfalls:
Situated almost 72 km from Varanasi, Rajdari waterfalls are a popular picnic spot among tourists and locals alike. It is a visual delight to the eyes when you watch the vast waterfalls gushing down the cliffs making it a top place to visit near Varanasi. The best time to visit these waterfalls is during or post the rainy season because Rajdari waterfall is a rainy season waterfall. You can play badminton or any other sport in this place since the surrounding area is well-maintained.
Things to do:
- Since the place is spacious, you can play any sport, and it can also be a perfect spot for a picnic with your family.
- You can also have a peaceful and quiet time at this waterfall.
Timings: 24 hours.
How to Reach:
- It is a small hillock journey from Varanasi to reach the Rajdari waterfalls.
Distance from Varanasi: 74.2 KM.
26. Jaunpur Fort:
Also called Shahi Qila, the Haunpur Fort was built in the 14th century in Jaunpur and is located close to the Shahi bridge. The material used by the Rathore kings of Kannauj’s palaces and temples is used to build this fort which Ibrahim Naib Barbak constructed. During the Mughal empire, the fort went through extensive renovations and repairs.
Things to do:
- This fort can be a perfect picnic spot when you want to spend a memorable time with your family.
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM.
How to Reach:
- You can hire a cab or a taxi to reach the fort effortlessly because there are no direct flights or trains to get to Jaunpur.
Distance from Varanasi: 66.7 KM.
27. Lakhaniya Dari Waterfalls:
Lakhaniya Dari is a breathtaking waterfall located at a distance of 35 km from Chunar and 54 km from Varanasi. Cascading down to about 150 m into a pool, the Lakhaniya Dari waterfalls look the most magnificent during monsoon. The surrounding village farms and fields use the waters stored in the Ahraura Dam, which are taken from this waterfall. It is not only a tiny adventure for trekkers because you will have to trek 2 to 3 km to reach the main waterfall from the entry gate, but also a perfect picnic spot for families.
Things to do:
- You can enjoy adventure sports and trekking.
- These waterfalls can be a perfect relaxing spot or even a picnic spot.
Timings: 6 AM to 6:30 PM.
How to Reach:
- The drive from Varanasi to Lakhaniya Dari waterfalls is about a 48 KM drive, and you will have to trek for one and a half hours.
Distance from Varanasi: 53.3 KM.
Things to Do in Varanasi:
Here is the list of things you can do in Varanasi which make the trip to this holy place much more memorable.
1. Witness Evening Ganga Aarti Ceremony:
Ganga Aarti is held on a grand scale every morning and evening on the banks of the holy Ganges and is also an important ritual. The Aarti is performed at Dashashwamedh Ghat, where you can feel the divine light strongly when the ghat is beautifully illuminated. The priests chant holy mantras that reverberate the entire location because this magnificent ritual involves huge brass lamps lit with oil.
2. Boat Ride on the Ganga River:
You can get an insight into Varanasi’s historical and cultural significance by going on a boat ride in the River Ganga. The boat ride takes you through former palaces close to the banks and different ghats, giving you the region’s panoramic view of this river. 5:30 AM to 8 AM is the best time to enjoy the boat ride of the Ganges River because it is when the place will enthral with your clamour and colour. Surprisingly, even at 5 in the morning, the city is still cheery and awake. The city offers the traveller a taste of what the city has to offer in an hour-long boat ride.
4. Take a stroll on the ghats:
When planning a trip to Varanasi, Exploring the Ghats is one of the best things to do. All the steps of the hundreds of Ghats lead to the banks of the Ganga. Hindus from all over the world visit these ghats, which are bathing ghats, cremation ghats, and praying ghats, and have many mythologies and legends associated with them. Mata Anandamai Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Assi Ghat, Munshi Ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat, Raj Ghat, Scindia Ghat, and Hari Chandra Ghat are some of the significant ghats that you can visit during the trip to Varanasi.
5. Bathing in the Holi Ganga:
Ganga is the holiest river and also the longest river in India, and taking a dip in it is believed to offer salvation from sins. Therefore, one of the essential things to do in Varanasi is to take a dip or bathe in the holy waters of the Ganges. Hindus revere the river because it is associated with Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. All the steps of the 84 ghats in Varanasi lead to the Ganga, making them all the more special.
6. Shop in the local markets of Varanasi:
One of the best things to do on a free afternoon or evening during your Varanasi trip is go shopping. Whether silk sarees, ornate jewels, thread-work saris, or zari sarees, the local market is filled with numerous items you can buy as a memory from this holy place. Chowk, Godowilia, Thateri Bazaar, and Vishwanath Lane are popular places you can go shopping.
7. Taste the local street food of Varanasi:
One of the best things to do in Varanasi is to relish the local food on the streets if you are a gastronome. Some of the famous street snacks you can have are:
- Kachori sabzi.
- Baati Chokha.
- Choora Matar.
- Meethe Gol Gappe.
- Makhan Malaiyoo.
8. Buy Banarasi Silk Saree:
The weaver’s community is trendy in Varanasi, and buying a Banarasi saree from its finest silk and embroidery is recommended. Furthermore, you can take a glance at the culture of Varanasi by taking a tour of Sarai Mohana to watch weavers work brilliantly.
Best Time to Visit Varanasi:
October to the end of March is the best time to visit Varanasi because winter is Varanasi’s iconic tourism season. This is because mornings are pleasing and night is cold, which will help you explore the place without getting exhausted. Moreover, several festivals and celebrations during these months help you enjoy the festive vibe.
However, you can also add the summer months to the list of visits if you are okay with the heat. You can also get good deals on hotels during the summer because there will be a thin flow of tourists. Therefore choose the right time based on your time, need, and budget.
Varanasi is where you need to visit if you seek new life experiences or want to experience deep spirituality at any age. You can see several things, from all the ghats to beautiful temples. To make the process much easier, we hope the list of the places to visit in Varanasi will help you make your trip memorable. Remember to let us know if you found the article helpful!
1. What are the famous shopping places in Varanasi?
Ans: People from all over India and the world visit Varanasi for its famous silk sarees. Some of the popular places in Varanasi for shopping are:
- Gyan Vapi.
- Vishwanath Gali.
- Dashwamedh Gali.
- Thatheri Bazar.
2. What are the famous foods you must try in Varanasi?
Ans: Although there are unlimited food options, here is the list of street foods that are extremely popular in Varanasi. They are:
- Kachori Sabzi.
- Chena Dahi Vada.
- Choora Matar.
- Dahi Chutney Wale Gol Gappe.
3. Is there any strict dress code while visiting Varanasi?
Ans: Since there is a deep link between Indian culture and Varanasi because it is a spiritual place, it is advised for travellers to wear modest clothing. There is a strict dress code for women to wear a saree if they are planning to visit the Kashi Vishwanath temple.