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Things To Do In Varanasi India {Top Rated}

Things To Do in Varanasi

Things To Do in Varanasi
Post Last Modified – April 13, 2024 ¦

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Top Rated Things To Do In Varanasi India

The second stop on our amazing 7 week journey throughout India a few seasons ago, was to the ancient City of Varanasi. In this post, I’ve listed just a few excellent …

🌺 Things to Do in Varanasi, 🌺

that we did and would recommend during our short visit to the city. We highly anticipated our visit to one of the oldest living cities in the entire world! 🌎

A very spiritual city lying next to the holy – Ganges River. It is here, that Hindu’s ultimately come to rid themselves of their sins in the river and to cremate their loved ones as well. For Hindu’s, it is the crossing place between their; {Physical and Spiritual} worlds.

One has truly not experienced India, without a visit to Varanasi!

New Delhi Train Station

After taking the overnight and long 🚃 train journey from New Delhi, we arrived at the Varanasi 🚏 train station in the early afternoon. We hopped onto a 🛺 tuk-tuk and made our way to our lovely quaint hotel, conveniently located in the city.

After getting settled in our hotel and planning our itinerary of places to visit for our 4 night stay, we were off to discover the sites of the city. With the famous; Ghats, Temples and outlying communities to visit, there was little time to waste! 

There’s historical; mosques, hidden alleys, bazaars, ancient Varanasi building architecture, the world’s biggest crematorium and local markets to discover.

Fascinating Things To Experience In Varanasi

Ghats on the Ganges River Varanasi India

Visiting the Ghats is without a doubt, the most popular attraction in the city and perhaps, the main reason why most come to visit in the first place. There are approximately {80 Ghats} in the area that border the Ganges River. All, having a unique significance and used for a number of reasons including;

✔ Ritual Bathing;

✔ Swimming;

✔ Laundry;

✔ Yoga;

✔ Washing livestock;

✔ Tours and much more.

Ghats Definition:

“A broad flight of steps that is situated on an Indian riverbank and that provides access to the water especially for bathing.”  [Merriman-Webster Dictionary]

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Visit The Dashashwamedh Ghat

Varanasi Ghats at Sunrise

Dashashwamedh Ghat is the main and most popular Ghat on the Ganga River. It is ideally located close to many religious temples as well, including the; Manikarnika Ghat. 

This large Ghat is also reflected as the; most favorite and most used among the Hindu followers. It is easy to get to from most anywhere in the city. Just ask your taxi or 🛺 tuk-tuk driver to take you to the {Main Ghat} in Varanasi.

Historic Temple in Varanasi India

Attend The Incredible Aarti Ceremony On The Ganges River

Aarti Ceremony Varanasi

The {Aarti Ceremony} is a very religious and spiritual ritual, that only takes place in front of a divine element. In Varanasi of course, it is performed on the; Ganges River.

A number of young priests perform this ritual dressed in saffron colored dress, with puja thali (prayer materials on a tray) and a big brass Aarti lamp. The crowds are enormous for the nightly ritual, as you can see in the 📸 pictures!

Aarti Ceremony Varanasi India

Experience The Manikarnika Ghat In Varanasi

Manikarnika Ghat Varanasi India

This is also referred to as the {Burning Ghat}, which is used for cremation among Hindu followers. There is a very spiritual process that takes place prior to cremation, that truly is awe inspiring to witness first hand.

As you make your way to the Ghat, you will be approached by a guide that will lead you up a flight of stairs to a viewing area. He will explain the process to you and then request a donation towards the purchase of wood, for cremating those who are unable to afford it on their own.

It’s entirely up to you to decide on what you would like to donate, and not what they asking for.


It is also very important to respect the; traditions, observe quietly and not to take close up 📸 photographs if at all possible. This, out of respect for the deceased and their families.

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Travel To The Town of Sarnath

Monastery Ruins Grounds Sarnath

Sarnath is a town located just 12 kilometers from Varanasi and is the site of the deer park, where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma after his enlightenment.

Sarnath is one of four very holy Buddhist sites and of which was sanctioned by the Buddha himself, for pilgrimage.

Dhamekh Stupa Sarnath India

Dhamekh Stupa Sarnath India

It’s a lovely peaceful setting where you can escape the crowds of Varanasi and view the ruins and temples of the Buddhists.  Sights and Activities here include;

✔Main Shrine;

✔Monastery Ruins;

✔Ashoka Pillar;

✔Chaukhandi Stupa;

✔Dhamekh Stupa and much more.

Buddha Monument in Sarnath India

Visit The Historic Ramnagar Fort

Ramnagar Fort Varanasi

Ramnagar Fort lies on the banks of the river Ganga and is the inherited home to the; Maharaja of Varanasi. The Fort is just 14 kilometers from Varanasi.

Built in 1750 and constructed in red sandstone in a typical Mughal style of architecture, complete with striking carved balconies and open patio areas.

Ramnagar Fort Varanasi India

This unique fortress also is home to the; Ved Vyasa shrine, a museum and a residential compound for the King. 
It is an interesting and a relaxing place to stop once inside the gates, especially for history buffs!

Ramnagar Fort Grounds Varanasi India

Attending this Fort was a nice short outing and 🛺 tuk-tuk ride. The buildings are of historical nature with a museum to view inside as well.

Enjoy Fresh Homemade Yogurt At The Blue Lassi Shop

Blue Lassi Shop Varanasi

I discovered this shop on {TripAdvisor}, which came highly recommended! 🙂 

It is a very tiny yogurt shop in Varanasi, with a reputation for serving the; freshest, creamiest, fruit-filled lassis you will ever experience. This tiny business has been serving yogurt for over 90 years now! 😲

Blue Lassi Yogurt Varanasi

The shop is tucked away on one of the many narrow alley ways found in the city. Trust me, you will not find it on your own!

Just ask any 🛺 tuk-tuk driver and they will know and take you to this hidden gem. You simply have to visit at least once during your stay. The yogurt is absolutely amazing and to watch it being prepared, is something to experience as well.

Definitely worth the visit!

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The wall of happy visitors who have enjoyed a yogurt at the {Blue Lassi}, including yours truly! 🙂

Don’t Miss The Incredible Sunrise Boat Tour

Sunrise in Varanasi India

Taking the early morning sunrise 🚣 boat tour on the Ganges, was definitely the highlight of all the attractions we visited during our time in Varanasi. 

It really is something special to rise before day break, to witness the religious and spiritual activities taking place along the Ghats. It is truly an unforgettable experience like no other, observing these spiritual rituals taking place on the Ghats along the river, as the 🌅 sun rises above the horizon.

Sunrise Boat Tours Varanasi India

We had a very special tour with our host on a small private 🚣 row boat, making this event even more special. There’s something mysterious and magical that seems to occur within, when you witness first hand the hundreds of devoted people bathing and performing spiritual rituals along this very holy river.

If there’s just one thing you do during your stay in Varanasi, it’s to definitely rise early and experience a {Sunrise Boat Tour}, as we did.

Varanasi India Tour Guide

Be sure to check my review and 📸 photos of our morning tour with …

🌅 Streetwise Varanasi Tours. 🌅

It was an incredible experience to say the least, and one not soon forgotten.

Walk the Alleyways And Explore The Shops of Varanasi

Varanasi Marketplace

Off course, you simply must walk among the maze of ancient alleyways and shopping streets of Varanasi, for the whole experience of the city. It gives you a deeper understanding of everyday life, for those living in this historical city.

We were very fortunate with our tour guide, who having been born and raised in the city, was able to take us to many places we may have not found on our own.

Varanasi Alleyways

There you have it, just a few suggestions for you to consider when looking for; Things to Do in Varanasi, India. It’s an awe inspiring experience to witness the events occurring first hand, on the banks of the Holy River Ganga.


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I’ve also listed the 💮 Official Government of India Tourism link below, to their website for your convenience. The link will take you to their page on Varanasi. It’s filled with excellent information on everything this incredible part of India has to offer.

🗺 Be sure to check out the {Google Map} box at the bottom of this post for Varanasi’s exact location. 🗺

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🐫 Tourism of India – Varanasi 🐫

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✨   Did You Know …

“It Is Believed That The Holy City Of Varanasi India Was Once The Home Of Lord Shiva And Goddess Parvati.”

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A Blogger Since 2012, Robert has a {Passion for Travel}, having worked in the industry for over 35 years. He enjoys sharing special moments & tips on; Travel, Health & Wellness, Book Reviews and much more!

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