When one thinks of Varanasi, images of sadhus (religious priests), temples, sacred ghats and cremations spring to mind. The temples and ghats, culture and tradition of this sacred city makes Varanasi one of the most religious cities in Uttar Pradesh.



Top 6 Places to Visit in Varanasi

Most places of interest in Varanasi are religious-based and located in the old city. Below is a list of popular places to visit in Varanasi.


1. Ganga Aarti Varanasi Ceremony

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Around 7pm in summer and 6pm in winter, Dasaswamedh Ghat in Varanasi comes alive for the Ganga Aarti ceremony that is conducted here daily to offer salutations to the Ganges. Oil lamps are offered and bells rung while sacred mantras are chanted. It is one of the top Varanasi attractions that shouldn’t be missed.

Read our Ganga Aarti Varanasi Ceremony article to find out what you will see during the ceremony.



2. Varanasi Ghats

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The best places to visit in Varanasi are all located at the Varanasi ghats along the riverfront. The hundred or more Varanasi ghats on the river’s edge are the main attraction for visitors to this town. Spiritually enlightening and fantastically photogenic, Varanasi is at its brilliant best by the ghats, the long stretch of steps leading down to the water on the western bank of the Ganges.

If the Varanasi Ghats sound like a place you would like to visit, see our Varanasi Ghats post for more information.



3. Boat Ride Along the Ganges Varanasi

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One of the top things to do in Varanasi is to take a boat ride along the Ganges Varanasi which is one of the best ways to see the action unfold along the ghats. A dawn rowing boat ride along the Ganges is a quintessential Varanasi experience. From the boat ride along the river, not only will you be admiring the densely textured backdrop of 18th- and 19th-century temples and palaces that line the 100-odd bathing ghats, you will also be confronted with one of the most spiritually uplifting or downright weird tableaus on the entire crazy subcontinent.

Read more about this popular Varanasi activity in our Boat Ride along Varanasi Ganges post.



4. Varanasi Temple

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Of the more than 2,000 temples in Varanasi, the most important Varanasi temple is Kashi Vishwanath Temple, or “Golden Temple”, dedicated to Shiva, who is known here as Vishwanath, “Lord of the Universe”. Sadly, non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the temple, but by taking a stroll through the Vishwanath Galli (lane) that runs the length of it, you can get a glimpse of the interior.

Read our Varanasi Temple article for more information on this popular Varanasi temple.



5. Ramnagar Fort Varanasi

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The 17th century Ramnagar Fort and Palace is the only attraction located on the eastern bank of the river. Apart from an interesting museum housed in the Durbar Hall, it is also a fantastic place to watch the sun set over the river. Although now in a state of disrepair, the palace still retains its charm.

For detailed information about this attraction, see our Ramnagar Fort Varanasi post.



6. International Music Centre Ashram Varanasi

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There are quite a few venues in Varanasi that either host Indian classical music concerts and / or teach Indian classical music. One such institution is the International Music Centre Ashram Varanasi. The ashram hosts Indian classical music performances by up-and-coming artists. Concerts are held every Wednesday and Saturday all year round starting at 8pm for about two hours.

If you would like to listen to Indian classical music in Varanasi, see our International Music Centre Ashram post for more details.



Tell us what you think. Which places are you planning to visit in Varanasi? If you’ve been to Varanasi before, what were your favourite attractions?

We love to hear from you so please leave your comments below. 



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