Varanasi also known as 'Kashi' as well 'Benaras' is situated in the south eastern Uttar Pradesh of northern India. It is located at the left bank of river Ganga and is one of the seven sacred cities of Hinduism. It is also one of the oldest city in the world.
Varanasi is a holy city considered to be the city of 'Moksha'. It attracts millions of pilgrim and tourists from every single corner of the world. Varanasi is famous for its seven temples - Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Kaal Bhairav Temple, Durgakund Temple, Maa Anupurna Temple, Sankat Mochan Temple, Nepali Hindu Temple and Vishalakashi Temple. It is also famous of its Ganga Ghats.
The best season to visit Varanasi is between October and March when the temperatures are a in a comfortable range of 5-15 degrees Celsius. Festivals like Dussehra and Diwali also comes in winter season. The Ganga Festival (Chhoti Diwali) also takes place in November where people come from far and near to pay respect to the holy river Goddesses.
The summer and the monsoon, April to September/October, should be avoided as it gets really hot at this time. You can easily reach Varanasi by Air, Train or Road. Nearest airport 'Lalbahadur Shatri Airport' is about 20 km from the center of city and the nearest railway station is 'Varanasi Junction'.
Here is the list of top 10 places to visit in Varanasi !
1. Dashashwamedh Ghat
The main ghat in Varanasi on the Ganges river, Dashashwamedh Ghat is a flamboyant place known for its spiritual transcendence. It is common knowledge that Lord Brahma sacrificed 10 horses in a yajna here, and thus the name. Be here for the Agni Pooja or Ganga aarti, as it is popularly called.
2. Assi Ghat
This is easily one of the must visit places in Varanasi! Located far south, Assi Ghat is where pilgrims pay homage to Lord Shiva by worshipping a huge lingam situated under a peepal tree. This ghat is a lively space, rippling in chaos and commotion and one that vividly captures the ancientness of Kashi.
3. Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The list of places to visit in Varanasi would be incomplete without including the famed Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and has also been referred to in the holy scriptures. The temple structure as it stands today consists of a series of smaller shrines located in the Vishwanath Galli.
Located 13 km northeast of Varanasi, Sarnath is among the famous Buddhist pilgrimages in India that will give you the best Varanasi sightseeing experience. It is a popular place to visit around Varanasi for those seeking peace and solitude after jostling their way through the frazzled ghats and gullies of Kashi. After achieving enlightenment at Bodhgaya, the Buddha came to Sarnath seeking his former companions and thus gave his first sermon here. Sarnath is known to be one of the best places to visit in Banaras.
5. Tulsi Manas Mandir
Among the many sightseeing places in Varanasi is the Tulsi Manas Temple, the place where Tulsidas wrote the Hindu epic Ramayana in an Awadhi dialect of the Hindi language. The temple was funded by the Birla family and constructed in white marble in 1964. Verses and scenes from Ramcharitmanas are engraved on the mandir walls..
6. Sankat Mochan Mandir
Located at the banks of River Assi, this temple is one of the most-visited Varanasi tourist attractions. This temple is not only known for its spirituality but is also popular across the town for its historicity. Built by the well-known freedom fighter Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya in the 1900s, this temple is visited by the devotees of Hanuman as well as Lord Rama.
7. New Vishwanath Temple (BHU)
The New Vishwanath Temple is located inside the campus of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi. Seven separate temples together makes this temple complex. This temple is home to one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city of Varanasi. Visiting this temple gives the worshipper the space to put himself in the hands of God, at his disposition, and listen to the voice in his heart.
Also called the monkey temple, this mandir is among the mythical places to see in Varanasi. Built in the 18th century by a Bengali Maharani, the temple is painted red with ochre. It is believed that the idol of Goddess Durga in the temple was not constructed, it appeared on its own. If you’re looking for places to visit in Varanasi in 2 days, this is one attraction you can’t miss.
9. Ramnagar Fort
Located opposite to the Tulsi Ghat, the Ramnagar Fort is an 18th-century crumbling ruin in dire need of restoration. However, the crimson sunset as viewed from inside this enclosure is reason enough to give Ramnagar Fort a spot on the list of places to visit in Varanasi. This old rampart is also home to a vintage museum that is famous for its rare collection of old American cars, ivory works, medieval costumes, and a huge astronomical clock.
10. Manikarnika Ghat
Considered to be an auspicious place to be cremated, Manikarnika Ghat is among the pivotal places of interest in Varanasi. This ghat is an exasperating and startling experience in itself as absolutely nothing is considered sacrilegious here. The setting sun and the glowing pyres along with candle-lit flower bowls floating down the holy river Ganga make Manikarnika Ghat a sight to behold.