Varanasi one of the oldest living cities of the world is a holy city for Hindus that is inundated with tourists and sacred cows. Today with all modern facilities like any other city, a visit to Varanasi can be anything but boring. It is considered to be the spiritual heart of India. The Ganges is said to be pristine and assumed to cleanse the soul. People come here to attain salvation and peace of mind. Once you have visited the most sacred shrine of Varanasi, the Kashi Vishvanath Temple, you can explore the city yourself. There are many interesting things to do amidst the piousness and chaos of Varanasi city. Some of these points are discussed below.
1. Boat ride on Ganges
A must do thing is to take a boat ride in Ganges. You can take a boat ride early in the morning or at sunset to see the beauty of the ghats, the rituals and grand Ganga Aartis that are being performed at the ghats. It is like a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.
2. Visit to Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum
Those who are interested in Indian art should definitely visit Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum on Banaras Hindu University’s campus. Brocade textiles, sculptures depicting Hinduism and Buddhism as well as miniature paintings from the Mughal courts and the Hindu princes of the Punjab hills are included in the collections of this museum. It is advisable to go here with a guide and have proper transportation arrangements.
3. A walk along the Dashashwamedh Ghat
The holiest ghat of Varanasi is the Dashashwamedh Ghat. It is a treat to be a part of the Ganga Aarti performed over here at every sunset. It takes you to a world of serenity and piety. If you are on a boat ride at this time, it is a bonus for you as you would not have to make your way through the crowd and get squeezed by the people. Shitala Temple can also be visited near this ghat.
4. Get Spiritual at the Durga Temple
Durga Temple was established in 18th century for Goddess Durga, Lord Shiva’s consort. It is also referred to as monkey temple owing to the large troops of monkeys seen here. Make sure you keep food and other belongings away from their sight. The multilevel spire represents the five elements of the world and the topmost part depicts The Almighty. It is a subtle way of conveying that everything in the end merges with God.
5. Explore Varanasi streets
You can wander through the Varanasi streets, have the famous “paan” and enjoy the succulent street food of the city. There are many temples that you would come across while walking through the alleys. You are sure to witness interesting stuff that you would not come across once you come back home and get busy with your mundane activities.
6. Visit various ghats of the city and Ramnagar Fort
Varanasi is specifically famous for the Ghats. Kedar ghat and Assi ghat are the two ghats that are worth visiting excluding the Dashashwamedh ghat and Manikarnika ghat. Manikarnika ghat is visited mainly for cremation and burning ceremonies of the deceased. Be watchful of fake priests over here. The Ramnagar Fort and Palace made of red sandstone is a must visit if you happen to be at Varanasi.
7. Take a peek of the Sankat Mochan Temple
On Tuesdays and Saturdays, Sankat Mochan Temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman sees lots of believers of Hanumanji. Early evening is the best time to visit this temple enclosed in tree shade. it was built in 16th century and it still stands undamaged.
In addition to these places, you can consider visiting Sarnath, the holy shrine for Buddhists. It is just a few kilometers from Varanasi.