Varanasi also known as Banaras or Benares is one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities. The educationally and culturally rich city has lots of notable popular places to visit. The city breathes in a deep cultural and historical past and therefore attracts a visible number of traveler’s. So are you planning to visit Varanasi? Then this is the right place for you to get all the necessary information about the Places to visit in Varanasi.
11 Places to Visit in Varanasi
Kashi Vishwanath temple
Located in Vishwanath Gali the Kashi Viswanath temple is one of the most sacred temples and this is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga (Shrine). The temple is around 4km from the Kashi Railway Station. There are both normal Darshan and VIP Darshan tickets here. It is advisable to visit the temple early in the morning to avoid huge crowds. The Jyotirlinga is considered immensely powerful. It is believed by the devotees that one look at it followed by a dip in the Ganges can wash away your previous sins.
Cameras, mobile phones and other electronic gadgets are prohibited inside and should be deposited. Devotees willing to enter the temple sanctum for Sparsha Darshan should follow a strict dress code which is Dhoti Kurta for men and Saris for women.
The main Ghat in Varanasi is the Dashashwamedh Ghat. This ghat is most famous for its Ganga Aarti .The Ganga Aarti starts at around 6:15 to 6:30 PM daily just after sunset. The timings slightly vary during winter. The ambience is very captivating with several priests holding diyas and doing the Aarti rhythmically along with the tunes of bhajans. The coordination along with the precision itself makes you feel an enchanting mix of admiration and astonishment.
The sight itself fills the air with positivity and can be a lifetime experience to witness. You need to reach the ghat a little early to get a good seat to watch the Aarti as the place gets really crowded. You can even pay Rs. 50 and enjoy the Aarti sitting on the boats from a little distance.
You can also explore the ghat through boat rides during morning or evening. Both solo/group or share ride options are available and the charges vary. The boat rides can undoubtedly be one of the most finest and memorable moments from your whole Varanasi trip and you will miss the experience of being so close to nature once you are back home.
Jantar Mantar was built around 400 years ago in the year 1737 by Maharaja Jai Singh II. It was initially built as an observatory to observe marine or celestial events to measure local time and also for measuring declination of sun, stars and planets. This was primarily built by Maharaja Jai Singh as he was an astronomer as well and had deep interest in science and astronomy. The location is very close to Dashaswamedh Ghat.
There is a museum inside Jantar mantar where you will get to see different things and will get to know a lot about Varanasi. Ticket price is Rs. 25 per person. You can look at the mesmerising view of the Ghats as well from the palace. The Jantar mantar stands tall with its richness and goes deep down with its history.
If you are essentially inclined towards historical detailing then this one is a must visit spot for you.
Nepali temple or Shri Samrajeswar Pashupatinath Mahadev mandir is one of the oldest and most famous temples in the city of Varanasi . The temple is a replica of the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu and is made of terracotta, stone and wood. The temple is also known as Mini Khajuraho. The distance is 2-3 minutes from Jantar Mantar , and is located near Lalita Ghat. The temple is of huge religious importance and the presiding deity is Lord Shiva.
Sarnath Places to Visit
Sarnath is famous as the place where Gautam Buddha taught his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. Gautam Buddha had also mentioned Sarnath as one of the four places that his followers must visit. As a historical tourist spot Sarnath is of greatest importance because of the structures and temples and you will need at least one full day to explore everything. Let’s go through the important spots one by one.
Mulagandha Kuti Vihara
The Mulagandha Kuti Vihara temple is also known as the Japanese temple. The temple is constructed in such a way that the visitors can get an insight regarding the various Buddhist perspectives of different cultures. The temple is maintained by the Sri Lankan Government.
A Buddha statue is constructed on the grounds of Thai temple in sarnath which was first unveiled in 2011. The height of the statue is 24.3 meters (80feet).
Dhamekh stupa is the most massive structure in Sarnath, this is the place where Gautam Buddha gave his first sermon. You need to pay an entry fee of Rs.25 to enter the Dhamekh Stupa.
This is a beautiful monastery and the architecture is picturesque. The ambience inside is breathtakingly beautiful and peaceful.
The southernmost Ghat in Varanasi, Assi Ghat is one of the biggest ghats of Varanasi. Assi Ghat is also famous for its Ganga Aarti but this one is not as crowded as the Dashashwamedh Ghat. Recreational options like boat rides and hot air balloon rides for an aerial view are also available there. Special mention to the Subah-e-Banaras which is an early morning session held daily for 2 hours at free of cost. This includes Ganga Aarti , vedic yoga as well as cultural programmes like classical and semi classical music sessions performed by talented artists.
The programme starts even before sunrise and offers a prayer to the Sun god. By the time the Aarti is over you can see the sun rising high up and the sight is surreal. A lot of people visit Banaras but miss out on this event. The best part is since this happens very early in the morning it is generally not much crowded. The experience of witnessing the sunrise along with the serenity of Ganga Aarti definitely deserves a special mention. This event is one of a kind and is a must visit when you are in Varanasi.
New Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The new Kashi Vishwanath Temple is located inside the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) campus. The presiding deity is Lord Shiva or Viswanath. This temple also known as the Viswanath Mandir has the tallest temple tower with its Shikhara going up around 250 feet.
Sankatmochan Hanuman Temple
The Sankatmochan temple is situated on the banks of Assi River and the chief deity is Hindu God Hanuman. There is a regular footfall of devotees offering their prayer to the sankat mochan which means the “reliever from troubles”.
Tridev temple is situated in between the Sankatmochan Temple and Durga Temple. This temple is dedicated to three chief deities- Lord Hanuman, Sati Devi and Khatu Ji Maharaj. The environment is very peaceful here, especially if you visit a little early in the morning.
Durga temple or Durga Madir also known as the Durga Kund Mandir is another most famous temple and tourist spot in Varanasi. The temple is made of many small shikharas and many elaborate stone carvings can be found inside. The chief deity is Maa Durga.
Ramnagar Fort located in Ramnagar was built by Kashi Naresh Maharaja Balwant Singh. The fort is made up of red sandstones on high ground that is a little above the flood level. This fort is dedicated to the revered sage Ved Vyas who is the author of epic Mahabharata. The timings to visit Ramnagar Fort is 10am to 5pm inside the Fort there is a museum displaying the vintage Palanquins, Cars, swords, guns, antique clock and ivory works. No photography is allowed inside the museum and there is an entry fee of Rs.75 per person. There is a Dakshin Mukhi Hanuman temple inside the Fort as well. It is a south facing temple of Hanuman Ji.
Varanasi as a city holds a lot of historical value and religious sentiments. You can experience a blend of old culture along with socio religious importance that goes deep down to the history that the city holds. No doubt this is one of the most popular tourist spots in India. This list of famous and popular tourist places in Varanasi is surely going to help you plan your trip there.