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About Varanasi

Ideal Trip Duration: 2 Full Days

Nearest City to Varanasi: Varanasi

Best Time to Visit Varanasi: October to March

Peak Season: November to February

State: Uttar Pradesh | District: Varanasi

At a distance of 125 km from Allahabad, 163 km from Aurangabad, 208 km from Gorakhpur, 239 km from Rewa, 250 km from Patna, 258 km from Gaya, 321 km from Lucknow, and 327 km from Kanpur, Varanasi is an ancient city located on the banks of river Ganga in Uttar Pradesh, India. It is one among the most revered places of Pilgrimage in India and also one of the best places to visit in Uttar Pradesh.

Also known as Kashi and Banaras, the city gets its name from two rivers Varuna and Assi. Nicknamed as the cultural capital of India, Varanasi was the seat of learning in the past. Legend has it that Lord Shiva himself established this holy city as his abode. It is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga sites in India and also one of the Shakti Peethas. Varanasi is an important destination among Hindus as they believe those who die in Varanasi will attain salvation. Varanasi is also a preferred site for immersing ashes of the dead in river Ganga. Performing funeral rites and cremation in the pyres are the common sights here.

The holy city of Varanasi is more than 3000 years old and is one of the oldest living cities of the world. The early settlements around Varanasi began in the 18th century BC according to archaeological evidence. During the time of Gautama Buddha, the city of Varanasi was the capital of the Kashi Kingdom. Lord Buddha is believed to have founded Buddhism here around 528 BCE when he gave his first sermon at nearby Sarnath. Varanasi subsequently declined during three centuries of Muslim occupation, beginning in 1194 AD. Varanasi became an independent kingdom in the 18th century and in 1910 the British made Varanasi a new Indian state. Varanasi became a part of Uttar Pradesh after India got independence in 1947 CE.

Often referred to as the city of temples, Varanasi is a great city in India which attracts millions of tourists every year because of its amazing temples, rituals, and spiritual beliefs. Dashaswamedh Ghat, Assi Ghat, Sarnath, Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Annapurna Temple, Kashi Vishalakshi Temple, Manikarnika Ghat, Ramnagar Fort and Banaras Hindu University are some of the popular places to visit in Varanasi. Synonymous with the majestic river Ganga, the Ganga Aarti held every evening at Dasaswamedh Ghat is a sight to behold. Varanasi is also famous for its production of silks and brocades with gold and silver threadwork.

Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Babatpur is the nearest airport which is about 23 km from Varanasi Junction. Also known Varanasi Airport, it is well connected with flights from New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Gaya. Varanasi Junction railway station is well connected by trains with Chhapra, Kanpur, Amritsar, Muzzafarpur, Jammu, Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Ranchi, Indore, Tatanagar, Chandigarh, Guwahati, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Patna, Kochi, Jaisalmer, Mumbai, Bangalore, Dehradun, Haridwar, Pune and Chennai. Varanasi is well connected with buses from Agra, Delhi, Allahabad, Kanpur, Gorakhpur and Lucknow.

Varanasi is the center for celebration of many Hindu fairs and festivals. The major festivals celebrated in Varanasi are Dev Deepavali, Hanuman Jayanti, Mahashivaratri, Holi, Bharat Milap, Drupad Mela, Panch Koshi Parikrama, Buddha Mahotsava, and Nakkatayya.

The best time to visit Varanasi is from November to March. Although it gets fairly cold during the winters, this is the best time when you can explore the holy city without getting tired. The summers are dry, sunny and humid and better to avoid traveling to Varanasi around this time.

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Other Info
Internet Availability: Average
STD Code: 0542
Languages Spoken: Bhojpuri, Hindi, Bengali and English
Major Festivals: Dev Deepavali, Hanuman Jayanti, Mahashivaratri, Holi, Ram Leela
Notes/Tips:
None

How to Reach Varanasi

By Air

Nearest Airport: Varanasi - Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport (23 Kms)

By Train

Nearest Train Station: Varanasi Junction (0 Kms)

By Bus

Nearest Bus Station: Varanasi Bus Stand (1 Kms)

Top 15 Places to Visit in Varanasi

Pilgrimage

#1 of 28 Places to Visit in Varanasi

At a distance of 6 km from Varanasi Junction, Dasashwamedh Ghat is a ghat on the banks of River Ganga in the holy town of Varanasi. Located close to Vishwanath Temple, Dasashwamedh Ghat is one of the oldest ghats in Varanasi and also one of the popular places to visit in Varanasi.

The Dasaswamedh Ghat is one of the most important religious sites in Varanasi and is considered as the main ghat. It is believed that Lord Brahma performed his victorious Dasa_Ashwamedha (ten - horses) sacrifice in this spot, hence the name Dasashwamedh Ghat. Locals also believe that this ghat was built by Bajirao Peshwa I in 1740 AD. However, Ahilyabahi Holkar, the Queen of Indore rebuilt the ghat in the year 1774.

Dotted with numerous temples and religious sites, the ghat possesses well laid steps and platforms for performing various rituals and religious activities. Dasashwamedh Ghat is famous for Ganga Aarti at each evening which attracts many devotees and is certainly once in a lifetime experience. .....

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Pilgrimage

#2 of 28 Places to Visit in Varanasi

At a distance of 3 km from Dasashwamedh Ghat and 8 km from Varanasi Junction, Assi Ghat is one of the famous ghats on the banks of River Ganga in Varanasi. Situated at the confluence of Ganga and Assi Rivers, it is the southernmost ghat in Kashi and also one of the important Places to visit in Varanasi.

Assi Ghat has numerous references in the early literature of the Hindus including Agni Purana, Matsya Purana, Padma Purana, Kurma Purana and Kashi Khand. According to the mythology, Goddess Durga had thrown her sword in Assi River after killing the demons Shumbha & Nishumbha. Assi Ghat is called as Assi Saimbeda Tirtha in Kashi Khand and is one of the five special ghats visited by pilgrims during the Panchtirtha Yatra.

Also known as Asi Ghat, the Ghat is renowned for a large Shiva Lingam placed under a Peepal Tree. This place also boasts one more ancient temple enshrining a Shiva Lingam famously known as Asisangameshwar Lingam. This was also the place where the renowned saint .....

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Pilgrimage

#3 of 28 Places to Visit in Varanasi

At a distance of 1 km from Dasashwamedh Ghat and 6 km from Varanasi Junction, Manikarnika Ghat is one of the holiest ghats in Varanasi along the banks of River Ganga. Situated just beside Dasashwamedh Ghat, it is the main cremation ghat and also one of the oldest ghats in Varanasi.

Popularly called as Mahasmasana, Manikarnika Ghat is one of two burning Ghats in Varanasi while the other one is Harishchandra Ghat. According to Hindu mythology, Manikarnika Ghat is believed to be the place where the ear ornament worn by Sati fell down when Lord Shiva was carrying her to the Himalayas.

Manikarnika Ghat is among the pivotal places of interest in Varanasi. According to the religious beliefs, burning the dead bodies at this ghat is a way to attain Moksha, the salvation. The ghat also houses a Shiva Durga Temple, which was constructed by Maharaja of Awadh in 1850. Apart from this, a sacred pond named Cakra-Pushkarini is also adorning this holy place. It is believed that this pond .....

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Pilgrimage

#5 of 28 Places to Visit in Varanasi

At a distance of 2 km from Dasashwamedh Ghat and 5 km from Varanasi Junction, Chet Singh Ghat is one of the popular ghats in Varanasi situated along the banks of River Ganga. It is relatively less crowded ghat and also one of the cleanest ghats in Varanasi.

Situated between the popular Dasashwamedh & Assi Ghats, the Chet Singh Ghat is a historical fortified Ghat. The name of this ghat is derived from the Palace of Raja Chet Singh which is situated on the banks of Ganges here. This palace was the principal residence of Raja Chet Singh, the illegitimate son of Balwant Singh, the first Maharaja of Banaras. The ghat witnessed a fierce battle between the troops of Warren Hastings and Chet Singh in 1781 CE.

Also known as Khirki Ghat, the ghat is now divided into four parts called as Chet Singh Ghat, Niranjani Ghat, Nirvani Ghat and Shivala Ghat. The ghat houses three Lord Shiva temples belonging to the 18th century AD. Till first half 20th century it was culturally quite important .....

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Pilgrimage

#8 of 28 Places to Visit in Varanasi

At a distance of 1 km from Dasashwamedh Ghat and 5 km from Varanasi Junction, Lalita Ghat is one of the main ghats on the Ganges River in Varanasi. This ghat is one of the most venerated ghats of Kashi for the devotees and is also identified among the seven most prominent ghats of Varanasi by Varanasi Tourism Department.

The ghat was built by King of Nepal, Rana Bahadur Shah in the early 19th century CE. The ghat is dedicated to Lalita Devi who is reckoned to be the personification of Goddess Durga. Devotees who come to this ghat believe that bathing at this ghat will earn the blessings of the Goddess.

Lalita Ghat is dotted with several Hindu temples. The well-known 'lingam' of Ganga Keshav and shrines of Gangatitya, Kashi Devi, Lalita Devi and Bhagirath Tirtha are affiliated to Lalita Ghat. Also known as Nepali Mandir, the Keshava temple was built by King of Nepal in typical Nepalese architecture. Also known as Kothwala Temple, thi is the replica of the famous Pashupatinath .....

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Pilgrimage

#11 of 28 Places to Visit in Varanasi

At a distance of 5 km from Varanasi Junction, Kashi Vishwanath Temple is an ancient Hindu temple situated on the banks of River Ganga in Varanasi city of Uttar Pradesh. Popularly known as Golden Temple, it is one of the twelve jyotirlinga temples and also one of the popular places of Pilgrimage in India.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishwanath, one of the incarnations of Lord Shiva and he is regarded as the patron deity of Varanasi. The Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple at Varanasi has high religious significance and is the center of faith for millions of Hindus. The temple was visited by many great saints including Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda, Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati, Goswami Tulsidas, Adi Shankaracharya and Gurunanak Dev. Lord Vishwanath is considered to the supreme origin of the spiritual truth and strengthens the bonds of universal brotherhood. It is believed that a single darshan of Vishweshwara Jyotirlinga is considered to auspicious more than .....

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Pilgrimage

#12 of 28 Places to Visit in Varanasi

At a distance of 12 km from Varanasi Junction, New Vishwanath Mandir is a Hindu temple situated in the premises of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is one of the popular temples in Banaras and also one of the biggest tourist attractions in the holy city of Varanasi.

Popularly called as Birla Temple, the temple was constructed by the famed Birla family. According to history, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya planned to replicate Sri Kashi Vishwanath Mandir in the campus of Banaras Hindu University and the Birla family undertook the construction. The foundation was laid in 1931and was finally completed in 1966.

New Vishwanath Temple is having the similar structure of Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Built with marbles, the temple is designed by the founder of BHU, Sri Madan Mohan Malaviya. With a height of 253 feet, the temple has the tallest tower in the world. In fact, it is a temple complex which consists of 7 temples. The Shiva temple is situated .....

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Pilgrimage

#15 of 28 Places to Visit in Varanasi

At a distance of 7 km from Varanasi Junction, Durga Mandir or Durgakund Temple is a prominent Hindu temple situated near Tulsi Manas Temple in Varanasi. It is one of the popular places of pilgrimage in Banaras and also one of the must visit Varanasi Tourist Places.

Dedicated to Goddess Durga, Durga Mandir was built in the 18th century by a Bengali Maharani. According to the legend, the idol in the temple is not made by man but appeared on its own. It is believed that Goddess Durga has protected Varanasi for many centuries from the South. The temple is known with the name of monkey temple as tourists can spot number of monkeys in the temple vicinity.

The temple was built in Nagara style of architecture. The temple is painted red with ochre to match the colours of the central icon of Durga, the goddess of strength and power. The temple is made up of many small sikharas adjoined together. The temple is located on the banks of a rectangular tank, which is often called as the Durga .....

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Pilgrimage

#16 of 28 Places to Visit in Varanasi

At a distance of 7 km from Varanasi Junction, Tulsi Manas Mandir is a Hindu temple situated next to the famed Durgakund Temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. It is one of the most famous temples of Varanasi and also an important tourist attraction of the holy city.

Tulsi Manas Mandir was built in the year 1964 by Seth Ratan Lal Sureka of Bandhaghat (Howrah). Named after saint Tulsidas, the temple has been precisely devoted to Lord Rama. This temple has great historical and cultural importance in Hinduism since the ancient Hindu epic Ramcharitmanas was originally written at this place by Hindu poet-saint, reformer and philosopher Goswami Tulsidas in the 16th century CE.

The temple was constructed in white marble with beautiful landscaping all around. The walls of the temple are engraved with scenes from Ramcharitmanas, the Hindi version of Ramayana. The temple has beautiful images of the Ram, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman. There is an attractive Tulsi Garden which has very calm .....

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Museum

#18 of 28 Places to Visit in Varanasi

At a distance of 11 km from Varanasi Junction, Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum is an art and archeological museum located within the campus of Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. It is one of the oldest museums in India and also one of the important places to visit in Varanasi.

Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum was established in 1920 AD. From 1920 to 1962, the museum was shifted to several locations within Varanasi. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation of the existing museum building in 1950 and the museum was shifted to its existing location in 1962. Rabindranath Tagore was its first honorary chairman. However the full credit for its development and upgradation goes to late Rai Krishnadasa who was a renowned Hindi writer and a great pioneer.

The museum holds more than 100,000 memorable collections of artifacts. These artifacts are displayed in different galleries namely Mahamana Malaviya Gallery, Nicholas Roerich Gallery, Chhavi or Painting Gallery, Sculpture Gallery, Nidhi or Treasure .....

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Pilgrimage

#19 of 28 Places to Visit in Varanasi

At a distance of 5 km from Varanasi Junction, Annapurna Devi Mandir is a popular Hindu temple situated near Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Vishwanath Galli area of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Having great religious importance in Hinduism, it is one of the popular places to visit in Varanasi.

The temple was constructed by Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao in 1729 AD. Having great religious importance in Hinduism, the temple is dedicated to Goddess Annapurna Devi, the Goddess of Food or the Goddess of Nourishment. It is believed that Goddess Parvati gave Alms to Shiva, and she is depicted with a bowl in one hand and ladle in the other, serving food to Shiva, standing in front of her with his begging bowl in the hand. Mata Annapurna is the Goddess of Varanasi who always protects Kashi and feeding her devotees.

According to the legend, the entire world becomes dark when Mata Parvati closed all the three eyes of Lord Shiva. Due to this, Mata Parvati too lost her Gauri Rupa and asked Lord Shiva's .....

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Museum

#20 of 28 Places to Visit in Varanasi

At a distance of 500 m from Sri Kashi Vishwanath Temple and 4 km from Varanasi Junction, Jantar Mantar is an observatory situated atop Man Mahal Palace near the famous Dashashwamedh ghat in Varanasi of Uttar Pradesh. It is one of the popular Varanasi Tourist Places.

Jantar Mantar was constructed in 1737 CE by Jai Singh, the Maharaja of Jaipur. He was a great admirer of science and technology and he was particularly passionate about astronomy. Also known as Yantra Mandir, it was built in order to evaluate the exact time and altitude of the place, the declination of Sun, stars and planets and to determine eclipses. It was the replica of other observatories in New Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain, and Mathura.

Housing several masonry instruments to record the motion, speed and properties of stars, planets, and study astronomy, the building shows accurate results until now. The site is renowned for its multiple structures in various shapes that have their specialised function for astronomical .....

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Pilgrimage

#21 of 28 Places to Visit in Varanasi

At a distance of 5 km from Varanasi Junction, Sri Kashi Vishalakshi Temple is a Hindu temple situated at Mir Ghat on the banks of the Ganges at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, India. Situated near Kashi Vishwanath Mandir, it is among the popular temples in Banaras and also one of the must visit places in Varanasi.

The temple is dedicated to Goddess Vishalakshi Devi, the divine form of Goddess Sati. This temple is one among the 51 Shakti Peethas, and is part of the famous triad of temples- Kanchi Kamakshi, Madurai Meenakshi and Kashi Vishalakshi. According to mythology, the earring of the goddess Sati has fallen on this holy spot of Varanasi. Another version says that this is a Shakti Peetha only because one of the three eyes of Goddess Sati (Akshi) fell here. As the divine eye can perceive the entire universe, Mother here is called Vishalakshi, the vast-eyed.

Sri Vishalakshi Temple is built in South Indian architectural style. The Gopuram at the entrance has elaborate carvings and .....

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Heritage | Pilgrimage

#25 of 28 Places to Visit in Varanasi

At a distance of 9 km from Varanasi Junction, Sarnath is a revered Buddhist pilgrimage center located near the confluence of Ganga and Varuna Rivers in Uttar Pradesh. It is one of the popular Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India and also one of the must visit Varanasi Tourist Places.

Also known as Ishipatna and Mrigadaya, Sarnath is one of the four most important Buddhist pilgrimage centers of India, the other three are Lumbini, Bodh Gaya and Kushinagar. According to the legend, Lord Buddha after attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya came to Sarnath and delivered his first sermon to his five disciples. It is also the place where the original Sangha was formed and a new order of religious doctrine (Dhamma) was laid. Sarnath is also sacred to the Jains as it is the site of asceticism and death of Shreyamshanath, the 11th Trithankara.

The great emperor Ashoka visited the holy land around 234 BC and constructed a Stupa. During the Golden Age of Gupta King Chandragupta II (376-414 .....

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Heritage

#26 of 28 Places to Visit in Varanasi

At a distance of 14 km from Varanasi Junction, Ramnagar fort is a medieval fort located on the banks of River Ganges in Ramnagar area of Varanasi. Ramnagar Fort is one of the popular forts in Uttar Pradesh and among the best places to visit in Varanasi.

Ramnagar Fort was constructed by Maharaja Balwant Singh in 18th century CE. This was the royal residence of Raja of Banaras, also known as Kashi Naresh. The fort represents typical Mughal style of architecture with carved balconies, open courtyards, and picturesque pavilions. Built with creamy-coloured Chunar sandstone, the fort houses a temple, a museum and the king's residential complex. The temple is dedicated to Ved Vyasa, the author of the Indian epic the Mahabharata. As per the legends, it is believed that Ved Vyasa resided within the fort for a short period.

The fort still retains its charm and attracts tourists in large numbers. One can still witness the ornamented swords, photographs of tiger shoots and visits by the .....

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