Varanasi is one of the most sacred places in India for Hindus as it is located on the Ganges river.
I visited the city 2 times during my different trips backpacking around India and it’s still one of the most full on ‘Indian Experiences’ in the whole country.
The first time was in 2001 where I came down from Kathmandu in Nepal straight to Varanasi. At that time it was my first city in India to visit and my first Indian encounter.
It blew me away.
Yeah, holy cow.
I’m sure you’re aware the cows are sacred in India under Hinduism and with Varanasi being one of the most sacred cities in India for Hindus they are everywhere.
You will see cows everywhere!
Down by the Varanasi ghats is where you will see people bathing in the sacred waters of the Ganges River.
Sadhus (holy men) down on the ghats.
A view across some of Varanasi ghats. onto the Ganges River.
The Varanasi burning ghats is where Hindus bring recently deceased people to be burned on wooden pyres and then having the ashes spread into the Ganges River.
I didn’t take any photos of the actual fires burning the bodies out of respect.
Part of the burning ghats with wood stacked up for the fires.
Taking a boat ride onto the Ganges is popular for Indians and tourists alike.
But be aware that one reason for boats going onto the Ganges is to bury young children in the sacred Ganges River waters.
Candles put out onto the river at night.
Recommended sunrise boat tour:
At nighttime on the ghats there is the Varanasi night light show called the pooja ceremony.
It’s a show put on by Brahmans for the Ganges River and Lord Shiva.
Go at 6pm every night to see it.
The narrow alleys in parts of the city are great to experience at night and you can find small eateries to have dinner, although no high end restaurants.
Like many cities in India you will see monkeys scrambling over the buildings.
Travel To Varanasi
Varanasi is one of those ‘must experience cities’ if visiting India.
You can find places to stay in Varanasi here.
Get travel insurance for your trip to India here (World Nomads,the company I use):
For more reading on India take a look on my post about visiting Bodh Gaya which is not far from Varanasi.
And a post about travelling across India from north to south.
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