Varanasi, also known as Banaras or Kashi, is one of the oldest cities in the world, situated on the banks of the holy river Ganges in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is considered one of the seven holiest cities in Hinduism and attracts millions of pilgrims every year. The city is known for its vibrant culture, traditions, spirituality, and the famous Ganga Aarti. In addition to its religious significance, Varanasi has a rich history and is home to many historical monuments, temples, and ghats. There are plenty of things to do and see in Varanasi, making it a popular tourist destination. Here are the 15 best places to visit in Varanasi that you should not miss.
Best Places to Visit in Varanasi
1. Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most sacred and revered temples in India, located in the heart of Varanasi. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and it is believed to be one of the 12 jyotirlingas (shrines where Lord Shiva is worshipped) in India. The temple has a long and rich history, with the original structure believed to have been built over 2,000 years ago.
The temple has been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the years, with the current structure built in the 18th century by the Maratha monarch, Queen Ahilyabai Holkar. The temple is known for its stunning architecture, intricate carvings, and beautiful surroundings. The main sanctum of the temple houses the Jyotirlinga, and it is believed that a visit to the temple and a darshan (viewing of the deity) can bring peace and prosperity to devotees.
The temple is a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists alike, and it attracts thousands of visitors every day. If you’re interested in experiencing the spiritual and cultural essence of Varanasi, a visit to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is an absolute must.
2. Dashashwamedh Ghat
Dashashwamedh Ghat is one of the most famous and oldest ghats in Varanasi. Located on the banks of the Ganges, it is known for its vibrant and lively atmosphere. The ghat is believed to have been created by Lord Brahma to welcome Lord Shiva, and it is named after the ten horses sacrificed by Lord Brahma in a yajna (sacrificial fire) at this spot.
The ghat is famous for its daily Ganga Aarti (worship of the river Ganges), which is a spectacular event where devotees offer prayers to the river and light lamps and incense sticks, creating a mesmerizing atmosphere.
The Ganga Aarti attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists every day, and it is a must-see event for anyone visiting Varanasi.
Dashashwamedh Ghat is also a great place to take a boat ride and explore the many other ghats and temples located along the river. The ghat is a symbol of Varanasi’s spiritual and cultural heritage, and it is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an authentic experience of this ancient city.
Sarnath is a small town located just outside of Varanasi. It is a significant Buddhist pilgrimage site and is where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. Sarnath is home to many ancient stupas, temples, and monasteries.
4. Assi Ghat
Assi Ghat is one of the quieter ghats in Varanasi and is a popular spot for tourists and locals to watch the sunrise. The ghat is also home to the famous Assi Ghat Ganga Aarti, which takes place every evening.
5. Manikarnika Ghat
Manikarnika Ghat is one of the most important and sacred ghats in Varanasi. It is the main cremation ghat, and according to Hindu belief, those who are cremated here attain salvation.
6. Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum
This museum is located within the Banaras Hindu University and houses a vast collection of art, sculptures, and textiles from all over India. It is a great place to learn about the history and culture of India.
7. Ramnagar Fort
The Ramnagar Fort is located on the banks of the Ganges and was the residence of the former Maharaja of Varanasi. The fort is a great example of 18th-century architecture and is home to a museum that displays the royal collection of antique cars, weapons, and manuscripts.
8. Durga Temple
The Durga Temple is a famous Hindu temple located in the heart of Varanasi. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Durga and is known for its intricate carvings and architecture.
9. Tulsi Manas Temple
The Tulsi Manas Temple is a famous temple dedicated to Lord Rama. It is located in the heart of Varanasi and is known for its beautiful architecture and intricate carvings. The temple also houses a museum that displays the Ramayana in different languages.
10. Banaras Hindu University
Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is a prestigious public central university located in Varanasi. Founded in 1916 by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, the university is known for its outstanding academic reputation and cultural significance. It is one of the largest residential universities in Asia and offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs across various disciplines such as humanities, social sciences, science, technology, management, and law.
The campus is spread over an area of 1,300 acres and boasts of beautiful architecture, lush green gardens, and a serene atmosphere. The university also houses the Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum, which has a vast collection of art and artifacts from various parts of India.
BHU is a popular tourist spot in Varanasi, and visitors can explore the campus and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. If you’re interested in learning more about India’s rich cultural heritage and academic excellence, BHU is a must-visit destination in Varanasi.
11. Chunar Fort
The Chunar Fort is a 16th-century fort located near Varanasi. It is known for its impressive architecture and is a great place to learn about the history of the region.
12. Kedar Ghat
Kedar Ghat is one of the oldest ghats in Varanasi and is known for its stunning architecture and intricate carvings. The ghat is a great place to take a boat ride on the Ganges and to watch the daily rituals performed by locals.
13. Nepali Temple
The Nepali Temple is a famous Hindu temple located in Varanasi. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is known for its beautiful architecture and intricate carvings.
14. Alamgir Mosque
The Alamgir Mosque is a famous mosque located on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi. It was built in the 17th century by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and is known for its unique blend of Hindu and Islamic architecture.
15. Darbhanga Ghat
Darbhanga Ghat is a famous ghat located in the southern part of Varanasi, and it is one of the most beautiful ghats in the city. The ghat is named after the Darbhanga royal family, who built it in the early 1900s. The ghat is a great place to take a boat ride on the Ganges and to witness the daily rituals performed by locals. It is also known for its stunning architecture and intricate carvings, which are reminiscent of the Mughal era.
Darbhanga Ghat is particularly famous for its Hanuman Temple, which is located at the top of the ghat. The temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman, and it is believed that visiting the temple and offering prayers can bring good luck and prosperity. The ghat is a popular spot among tourists, and it offers a peaceful and tranquil escape from the bustling streets of Varanasi. If you’re looking for a serene and picturesque spot to experience the true essence of Varanasi, Darbhanga Ghat is definitely worth a visit.
Varanasi is a city full of history, culture, and spirituality, and is home to many significant temples, ghats, and historical monuments. The city’s vibrant culture and traditions attract millions of pilgrims and tourists every year, making it one of the most visited destinations in India. Whether you are looking to immerse yourself in the religious and spiritual aspects of the city or to explore its rich history and architecture, there is something for everyone in Varanasi. The above 15 best places to visit in Varanasi are just a few of the many attractions that the city has to offer, and they are definitely worth visiting to get a taste of the city’s unique and rich culture.