Must do things in Varanasi
1) Prefer a hotel near ghats (river embankment)
To enjoy the beautiful view of the holy river Ganges, prefer a hotel situated on the ghats. There are some beautiful palaces that are converted into a hotel. If you like antiques and old world charm, it will be one in a lifetime experience to live in those palaces. There also house boats on the ghats which are mainly occupied by the hippies.
2) Soak in the religious environment esp the evening aarti – When in Banaras, let yourself loose and soak in the religious spirit of the place. Take time out to visit all he shrines, get to know their history. Evening aarti is the most ethereal and enchanting site to behold. The best to experience the evening aarti is from a boat. It is recommended to book a boat before the aarti starts.
3) Take a boat ride – The best time to take a boat ride is either at the break of the dawn or in the evening. Always negotiate with them to crack the best deal. Also, these boat men have a lot of knowledge so prefer a guy who can take you through the history of the place.
4) Indulge in the local delicacies – Banaras is famous for its mouth watering chaats like “paapri chaat, “tamatar chaat”, aloo tikkis etc. Don’t miss the best breakfast i.e. puri/ kachori and jalebi. If you have a sweet tooth, dig in delicious rabdi, rasmalai, long-lata etc. These are some of the specialties. Your trip to Banaras is incomplete without trying the world famous Ramnagar ki Lassi. It is the best lassi I have ever had. The taste still lingers in my mouth. It is different than a Punjabi lassi, more like a dessert drink topped with thick layer of malai. Well I can go on n on about the food. My appetite automatically improves in this city. The list will be incomplete without the mention of Banarsi paan.
5) Take time off to experience the chaos and explore the Banarsi galis (lanes) and the ghats – The best way to experience the chaos is to explore the narrow galis(lanes). There some old structures and kothis (palaces) with intricate architecture. The best mode of transportation is the rickshaw. Cattles are the common sight on the road that adds to the chaos.
6) Visit silk weaving factory – Visit silk weaving factory and buy authentic Banarsi sarees. It is famous for its intricate floral patterns and elaborate zari work, gold and silver brocades. Beware of the thugs selling duplicate Banarsi sarees.
7) Shopping – There are numerous shops selling clothes, junk jewelleries, artifacts etc in the bylanes of Banaras. Take your time to choose and negotiate well for the price.
8) Take time off and relax on the Ghats – Relaxing on ghats and doing nothing is one of the recommended activities. There are yoga sessions on the ghats especially learned by hippies. You can sit on the ghats for hours and I bet it will not be boring ever. This is the best place to pen down your thoughts, observe people around, write poems, listen to music, sketch/ paint etc.
9) Visit BHU – Banaras Hindu University is one of the oldest universities of India and is a centre of art, literature, music, theatre etc. It is spreads across huge area.
10) Visit temples and nearby places – There is a lot to see in and around Banaras. Some of the famous temples like New Vishwanath Temple (peaceful and calm), Sankatmochan (don’t miss out on the besan ke laddus, fresh and tasty), Durga temple, Tulsi Manas Temple, Bharat Mata temple etc. Visit to Varanasi is incomplete without visiting Ramnagar fort an architectural brilliance. There are many places around Varanasi like Sarnath, Vindhyachal etc. Sarnath is famous for its archaeological sites, Stupas and other Buddhist monuments. Vindhyachal is a mythological place.
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