A Detailed Guide of Varanasi or Kashi I Key Points To Know Before Visiting The Spiritual City

3rd Feb 2022
Photo of A Detailed Guide of Varanasi or Kashi I Key Points To Know Before Visiting The Spiritual City by Pamela Mukherjee

Varanasi, also called Benares, Banaras, or Kashi, existed at least 3,000 years ago (and possibly much earlier). It is one of the seven sacred cities of Hinduism and, according to legend, was founded by God Shiva. At the same time, it’s a tiring, liberating, and unfettered experience. Varanasi’s colossal temples and ghats, as well as other prominent tourist attractions, attract millions of visitors each year. It is a popular tourist site not only among Indians but also among foreigners.

Although Varanasi is famed for its ghats, temples, and music, there are many more notable places to see and enjoy during your visit. Varanasi is India’s oldest city, and its surroundings have an old-world charm to them. The city is rich in culture and is one of India’s holiest cities. Tulsidas, a well-known Indian writer, composed Ram Charit Manas here. Here’s my detailed guide to Varanasi or Kashi ( Whatever name you want to call) with all the key points you need to know before visiting the spiritual city.

History Of Varanasi

Mark Twain, the great World traveller, who was enthralled by the legend and purity of Varanasi, once wrote: “Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together”.

Varanasi, also known as Benaras or Kashi, is one of the world’s oldest living cities. Varanasi’s importance in Hindu mythology is mostly unknown. Hindus believe that dying in the holy land of Varanasi will grant salvation and liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth. Varanasi’s beginnings are unknown. It is the home of Lord Shiva and Parvati. If anyone washes his or her sin in the river Ganges and die here at the time of death then that person would gain Moksha.

Best Time to Visit in Varanasi

Varanasi is best visited between October and March. Every year in November, Varanasi hosts the Ganga Mahotsav, a five-day grand celebration that is a highlight of the city. The tourist attractions in Varanasi during this period will allow you to see the finest of the city!

Point - If you are on a tight budget, I recommend visiting Varanasi in January or February, as the city becomes one of the most expensive in terms of everything during the festival.

The Ghats of Varanasi

There are 84 Ghats are exist in Varanasi and one can easily complete the Ghats one by one as all the ghats are connected to each other. The first Ghat is Assi Ghat and the last ghat is Adi Keshava Ghat.

Assi Ghat

There are 84 ghats in Varanasi and one can easily complete the ghats one by one as all the ghats are connected. The first ghat is Assi Ghat, and the last ghat is Adi Keshava Ghat.

Assi Ghat

The Assi ghat has mythological significance apart from the first ghat. Having said that the two demons ‘Shumbh-Nishumbh, Shumbh and Nisumbh, were slain here by Goddess Durga, after that, Durga threw her sword into the Assi river. The place of her meeting with the Ganga forms the Assi Ghat.

PointYou can find the famous lemon tea here. Also, this ghat is famous for yoga and pranayama.

Tulsi Ghat

The Ghat is named after Tulsidas, who lived there while he composed the Ramcharitmanas.

Harischandra Ghat

Harish Chandra Ghat is one of Varanasi’s oldest ghats. It is named after the fabled King Harish Chandra, who once toiled at the cremation ground here for truth and kindness to endure. The gods are said to have rewarded him for his resolve, kindness, and honesty by restoring his lost throne and dead son to him. You can see the famous Kalu Dom’s house here. Harischandra ghat is also called the second-largest cremation ghat in Varanasi.

Dashashwamedh Ghat

On the Ganga River in Varanasi, Dashashwamedh Ghat is the main ghat and the most magnificent ghat, located close to Vishwanath Temple. It is related to two Hindu legends: Lord Brahma, according to legend, built it to welcome Lord Shiva. According to another tradition, at the Dasa-Ashwamedha yajna performed here, Lord Brahma sacrificed ten horses.

Point– The famous Ganga Arati occurs here.

Manikarnika Ghat

Manikarnika is one of the holiest and largest cremation ghats among the Varanasi Ghats. It is believed that a soul finds moksha when cremated here. Thus, scores of the elderly across the whole country seek to walk up to its edges and spend their last days enchanting the death prayer here.

Point- Hire a boat for 2 to 3 hours and take a tour of all 84 ghats while listening to the stories of the ghats from the boatman.

The Temples of Varanasi

It is said that you will see more temples than houses in Varanasi. There are 10,000 plus temples in Varanasi established in the Galis (streets), in the houses and everywhere. I would suggest you take a rickshaw and start covering the famous temples listed below.

Watch the video. Trust me, you won't need any guides at Varanasi for sure.

(Don’t forget to maintain the below sequences)

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

The famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple would be incomplete without including it in any list of attractions to visit in Varanasi. This temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and has been mentioned in the holy scriptures.

Annapurna Temple

It is said that if you did not visit and have prasad from Annapurna Temple after visiting Kashi Vishwanat Temple, your worship would not be successful. So, after visiting the Shiva temple, you should visit Annapurna temple next and have the prasad there. 

Vishalakshi Temple

After Annapurna Temple, go for a visit to Vishalakshi Temple. It is one of the famous Shakti Pithas in India, where Devi Sati’s earrings fell.

Til Bhandeswar Mandir

This temple has a unique type of Shiva linga. The Shiva linga is very big and it is said that this linga grows every year the size of a til (sesame sid).

Durga Temple

This temple, also called the Monkey Temple, is painted red with ochre. This temple is among the sacred places to see in Varanasi. It is believed that the idol of Goddess Durga in the temple was not manmade or constructed, it appeared on its own.

The following temples you can visit if you want to visit the other most prominent temples are :

Tulsi Manas Temple.

Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple.

Nepali Temple

Chinese Temple

Tibetan Temple

Bharat Mata Temple.

New Kashi Vishwanath Temple ( BHU)

Places to See other than Ghats and Temples

Varanasi is well-known for its ghats and temples, as well as its rich history, culture, and humanism. There are people from around the world who come here and establish or ruin the place for their benefit, love, or fault. Let’s explore those places virtually and take a virtual tour.

Gyan Vapi Well

This well-known wisdom well is located inside the Kashi Vishwanat Temple. Aurangzeb, during his time, demolished the temple and created a mosque and this well there. To exact his vengeance, he threw the main Shiva linga into the well. Later on, a replica of the main jyotirlinga was established inside the temple, and I believe the main Shiva idol is still in the well. 

Ramnagar Fort

One of the iconic spots for sunsets, this place is famous for its vintage collection of cars and old historical pieces of Varanasi. 

Benaras Hindu University

One of the most famous universities in India, BHU is famous for its subjects, classes, and world-class teaching style.

Eat like a Banarasi

Photo of A Detailed Guide of Varanasi or Kashi I Key Points To Know Before Visiting The Spiritual City by Pamela Mukherjee

When in Varanasi, do not forget to eat all the famous lip-smacking delicacies like a local. These street foods of Varanasi represent the true essence of the city’s culture and food style. The Banarsi Paan is the most recommended when in Varanasi. Also, try Mallaiyo, Lassi, Kachori sabzi, Jalebi, Dahi Bhalla, Samosa, Tamatar Chatt, and Laung-Lata, and you’ll fall in love with the city again and again. There are a few shops I would like to recommend from my personal experience: Pahelwan Lassi, Dadi Ki Kachori, Dina Chaat, Assi Ghat With lemon tea and the rest, you can experiment and give other locals a fair chance. 

Where To Stay

Varanasi is for everyone and very reasonable in terms of food and accommodation. There are a number of hostels, guest houses, Air BNB, and hotels available as per the budget.

Point– Don't forget to check in near the ghat because you'll be able to see a spectacular sunrise from there in the morning.

How To Reach Varanasi

Varanasi is well connected with India by air and roadways. There is a new airport in the city and frequent flights are available from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and other cities. 

There are lots of trains that are available to connect Varanasi to other cities. Apart from that, Varanasi is well connected via road, so anyone can reach Varanasi by road too.

PointInside the city, the best way to explore Varanasi is by walking. Varanasi's streets are very narrow, so walking, rickshaw, or auto are the best ways to get around.

What to Purchase in Varanasi

Varanasi is well-known for Pera and Varanasi Silk Saree. Godaulia Road is a popular place for shopping. There are places where you can witness how the Varanasi silk is prepared, and from there you can also purchase fabrics or sarees. 

3 Days Budgets For Varanasi

If you are a budget traveller then can find below calculation for 3 days stay –

Stay – Hostel / Guest House – 500 x 3 = 1500

Food – (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack) – 1000 x 3= 3000

Commute – Boat, Walk, Rikshaw – 500 x 3 = 1500

Extra Spend – 1000 ( Gift, puja )

Total = INR 7000 / 3 Days

Is Varanasi Worth A Visit?

I recommend visiting this city at least once, not only to worship the god or visit the temples (if you believe), but also for yoga, pranayam, or music (if you do not believe).The city has a unique culture that is reflected in its food, streets, house structures, people, and cultures. 

Is Varanasi Safe for Solo Female travellers?

A lot of solo female travellers travel regularly to Varanasi. In consideration of its huge crowd, and narrow lanes, I would rather advise you to take a few precautions while travelling in Varanasi like we do when travelling to other cities or countries. 

Photo of A Detailed Guide of Varanasi or Kashi I Key Points To Know Before Visiting The Spiritual City by Pamela Mukherjee

Try to explore the place in the daylight.

Do not give too much information to a stranger.

Do not wear shorts or many revealing dresses, as this place has some aesthetic values.

Do not try Siddhi, Bhang, Ganja, or charas with strangers.

Try to get a city guide map.

For me, this is an incredibly safe city, and you can travel solo here.

Cons of Varanasi

Varanasi is not always serene and holy for everyone. A few famous scams are still going on, and you should avoid these scams. There are fake sadhus, well-educated historians, and priests of the temples who might cheat you, so beware of those extra friendly or extra enthusiastic people.

Avoid those people who directly approach you and start telling you the history of the city or approach you to take you to a great puja place.

A few people can ask you to donate money for the poor’s cremation purposes. Avoid them.


Book your hotel or stay in advance and avoid cab drivers or auto drivers.

Book the boat ride from the ghat directly. Avoid auto drivers if they approach you to book your boat.

Carry small amounts of cash and a debit or credit card.

You May read- 20 Ways To Save Money While Travelling The World, hostels in varanasi, vindhyachal

Nearby Places in Varanasi

There are a few places very near to Varanasi that you can visit as a day trip.

Sarnath: a very famous Buddhist place to visit, 10 km away from Varanasi.

Vindhabasini Temple

Rajdari and Devdari waterfalls.

If you want to visit real India and the place where people worship and celebrate death for salvation, then do visit Varanasi. This vivid, colourful city would not only provide some excellent, delicious cuisine but also give you the best lifetime memories of the streets, Ganga Arati, boat rides and people.

I create amazing videos on Youtube. Do subscribe my channel here @everycornerofword

Ready to travel for free? Earn credits and redeem them on Tripoto’s weekend getaways, hotel stays, and vacation packages!