Varanasi – the religious capital of India, the holiest city, the city of temples, the city of Lord Shiva, the city of learning or perhaps the oldest living city in the world; but no matter how you describe this city in words, it is nothing compared to what you experience when you actually visit this place.
As a world traveler, you shouldn’t be worried about accommodation in Varanasi. The banks of the Ganges can accommodate everyone – right from the ashes of the dead to the innocent children that play cricket. Varanasi is a city that takes you on a spiritual journey. In the words of Mark Twain, “Banaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”
Varanasi has a fully functional domestic airport. You can easily catch flights from New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Lucknow to reach Varanasi. Other means of reaching this city include trains and buses. The winter months are the best time to visit this holy city. A pleasant weather will definitely allow you to explore this place more. Also, winter festivals like Diwali and Dussehra are celebrated in spectacular ways that you wouldn’t want to miss.
Finding Accommodation in Varanasi
Accommodation in Varanasi is easy to find, as this city is primarily a tourist place. You have the option of staying in luxurious hotels, budget hotels and guesthouses. If you want to experience the city as a local, we suggest that you find a hotel that is situated on the riverbank. There are 25 popular Ghats along the river wherein most activities take place.
The highlight of your stay at ta riverbank hotel would be the view of the flowing river. Since Varanasi is a religious place, a lot of religious ceremonies like “Aartis” are conducted on the riverbank. You can either view them from your hotel’s terrace or just walk down to the bank within minutes. A word of caution to travelers – pick-pocketing is fairly common in this region; therefore choose a hotel wherein you feel it is safe to keep your valuables.
Sightseeing in Varanasi
A dip in the holy Ganges to wash away your sins is highly tempting. But you may change your mind after looking at the quality of the water. You can instead choose to go on a boat ride. Some of the popular religious places to explore would include Kashi Vishwanath temple, Durga Temple, Bharat Mata Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple and Nepali Temple. Each of these temples is dedicated to different Gods and Goddess and has different architectural styles as well. If you plan to visit all them, ask a local guide for help with the timings for each place. Temples follow a strict timetable and are not open to public all day.
Shopping in Varanasi
Varanasi is famous for its silks especially silk saris, brocades in gold-silver threadwork, wooden toys and glass bangles. Take a ride in the cycle rickshaws to explore the bustling bazaars within the city. The cultural richness of the city is best experienced this way.
Varanasi is not limited to being a place of pilgrimage. It is a bundle of different experiences and suited for tourists of all kinds. It should most definitely be on the list of places to visit in India.