Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India and home to more than 88 sacred ghats, is the world-known center of ancient civilizations.
Located on the banks of the holy river Ganga in the South of Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi is believed to be the oldest living city in the entire world.
Also known as Benares or Kashi, it is thought to be built by Lord Shiva as per Hindu mythology.
The place is famous for the holy Ganga ghats, ancient architecture, century-old temples, delicious Indian delicacies, narrow streets, and Silk sarees. Famously called the ‘City of Lights,’ it is India’s cultural, religious, and spiritual center.
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If you want to experience the real ancient India, witness the holy Ganga Aarti, try the famous Indian street food, visit century-old temples, take a dip in the sacred Ganges, and feel the aura of the place where birth meets death, you must travel to Varanasi at least once in your lifetime.
5 Amazing Reasons to Visit Varanasi
The Flavorsome Food
The City of Light is also the city of flavors known for its local cuisines. The street food in Varanasi is as vibrant as the city itself.
From Tamatar Chaat and Kachori Sabji to Banarasi Thandai and Paan, this city’s street food has a unique charm and plays a huge part in its century-old culture and traditions.
Be it mouth-watering sweets like Sankat Mochan Ke Laddoo, Kheer Mohan, Parval Mithai, Mugdal, or irresistible street food like Dahi Chutney Golgappe and Choora Matar, Varanasi is full of special delights and treats that will make your visit worth it.
The oldest living city in the world is also the most visited city in India due to the ancient temples, historical monuments, and finger-licking street food.
Whenever you visit Varanasi, or Kashi as they call it, you must taste all their famous chaats and sweets. Also, don’t forget to try the world-famous Banarasi Paan and Thandaai.
Places to visit in Varanasi for the best street food include Deena Chaat Bhandar, Baati Chokha Restaurant, Kashi Chaat Bhandar, Street Food Junction, and The Ram Bhandar among others.
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As I said before, this ancient Indian city is home to sacred ghats where several religious ceremonies and rituals take place.
Everyone who goes to Varanasi visits these ghats to witness century-old Indian customs. Imagine taking an early morning dip in the Holy Ganga river and then watching the morning Aarti at the ghat. It is a spiritual experience that will take you to a whole new world.
You can also visit the ghats during the evening/nighttime if you want some peace away from the hustle of the city and feel the divine and serene vibe of the place.
Also, watching the sunsets/sunrises from the ghats is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that makes you fall in love with this city of spirituality.
Some Popular ghats in Varanasi are Assi Ghat, Darbhanga Ghat, Man Mandir Ghat, Chet Singh Ghat, among others.
The Ancient Temples
Varanasi is home to century-old temples. According to statistics, there are more than 20,000 temples in the entire city that were built thousands of years ago.
Kashi Vishwanath, also called Baba Vishwanath, is one of the most famous temples in Kashi. Known as the holiest of Shiva temples, it holds a very special and ancient significance to the Hindu religion and culture because of the Shiva Jyotirlinga in the temple.
Throughout the year, hundreds and thousands of devotees visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple to witness the magic of the ancient Hindu religion.
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It is said that Kashi is older than history and traditions. And this is what makes this place extremely special and unique in its own way.
If you want to relive the history of the first major urban settlements in the world, then you must visit Varanasi at least once in your life.
The fact that it is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world makes it worth the travel. Imagine sitting at a ghat older than history itself; visualize taking a dip in the Ganga where Buddhism was founded. It will give you goosebumps!
If you want to feel divinity in your surroundings, in the air, and especially within yourself, travel to the spiritual capital of India—Varanasi.
The sacred place is so soulful that it will make you meet your spiritual self. You will find peace, solace, and liberation in this land where Buddhism was founded.
Listening to the chants, witnessing the dawn and dusk, and taking a dip in the Ganga river at the sacred ghats will lead you to find your inner spirituality.
Best places to visit in Varanasi
One of the most famous ghats in Varanasi, Assi ghat is known for its scenic views of the holy river Ganga, mesmerizing sunrises, and drowning in the spiritual atmosphere.
All travelers who visit Varanasi always go to Assi Ghat at least once to experience the real Varanasi, see how the locals live, witness some mystical views, and have delicious street foods. It was built in 1988.
Best time to visit: Throughout the year
Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Extremely prominent amongst tourists and travelers from across the country, Kashi Vishwanath is India’s most famous and significant temple.
It was built hundreds of years ago and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva temples across the country.
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The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is amongst the most popular pilgrimage sites in the country where you feel deeply connected to the aura and power of Lord Shiva. It was built in 1777 by Rani Ahilyabai Holkar.
Best time to visit: October to March
If you want to get lost in the intriguing narrow lanes of the world’s oldest city and try mouth-watering Indian street food, then you must visit Godowlia Market.
Apart from famous food joints, Godowlia is known for the numerous shops that sell handmade jewelry, sweets, Banarasi silk sarees, and other souvenirs.
If you are a shopaholic and are traveling to Varanasi, I suggest you must go to Godowlia market.
Best time to visit: Throughout the year
Amongst the oldest ghats in Varanasi, Dashashwamedh Ghat is known for the world-famous Ganga Aarti, a religious ritual that takes place every day in Varanasi at dusk.
Situated near Vishwanath Temple, this ghat is extremely popular amongst tourists and should be on every traveler’s list.
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If you are someone who wants to witness a life-changing experience, you must watch the Ganga Aarti performed by Hindi priests in the evening.
You can take a boat ride to the ghat and watch the beautiful Ganga aarti from your boat. It was built back in 1748 by Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao.
Best time to visit: Throughout the year, especially during winters
If you want to enjoy some breathtaking views of the River Ganga, witness the beauty of the famous palace built by Maharaja Man Singh, and get lost in the spiritual energy of Varanasi, do visit the Manmandir Ghat.
One of the main tourist attractions in Varanasi, Man Mandir Ghat is located near the Dashashwamedh Ghat and is very popular amongst locals and tourists.
Best time to visit: Throughout the year
What Makes Varanasi special?
What makes Varanasi or Kashi unique is that it is the oldest city in the world. It preserves century-old traditions, is home to sacred Ganga ghats, and most importantly, it’s the place where birth merges with death.
Imagine experiencing the magic of such a spiritual city, understanding the deep-rooted Indian culture, witnessing the famous Indian rituals, and indulging in ceremonies that have been taking place for thousands of years.
As a famous American author once wrote, “Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”
So pack your bags and go visit this religious, spiritual, and ancient city that has so many stories to tell, so many experiences to offer, and so many temples to visit.
Why not create your own tale of visiting the oldest city in the world and indulging in it with yourself for the rest of your life?
After your trip to Varanasi, do let us know about your experience.