Call it Kashi, Varanasi, or Banaras, whatever you like, but this city is not just like a normal city, Some will name it as the craziest city, some will call it the chaotic city and some will refer to it as the city of emotions.
Varanasi is one of the oldest living city in the world, inhabiting continuously for 3000 years, but people say it is older than that too.
Mark twain famous writer and entrepreneur wrote that “Banaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together”.
When I came to know about this city, I really scorched the whole internet reading about its history, tradition, people, and culture. I came to know many facts like Varanasi is also known as the city of Ghats, a city of lights and most importantly it is the spiritual capital of the world.
There are many facts that astounded and compelled me to visit this city. So, from my experience will suggest to you some of the most important places to visit in Varanasi.
1. The holy River Ganges
The Ganges is the longest and the holiest river in India. People and pilgrims from all over the world visit Varanasi to perform their various activities before this river, making it the main must-visit site in Varanasi.
This mighty river is the lifeline of nearly 600 million people living near its banks. This sacred river originates from the north of Uttrakhand and pours its holy water into the Bay of Bengal
It is believed that the water of the Ganges has magical powers and if you take a dip into this sacred river then all your sins would be washed away. For that reason, people or followers of Hinduism from all around the world come to this city to wash their sins and purify their souls.
There are many Ghats in Varanasi that will provide you proper assistance in capturing the enchanting views of the Ganges river. According to my personal experience, you can visit Assi ghat or Darbhanga Ghat to enjoy the views in a much better way.
2. Dashashwamedh Ghat & Manikarnika Ghat
Varanasi is also called the city of ghats because each and every ghat of Varanasi holds some tales and history and also used for different purposes.
Dasashwamedh ghat is the oldest Ghat of Varanasi and close proximity to the Shri Kashi Vishwanath temple makes it one of the important places to visit in Varanasi. The iconic Ganga aarti of Varanasi is performed at this ghat during dusk.
Manikarnika Ghat of Varanasi is used as the cremation ground for the followers of Hinduism. People from all around the country visit this place to perform cremation rituals of their loved ones because it is believed that the one cremated here attains liberation frees from the cycle of rebirth.
When I visited this place in Varanasi, tears rolled out from my eyes after watching the scenario of Manikarnika Ghat. I am sure if you guys are emotional and sentimental like me then surely your heart will feel deep sorrow.
Varanasi is the only place in India where you will witness lives and death rituals performing in very close proximity. It is okay to cry for sometime but in the end accepting the truth of life is important, that’s what I did in the end.
3. Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the prestigious places to visit in Varanasi. This temple holds one of the 12 Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. It is believed that if you take a sight of this Jyotirlinga of Shiva then it will confirm your liberation.
The Vishwanath Temple faced destruction by the then emperor of India Aurangzeb and a mosque was built on that place. The temple that you will see today is built by Late Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780 and in 1839 the two domes of the Temple were covered by gold donated by Punjab Kesari Maharaja Ranjeet Singh.
4. Sarnath & Dhamek stupa
Sarnath is one of the 4 holy places for the followers of Buddhism, Lumbini where Gautama Budh born, Kushinagar, and Bodhgaya where he attained enlightenment are the other 3 holy places.
Sarnath is famous because it is the place where Gautama Budh preached his first sermon to his 5 followers, later this place became the birthplace of Buddhism. A cylindrical structure known as Dhamek stupa is built by Emperor Ashoka, with the combinations of bricks and stones is prime attraction of Sarnath.
Sarnath is located 13 KM north-east, outskirts of holy city Varanasi. This place also has a beautiful temple in the middle of green gardens dedicated to Gautama Budh which attracts tourists from all over the world.
So, if you want some peaceful environment from the chaotic city of Varanasi then this place is a must-visit for you.
5. Ramnagar Fort
Ramnagar fort situated on the eastern banks of the Ganges river and opposite to the Samne Ghat, is known as the best place in Varanasi to see the sunset.
Ramnagar fort is built by Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh in the 17th century and as time is passing this fort is crumbling slowly.
When I first visited this fort, I thought I would get to see some abandoned place like Chet Singh fort of Varanasi, but I was wrong because this fort actually has a wonderful museum inside it, showcasing Vintage cars collections of the King and different types of weapons like old-style guns and swords.
Vyaas temple is also attached to this fort where it will give of some the best scenic of the sunset over the holy Ganges river. So, don’t miss this enchanting place of Varanasi.
6. Durga temple
Painted in Red color, the Durga temple holds great religious importance for the followers of Hinduism. A Kund(pond) is located next to the temple, that is why this temple is also called Durga Kund Temple. Earlier this Kund(pond) was connected to the holy river Ganges.
Rani Bhabani of Natore constructed this temple in the 18th century. The icon of goddess Durga that is present in this temple is believed that no man involved in building it, but the icon appeared magically in this temple, which makes it an important place to visit in Varanasi.
7. Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple
Sankat Mochan Temple is dedicated to the monkey god, Hanuman and it is one of the oldest temples of Varanasi. This holy temple is established by famous saint and poet Shri Goswami Tulsidas on the banks of the river Assi in Varanasi.
It is said that Lord Hanuman showed himself to Shri Goswami Tulsidas here and on that exact spot Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple was established in the 16th century.
“Sankat Mochan” means “reliever of problems”, thousand of devotees visit this place in Varanasi to ask for comfort from the Lord hanuman, it is believed that all the wishes of devotees are fulfilled by the Lord Hanuman here in this temple.
8. Banaras Hindu University
Banaras Hindu University established in 1916 by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, More than 30,000 students staying in BHU makes it one of the largest residential universities in Asia.
The infrastructure of this university is very amazing and shaped in every unique way, nearly all the buildings have a structure similar to a temple, the campus is spread in 1300 acres in the form of a semi-circle.
The Vishwanath temple that is constructed as the replica of the Shri Kashi Vishwanath temple by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya is also located on the campus of Banaras Hindu University.
So, according to me, you can add this place to your bucket list for the trip to Varanasi
The ancient city of the world, Varanasi has to offer you a lot more than you just read above and it is nearly impossible to cover all of them, there are many hidden gems you will find in this city which is only possible when you will visit this city all by yourself.
I tried to help you to cover some of the most visited tourist attraction and it is my recommendation that you should not miss atleast the places that I have presented in this article.
Comment down below which one you would like to visit and why?