Cruise the Ganges River and observe local traditions and rituals, explore Varanasi's 'Old City' and marvel at its ghats, visit where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon
Tour description provided by G Adventures
A perfect add-on to any trip to India, explore the mystical and holy Hindu city of Varanasi. Take a memorable sunset and sunrise boat trip down the Ganges River and be enthralled by the thousands of devotees who come to the banks of the river to absolve themselves of their sins. Witness the bathing ghats and centuries-old temples, and explore the narrow winding lanes in search of exquisite silks, brassware and stunning saris. Also visit Sarnath, known as the birthplace of Buddhism and the site of the enlightened Buddha’s first sermon.
Day 1 Varanasi
Arrive in Varanasi any time where you are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. You will have a briefing at your hotel from a local guide about the details of the next couple days.
Varanasi is a Hindu holy city on the banks of the river Ganga (Ganges) in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Varanasi has a unique culture, quite different from other places in the region. This culture has developed through thousands of years during which it has been one of the major cultural centres of northern India. Everything revolves around the river Ganga, which is the heart and soul of the city. Varanasi has produced some of the most well-known musicians, philosophers, poets and writers in Indian history. It even has its own dialect, which is quite different from other dialects of the region.
Day 2 Varanasi (B)
You will be picked up early in the morning for your private city tour and boat tour on the Holy River Ganges. From dawn to dusk the ghats along the riverfront of the Ganges River are thronged with thousands of devotees performing holy rituals, hoping to attain eternal salvation or 'Nirvana'. There are about more than 100 ghats altogether, they cover 6km of the river from Assi ghat as far as Adi Keshava Ghat near the Malviya Bridge. They are a celebration of life and the time -honoured rites of passage. This will be the backdrop to your early morning boat ride when the river is bathed in a magical light and pilgrims come to perform puja to the rising sun. Later, Walk the narrow twisting alleys, poke around some of the literally thousands of temples and shrines, and experience the energy of the dawn rituals of bathing and burial as we float past the famous ghats of the Ganges.
Varanasi is a pure vegetarian town – no eggs, no meat or fish and no alcohol (within a certain distance of the river Ganges). Visit Chaat Gali, a street of vendors selling the spiciest chaat (savoury snack) in the state. A visit to Varanasi is incomplete without tasting paan. It is the perfect end to any meal and comes in many varieties – stuffed with gulkhand, cardamom, or grated coconut.
Day 3 Varanasi (B)
Morning Boat ride at the ghats to witness dawn ceremonies and walk the narrow lane ways near Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Later in the day, excursion to Sarnath, where Lord Buddha preached his first Sermon.
Sitting on the banks of the River Ganges, we can contemplate what it means to be in Varanasi, the oldest continually inhabited city in the world, dating back thousands of years. The culture of Varanasi is deeply associated with the river Ganges and its religious importance. The city has been a cultural and religious center in northern India for thousands of years.
Day 4 Varanasi (B)
You are free to depart at any time today.