Welcome to Varanasi


This is one of the world's oldest continually inhabited cities, and one of the holiest in Hinduism. Pilgrims come to the ghats lining the Ganges to wash away sins in the sacred waters or to cremate their loved ones. It's a particularly auspicious place to die, since expiring here offers moksha (liberation from the cycle of rebirth).

Most visitors agree Varanasi is magical – but not for the faint-hearted. Intimate rituals of life and death take place in public, and the sights, sounds and smells on the ghats – not to mention almost constant attention from touts – can be intense. Still, the so-called City of Light may turn out to be your favourite stop of all. Walking the ghats and alleyways or watching sunrise from a boat can be unforgettable.


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Varanasi activities

$35 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

3-Hour Varanasi Morning Sunrise Boat Tour

Start your day with a morning boat ride at dawn. You have a chance to observe the Hindu way of life along the bank of the Ganges River (Ganga Ghat or Banaras Ghat). Varanasi presents a unique combination of physical, metaphysical and supernatural elements. According to the Hindu mythology, Varanasi liberates soul from human body to the ultimate. It is the Ganga Ghats of Varanasi that complement the concept of divinity. The Ganga Ghats at Varanasi are full of pilgrims who flock to the sacred river to take a dip in the holy Ganges, which is believed to absolve one from all sins. Watching people come down to river in the early morning, taking a bath in the mother Ganga, performing rituals, worshiping the Sun is a unique experience. There are number of temples on the banks of the Ganges River in Varanasi. The old buildings, ashrams and palaces along the river side look as colorful as a rainbow when the sunlight hits them. It is at the Banaras Ghat where we can see life and death together. There are numbers of Ghats alongside Ganges River in Varanasi. There are numbers of Ghats alongside Ganges River in Varanasi. Some of the prominent and popular Ghats at Varanasi are the Dasaswamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Harischandra Ghat, Assi Ghat,Shivala Ghat, Man Mandir Ghat, Darbhanga Ghat, Ahilyabai Ghat and the Kedar Ghat. After the boat ride, take a small walk in to the oldest part of Varanasi where is famous for its narrow streets. Stop by the Kashi Vishwnath Temple, also known as Golden Temple, and see the outside of the beautiful temple. After the tour is concluded, we will take you back to your hotel.

$1863.75 Cultural & Theme Tours

Private Tour: 5-Day Varanasi and Khajuraho from Delhi

Day 1: Delhi – VaranasiTransfer to the airport for your flight to Varanasi. On arrival, transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon enjoy a guided tour of Sarnath, one of the holiest Buddhist's sites. See the Dhamekha Stupa where the voice of Buddhism was first heard and many Buddhist dignitaries visit to pay homage to Buddha. Spend the rest of day exploring Sarnath at your leisure before returning to Varanasi. Overnight: VaranasiDay 2: Varanasi (B)Discover the holy city of Varanasi, an important pilgrimage destination for Hindus for thousands of years. Take an early morning boat cruise on the sacred Ganges River and witness the daily rituals. See the long string of ghats (steps) that line the river, where locals practice yoga and Hindus perform morning prayers before bathing in the river to wash away their sins. After breakfast, visit Bharat Mata temple, Banaras Hindu University, Vishwanath Temple, Hanuman Temple and Old City market. Overnight: VaranasiDay 3: Varanasi - Khajuraho (B) This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Khajuraho. On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. Khajuraho is renowned for its erotic sculptures that adorn the many medieval Hindu and Jain temples. There are many interpretations of the risque carvings, and your guide will provide you with more insight into these architectural marvels. In the afternoon, visit the Chandela Temples. Overnight Khajuraho Day 4: Khajuraho – Delhi (B)For travel dates between May 1, 2013 and August 31, 2013:After breakfast, drive approximately 3 hours northwest to Jhansi. En-route, stop at Orccha, a medieval city that lies on the banks of the Betwa River. Here, your guide will lead you on an exploration of its forts, palaces and temples that still retained their ancient grandeur.At around 6pm, collect your packed dinner from your guide and board the train to Delhi. Arrive in Delhi at around 10:45 and be met by your driver, who will transfer you to your hotel. For travel dates before May 1, 2013 and after August 31, 2013:Explore Khajuraho at your leisure before transferring to the airport for your flight to Delhi. On arrival you'll be transferred to your hotel. The remainder of your day is free. Overnight Delhi Day 5: Delhi – Departure (B)Transfer to the Delhi airport where your tour concludes.

$68 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Private Full-Day Varanasi Tour with Ganges River Boat Cruise

5:30am - Early Morning Sunrise Boat Ride on GangesAfter pickup from your hotel in Varanasi, proceed to your sunrise boat ride on the Ganges. See the early morning riverside rituals performed on the Ganges, which is a special experience. Observe people lost in prayer, washing themselves and doing their laundry. After the boat ride take a short walking tour of the back alleyways of the old city and have glimpse of Hindus holiest temple the Kashi Vishwanath. 8:30am - Break for Breakfast (at your own expense) 10:00am - Banaras Hindu University (BHU)Explore the biggest campus University in Asia, established in 1916, long regarded as a center of learning. On the campus is Bharat Kala Bhavan, a roomy museum with a wonderful collection of miniature paintings, as well as 12th-century palm-leaf manuscripts, sculptures and local historical displays. 10:30am - New Vishwanath TempleVisit the new Vishwanath Temple, also called the Birla Temple is also located inside the Banaras Hindu University. The temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and it is the exact copy of the original Vishwanath Temple. 11:30am - Mother India Temple (Bharat Mata Mandir)See the Bharat Mata Temple this the only temple dedicated to Mother India built in 1918. The temple has an unusual marble relief map of the Indian subcontinent inside. 12:30pm - Silk Weaving Art of VaranasiVaranasi is known throughout India for its production of very fine silk and Banarasi saris. Varanasi saris are adorned with intricate designs and embellishments making it popular during traditional functions and weddings. The city has flourished as the textile capital of the region and you will watch how this traditional silk work is produced.1:30pm - Lunch Break (at your own expense) Lunch at one of the best local restaurants in the area.2:30pm - Visit SarnathIn Sarnath visit Dhamekh Stupa and the monastery ruins. This where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon. Also, visit the Archaeological Museum, this fully modernized 100-year-old sandstone museum houses wonderfully displayed ancient treasures from the 3rd-century BC. Important: The Archaeological Museum in Sarnath is closed on Fridays. 5:00pm - Evening Aarti Ceremony at the Ganges RiverTake a boat to see the cremation ground then come back to Dashashwamedh Ghat to watch the nightly Ganga Aarti ceremony with fire  dancing performed right in front of you. 8pm - Return to Your Hotel

$325 Cultural & Theme Tours

3-Day Varanasi Exclusive Tour

Day 1: AartiBe picked-up at the airport or railway station and check in to hotel. In the evening, experience the Hindu ritual Aarti. Aartis also refer to the songs sung in praise of the deity, when offering of lamps is being offered. Hindus in India worship the river Ganges as goddess. Every evening in Varanasi, aarti is performed at the Dashashwamedh ghat. We can watch it from the Ghat or from the waterside in a boat. It is a beautiful, resonant, and majestic spectacle with a very precise choreography involving rituals performed by several priests with the sound of bells, drums, cymbals, and Sanskrit mantras.Day 2: Morning Boat RideStart your next day with a morning boat ride at the dawn. Boating in the Ganges at the sunrise in Varanasi is one of the main attractions. Observe Hindu’s way of life on the bank of the river Ganges. There are number of temples on the bank of the Ganges River in Varanasi. It is at the Ganga Ghats [Banaras Ghat] where you can see life and death together. There are numbers of Ghat alongside Ganges river in Varanasi where you can see Hindu cremation as well. Some of the prominent and popular Ghats at Varanasi are the Dasaswamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Harischandra Ghat, Assi Ghat,Shivala Ghat, Man Mandir Ghat, Darbhanga Ghat, Ahilyabai Ghat and Kedar Ghat. After the boat ride take a small walk in to the oldest part of Varanasi, famous for its narrow street. Visit Kashi Vishwnath Temple area, also known as the Golden Temple. (The temple itself is open to Hindu only)After breakfast, drive to Sarnath, approximately 10km (6.2ml) from Varanasi City. Varanasi is where the Buddha chose to deliver his first sermon in a Deer Park. It makes Sarnath one of the most venerated Buddhist places. Besides Buddhism, Sarnath is also connected with Jainism. There are many Buddhist monuments and edifices at Sarnath.    The main attractions of Sarnath are Archaeological and Excavation Area (Sarnath, Deer park), Chaukhandi Stupa, Dhammek Stupa (Dhamekha Stupa), Dharmarajika Stupa, Mulagandhakuti Vihara, Ashoka Pillar (Ashokan Lion Pillar), Ashokan Lion-Capital (the national emblem of India) and the Archeological Museum.  Day 3: City TourAfter breakfast, drive to Banaras Hinu University, and visit the Indian art museum Bharat Kala Bhawan and New Kashi Vishwnath Temple. Other important points to see in city include the Durga Temple (monkey temple), Tulasi Manas Temple, Bharat Mata Temple (Mother India Temple).

$40 Cultural & Theme Tours

3-Hour Varanasi Evening Aarti Tour

After hotel pickup in Varanasi, your evening experience of Aarti begins with your guide. Hindus in India worship the River Ganges as a goddess, and each evening in Varanasi, the ceremony of Aarti is performed at the Dashashwamedh Ghat. Either from the ghat or from the waterside in a boat, you'll witness this tradition, which features precise choreography involving rituals performed by several priests, accompanied by the sound of bells, drums, cymbals, and Sanskrit mantras. The river is also worshiped with flower petals.Admire the glow of light being offered to the gods before you are returned to your hotel to end your experience.

$104 Tours & Sightseeing

Full-Day Private Varanasi and Sarnath Tour including Ganges Boat Cruise

The tour starts early in the morning, at 5am, where you will take a boat cruise on the river Ganges to observe the way of life of the pilgrims by the Ghats. You will rise before dawn and step gingerly onto a rickety boat as the boat coasts off. You will wait for the daily miracle to unfold as the sun rises over the horizon. The sounds of conchs and the temple bells ring in the pink fabric of the dawn. After breakfast, you will start the city tour of Varanasi around 9am where you visit the Bharat Mata Temple with a big relief map of India in marble. Then you will visit the Durga Temple, Tulsi Manas Mandir, the Banaras Hindu University which has an art gallery and the mosque of Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb. Afterward, you will head to Sarnath, an important pilgrimage center for Buddhists. This is where Buddha preached his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. Sarnath’s temples and archaeological museum are full of Buddhist art and treasures. Later in the evening, you will enjoy a rickshaw ride passing through the busy streets and bazaars of Varanasi that will take you to the holy river, the Ganges, where you will cruise to witness the Aarti ceremonies amidst hundreds of lighted candles and flower offerings. After your long day, you will be dropped off at your accommodation in Varanasi.