Varanasi Experience - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Varanasi Experience

Varanasi is a holy town. Kashi Vishvanath temple, Ganga Aarti are popular attractions. Hindus visit Varanasi from all parts of India and world to seek blessings. Performing final rights of dead ones at Kashi is also a holy ritual.

I had never visited Varanasi so far, finally did so this month. This post shares my experience and observations.

Main Attractions to explore in Varanasi

#1 Kashi Vishvanath temple: no mobile phones allowed, need to deposit stuff in counter (free), several private lockers are also available near temple. Depending on time of the day and crowd, be ready to wait in line for an hour or so for darshan. Areas around main temple in Kashi are now cleaned up, good quality food restaurants, rest rooms are available.

The larger area around the temple complex is full of narrow lanes, dirt, houses and shops- hopefully they also will be improvised over time.

About 1 km walking required from bus/auto drop off point to reach temple. You can hire cycle rickshaw to cover part of this distance.

#2 Ghats: There are a dozen ghats in Kashi one next to another. Each have their own history & specialty. Depending on your time and interest, explore a few of them. Evening time boat rides are available.

You may see devotees praying, taking bath, buying wood to bury the dead ones, or photographers walking around looking for a perfect shot.

#3 Ganga Aarti: A popular evening ritual where a small group of trained priests perform aarti (moving oiled lamps in clockwise direction) along with some body movements and accompanied music. It is a treat to the eyes, but getting good vantage point could be tricky. You can go early and get into a good spot, or try  a boat ride or select a stay closer to Ganga aarti spot. Happens at Dashashwamedh ghat. Need to walk last 1 km, so factor time.

Govt launched a river cruise from Varanasi last year costing 20k per person which was soon suspended

#4 Sarnath: About 12 kms north Of Varanasi, home to several archeological sites and few temples. Can spend half a day easily. Separate post coming soon on Sarnath

Gyanvapi Mosque is another spot of interest in Kashi due to ongoing legal tussle.

Getting around in Varanasi:

  • If you are able to walk a bit, you can go to main road near you and should be able to hop on a share auto to main spots like cantt or ghats etc.
  • Govt operated buses, including mini AC Electric buses are available to reach key destinations like the ghats, Sarnath etc. Be ready to wait for 20-30 mins for next bus.
  • Vehicles not closed closer to Kashi Vishvanath temple or Dashavamedha ghat (where Ganga Aarti happens). Last 500-600 meters either walk or if really required hire a cycle rickshow.
  • Taxis are hard to find, own vehicle not advised due to extreme crowd, tough to find parking space


There are dozens of dharmashalas (extremely low budget stay options) run by various individuals and temple trusts- suitable to devotees with low budget or those who prefer to stay close to temple

I stayed at a nice hostel+hotel facility called "Stay Banaras"


  • Allahabad (Prayagraj) is about 125 kms from Kashi. You can plan a day visit if you wish
  • Ayodhya and Gaya are also around 250 kms away (in two different directions). Day trip will be bit tight, better plan for 2 days

Related: Affordable way to reach Varanasi city from airport *

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