Varanasi, a beautiful get-away for both Indian and international tourists alike, is a city located in the heart of Uttar Pradesh and is in all probability the oldest living city in the world. Varanasi (more commonly known as Benaras or Kashi amongst locals) boasts of a history that dates back to around 3000 years according to most scholars.
With picturesque ghats and ancient temples abounding, the maze-like lanes of Varanasi are enough to throw even Google Maps into a tizzy. But fret not! Here’s a quick two-day traveller’s guide for all the people who wish to soak in the beauty of this ancient city without wasting any time on making a detailed itinerary.
1. Enjoy a Day Trip to Sarnath from Varanasi and revel in the natural beauty of the Archaeological Museum and site. The museum is the oldest site museum of The Archaeological Survey of India and houses over 6000 sculptures and artefacts. While in Sarnath, don’t forget to visit the Chaukhandi and Dhamak Stupa, and the surrounding Gardens. Sarnath is home to multiple Buddhist temples built in various Asian styles, the most important of which is the Sri Lankan Buddhist Temple, apart from the Thai, Japanese and other temples. Another place of interest is the Digambar Jain Temple. All places are accessible by foot or you can opt for the e-rickshaws that are easily found in the area.
2. Go Temple Hopping in the daytime and include Tulsi Manas Temple, Durga Temple and Sankat Mochan Temple in your itinerary! Enjoy the Aarti at Sankat Mochan Temple and the mechanical doll show at Shree Satyanarayan Tulsi Manas Mandir. Save the trip to Kashi Vishwanath Temple for the evening.
3. Reach Dashashwamedh Ghat by 4’O clock in the evening and take a walk in the nearby markets, especially Thatheri Bazaar and enjoy the local delicacies like Bati Chokha, Kachori Subzi and Thandai. For Darshan at the Kashi Vishwanath, reach early to avoid the evening crowds. Make your way to the ghat around sunset and witness the humbling crowds gather for the evening Aarti. Come in early to reserve your spot or hop into a boat to experience the beautiful prayers. Make a wish on your floating diya and let the waves carry it away!
1. Benaras Hindu University in the Lanka area is a great place to spend a day in leisure. Walk around the huge campus and visit the BHU Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Don’t forget to visit the various eateries at the Campus Gate.
2. History enthusiasts can take a day trip to the Ramgarh Fort by hiring a rickshaw from Lanka. The Fort houses the Saraswati Bhawan Museum with a considerable collection of weaponry, vintage cars and Palaquins, along with many other articles from the 16th century.
3. Visit Assi Ghat in the evening and enjoy a cup of refreshing lemon tea by the Ganges. There are plenty of cafes in the area around the ghat where you can head for a light snack. Ride the boat at sunset and soak in the beauty of the oldest city in the world.
And that’s how you can travel through the entire length and breadth of Benaras within 2 days without breaking a sweat! A great hotel recommendation for single female travellers or groups of friends would be the GoStops Hostel near Dashashwamedh Ghat, which has easy accessibility to all the ghats and temples near the Ganges.
So get packing and enjoy your little adventure to Kashi!