Varanasi is a city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh dating to the 11th century B.C. Regarded as the spiritual capital of India, the city draws Hindu pilgrims who bathe in the Ganges River’s sacred waters and perform funeral rites. Along the city’s winding streets are some 2,000 temples, including Kashi Vishwanath, the “Golden Temple,” dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
Ramnagar Fort: Situated on the banks of River Ganga, Ramnagar Fort is one of the most popular monuments in Varanasi. This 18th century Red-stone Fort was built by Maharaj Balwant Singh. It is an architectural marvel reflecting both the Indian and Islamic styles. The Temple and the durbar Hall museums are the main attractions of the Fort.
Raj Ghat Fort: The famous tomb of Lal Khan is situated within the confines of Raj Ghat Fort. However, the Fort itself is in dilapidated conditions now.
Tomb of Lal Khan: This tomb reflecting the grand Mughal style of architecture is located within the Raj Ghat Fort. It was built in the memory of the Mughal Noble Lal Khan.
Madho Rao Ki Masjid: It is a small mosque of Aurangzeb. One can view the whole city from the top.
Temples: Bharat Mata Temple, Durga Temple, Nepali Temple, Vishwanath Temple, and Tulsi Manas Temple are some of the famous temples in Varanasi.
Varanasi is known for its beautiful Ghats. The sunsets at these splendid ghats by the River Ganges present a mesmerising view. Witnessing an Aarti is must while visiting the Ghats. One can explore them by hiring a boat or by joining a private walking tour. One can also enjoy activities such as taking a holy dip, bathing, swimming and fishing. Dasawamedh Ghat, Assi Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Kedar Ghat, Manmandir Ghat, Darbhanga Ghat and Shivala Ghat are some of the popular Ghats in Varanasi. Wildlife enthusiasts must visit Kaimoor Wildlife Sanctuary.
Some of the popular street food in Varanasi that one must have are Choora Matar, Dahi Chutney Wale Golgappe, Thandai and Lassi, Baati Chokha, Laaiya Chana, Malaaiyo, Chena Dahi Vada, Tamaatar Chaat, Jalebi and Kachori sabzi.
Going for boat rides in the River Ganges early in the morning is one of the best activities one can do while in Varanasi, besides attending the grand Aarti ceremony and visiting the various Ghats. One can also take a road trip to Sarnath and indulge in touristy activities there.
Benarasi Saree is the one item that is a must buy while touring in Varanasi. The city is famous for its beautiful and rich silk sarees as well as brocade sarees. The beautiful zari and thread work sarees should definitely make it to your wardrobe. To purchase sarees and silk/brocade fabrics one must visit Thatheri Bazaar. Godowalia Market and Vishwanath Lane also sells authentic fabrics, colourful bangles and handicraft items such as wooden toys. Handicraft enthusiasts must visit Chowk and Urban Hatt. For buying daily needs items, like food, clothing and footwear etc, one must visit the bustling Gol Ghar, Gyanvapi Market and Lahurabir Market.