+ Also see: Varanasi image gallery
Varanasi has much to offer for the tourist – good things and the bad. Good things include a glimpse to the religious India that many foreigners like to see, learn and understand. It is also a center of learning for music and other fine arts. For Hindu pilgrims, it is a must see place in their lifetime to take a dip in the Ganges and visit the Kashi Vishwanath temple. As for the bad things, Varanasi is filthy and takes getting used to, especially around the ghats. Ganges is heavily polluted and the water is not clean enough for a bath.
Best time to be in Varanasi is between October and February when the weather is mild. It can get hot in the summer, and starts raining after July. Ram Navami is one of the important festivals in the city, which falls sometime in April.
THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO SEE
Things to do for the traveller depend on what he or she is looking for. One can wander the ghats and hang around temples watching the people. Early morning boat rides are popular. Most temples allow entry for Hindus only. Kashi is a learning center for Hindustani and instrumental music. It is also a place for those seeking spiritual learning. Pilgrims come here for Ganga snan and darshan at the Kashi Vishwanath temple and other well-known temples, and also to perform shraddha karma.
Things to see, other than the ghats and temples, includes the Ramnagar fort that is just outside the city of Varanasi. Benaras Hindu University is another popular place. Around Varanasi, Sarnath is a place of importance for Buddhists. It is the place where Buddha is known to have taught for the first time after getting enlightenment.
There are several kinds of places to stay in Varanasi, like the dharmashalas, guesthouses and small hotels near the ghats. Upmarket hotels are located nearer to railway station in the cantonment area. Most backpackers and budget travellers prefer to stay at one of the numerous guesthouses near the ghats. Upmarket hotels are usually taken by people arriving on package tours.
Read more about Varanasi on paintedstork.com
* Images of Varanasi
* Travelling to Varanasi from Corbett
* Arriving at Varanasi
* Many perceptions of Varanasi
* First day at the ghats
* Boat ride on the Ganges
* An encounter on the ghats
* Photo Essay: Ganga Aarti
* Life on the ghats
* About Varanasi