How to Spend 3 days in Varanasi, India

Varanasi India

Varanasi might seem like a less than holy place to be at first, but it gets better. Swarms of devotees crowd the common streets, looking busy as they go temple hopping. It is no wonder this is regarded as the spiritual capital of India- the walkways are lined with almost two thousand temples!

While our first time wasn’t all that packed with too many experiences, we loaded ourselves with a different outlook the second time around and chose walking tours to explore the city. So, we can now confidently say there will be a third time!

Here’s what you can do during your time here:

Day One

Visit Sarnath, Thai Temple and Local Monasteries

Day one of your visit, we believe, should have you immersed in the spiritualism that engulfs the aura of the city. Visit Sarnath temple, located at the confluence of the Ganges and Varuna rivers. This is where the Buddhist Sangha is imagined to have come into existence.

Touring the temples and monasteries by foot is a great idea. You might want to wear comfortable clothes and carry enough water for the walk!

places to visit in Varanasi India

Begin your day by visiting the Thai monasteries

places to see in Varanasi India

A day trip to Sarnath in Varanasi

 places to see in Varanasi India

And you know what to do – explore impressive monasteries around Sarnath

Dine at Tree of Life

Tree of Life Resort and Spa was our go-to when it came to a lavish spread in the midst of lush foothills. Varanasi is certainly a devotee’s paradise, and nobody made it more luxurious for us than Tree of Life. Our dinner here comprised of a perfectly balanced, yet mouthwatering array of dishes.

What’s more, the service was fantastic and the view from the terrace seating was serene. Indeed, a lunch/dinner here is highly recommended for an after-walk refreshment!

places to see in Varanasi India

Fine dining at the Tree of Life

places to see in Varanasi India

Tempting food and decor makes for a pleasant evening

Day 2

Morning Aarti

Wake up early at around 4 and head to Dashashwamedh Ghat. This is probably the most crowded and lively ghats in Varanasi, and you don’t want to miss a glimpse of it in it’s morning glory.

After you’ve spent time gazing at the morning sun, take a motor tour from Adi Keshav Ghat up until Assi Ghat. While there are other options to cruise the Ganges, such as a paddle boat, a motor boat will be your best bet for a quick yet comprehensive tour of all the ghats. At the Assi Ghat, where your tour will end, attend the subah-e-banaras, or the morning aarti and engulf yourself in an aura of grandiose.

 places to see in Varanasi India

Not so lively ghats because it’s early morning in Varanasi

 places to see in Varanasi India

And the mood lightens up as the morning aarti begins

places to see in Varanasi India

Peaceful morning at the Varanasi ghat

Visit an Akhada

After the aartis are done with, take a tour of the city via a tuk tuk exploring a different side to it- the historical heritage sites, which are aplenty.

Visit an akhada, which is a traditional wrestling ring, and watch some bulky pahalwans fight it out to emerge the winners of this competitive wrestling tradition.

places to visit in Varanasi India

Watch the traditional wrestling match

places to visit in Varanasi India

Yes, it’s a real man to man thing !

Weaving Village Tour

Towards evening, visit a weaving village and witness the intricacies of handwoven Benarasi sarees. Explore some more temples nearby as the day nears it’s end, and gear up for another eventful day tomorrow!

places to see in Varanasi India

Make sure you do the village tour

places to visit in Varanasi India

Talk to the weavers and learn about their daily lives

things to do in Varanasi India

Their job is so tedious ! Hats off

Day 3

Lassi Time

Visit the Blue Lassi wala near Bangali Tola and treat yourself to a wide range of chaat, apart from the iconic lassi! Thick, creamy, and to die for, you might want to give yourself adequate time to enjoy this gastronomical delight.

places to visit in Varanasi

He is the star of Varanasi. Trust us!

Why you  Must Visit ‘Blue Lassi Wala’ in Varanasi?

Explore the Ghats

After your food escapades are done with, explore the ghats. Head there via a tuk tuk or walk if you feel like burning off those calories from breakfast! There’s life in even the simplest of things in this city- from the local sweet vendor to the sadhus strolling casually across the city, Varanasi is sure to delight your eyes with a thousand stunning scenes.

things to do in Varanasi India

Explore the ghat life! Just walk around and keep your eyes open!

Go for the Boat Ride

Once you’re at the ghats, take a boat and explore the ghats at your own pace. At a number of ghats along the way, you would get to feed some migratory seagulls- don’t miss out on this opportunity!

things to do in Varanasi India

When in Varanasi, you must do the boat ride

what to do in Varanasi India

Rowing the boat got to be easy, right?

Taste Street Food

Spend the rest of your evening eating at restaurants overlooking the ghats – you’d get some scrumptious pizza and apple pie, unimaginable at a place like this. You could visit the Kaashi Chaat Bhandar if you prefer going homely in a place like Varanasi- they have some of the best chaat in the city.

food tour in Varanasi

Experience the food tour with ‘Experience Varanasi’

what to eat in Varanasi

Delicious! Just delicious!

Cultural Immersion

Walk around the city by foot, talk to some of the sadhus and attend the evening aarti for a serene end to a culturally overwhelming day!

what to do in varanasi

Go ahead and talk to them! Yes, they are so cool!

That’s all for places to visit in Varanasi.

We experienced different walking tours during our visit to Varanasi.

Two companies that surely aced the whole concept of walking tours and made us get the feel of real Varanasi we’d mention are Varanasi Routes and Experience Varanasi. You’d be delighted if you do the heritage walk, Bangali Tola visit, weaver’s village tour or food walk with them.

Would soon be visiting Varanasi? Read what we experienced on our first visit to the cultural capital of India.

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15 Comments

  • Reply Michele May 1, 2018 at 11:32 am

    If I ever get to go to India I think I will spend the most time at the Tree of Life resort. After that I would spend time visiting the monasteries. As for food–well I would attempt to try it all! I have always loved to row–so you know I would do that as well!

  • Reply Sayantan May 1, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Woah! I already knew about the Arti and the lazy boat rides, but definitely didn’t know about the variety of street food in disposal. Have to check it out on my next visit. Thanks for these valuable insights.

  • Reply GiGi Eats May 1, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    India is definitely on my list so thank you for these ideas and light itinerary!!

  • Reply Brittany May 1, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    Oh my goodness. Looks beautiful! And the FOOOOOOD. I want to go!!

  • Reply Kristen from The Road to Domestication May 1, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    What a beautiful selection of places! And your photos are amazing – I almost felt like I was right there along with you!

  • Reply Gwen May 1, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    I’ll always have fndst memories of this trip and our friends the sadhu and Mr and Mrs Skull, and the splendid lassis. Gx

  • Reply genny May 1, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    I would like to visit some day that place the temples and magnificent culture deserves to be admired. What a beautiful time you had!!

  • Reply Sheleen Johnson May 1, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    This looks like a awesome place, very spiritual 🙂 pics are great too. where exactly is this place?

  • Reply Mickey May 2, 2018 at 1:37 am

    India is one of those places I would love to go I have just never known where exactly to go. But this seems like a good trip.

  • Reply Sara Welch May 2, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    I would love a trip to India sometime. They have a really fascinating culture and I love it!

  • Reply Vanessa Delia May 2, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    What an amazing place to visit. I have always loved some of their history and ways of life.

  • Reply Mayuri Saxena May 3, 2018 at 11:33 am

    Wow! I really loved this post. My mom belongs to Varanasi and she studied in BHU, I have heard so many stories about Varanasi but sadly, I have been there twice only. Loved the photographs and experience you’ve shared 🙂

  • Reply fashionmommy May 10, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Varanasi looks an incredible place on every single level, the buildings, the food, the atmosphere.

  • Reply Wanda Lopez May 23, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    I haven’t been to India before, but now I know a little bit of India and can’t wait to add it our traveling plans. Great tips on taking the most advantage of a short trip to India.

  • Reply Minakshi Bajpai May 23, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    Oh my goodness. Looks beautiful! And the FOOOOOOD. Lovely pictures were taken.

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