Varanasi Experiences: City at a Glance

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Chaotic, colorful, and captivating – three words that would rightly sum up life in Varanasi.

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Varanasi has changed drastically over the years. But there are still parts of the city where the juxtaposition of old meets new is palpable.

On our recent visit to the Holy city of ‘Varanasi’, also known as Kashi and Banaras, we were able to find out why this famed city is on every traveler’s bucket list and how it has that capacity to seduce the most skeptical of minds.

Let’s talk about the overall city analysis before we go ahead with the itinerary plans and things to do in Varanasi. Yes, this city deserves all the limelight! We have written

Planning a road trip to Varanasi? Click here to read our Delhi to Varanasi Road Trip details.

People and Perspectives

What we came across in Varanasi was more than just people, more than just faces willing to be seen, voices waiting to be heard, stories begging to be read. Every person in Varanasi had an aura about them- from the busy bees to those just spending time in solitude, overlooking the ghats.

What struck us the most about people in Varanasi was not the diversity of their experiences – their city has sure been through its fair share – in the holy city, but the ways in which they added their own flavor to their tales. Unsurprisingly, we still met a myriad of the warmest smiles and welcoming embraces we’d ever come across – a wanderer’s luxury!

Our project of delving into the stories people had to tell was rewarding beyond our expectations. As we heard from them, we couldn’t help but notice how every tiny detail – the wrinkles in their faces, the youth in their smile, the sun shining warmly on their faces, their tired eyes – came to us unfiltered, raw.

And yet it came with a hope to make the most of their journey. It was truly rewarding, not just for the experience, but for the glimpse of what it truly meant to be human that it gave us.

Varanasi India Points of Interest

Sadhus of Varanasi

Varanasi India Points of Interest

Each and every face speaks a story waiting to be heard

Varanasi India Points of Interest

Sadhus at every step of the way towards the ghats

The Famed Ghats

The juncture at which civilization meets nature is a seamless blend of all things man made, yet so naturalized into landscapes that you can almost miss it! The ghats at Varanasi are a perfect example of this.

Lit up and animated during the evening pooja, the ghats nevertheless retain a steady inflow of vivacious worshippers during the day. These pilgrim throng the ghats to take a dip and rid themselves of their bad deeds. The ghats in Varanasi have a unique character to themselves.

Varanasi India Points of Interest

Life at the ghats is blissful

Varanasi India Points of Interest

People bathing in ganges to rid their sins is a common sight

Varanasi India Points of Interest

These ghats aren’t this quiet post morning

Sunrise

There’s something tranquil about the way the sun rises anywhere in the world. It’s the first ray of the sun that bestows life upon all that was hitherto languishing in darkness. And that is exactly the feeling you get if you witness the sun rise in Varanasi.

The rising sun, viewed in Varanasi, is an ephemeral ecstasy that only a few live to see. The rays of the sun carry so much life to the square inch, it made us privy to a well-kept secret of the universe – that we are insignificant before the magnificence of nature!

A much-preferred choice to view the marvel would be from the ghats, overlooking an idyllic horizon. The sun is a burning orange, and one cannot help but feel overpowered by the sensation of life it dispels.

Along with the rising sun, you’re sure to hear temples across the town ringing their bells and waking up the town with their chanting.

Varanasi India Points of Interest

Experience sunrise in Varanasi – the mornings are blissful and quiet

Varanasi things to do

Magical mornings had my heart

Varanasi India Points of Interest

The effort was well worth the view

We also vlogged our early morning sunrise rendezvous in Varanasi. Check out the video.

Morning & Evening Aarti

The morning and evening pooja at Varanasi flows from an unshakeable faith in the divinity, and the euphoria replicated every day is proof of the imperishable essence of the daily prayer.

The flames radiating an almost-white iridescence here are considered the highest symbol of purity in Hinduism, making it only fit to be offered to the Hindu gods.

Varanasi India Points of Interest

Morning aarti preparations by the ghats

Varanasi India Points of Interest

Aarti at the Varanasi ghats

Varanasi India Points of Interest

Sight to behold

Food

A languid walk through the serpentine alleys of Varanasi would introduce you to colorful and scintillating market scenes with major emphasis laid over the food.

Start your day with a morning cup of chai at the ‘Kashi Cafe’. Make your way through the chaotic lanes that take you to popular eateries and thandai shops. You got to drink Pomegranate lassi at the ‘Blue LassiWala’.

Make sure you save place for dessert – Banarasi Paan – this has it’s own mass following. A food tour is all you need to experience to get a taste of life in Varanasi.

Varanasi India Points of Interest

Start your day with cutting chai

Varanasi India Points of Interest

Sweets by dozens

Varanasi points of interest

Pomegranate Lassi at Blue Lassi Wala

Varanasi India Points of Interest

Don’t come back without trying famous banarasi paan

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Author: Prerna

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16 Comments

  • Reply Vandana Mathur July 27, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    Beautiful pictures and nice write up. I have been visiting Varanasi since my childhood, and every time I have a new experience.
    You forgot to mention famous thandai that is served there.

    • Reply admin November 30, 2017 at 8:23 pm

      OH yes, thanks for mentioning that. I’d that to the list 🙂

  • Reply Swati July 27, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Varanasi is such a vibrant city and has so much to offer. Ghats, temples, food and most importantly interesting people. Love your captures and the sunset is fantabulous. I was immediately transported to the serene Ganges , bathed in the golden glow of the sun, listening to the temple bells ringing before the world woke up. Great post 🙂

  • Reply Somnath July 28, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Thank You for bringing Varanasi so closer.It has been a long time since I last visited Varanasi..

    • Reply admin November 30, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      Probably it’s time for a second visit 😉

  • Reply neha July 28, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    As old as time itself….Varanasi is still so vibrant and touching. A true experience of India. A magnet to the religious as well as the curious. You have captured it’s essence just right.

  • Reply Yaswanth July 29, 2017 at 3:07 am

    We were there just last week and after reading your post, we suddenly want to go back there. Love the narrow lanes and the way people negotiate the narrow turns. Nice pics, the sunrise ones seem awesome.

  • Reply Anushka July 29, 2017 at 4:55 am

    Very well written post, haven’t been to Varanasi ghatss, but always wanted to checkout specially for morning Aarti and those banarasi paan 🙂

    • Reply admin November 30, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      Ah, that’s a sight to behold. Hope you can experience the magic, Anushka 🙂

  • Reply Pavel Angelov July 29, 2017 at 5:37 am

    Their cuisine looks delicious! I love to try different types of food from over the world. This here is something that I have never seen before, but I’m sure it was really nice. I’m just wondering do they have some typical coffee or tea maybe?

  • Reply Nuraini July 30, 2017 at 2:13 am

    Thanks for the food tips! I’m going in August and hope I’d be able to drag myself out of bed to enjoy these sunrises!

  • Reply Barry July 30, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Varanasi looks like such a charming place and you did such a great write up. Also the photos you took really brought the post alive.

    • Reply admin September 30, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      Thanks, Barry! Well, Varanasi has its own charm and happy that our pictures could do justice to that holy town 🙂

  • Reply Sandy N Vyjay August 1, 2017 at 4:57 am

    Varanasi is indeed an enigmatic city. The spirit of the city is such that it has you enthralled every minute that you spend there. Right from the chai in a kullad to the Ganga aarti on the banks of the Ganga, Varanasi is a mosaic of intricate experiences.

  • Reply Ami Bhat August 2, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Varanasi seems like a perfect cultural and traditional discovery. I have been wanting to visit it for a while and maybe one of these days I will do so too. Possibly around Dev Diwali. Loved your pictures here.

    • Reply admin November 30, 2017 at 8:24 pm

      Diwali is indeed a good time to be in Varanasi. Hope you make it there super soon 🙂

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