The Ganga Aarti in the evening, people bathing in the river, sadhus chanting holy mantras, devotees offering prayers to the deities, ringing of bells in the temples, hands joint in supplication, heads bowed to the sun, boats sailing in the river and burning of dead bodies on the ghats – all these frames if combined together make a very familiar picture of Varanasi which is still intriguing, enigmatic and amazing. It is the same Varanasi whose age-old stories are passed through generations and which has fascinated people from different walks of life at home as well as abroad. Indian Eagle shares a list of the things to do in Varanasi to make your visit more memorable than the previous visits.
Riding a boat in the Ganges River is one of the must-do things in Varanasi. Sunrise and sunset are the best times of the day for a boat ride. You can best catch and click the glimpses of life on the ghats of Varanasi, from the boat sailing rhythmically in the river. The 180 degree panorama of the people busy performing different activities on the banks makes the boat ride a most delightful experience.
Visit to Varanasi is one of the best photography opportunities in India. Photographers find kicks in penetrating through the lanes and alleys of the city with their cameras. There are so many things and activities to click on that the memory of your camera may fall short of a complete album. The sightseeing of Varanasi along the banks of the Ganges River is a must-not miss for photography!
Join the devotees in morning or evening prayers to the sun, on the ghats. Prayers are offered to the rising sun and the setting sun. You may be an atheist, but if you stay away from the ghats during the ceremony, the ambience, the flamboyance, the vista, the vibe and the faith would be a great miss. Moreover, morning or evening is the best time to feel the spiritual bliss of Varanasi.
A passage through the lanes and alleys of Varanasi will help to rediscover the gastronome in you. Roaming in and around the city without eating the street food is simply impossible! The street food of Varanasi is as varied and delicious as that of Agra, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Indore and Lucknow. Let you taste buds have a twist with lassi, thandai, jalebi and kachori.
What to take home as a souvenir from Varanasi? What to buy in the markets of Varanasi? Though there are many things to purchase for religious or nonreligious purposes, Banarasi saree is a must buy. The Banarasi saree is famous all over India. It sells at a higher price in the bustling shopping area near the Vishwanath Temple. So make sure to get it at reasonable prices in any other market.
Don’t miss a visit to the cremation sites or burning ghats of Varanasi where you can experience a concrete picture of the Hindu philosophy of life and death on earth. Human corpses are ceremonially cremated on the Manikarnika Ghat and the Harishchandra Ghat in central Varanasi. According to the philosophy, if a person is cremated here after death, his body goes back to earth and the soul journeys to the heaven.
Ganga Dussehra and Ganga Mahotsav are the greatest and most spectacular festivals of Varanasi. The Ganga Dussehra Festival will commence on June 8 this year and continue for 10 days in Varanasi, Haridwar and Rishikesh. Check our previous post on the Ganga Dussehra Festival to know more.