13 Best Places to Visit in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Best Places to Visit in Varanasi

The Sacred City of Varanasi has been captivating the hearts of Pilgrims for centuries. Here the soul of India is eternally carved in history, traditions, and legends. Here time seems to stand still on the banks of the holy Ganges which beautifully showcases the essence of Varanasi. It is more than just a city. The beauty of Varanasi is very difficult to express in words. It is one of the most popular spiritual destinations in India.

As you wander through the narrow lanes of Varanasi, you will witness beautiful ancient temples whispering the life and times of various gods and goddesses through intricate carvings. The bustling markets of Varanasi will take your breath away with amazing delicacies, aroma of spices, and beautiful handicrafts.

The Ganga Aarti, rhythmic chants of priests, the soothing sound of temple bells, prayers of the devotees, centuries-old- rituals, and gentle lapping of sacred waters illuminate the river banks with bliss. Varanasi is a treasure trove of light, devotion, art, music, cuisines, and creativity. The delightful chaos of Varanasi lures every wanderer to visit here to cherish the divine vibes. Every wanderer must visit Varanasi once in their lifetime.

Varanasi at Glance

Varanasi Nickname City of Light, Kashi, Avimukta, and Mahashmashana
Varanasi Famous Tourism Highlights Temples, Sarees, Textiles, Metal Work, Clay and woodwork, and beautiful fiber crafts
Languages Spoken in Varanasi Hindi, Bhojpuri
Famous Temples of Varanasi Vishwanath Khand, Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple, Annapurna Temple, Bharat Mata Temple, Durga Mandir, Kal Bhairava Mandir, Sakat Mochan Mandir, Parsvanath Temple,
Best Things to Do in Varanasi River Cruises, Ganga Ghat Darshan, Shopping, Subah-e Banaras (Sunrise) Ganga Mahotsav, Music walks,
Popular Cuisines of Varanasi Lassi, Baati Chokha, Kachori, Chaat, Banarasi Paan etc.

Here is a detailed list of 13 Must Visit Places in Varanasi

  • Assi Ghat
  • Banaras Hindu University
  • Dashashwamedh Ghat
  • Harish Chandra Ghat
  • Ramnagar Fort
  • Manikarnika Ghat
  • Vishwanath Mandir
  • Kal Bhairava Temple
  • Durga Mandir
  • Tulsi Manas Mandir
  • Sankat Mochan Mandir
  • Parshwanath Jain Temple
  • Bharat Mata Temple

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Assi Ghat

Aarti Assi Ghat Varanasi

Assi Ghat is one of the most popular Ghats in Varanasi. If you are planning to visit Varanasi then you must start your day by indulging in fun-filled boating rides, yoga sessions, and devotional music.  The serenity of Assi Ghat will take your breath away. It is one of the most prominent places for Hindu devotees. It is a place where the river Ganga meets the sacred river Assi.  Another legend states that after killing demons Shumba Nishumba Ma Durga threw her sword in the Assi river. This is the reason why this ghat has been named Assi. The sacred evening Aarti makes the Ghat alive with light and divine vibes.

Also Read: Popular Hindu Pilgrimage Tours in India

Banaras Hindu University

Banaras Hindu University Varanasi

Welcome to one of the oldest universities in India- Banaras Hindu University. It was established in 1916 by a visionary Nationalist Leader Madan Mohan Malviya. It is a very important place to explore in Varanasi If you are interested in the history of India’s education system, freedom fighters, scholars, artists, and scientists. The campus of BHU is also popular for its marvelous architecture. It has several beautiful architectural buildings. The intricate designs of buildings, wide streets, well-maintained roads, airstrip, a large temple, and serene and dense green cover create a visually captivating experience for the tourists.

One should also visit a museum which is located in BHU premises called Bharat Kala Bhawan. The museum will amaze your curious mind with historical displays, miniature paintings, informative archives, sculptures, and amazing palm-leaf manuscripts. The entire campus is much more than an academic institution. It lures tourists with amazing architectural, cultural, historical, and recreational experiences.

Also Read: Top Spiritual Places to Visit in India

Dashashwamedh Ghat

Dashashwamedh Ghat Varanasi

Bliss of Varanasi tourism is in its sacred Ghats. Dashashwamedh Ghat is one of the most popular attractions to visit in Varanasi. It is an important cultural landmark and religious attraction that lures devotees across India.

The entire area around Dashashwamedh Ghat dances in the rhythm of devotion. It is very close to the iconic Vishwanath Mandir. The name Dashashwamedh means- ‘Ghat of ten sacrificed horses’ in Sanskrit. It is a place where Lord Brahma sacrificed ten horses. The bustling atmosphere of Dashashwamedh Ghat especially during the Ganga Aarti ceremony delights the heart and rejuvenates the soul. A large crowd of devotees gather at this ghat to embrace sacred solace. It’s a beautiful spectacle of light and sounds.

Also Read: Top Religious Places to Visit in India for the Perfect Divine Experiences

Ramnagar Fort

Ramnagar Fort Varanasi

Overlooking the Ganges from its eastern bank perched on the opposite side of Tulsi Ghat, Ramnagar Fort is the landmark destination of Varanasi. Built in the 18th century by Maharaja Balwant Singh, this Mughal architecture landmark is the most remarkable example of the Mughal era. It’s much more than a fort, it’s a piece of history and culture which was at one time, the ancestral home of Banaras Maharaja. Visitors get the opportunity to visit the ancient Ved Vyasa temple, pray at the famous Lord Hanuman temple, and know the rich heritage of the place with the on-site museum.

The palace houses royal treasures including antique scripts, ancient pieces of furniture, and even old guns from Burma and Japan. Don’t miss the unique astronomical clock, which unveils the celestial details under a microscopic view. On the other hand, during Ram Lila, the spectacular enactments of episodes of Ramayana can be seen which are held annually in the month of October-November. No doubt, it is one of the best places to check out for those who are interested in a profound exploration of Varanasi’s history and culture.

Also Read: Badrinath Kedarnath Yatra Travel Guide

Manikarnika Ghat

Manikarnika Ghat Varanasi

This is one of the holiest ghats for Hindu devotees as it is one of the most visited places in Varanasi. This ghat of Varanasi is located between the Scindia Ghat and the Dashashwamedh Ghat. There is a great religious significance to this ghat. It is said that the sacred waters of this ghat are believed to be dug by Lord Vishnu to bathe Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti. There is a well called the Manikarnika well.

It is believed that when Goddess Parvati’s earring fell, it created Manikarnika Well. According to a legend, it is a place where Lord Shiva carried the corpse of his wife Goddess Shakti and to prevent cosmic destruction, Lord Vishnu used his Chakra to make the body parts of her fall. It is a must-visit ghat for all the spiritual seekers, history seekers, and other visitors to see the rich spiritual heritage of Varanasi.

Also Read: Best Religious Places to Visit in Uttarakhand

Kashi Vishwanath Mandir

Varanasi- Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Kashi Vishwanath is among the most visited religious landmarks in Varanasi. It is popularly referred to as the Vishwanath Mandir. On one hand, it is a specific spot for the Hindu devotees as they worship Lord Shiva.  This is also known as the Golden Temple because the structure has plenty of gold.

It was in 1780, that Queen Ahilya Bai Holkar gave it its present-day shape, and the tall gold spire and dome were added by the ruler of Punjab, Ranjeet Singh in 1839. The main temple has a surrounding of several smaller temples including narrow lanes with shops selling things like sweetmeats, betel leaves, crafts as well as souvenirs.

You are allowed the temple from 4 am to 11 pm. nearby there is Annapurna Devi Temple dedicated to the Goddess of food and Dundiraj Vinayak Temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha which you must visit after Lord Vishwanath Temple for divine blessings.

By the local tale, the shrine was concealed in the depths of the well to secure it from invaders and the neighboring saint from the temple leaped in to prevent the desecration.

Numerous stories in Hindu mythology refer to this temple. There’s also a well called Jnana Vapi or wisdom well on the temple grounds. Legends have it that several saints came here to reportedly have a look at this fantabulous shrine and take a bath in the blessed waters of the river Ganges.

Also Read: Best Places to Visit in Rishikesh

Kal Bhairava Temple

Kal Bhairav Temple Varanasi

The Kaal Bhairav Temple is the famous temple of one of the several forms of Lord Shiva which is located in Vishweshwarganj. In addition to Varanasi’s nine temples to Bhairav, there are also several other temples to the deity. Bhairava also happens to be known as Bhaironath. This temple lies nearly 1 kilometer to the east of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

Kaal Bhairav is a protector of the city of Varanasi. It is said that he protects the city from any evil. Here, even the grave sin of killing Brahmin doesn’t count when Kalbhairava is taken into consideration. The Kapalamochana teertham in Varanasi is an important locus of worship of Kalbhairav. The temple of Kaal Bhairav is thought to be a must-visit for any pilgrim wanting to complete their Varanasi pilgrimage.

Also Read: Chardham Yatra Travel Guide

Durga Mandir

Durga Mandir Varanasi

Except for the Kund of Durga, there is a sacred Durga Temple closer to it, in Varanasi. It was constructed during the 18th century and is a sacred temple for the goddess Durga. The temple was constructed by Rani Bhabani of Natore. She was the queen of Bengal.

There is an interesting story about the idol of Goddess Durga in this temple. It is said that the idol wasn’t created by anyone, but it just appeared on its own. This temple is vital for Hindu devotees because they believe that visiting it helps protect them from various adversities. It is also known as the Monkey temple as there are so many monkeys on the premises of the temple. It is one of the best places in Varanasi for spiritual bliss.

Also Read: Panch Kailash Yatra

Tulsi Manas Mandir

Tulsi Manas Mandir

The Tulsi Manas Mandir is the most popular temple in Varanasi. This place is extremely important in the history of Hinduism because one of the most famous Hindu poet-saints Goswami Tulsidas wrote the ancient Hindu script Ramcharitmanas here in the 16th century (around 1532–1623).

Ramcharitmanasa translation helped people who couldn’t read Sanskrit (the primary old language) to get familiar with Ramayana’s ancient epic. Before Ramcharitmanas, lord Ram was a great king, but this epic raised him to the stature of a deity and a god. The temple was inaugurated by no other than Dr. S. Radhakrishnan (then president of the country).

Also Read: Panch Kedar Yatra Travel Guide

Sankat Mochan Mandir

Sankat Mochan Mandir Varanasi

Shri Sankat Mochan Mandir is one of the most revered temples in Varanasi, India. People of different faiths come to pray to the Hindu deity Lord Hanuman. The whole sanctum was built by an eminent saint and writer Goswami Tulsidas in the 16th century. For people who want a calm place away from daily events, the temple is a very peaceful surrounding, to fine-tune their spirits. This place is very special for the locals as it allows them to relax and pray to Lord Hanuman.

Also Read: Yamunotri Yatra Travel Guide

Parshavnath Jain Temple

Parshwanath Jain Temple Varanasi

Not very far from Varanasi, is Shri Parshavnath Jain Temple one of the most popular spiritual attractions to visit in Varanasi. You will see two Jain temples next to each other- one for Parsvnath in the Digambar tradition and the other in the Shwetambar tradition. The Shri Parshwanath Digambar Jain Tirtha Kshetra in Bhelupur is not far from Banaras Hindu University, about three kilometers away, and about four kilometers from Banaras Cantonment.

There are two Jain temples next to each other—one for Parshvnath in the Digambar tradition and the other in the Shwetambar tradition. The color of the idol in Digamber temple is black and it is 75 cm tall. The color of an idol in Shwetambar temple is white and the idol is 60 cm tall. The temple opens between 12 pm and 9 pm. The best time to visit is during the first week of January.

Also Read: Gangotri Yatra Travel Guide

Bharat Mata Temple

Bharat Mata Temple Varanasi

You must explore Bharat Mata Mandir in Varanasi which is not dedicated to any other god but to India itself. Located in the Kashi Vidyapeeth campus, it is one of the most popular places to visit in Varanasi. Instead of an idol, there is a big map of India made of white marble brought from Makrana. You will be amazed to see the marvelous architecture of this temple.  The temple is supported by five pillars, which represent five elements of nature – Earth, Wind, Fire, Sky, and Water. If you’re looking for something different and exciting the Bharat Mata Temple is one of the best places to visit in Varanasi.

Also Read: Shri Badrinath Dham Yatra Travel Guide

Harish Chandra Ghat

Another prominent Ghat and most popular spiritual attraction, Harish Chandra Ghat showcases timeless traditions and rituals that have been practiced along the sacred banks of river Ganges for decades. Your sightseeing in Varanasi will be delightful if you visit this mesmerizing Ghat. It is also known as Adi Manikarnika. The ghat is renowned for cremation ceremonies. Hindus believe that if they cremate their loved ones here, they will get Moksha (salvation).

The Ghat has been named after a mythological king Harish Chandra who is famous for his virtue of truthfulness and integrity. In his lifetime he underwent immense hardships to uphold principles of truthfulness and made sacrifices for the well-being of his kingdom and family. Indeed, it is one of the best places to see the spiritual heritage of Varanasi.

Also Read: Famous Temples to Visit in India

Varanasi’s rich spiritual significance, cultural heritage, and vibrant atmosphere make this place a delight for self-introspection. People from all walks of life visit Varanasi to revel in the charms of its ancient streets, to get lost in the mythological stories, and to feel the bliss tranquil Ganges embrace.

Popular Varanasi Religious Tour Packages<

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