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Hotels in Varanasi
वाराणसी
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Visit Varanasi 

Varanasi  वाराणसी, also commonly known as Benares or Banaras  बनारस, and Kashi  काशी,  is a city situated on the left (west) bank of the River Ganga (Ganges) in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, regarded as holy by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and probably the oldest of India.

The Kashi Naresh (Maharaja of Kashi) is the chief cultural patron of Varanasi and an essential part of all religious celebrations. The culture of Varanasi is closely associated with the River Ganges and the river's religious importance. The city has been a cultural and religious centre in North India for several thousand years. The Benares Gharana form of Indian classical music developed in Varanasi, and many prominent Indian philosophers, poets, writers, and musicians resided or reside in Varanasi, including Kabir, Ravidas Their Guru Swami Ramanand, Trailanga Swami, Munshi Premchand, Jaishankar Prasad, Acharya Shukla, Ravi Shankar, Girija Devi, Hariprasad Chaurasia, and Bismillah Khan. Tulsidas wrote his Ramacharitamanas there, and Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath near Kashi.


 

How to go Varanasi?

By train

Trains are the easiest way to reach Varanasi, with multiple daily services to cities including Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Mumbai and Kolkata.

Varanasi is served by two major railway stations. Many trains arrive at Varanasi Junction (IR station code : BSB) in the heart of the city, and many others arrive at Mughal Sarai Junction (IR station code : MGS), about 15 km east of the city (Rs 20, 45 min in a rickshaw).

Here is a list of useful trains to reach Varanasi:

By bus

There are daily buses to the Nepali border and other points around northern India. Local buses leave from the main bus station near the train station, almost every hour in the morning and one in the evening, to Gorakhpur (5-6 hrs, Rs 120), from where buses leave to the Nepali border at Sonauli (~3 hrs, Rs 56).

There are buses run by state government from Lucknow (8hrs), Kanpur (9hrs - Rs. 195) and Allahabad(3hrs - Rs. 88)

By plane

Varanasi Airport (IATA: VNS) is about 25km from the city center. Indian Airlines , Air Sahara , Jet Airways , Kingfisher  and SpiceJet  all have daily flights to Delhi and there are daily flights to Mumbai on Air Sahara ,Indian Airlines and SpiceJet.

Allow plenty of time to get to the airport, it can take an hour or more depending on traffic. A taxi should run around Rs 200-250 or about Rs 125 in an auto-rickshaw, but most drivers will want to charge double since they will likely be coming back empty. If it suits your schedule there is a daily bus at 10AM that leaves from Hotel India and costs Rs 50.

Get around - Sightseeing

Many of the sights are in the tiny narrow winding alleys of the waterfront. Rickshaws are only useful for longer trips across town or to the train stations. A cycle-rickshaw from the Junction train station to Dasaswamedh Ghat (or Godaulia if the road is closed) should cost Rs 20. From Godaulia to Assi Ghat is Rs 10. Taxis exist but traffic makes them impractical. There is a pre-paid auto-rickshaw stand at the Varanasi Junction (Cantt) train station.

By foot is the only way to see the waterfront and the ghats but be ready to be hot, sweaty, and lost - locals are usually happy to point you in the right direction. The names of ghats and signs pointing to restaurants and hotels are often painted on the walls in Roman letters. For better orientation, walk into any book store and pick up a small guide/map book that will have the list of all the ghats and their historical background.

By car

There are many car rental companies available.

Sightseeing

Varanasi is not a city with distinct tourist destinations as such: instead, the experience is in watching the spectacle of life and death on the river and meandering through the alleys of the old city.

* Vishwanath Temple - also known as the Golden Temple, security is tight making entrance difficult and sometimes completely off limits to foreigners. No bags, cellphones or pens are allowed. They can be deposited in the shops by the temple entrance. The temple was destroyed multiple times by Mughal invaders and was re-constructed by Hindu kings who followed them.

* Kaal Bhairav Temple - is the temple for Kaal Bhairav - a dreadful form of Lord Shiva symbolizing death. Its a tradition to buy black threads (costs about Rs. 15 per 50 threads as of Sep 2009), keep it in the shrine and then wear it on the arm, wrist or around the neck as a protection against evil forces.

* Nepali Hindu Temple - A small golden temple, built in Nepali architecture, near Lalita Ghat

* Alamagir Mosque - overlooking Panchganga Ghat, it's a great place for a bird's eye view of the area.

* Man Mandir Observatory

* Tulsi Manas Temple

* Durga Temple

* Banaras Hindu University - a very green and peaceful campus. Few actually know that this University was built during Indian freedom struggle and is known as Oxford of the East. This is the largest residential university of Asia, having approx. 124 independent departments. You also visit Bharat Kala Bhavan, a museum of Art and Archeology inside university. There is also a Vishwanath Temple bulit by Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya.

* Ram Nagar Fort - the fort of the King of Kashi

* Gowdi Matha Temple - The devi at this temple is supposed to be the sister of the lord Kashi Vishwanath. Its a tradition to visit her just before you leave Kashi. You buy sea shells at this place and offer them to the God saying that the virtues of donating the shells goes to her while you keep the virtues of having visited the holy shrines in Kashi and bathing in the ganges. The trip to Kashi is expected to yield results only after completing this custom.

Ghats

While the use of ghats for cremation is well known, they are also used to give last rites to those who do not need cleansing by fire to purify their soul, including young children and pregnant women. Instead, their bodies are wrapped in cloth, weighted with stones and deposited into the Ganges. However, it is fairly common for the ropes to give way, resulting in putrefying corpses washing up on the east shore across from the city. Steer clear if squemish.

A ghat is a series of steps leading down to the river, used by bathers and pilgrims, and riverside Varanasi consists of a long sequence of these. It's generally possible to walk directly between them, though near Manikarnika Ghat you'll have to navigate your way up and around through the alleyways. The best option for viewing the ghats is to charter a boat and see them from the river.

Hindus consider it auspicious to die in Varanasi, so some ghats are known as burning ghats, where bodies are cremated (in full view) before their ashes are placed in the Ganges.

Some of the main ghats, from north to south:

* Narad Ghat - the ghat on which bathing with spouse is not advised because the myth of contention
* Panchganga Ghat - the meeting of the five rivers
* Manikarnika Ghat - the main cremation ghat; a must-see, but remain quiet and never take photographs
* Dasaswamedh Ghat - the main ghat and site of the large evening aarti; only reachable by foot at some times of day, about a 5 minute walk south from Godaulia
* Rana Ghat
* Kedar Ghat - brightly painted in stripes and busy with bathers, very photogenic
* Harishchandra Ghat - the cremation place were Raja Harishchandra did the last rituals of his son.
* Hanuman Ghat
* Shivala Ghat
* Tulsi Ghat - site of the large water purification plant
* Assi Ghat - a popular place to stay with many hotels, restaurants and internet cafes

Place to sleep - Hotels in Varanasi.

Varanasi Hotels by surrounding cities, local city and area:- Dharmarajika Stupa *** Durga Temple *** Kashi Vishwanath Temple *** Sarlath Museum *** Marnikanika Ghat *** Banaras Hindu University *** Ramnagar Fort *** Asi Ghat *** Dashaswamedh Ghat *** Harishchandra Ghat *** New Vishwanatha Temple *** Tulsi Ghat *** Hanuman Ghat *** Bharat Mata *** Mulagandha Kuti Vihara Monastery *** Vishwanatha Temple