Hotels in 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?
Trains are the easiest way to reach Varanasi, with multiple daily
services to cities including Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Mumbai and
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
Here is a list of useful trains to reach Varanasi:
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)
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.
There are many car rental companies available.
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
* 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.
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,
* 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
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 ***