Travelsnapz

The Fascination of Varanassi, India

Varanassi will entrance you,. Whether you come on a pilgimage, or as a tourist, the sights, sounds and experiences of this northern Indian city will live in your memory.

A boat on the Ganges River in Varanassi at sunrise
A boat on the Ganges River in Varanassi at sunrise

Where in the world are we?

Varanassi is a city in Northern India located on the banks of the Ganges River.

It is one of the holiest cities in Hinduism – people come here to pray, some to die. It is also an important pilgimage site for Buddhists and Jains.

The city is known for its ghats, the steps that lead down to the river, where people come to bathe in the sacred waters of the Ganges.
Varanasi is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities.

There is plenty of tourist accommodation. WE simply picked ours out of our trusty Lonely Planet guidebook.

A wall in Varanassi showing a poster for the movie "Slum Dog Millionaire"
A wall in Varanassi showing a poster for the movie "Slum Dog Millionaire"
The famous steps that line the Ganges at Varanassi.
The famous steps that line the Ganges at Varanassi.
A weaver sits at work weaving a cloth. Varanassi is a major centre for the textile and handicraft industries.
A weaver sits at work weaving a cloth. Varanassi is a major centre for the textile and handicraft industries.

Varanassi has a rich cultural heritage and is a major centre for the textile and handicraft industries. We visited several production houses and a silk weaving factory. We also spent some time at the Bandaras Hindu University, one of the largest residential universities in Asia.

A group of women in a ritual bathing in the Ganges River.
A group of women in a ritual bathing in the Ganges River. Just one of the fascinating sights you'll witness in Varanassi.
Silk production and weaving is an important industry in Varanassi.
Silk production and weaving is an important industry in Varanassi. Here a worker displays a bedspread made from silk squares.
Two young kids do the family washing on the bank of the Ganges River.
Two young kids do the family washing on the bank of the Ganges River.

Visiting Varanassi

The best thing we did in Varanassi was to take an early morning boat ride on the Ganges River. Just us and the boatman drifting beside the ghats. We really saw life as it is lived in Varanassi as it drifted into view through the early morning mist.

A man washing his clothing, a group of women taking a ceremonial bath, the funeral pyres smoking away, a couple of kids doing their family chores, people sitting by the celebrated river contemplating and praying to their God as they have done for centuries.

It was also interesting just wandering the streets. There are regular performances down on the ghats at night – well worth a visit.

 

Buildings line part of the bank of the Ganges at Varanassi. Some of these are hostels where people come to prepare for their death.
Buildings line part of the bank of the Ganges at Varanassi. Some of these are hostels where people come to prepare for their death.

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Travelsnapz is a collection of photos and stories from around the world designed for your enjoyment.

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