Things To Do in Varanasi: Engaging Activities for A Wholesome Experience
All The Things To Do In Varanasi To Have A Happening And Enjoyable Time In The Holy City
When most people think of Varanasi, they think of temples and religion. And while religion is a huge part of the culture, there are so many best things to do in Varanasi apart from that. You can do so many activities to make you stay amusing and enjoyable.
And not all of these activities involve a religious aspect, so they are enjoyable for most people. So let us take a look at Varanasi things to do. We have also added information on where, when, and how to do these activities.
Discover Top Things to do in Varanasi
Boat riding is a no-brainer in Varanasi as you get to admire the view of the Ganges. There are two main types of boat rides to enjoy- morning boating and evening boating. The morning rides are during very early hours to witness the morning aarti or the sunrise.
On the other hand, the evening boat rides also help you witness the evening aarti from the Ganges. It is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Varanasi due to the stunning views and one-of-a-kind experience.
Address/ Location: Assi Ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat, or most other ghats
Price: Ranging from 100-1000 rupees per person
Timings: 5-7 am during the sunrise or 5-7 pm during Ganga Aarti
Locals’ Tips: Travel to the isle across the ghats to enjoy the sandy land with a unique charm
Evening Ganga Aarti
The Evening Aarti is a majestic event in Varanasi, which is a must-watch program. The Aarti is when trained disciples extend a prayer to the lord through elaborate steps. It involves multiple chants, rituals, and other activities.
It is enchanting as the show is something you may not see anywhere else. When the lights of the lamps reflect on the water, people gather together to witness it. It is an emotional and cultural experience as much as it is religious.
Address/ Location: Dashashwamedh Ghat or Assi Ghat
Price: Free entry; you must pay if you want to witness it from the boat
Timings: 6:30-7 pm
Locals’ Tips: Come half an hour earlier to sit as the crowds are overwhelming during the Aarti
A Trip to The Weaver’s Village
Banarasi Sarees are among the most popular items that the world relates to the city. The sarees are luxurious and colorful, but their best feature is that most are handmade. And you can even visit Weaver’s village in the city to see how.
You can see many Banarasi weavers working on their pieces, and a watch a saree come to life. It is captivating to see the intricate detailing and sheer effort it takes to craft something so precious.
Address/ Location: Sarai Mohana; Lallapura
Price: Free entry; the price of sarees varies greatly
Timings: 10 am to 7 pm (estimates for the timing)
Locals’ Tips: If you wish to buy sarees, you can ask here to get great deals on otherwise expensive pieces
Visiting Various Ghats
Even apart from boating or watching the Aarti, the Ghats have many purposes. The Ghats are ancient architectural forms still kept protected to this day. You can witness their uniqueness and beauty as you walk through each one.
Some are renovated tourist places in Varanasi, while others give the old sentiment to the viewer. You can venture into the Ghats one by one to look at Varanasi’s culture up close.
Address/ Location: Starting from Assi/ Raj Ghat
Timings: Preferably mornings or afternoons
Locals’ Tips: Start at Assi or Dashashwamedh and walk across the Ghats till you reach the other
Going to Sarnath is one of the best things to do in Varanasi for many reasons. You may know Sarnath from Buddhist history. It is indeed the place where Lord Buddha first taught his disciples through a sermon.
The area is full of lush greenery, beautiful monuments, and temples. Sarnath has many temples like a Buddhist temple, a Japanese shrine, etc.
Address/ Location: Sarnath, Varanasi
Price: Free exploration
Timings: 9 am to 9 pm
Locals’ Tips: Visit the Dhamekh Stupa and the Deer Park to enjoy Sarnath’s true beauty
Devouring Street Food
Street food in Varanasi is unbeatable, as it is perhaps some of the best in the world. The people are experts in creating flavor-packed food you can have on the go. And it is perfect for times when you are hungry from all the exploration.
So, one of the most recommended things to do in Varanasi is to try the local cuisine. Thankfully, you can find vendors on every other street serving the best food. And these items are super affordable yet filling meals to enjoy.
Address/ Location: Kachaudi Gali, Lanka, etc.
Price: Dishes starting from 5 rupees
Timings: 5 am to 10 pm
Locals’ Tips: Try to find the most popular vendor with history to ensure high-quality and taste
Shopping On the Streets
While watching Banarasi Sarees be made is satisfying, it is even more fun to wear one. If you visit the city, you would want to take some souvenirs home. So, you can go out for a fun day of shopping in the streets for one of the best things to do in Varanasi.
Though you can find branded stores, you can give local artisans a shot. You can venture through one of the many shopping spots in Varanasi. There you will find beautifully hand-crafted items at reasonable rates.
Address/ Location: Godowlia, Chowk, Dal Mandi, etc.
Price: Items starting from 5-10 rupees
Timings: 10 am to 9 pm
Locals’ Tips: Try and negotiate a better deal with the shopkeeper for a possible discount
Exploring Ancient Temples
Temples like the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi are tranquil locations. The city has hundreds of temples famous and is relatively unknown to the public. And though they are Hindu temples, each possesses a unique flair to it.
You can visit at least a few popular temples to see their general designs and culture. You will see how the people of the city come together to pray to the gods in the sacred spots.
Address/ Location: Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varahi Temple, Kaal Bhairav Temple, etc.
Price: Free entry
Timings: Depends on the temple you will visit
Locals’ Tips: Try to wear traditional attire to blend in better with the Varanasi crowds
Hot Air Balloon Ride
One of the most unique things to do in Varanasi is undoubtedly trying the hot air balloon ride. This activity is a recent addition and was only introduced last year. But despite being younger than the other, it may be the most exciting activity on the list.
In 2021, it was a three-day event, but the government is planning on making it permanent. Since the people loved the experience so much, we can expect it to become regular in the future.
Address/ Location: Domri Raj Ghat
Price: 500 rupees per person
Witnessing The Subah-E-Banaras
You must have heard of many musical events in Varanasi, one of which is Subah-e-Banaras. The program takes place on the Assi Ghat after the morning of Aarti. The program involves many artists performing their art forms on stage.
It is one of the best things to do in Varanasi to experience the true culture. The program takes place early and involves singing, dancing, acting, and other performing arts.
Address/ Location: Assi Ghat
Price: Free entry
Timings: 5-7 am
Locals’ Tips: Like the Aarti, you should come earlier than the start of the show to grab the best seats
Taking A Dip in The Ganges
This activity may seem daunting to some people, but if you’re religious you’ll understand the sentiment. The Ganges River plays a crucial part in Hindu mythology. People firmly believe that it clears away all sins and purifies us as humans.
So, taking a bath is one of the first things to do in Varanasi for many people. Many south Indian visitors come to the city to take a dip.
Address/ Location: Any ghat like Assi Ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat, etc.
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset
Locals’ Tips: If you’re bathing in the water, dip your head under for a few seconds at least once
Venturing to The City’s Outskirts
Varanasi is undoubtedly popular, but the vicinity also has many underrated tourist locations. For example, you can find the Devdari and Lakhaniya Dari waterfalls just a drive away from the city.
But most people do not know about these as they are not as mainstream as people think. They still make lovely places to interact with nature. So, you can check out the outskirt wonders like the waterfalls if you’re staying for longer.
Address/ Location: Lakhaniya Dari Waterfalls, Chunar Fort, etc.
Price: Free entry
Timings: Preferably 8 am to 8 pm
Locals’ Tips: If you did not come with a car, rent a taxi to reach the location comfortably
Celebrating Local Festivals
Fests and celebrations are a big part of Kashi’s culture. It is one of the most significant things to do in Varanasi, even for the locals. It means a time people can get together and share stories, have good food, and spend quality time.
And fortunately, the city has hundreds of local festivals. So, no matter which season or time you are visiting, you will be able to find some fest. Then all you need to do is become part of the crowd in traditional attire and enjoy your time with the community.
Address/ Location: Depends on the festival
Price: Free entry
Timings: Depends on the festival
Locals’ Tips: Wear traditional attire to blend in better and be ready to face huge crowds as the venues get swarmed
Witnessing History Through Monuments
Varanasi may not have hundreds of monuments, but it has a few significant ones. Places like the Ramnagar Fort or Dhamekh Stupa hold an essence of Varanasi’s history. And being one of the oldest cities in the world, such history is especially precious.
So, you can visit a few popular monuments in Varanasi to appreciate their style of architecture. You can even learn about these places and how they endured through the years to still be here.
Address/ Location: Ramnagar Fort, Dhamekh Stupa, Rajghat Fort, etc.
Price: Free entry
Timings: Depends on the monument you visit
Locals’ Tips: Explore the ancient monuments and also visit the museum to understand more about the history
We have seen so many things to do in Varanasi through this article. And though there are so many more things to mention, it would take us tens of blogs to mention them all. All of these and other activities can help you understand the city a little better.
With the location and timing information, we hope that you can navigate your way through these activities. And even if you’re in the city for a short time, try to catch a boat ride. You can even have some delicious golgappas to get an authentic experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best things to do in Varanasi?
The city has many experiences to offer, like boat riding, Aartis, musical programs, etc. But it mostly depends on which type of activities you prefer most while traveling. For example, if you’re a shopaholic, you’ll love browsing through the Godowlia shops.
When is the best time to go boating in Varanasi?
The best time for boating in the Ganges would be either mornings or evenings. Watching the sunrise in a boat in the middle of the river is majestic. But so is witnessing the evening Ganga Aarti.
Are shops open at night in Varanasi?
Some shops remain open till the later hours in the city, but it is not common. The people here are early sleepers and early risers, so most shops close after 9 or 10 pm. It is best to visit before to get most options in the shops.