Varanasi is also known as Banaras, and it is located on the banks of the Holy Ganga. It is a sacred place for practicing Hinduism and Buddhism. Varanasi goes by the name of the city of temples. It is believed to be the holiest and ancient city in India. There are approximately 2 million temples in India, and more than 20000 temples are in Varanasi. There are mandirs in every corner of the town. The more you roam around the city, the more temples you will discover, and other places to visit in Varanasi.
A tourist cannot visit all the Temples and ghats in Varanasi in a short time. Though most of the places in Varanasi are beautiful and holy, if you have a short time, you might not want to miss visiting some of the most famous ones. To make it easier for you to plan your Varanasi trip, we have come up with 30 places to visit in Varanasi.
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Top 30 Places to Visit in Varanasi, India
1. Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Our first pick for places to visit in Varanasi is Kashi Vishwanath Temple. This temple is also known as the Golden temple. This temple has been demolished and rebuilt several times. Ahilya Bai built the current structure in 1780. It is the most famous temple in Varanasi. Inside the temple, you will find Jyotirlinga of Shiva. This Jyotirlinga plays a vital role in the history of India, and it has a spiritual significance for the Hindus. Every Hindu wants to visit this temple at least once in their lifetime. It is situated on the western bank of Ganga.
2. New Vishwanath Temple
After the Kashi Vishwanath temple was destroyed several times, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya suggested replicating Kashi Viswanath Temple inside the Benaras Hindu school. It took more than 30 years to build this temple. It is made of Marble, and the height of this temple makes it one of the tallest Temple in Asia. This temple is dedicated to Shiva, but there are also 9 more temples inside this temple. And everyone is allowed to enter. Even if you are from another religion, you can enter the temple and enjoy the beauty of this temple.
3. Tulsi Manas Mandir
This mandir was named after the philosopher Tulsidas. The Hindu saint Goswami Tulsidas wrote the famous Ramcharitmanas in this place. Ramcharitmanas is the Hindi version of Ramayan. In the honor of Saint Goswami and Ramcharitmanas, the Sureka family built a temple here. The beautiful temple is of white marble and many other expensive stones collected from different parts of India. Ramayan is a sacred book for Hindus, but the epic is so famous that non-Hindus also know the story. This is one of the reasons why so many people visit this mandir year.
4. Chunar Fort
King Sahadeo built this fort in the 11th century. The height of this fort is 280 feet. Everyone can visit this historical place. It remains open 7 days a week, and there is no entry fee. From King Ujjain to British, this fort has seen it all. Before the independence, Chunar fort was captured by the British. At first, they used this fort as a weapon storage area, then they turned it into their headquarters, and after that, as a prison. The whole structure is made of Sandstone. This beautiful fort has its own glorious history. This is one of the best places to visit in Varanasi for those who like historic things.
5. Kathwala Temple
Kathwala mandir or Nepali Mandir is one of the oldest Mandir in Varanasi. A Nepali King this Shiva Mandir in the 19th century. The Pashupatinath Mandir inspired the structure of this mandir. This is a Nepali style mandir. From outside, it is hard to understand it is a shiv mandir. The design and architecture of this temple are unique to any other temples of Varanasi. The body is made of terracotta and wood. The carving on the wood is so precise that it is impossible to create the same exact design even with modern equipment. It took more than 35 years to complete this temple. This architectural work worth a visit.
6. Monkey Temple
The monkey temple or the Durga Kund Mandir is one of the significant mandirs of India. The history of this mandir is as impressive as the design of this mandir. It is believed that the idol of Durga, the goddess of war, was not built by anyone. It just appeared out of nowhere. Durga Mata’s devotees believe that the goddess has been protecting this holy city since the beginning of time. The queen of Bengal built this mandir in the 18th century. The color of the structure was inspired by the color of the idol. Which is red. The color red reflects the radiance, anger, and rage of the goddess Durga.
7. Alamgir Mosque
The residents of Banaras believe when Aurangzeb visited Banaras, there was a temple in this place, and he performed namaz here. He liked this place so much that he took this place from the Hindu Maharaj and built a mosque here. He named the mosque after his adopted name, “Alamgir.” The design of this mosque represents the style of both Islamic and Hindu architecture. It is not unusual to find beautiful mosques in the city of Temples, Varanasi. To protect this mosque from any kind of damage, it remains locked. If you are a non-Muslim, you might not go inside the mosque. Moreover, the main entrance is open to all. It is one of the best places to visit in Varanasi
8. Manikarnika Ghat
Cremation is one of the most essential parts of every Hindu. After their death, they cremate their bodies. Death is the pathway to the next life. And your karma of previous life decides where your soul will go in your future life. To free and bring the soul closer to moksha, Hindus place the ashes of their body in the Ganga river. Manikarnika Ghat is one of the oldest and holiest ghats in Varanasi. Hindus from all over the world prefer to spend their last days roaming around this ghat to find peace and have a painless death. If you ever visit this place, you might meet some fascinating humans wrapped in white cloth.
9. Lakhaniya Dari Waterfall
If you need a break from all the temples and ghats of Varanasi and want to visit somewhere near nature, you must visit the Lakhaniya Dari waterfall. It is a chaos free place to visit in a group. If you love trekking, you might already hear about this place. The perfect time to visit this place is in the monsoon. The water level rises, and the waterfall looks more pretty than usual. It is an ideal place to visit with your family and friends away from the city.
10. Dhamek Stupa
It is located in Sarnath city. It is believed that this is the place where the first 5 Brahmin disciples received their first sermon from Buddha. The height of this structure is 143.5 feet. This makes it one of the tallest structures in that area. The emperor Ashoka built Dhamek Stupa in 249 BCE. It is one of the most sacred places for Buddhists. Monks from all around the world visit this place and stroll around the Stupa. They come here to worship Buddha. And other tourists visit this place to see the beauty in the simplicity of Buddhist architecture. It is a cylinder-shaped structure, which is made of red brick. There is no detail work on the walls or on the floors. Still, this simple Stupa has its own beauty.
11. Dargah E Fatman
In Varanasi, Muslims are the minority. The percentage of Muslims in Varanasi district is about 18%. You might think there are only temples and ghats in this holy city of Hindus. But since the beginning, all the residents of this city are living in harmony. Sometimes they fought, but in the end, they excepted each other and living their life peacefully. It is a beautiful white structure. And people from all religions can visit this dargah. It’s one of the best places to visit in Varanasi
12. Chandraprabha Wildlife Sanctuary
This is a park near Varanasi. The waterfall in this park attracts many tourists every year. It was built in 1957. The total area of this park is 78 km². Chandraprabha Park is the house of many birds and wild animals. A bird lover will get the opportunity to see about 150 species of birds. Animals are free to roam around the forest. The tourist is suggested not to wear colorful clothes or do anything that might disturb the animals. It is not like any zoo or amusement park. Everyone is allowed to visit, but no one is allowed to disturb others’ privacy.
13. Harishchandra Ghat
There are 2 main cremation ghats in Varanasi. Harishchandra is one of them. Just like other significant ghats, this ghat also has a background story. And The name of this ghat is named after the great king Harishchandra. Many Hindus believe that if they cremate their body in this ghat, they get closer to moksha. Hindus believe, the mythological king Harishchandra was awarded for his noble works. And he got back his dead son and won back his lost kingdom. People from all around the world come to this ghat to cremate their loved one’s body and free their souls.
14. Ahilyabai Ghat
Before 1868 this ghat was known as Kevalagiri Ghat. The queen of Madhya Pradesh Ahilyabai Holka extended the ghat and built a completely new structure of this ghat. In honor of her initiative, the later name of this ghat was changed to Ahilyabai Ghat. This ghat is not as crowded as other ghats of Varanasi. You will find many tea stalls near the ghat. You can enjoy your morning by watching people doing their morning rituals and chanting mantras while drinking tea. This may allow you to understand their culture deeply. This is one of the best places to visit in Varanasi
15. Darbhanga Ghat
This is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Varanasi. If you don’t like crowds, this might be the place you will want to visit Varanasi. Varanasi is a busy city. And most of the ghats are always busy. But when you visit Darbhanga Ghat, you might forget you are in Varanasi. People who come here for medication often choose this ghat for its calm environment. The design of this is Maratha architecture style. In 1812 the state minister of Nagpur, Narayana Munshi, built this ghat. Later the king of Dharbanga, Rameshwar Singh Bahadur, took possession of the Brijrama Palace. Since the ghat is known as Darbhanga Ghat.
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16. Scindia Ghat
You can enjoy the view of Ganga from this ghat. You can easily rent a boat from this ghat and see all the sites around the Holy Ganga. This ghat was built in 1850. This ghat has a fascinating story. It is believed that this ghat is cursed. A man named Man Singh abandoned his mother for loving another man and built a temple in this ghat. And after creating the temple, he thought he doesn’t owe anything to his mother. But his mother said a mother’s love can never be pay off by anything. Since then, this ghat remained cursed. And because of this curse, the ghat remains to submerge under Ganga. Many other famous ghats are nearby this ghat. So, you don’t have to take extra time to visit this place.
17. Ramnagar Fort
In 1750 Kashi Naresh built this fort. If you take a boat from Dashashwamedh Ghat, it will take only 1 hour to reach. The structure of this fort is a significant example of Mughal architecture. It is made with Chunar Sandstone. Even at that time, the designers of this fort made the fort Flood proof. The visitors are not allowed to roam around the fort. Only a small part of the fort is open for all. There is a museum inside the fort. It is called Saraswati Bhawan. Vintage cars, gold and silver pieces of jewelry, daggers, swords, and many other most excellent quality products are the main attraction of this museum. As this fort is very close to the Varanasi central city, you must visit this place if you ever visit Varanasi.
18. Bharat Mata Mandir
This mandir is not like any other typical mandir. A freedom fighter built this temple in 1936. Inside the mandir, you won’t find any idol of gods or goddesses. There is a map of the undivided map of India. The map is in marble. There is no other Mandir like this one. This is one of its kind. On important days like Independence Day of India, they fill tha map with water to celebrate independence. Mahatma Gandhi did the inauguration of this temple. This temple has a special place in the heart of all the Indians.
19. Kaal Bhairav Mandir
This mandir was built in the 17th century. The local Hindus believe that Kaal Bhairav decides who can visit the holy city Banaras. So, the first thing you should visit in Varanasi should be Kaal Bhairav Mandir. You don’t need to pay any entry fee to enter. The idol of Kaal Bhairav is visible from the entrance. Before visiting the temple, you should check the schedule of the mandir. On special days the temple becomes very crowed. If you don’t like the crowd, avoid the special days. There are many shops near the mandir. You can buy souvenirs from those shops.
20. Vijaygarh Fort
This is one of the oldest forts of India. People believe that the fort is over a thousand years. This is a ruined Fort now. But it still worth a visit. It is a hill fort, surrounded by trees. The perfect time to visit this fort is between Octobers to February. If you are not a fan of temples and ghats, you should visit this place.
21. Shivala Ghat
This is the cleanest Ghat in Varanasi. And there are many hotels near this ghat. You can book your hotel in nearby hotels and enjoy the view of the Ganga river from your hotel room. In the afternoon you will find boats in this ghat. Boating with your family or even all by yourself in the holy river can help you find peace.
22. Panchganga Ghat
Ganges, Saraswati, Yamuna, Kirana, and Dhupapapa are the 5 most sacred rivers in Hinduism. As the name implies, this ghat was built where these 5 rivers meet. This Ghat is near Aurangzeb Mosque. And many other popular sites are within walking distance from this ghat.
23. Rana Mahal Ghat
In 1670 Rajasthani king Rana Jagatsingh built this ghat. This is a peaceful place to relax and enjoy the beauty of Rajasthani architecture. The environment of this ghat is perfect for meditation.
24. Godowlia Market
Who doesn’t like shopping? This is the most famous market in Varanasi. This market is always busy with the locals and also the tourists. You can find anything literally from this market. This is like a country version of supermalls.
25. Rose Garden
This is one of the most famous gardens in Varanasi. It is famous among the couple for its environment. Not many people visit this garden, but this is definitely the best place to escape from the crowd. You will find almost all kinds of roses in this garden. And the smell of the roses makes the garden more charming.
26. Vishwanath Lane
This is another busy market in Varanasi. This is the smaller version of the Godowali Market. You will find the traditional products of Varanasi. For example, fine quality silk, bangles, idols, and many other things. The reasonable price and narrow alleys attract tourists. You can try the famous Banarasi Paan in this market. Not just paan, you will find other mouthwatering street foods like Gol-Gappa, Pani-Puri, kachori, etc.
27. Thatheri Bazaar
Shopping in Varanasi is fun. Cause you will find everything here at affordable prices. And you will also find many unique things to buy. Thatheri Bazaar is famous for its fascinating metal items. You will also find the most beautiful Banarasi saree in this market. Silk and Cooper products are another attraction of this market.
28. Baati Chokha Restaurant
If you want to taste the real taste of Varanasi food, you must visit this restaurant. The food and the interior of this restaurant inspire from the culture of Varanasi. It is one of the most famous restaurants in Varanasi. There is no better option for tourists to taste the traditional foods of Varanasi without sacrificing hygiene.
This is one of the most famous Cafés among tourists. It can be hard for a tourist to find this restaurant, as you have to go through complicated alleys. But what is Google Maps for. In this café, you can hang out with your friends for hours or meet other tourists. They have seating arrangements both inside and outside. You can see the Ganga River from the rooftop of this restaurant. It is a beautiful view from this restaurant.
30. Roma’s Cafe Diner
This is a cozy restaurant where you will find excellent food. The decoration and lighting of this restaurant are modern. After roaming around this ancient, you might need a break from traditional things. This restaurant might be a little expensive than other restaurants in Varanasi, but the price and environment of this restaurant worth every penny.
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Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in the world with so many histories and places to visit. In this city, you will get to see the architecture style of many empires. Before visiting this holy city, you should decide on the places you want to visit. The roads of Varanasi can be hard to understand by the tourists and harder for those who don’t know the Hindi language. Therefore, it is better to contact a guide while you visit this fascinating city.