Varanasi, also known as Benares, is a famous Indian city that is located on the banks of Ganga. This city is known as the spiritual capital of India because thousands of Hindu pilgrims come to take a dip in the holy waters of Ganga. Varanasi is also known as the religious city where many devotees perform the funeral rites of their family members. The city has a whopping number of temples - over 2000! In fact, it is believed that Buddha founded the concept of Buddhism in Varanasi and this is where he delivered his first sermon. Varanasi or Benares is also known for the widely popular Banarasi silk. Here is a detailed list of some of the things Varanasi is famous for!
Varanasi is the spiritual capital of India, especially for Hindus. It is the pilgrimage center for Hindus who stop by for a dip in the holy waters of Ganga that flows through the city. In fact, Varanasi is where many Hindus perform the funeral rites of their deceased family members. It is said that Varanasi is one of the seven holiest cities in Hinduism; it is considered as the giver of salvation by Hindus. The city is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Hindus believe that a dip in the holy waters of Ganga purifies them and wash their sins away.
Varanasi has over 2000 Hindu temples! One of the best ways to explore Varanasi and its temples is by opting for a temple tour. This tour lasts for around three hours and allows you to see most of the beautiful picture-worthy spots of Varanasi. The first stop should be none other than Dashashwamedh Ghat where you will learn about Hinduism and death. The second stop should be at Munshi Ghat that also provides a gorgeous view of Ganga. The third stop should be the huge Shiva Temple where you chant your mantra’s for purification and betterment!
Duration: 3 hours
3. Ganga Aarti
Ganga Aarti is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Aarti is basically a Hindu ritual that involves praying to the river Ganga. This ritual takes place at the banks of river Ganga at Dashashwamedh Ghat. This prayer ceremony lasts for around 45 minutes and is held daily at dusk and dawn. You’ll see ancient brass oil lamps, priests chanting prayers and mantras, and the whole place lights up creating a charged atmosphere. Your trip to Varanasi will remain incomplete if you are unable to witness the incredible phenomena every dawn or dusk.
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4. Banarasi silk saree
Varanasi is known for its Banarasi silk saree! This is one of the finest and most exquisite saris made in India. A Banarasi silk saree is known for its fine silk, intricate gold design, silver or zari work, and its gorgeous embroidery. You will never get find a saree as gorgeous as a Banarasi silk saree anywhere in the world because these are inimitable. While the price can range from thousands to lakhs of Indian rupees, you should definitely consider buying one, depending on what your budget allows!
Varanasi Tour Guide
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Tours by Nibedita
Varanasi Tour Guide
I have been a tour guide/ escort for more than 10 years and have guided tourists pan India to historical and cultural heritage sites, national parks & bird sancturies, monuments places like- Delhi , Agra, Jaipur, Khajuraho Exotic Temples, Ranthambore National Park, Mumbai, Nashik , Aurangabad ( Ajanta Rockcut Caves & Ellora Rockcut Temples ), Goa etc. I am proficient in English, Russian, Hindi and Urdu. I became a tour guide due to my passion for travelling and I love meeting new people and share incredible experiences and learn more about a culture and place. I have a good sense of humor and love cracking jokes which will make your trip fun and lively. I love taking care of people and your safety is my top priority. You will have the best holiday memories with me as your tour guide/escort.
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Varanasi Tour Guide
Farman Guia Turstico
Hello Travellers people calle me Farman a experienced freelance tour guide. I work with several Free Tours company and we would love to show you around and give you the best tips and recomendations. If you travel in India you will discover a new aspect of this wonderful city. If it is your first visit i warn you one thing: you will fall in love in love with India and you will end up coming back.
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5. Gulabi Minakari
Gulabi Minakari is a rare craft that is only found in Varanasi. It is basically a Persian art form that seeped into the culture of Varanasi during the Mughal era. It involves colouring the surface of metals by fusing various colours. You will find Gulabi Minakari on small ornaments, showpieces, home decor, sculptures, key chains and so much more. In fact, Gulabi Minakari is also practised on jewellery. If you get the chance, do watch an artist at work.
6. Glass beads
Glass beads are another common art form that is found only in Varanasi. Local artists use glass beads to create necklaces, bangles, earrings and so much more. In fact, these beads are so exclusive that they are often referred to as ‘kaanch ke moti’ which means pearls of glass. The process of creating these beads is so intricate that it takes one artist around ten to fifteen minutes to make a single piece! The end result is a piece of beautiful jewellery accessible only at Varanasi!
7. Wooden toys
Varanasi is quite famous for adorable wooden toys that are widely available on the streets. Making wooden toys is a very old craft that requires expert craftsmanship and intricate detailing. From actual toys for children to sculptures of Gods and Goddesses and even showpieces like elephants and horses, these skilled artists create some beautiful wooden pieces. You should buy these wooden toys and souvenirs; plus, they’re great for gifting!
8. Handwoven carpets
Varanasi is famous around the world for its handwoven carpets. In fact, handwoven carpets from Varanasi has become so popular that a number of export houses have opened up in Varanasi to exclusively manufacture and export carpets. You can choose from various designs, a variety of colours, multiple patterns, different thread counts and so much more. While these carpets might be a little expensive, they are long-lasting and very high in quality. It makes them worth every cent.
9. Muslin fabrics
Muslin fabrics are soft and light fabrics that are just perfect for summer. Light, breathable and airy, you won’t want to wear anything else after you’ve discovered the joy of Muslin. Of course, these fabrics are manufactured in Varanasi so you can either buy rolls of this fabric and get something made or you can pick up ready-to-wear outfits from any clothing store! In fact, you’ll probably see Muslin fabrics t-shirts, kurtas, kurtis, skirts and even Muslin scarves at every street corner. Do check out the Varanasi fabric market for the same.
Enjoy everything that Varanasi has to offer
There is so much to see and do in Varanasi. From experiencing the Ganga Aarti to visiting Hindu temples, you get to take in the spiritual capital of India. And of course, Banarasi silk saris, wooden toys, glass beads and Gulabi Minakari works are some of the things that Varanasi is famous for. They are definitely worth buying and collecting!
Contributed by Trip101 Local Expert, Nupur Agarwal
Other than glass beads and glass bangles, wooden toys and woven carpets, Varanasi is also known for its wide collection of Indic literature. You can find ancient literature written by Indian writers here. Topics such as Hinduism and spirituality are discussed in detail in Indic literature. If you are a literature enthusiast, you can find plenty of rare books at old bookstores in Varanasi.
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