In the Varanasi travel guide I'll go over some of the top things to do in Varanasi. Unlike other huge cities like Delhi , which boast an enormous amount of attractions to see and things to do, Varanasi is more about just being there. You don't have to rush from place to place seeing the sights, but it's all about hanging out either along the Ganges River or within the narrow Varanasi lanes and exploring, observing, and just watching. Spending the time just to sit and watch is one of the most rewarding things to do in Varanasi, India.
At the beginning of this video I first start the day at about 6:30 am with a leisure boat ride along the Ganges River. It's one of the most popular things to do, and for a good reason; Seeing the bank of the Ganges River from being in the river offers a truly magical glimpse into the life and death that takes place in the morning. Fog is especially common in the winter, and the day I went the fog was thick. Along with taking a boat in the Ganges River in Varanasi, another great way to explore is just on foot along the ghats. A ghat is a series of steps which lead down to the river. They offer a nice place to walk or a place to sit and watch. There are ghats throughout Varanasi. Dashashwamedh Ghat is the main one, but there are also two burning ghats where they burn bodies as well. One day while I was walking past the smaller of the two burning ghats in Varanasi, I was able to observe a funeral taking place where they sunk a body into the bottom of the Ganges River. Along with the rituals that went along with it, it was amazing to see.
If you're not along the river in Varanasi, the narrow ancient lanes are a great place to explore. You'll find all sorts of stores and shops selling cloth, spices, conveniences and some food stalls as well. Varanasi desserts are particularly famous, but also try round rotis and the local paan mouth chew. Within the lanes of Varanasi you'll also find Hindu shrines and temples like the sacred Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The line to enter the temple can be seriously long and the security is extremely tight in the area. One of the best ways to get around Varanasi, when you're on the main roads, is by taking a bicycle rickshaw. You'll be amazed at the places you can fit, but it's always a fun ride. Don't forget to stop on the side of the street to indulge is some delicious Varanasi street food while you're at it.
Finally, no trip to Varanasi is complete without mentioning the nightly aarti puja prayer ceremony, which is a ceremony dedicated to the gods of the Ganges River. This nightly ritual includes a line of holy brahmin who all perform rituals using fire, incense, and motion to bless the night. It's quite an event and something interested to witness.