Things to do in
Varanasi

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Our most recommended things to do in Varanasi

Varanasi: Full-Day Tour of Temples, Sarnath and Aarti

1. Varanasi: Full-Day Tour of Temples, Sarnath and Aarti

Your private tour will start early with 5:00 AM pickup from your hotel. See the morning aarti ceremony as the sun rises, a magical spiritual experience. After this you’ll visit the main temples in Varanasi, including Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Monkey Temple, Tulsi Manas Mandir, and Birla Temple. These are famous for their ornate carvings and historical significance.  Continue to Sarnath, a must-see in Varanasi. Your guide will teach you the history of this Buddhist pilgrimage site, as you explore the beautiful ruins of Buddhist monuments. See the incredible Dhamekha Stupa, where Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. Then visit the Sarnath Archeological Museum, the Lion Capital of Ashoka, and at a monastery with beautiful wall paintings.  Head back into town to watch the evening aarti ceremony on the banks of the Ganges. Watch the ceremony, where a supreme priest offers prayers o the holy river with a sacred brass lamp. The ceremony involves lights, cymbals, incense, and people singing hymns and chanting. After an amazing day of sightseeing, you will be dropped safely back at your hotel. 

Varanasi : Sunrise Boat Tour

2. Varanasi : Sunrise Boat Tour

Varanasi or Banaras or Kashi, call it by different name but every name will give you a unique story and joyful feeling to be here. A city situated on the banks of river Ganges. Varanasi has been a cultural centre of North India for several thousand years, and is closely associated with the Ganges. Hindus believe that death in the city will bring salvation, making it a major centre for pilgrimage. The city is known worldwide for its many Ghats, embankments made in steps of stone slabs along the river bank where pilgrims perform ritual ablutions. Start your journey with the hotel pick-up where your guide and cab waits for you. Tour starts either at 5:00 in the morning or 6:00 depending upon the season. Time shall be confirmed to you post booking. Enjoy the city with more than 2000 temples that includes the Kashi Vishwanath Temple also called the Golden temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. With so many Ghats here, Some of the prominent and popular one’s include the Dasaswamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Harischandra Ghat, Assi Ghat,Shivala Ghat, Man Mandir Ghat, Darbhanga Ghat, Ahilyabai Ghat and the Kedar Ghat. On the completion of boat ride, visit to the oldest part of Varanasi for a small walk. Stop  by the Kashi Vishwanath temple. Post completion of the tour, get dropped off back to your hotel.

India: Evening Ganga Aarti With Dinner and Private Transfer

3. India: Evening Ganga Aarti With Dinner and Private Transfer

Your driver will collect you from your hotel lobby for the journey to Ghat for Aarti. On arrival at Ghat, you will embark on the boat trip to Dashashwamedh Ghate. The Aarti prayer service is performed each evening by a group of priests. You will also witness the Agni Pooja, which is performed as a commitment to the Lord Shiva. All priests here are students of the Vedas and Upanishads, which is led by the head priest of the Gangotri Seva Samiti. The service is performed by traditionally-garbed priests by the light of brass lamps. This magnificent Aarti takes 45 minutes and starts at 6:45 p.m.  After Aarti, eat in a famous Indian restaurant, where you will enjoy a mouthwatering dinner.

Varanasi: Night Cruise, Aarati Ceremony and Dinner

4. Varanasi: Night Cruise, Aarati Ceremony and Dinner

Your tour will begin at 5:00 PM with pickup from your hotel. Take a boat ride along the river, where you can enjoy the breathtaking sights of the city lit up at night. Here you’ll see locals washing, meditating or spending some serene time at the water’s edge. You might catch a glimpse of akhada, an Indian art of fighting. Disembark to watch the aarti ceremony on the banks of the Ganges. See a priest take a sacred brass lamp and offer prayers to the holy river. The ceremony involves lights, cymbals, scented incense sticks, and people singing hymns and chanting. It’s a truly mesmerizing experience. After the ceremony, you will be taken for a delicious dinner at a local restaurant. Order your favorite dishes and relish them in the warm hospitality and cozy ambiance. After dinner, you will be dropped safely back at your hotel in Varanasi.

Delhi: 6-Day Golden Triangle & Varanasi Private Tour

5. Delhi: 6-Day Golden Triangle & Varanasi Private Tour

Begin the first day of your trip with a pickup from your hotel or other desired place in Delhi, Noida or Gurugram. Start with a half-day city tour of Delhi. Visit Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple, and India Gate. Drive by Parliament House and the President's Palace. After that, proceed to Agra via a 4-hour drive. Upon arrival in Agra, check in to your hotel.  On day 2, you will get up before sunrise, and head to the Taj Mahal to watch the sun come up over this world-famous monument. You will spend two hours exploring the site. After that, return to your hotel for breakfast and to check out, and then spend an hour visiting the Agra Fort. You will then start the 5-hour drive to Jaipur. After breakfast the following day, you will enjoy a guided tour of the Amber Fort. Next, visit the Jal Mahal, a palace located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake, followed by the Maharaja’s City Palace. Drive past the beautiful Hawa Mahal, a large structure built so the women of the royal household could observe the streets outside whilst remaining hidden.  After breakfast on day 4, you will be transferred to Jaipur airport for your domestic flight to Varanasi. Upon arrival at Varanasi airport, you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel to check in. The rest of the day is free at your leisure.  In the morning of day 5, you will be driven to Assi Ghat, where you will watch the Hindu fire ceremony rituals performed by women priests. Next, enjoy a sunrise boat tour on the River Ganges to see the Ghats of this ancient city. After breakfast, enjoy a city tour of Varanasi which includes the Banaras Hindu University and its temple, a traditional school where children are learning an ancient version of Sanskrit, and a historical wrestling ground.  On day 6, if you have not chosen the option with a return flight to Delhi, you will be transferred to a location of your choice in Varanasi. If you have chosen the option with the flight, upon arrival at Delhi airport, you’ll be dropped off at a location of your choice in Delhi, Noida or Gurugram.

Varanasi: Evening Arti Boat Tour with Dinner

6. Varanasi: Evening Arti Boat Tour with Dinner

At around 5:30PM, your chauffeur along with your tour representative will pick you up from the hotel lobby to drive you toward the Dashashwamedh Ghat to experienc the mesmerizing Ganga Aarti. On arrival, you will board the royal boat to enjoy a 1-hour cruise and Aarti experience in a more comfortable manner. This royal boat has red carpet flooring and is decorated with flowers. You will receive a warm welcome on board to the boat with a welcome drink, with the boat also having snacks and soft drinks to make this evening more relaxed and comfortable. You can easily catch a glimpse of Ganga Aarti from the boat, with many vantage points being provided to enhance your evening aboard the vessel. The Aarti will start from 6:45PM after sunset, with a croon of mantra. This will be followed by melodious hymns dedicated to Lord Shiva, Surya (The Sun), Mata Ganga (Ganga river) and Agni (Lord of Fire) given by priests wearing the same kind of cloth named as dhoti and kurta, and holding a multi-tiered heavy brass lamp and conch shell. After experiencing the elegance of Ganga Aarti, you will be taken to a famous restaurant in Varanasi for a tempting dinner. In the restaurant, you will receive a pleasing welcome before being served with drinks, starters, a main course and desert. After your appetizing dinner and interesting conversation with your guide, your chauffeur will drop you back at your nearby accommodation.

Varanasi: Temples, Ganges Aarti, and Classical Dance Tour

7. Varanasi: Temples, Ganges Aarti, and Classical Dance Tour

Start with an afternoon pickup from your hotel at 3:00 PM. First make your way to the most famous and important temples of Varanasi, the Goddess Durga temple. Learn of the many interesting stories and myths attached to this temple from your guide. Visit the Bharat Mata temple or the Mother India temple. This temple is one of a kind in the entire country where rather than idol worship, there is an undivided map of India, symbolizing the worship for one’s motherland. Visit the Monkey temple, which is dedicated to the monkey god, and the Tulsi Manas temple which has the one of the two greatest epic Ramayana engraved on its wall. See the Shri Vishwanath temple in Banaras Hindu University which is reputed to be one of the tallest in the entire country. After exploring the temples, head towards the Assighat for the evening aarti. An experience which is claimed to be magical by people from all around the world, it includes priests using fire as an offering to the river Ganga with the help of oil lamps. A ritual that goes back to centuries ago, it often attended by a huge number of people from around the world. After attending this aarti, enjoy a cultural dance performance by local artists where they enact a beautiful sketch from an epic or other mythological instance. Afterwards, be returned to your hotel.

Varanasi Full-Day Private Tour with Sarnath and Ganga Aarti

8. Varanasi Full-Day Private Tour with Sarnath and Ganga Aarti

After breakfast, you'll be picked up from your hotel and driven to Sarnath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is hailed as one of the holiest Buddhist places in India and the place where Gautama Buddha, after attaining spiritual enlightenment, delivered his first sermons and claimed the place as an important pilgrimage site for his followers. Here, you'll first visit Chaukhandi Stupa, which is an elevated structure surrounded by octagonal towers. It's the gateway to Sarnath and adorned by lush green lawns from all sides. Then, you'll see Dhamek Stupa, a remarkable structure built of stone and brick. This cylindrical pillar is engraved with delicate floral carvings of Gupta origin. After this you'll visit Mulagandha Kuti Vihar, a modern temple encasing unrivalled frescoes by a Japanese painter and a rich repository of Buddhist literature. Later you will be taken to visit the Sarnath Museum. This is an expansive museum that houses the finest specimens of Buddhist art and culture.  Afterwards, you can enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before visiting some famous temples and many other marvellous holy structures. In the evening, you will get to witness the ritualistic rites held every night on the banks of the Ganges, before being taken back to your hotel.

From Varanasi: Sunrise Boat Tour and Heritage Walk

9. From Varanasi: Sunrise Boat Tour and Heritage Walk

One of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities and one of the most holy for Hindus, Varanasi is the true embodiment of culture, mythology, heritage, and a real face of India. A city situated at the banks of the holy Ganges and known for its many ghats (embankments made in stone steps where pilgrims perform rituals) and large number of temples, this is definitely one of the best places to get to know India. Set off on an early-morning tour and explore this ancient city at dawn. Enjoy a boat ride past many colorful ghats and to where you can see people practicing their many rituals. One popular ghat is the Manikarnikaghat, where Hindu cremation takes place. Witness a funeral pyre there. Your tour will start with a pickup from your hotel by your guide at 5:00 AM in the summer or 6:00 AM in the winter. After reaching the ghat, get into the boat for a memorable ride on the Ganges where you’ll get to watch the city come alive with the sun. Once the boat ride is complete, walk through the oldest part of Varanasi and experience the rich culture and heritage of this mystical city firsthand. Get dropped off at your hotel at the end of the tour.

Varanasi: Half-Day City Tour and Evening Aarti (Worship)

10. Varanasi: Half-Day City Tour and Evening Aarti (Worship)

Your tour of Varanasi, one of the holy cities of India will start at 2:00 P.M. Your guide will be waiting for your arrival at your hotel lobby and you will drive to Dasaswamedh Ghat. When you arrive, you will start your boat ride on the Ganges River.   During this 1-hour boat ride, you will see a beautiful sunset and ceremonies happening on the banks of Ganges river, performed by Hindu priests and devotees. Then you will be able to observe Hindu people cremated in Manikarnika Ghat (an auspicious ceremony), where the final resting of the human body takes place. At night, you will see different shows displaying Hindu culture on the banks of Manikarnika Ghat. It’s a colorful ceremony that happens every day and showcases the glorious Hindu culture. At the end of the ceremony, you will enjoy dinner at a popular rooftop restaurant, where you can take in the unforgettable views of the city. At the end of the tour, you will be driven back to your hotel.

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What people are saying about Varanasi

Overall rating

4.0 / 5

based on 47 reviews

Bhawna was an amazing tour guide: knowledgeable, professional, sweet and calm. She made all three of us feel very comfortable and we learnt a lot about the city and the culture. Her English was very good and it was easy to understand everything. She was open to questions about the society as well as the thing we did and saw. She was also flexible for changes in the program as we had already done a few thing that she had planned for us to do. Would highly recommend to anyone visiting Varanasi!

Perfectly organised tour with a great guide. The water level of the Ganges had been exceptionally high and it meant we had the added benefit of being guided through the streets to get to the boat. Wonderful experience, knowledgeable guide and i thoroughly recommend the tour with GetYourGuide

We had a great tour, everything was nicely planned. Our guides provided us with interesting insights and the drivers were also very helpful and reliable. Would definitely recommend this tour!

We were picked up on time in the morning, had his great guide and driver. would book excursions again at any time with get your guide. Lunch and continuing into the evening were simply great.

Guide was good and he explained in detail about all the ghats