Located along the west bank of the holy River Ganges in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the city of Varanasi is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage site that one of the oldest cities in the world. It has stood as a symbol of Hindu renaissance and preserved the traditions and rituals of Hindu philosophy since ancient times.
Here is how you will spend your time
Day 1: Arrival At Varanasi
Arrive Varanasi and Transfer to Hotel
Varanasi The antiquity of Varanasi is veiled in immortal times and has been the centre of religion, learning and civilization since ages. It has an endearing universal mystique, which has to be experienced to be understood. The city gets its inherent charm from the location as it’s situated on west side of the Holy Ganges. The principal attraction being the bathing ghats that are always bustling with life at any given time of the day.
Evening Witness Aarti ceremony at river Ganges – an experience of life. The Ganga Aarti is a spectacular sight. Hundreds throng to the Ghats to participate in this ceremony. Offerings of lamps and flowers are made to the river immediately following this ceremony and it is a moving sight to watch hundreds of miniature lamps float along the river. Overnight at the hotel.
Bathe Over 60,000 people come down to the waters edge every day to take a dip in the sacred waters of the Ganges. Try not to think too much about the dozens of sewage pipes ...
Day 2: Varanasi Sightseeing
Early morning you will be taken on a visit to the Ghats witnessing the Hindu pilgrims perform the rituals and following the centuries old tradition and belief that by dying in Varanasi or by immersing the mortal remains in the holy Ganges, it clears one from the birth circle and you are incarnated to human life in the next birth. You would be taking a boat cruise on the river Ganges around all the ghats and stopping at the important ones. The riverfront, as seen from a boat, early in the morning, is a spiritually uplifting sight.
This religious city is crowded with temples, and its labyrinth of streets with their throngs of people is exciting and enticing. Return to hotel for breakfast.
Later visit Kashi-Vishwanath Temple, the most sacred of shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, the patron deity of Varanasi. Reconstructed in the 18th century, its gold plating on the 'shikaras' was a gift of the one-eyed Sikh king, Maharaja Ranjit Singh; Bharat Mata Mandir, inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi is a unique temple dedicated to Mother India. It houses a relief map of India carved out of marble; and some other important temples.
Afternoon visit to Sarnath. Sarnath, a major Buddhist centre in the world. After achieving enlightenment at Bodhgaya, Buddha, the 'Awakened One', delivered his first sermon here. It was sixth century then, when he also set in motion the wheel of law, the Dharmachakra. This dwelling place of the rishis, it was also known as 'Rishipatana' (the place of the Rishis or sages). Buddha gave his first sermon in the Deer Park where he initiated his first five disciples into Buddhist monkshood. Buddhism found its roots in Sarnath, the birthplace of this way of life.