Very often we hear from people that they want to travel to this city, they wish to live in that country or how their life would have been different if they would have born at that particular place.
But when it comes to Banaras, It’s entirely opposite. Believe it or not, people actually wish to die here. And for what? to attain nirvana.
But the significance of Banaras is not only limited to this. It offers you much more than that. You can sit back at the bank of the Ganga river and see the cultural and spiritual values this city holds. You will find undying beauty and everlasting tranquility everywhere in this city.
Banaras is beautiful, trust me but that doesn’t mean that everybody should pack their bag and head directly to Banaras. First, be clear about the expectations you have from this place. If you want to see the majestic beauty of a mountain then you should rather visit Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand. If you want to sit back and enjoy on a beach then please book your ticket to Goa or Andaman.
But if you want to visit a place where you can take a bath in the most sacred river of India, Ganga and witness the beauty of Hinduism (Religion) then Banaras will be the right place for you.
People also come to Banaras to attain Moksha (Salvation). They think that dying at this very place will compensate for all the sins they did in their entire life. You will see people living in ashrams for month especially elderly people and waiting to die.
When I visited Banaras in 2015 I was oblivious. where should I go and what should I see? I went directly to witness Ganga Arti (A ritual where we worship river Ganga every day). After having a glimpse of Arti, I started searching for a place to sleep. Banaras is a very old city so houses there are also very old. Most of the local residents there converted their house into a guest house. I booked one such guest house.
The popularity of Banaras has increased a lot over the past few years as more and more foreign tourists visit this place to understand more about India and their culture. People there realized that many tourists who visit this place are on a budget trip and not everyone can afford to book a room in the hotel so they came up with the idea of hostels and dormitory. Zostel and Moustache are few famous dormitories which I have personally visited and found decent.
After having a good sleep at night, I woke up early in the morning and went directly to one of the ghats (bank of Ganga). Banaras has 80 ghats to be precise. I couldn’t visit all of them as not all are accessible to the general public. But in ancient times it actually had 80 operational ghats. If you want to know more about ghats then take a boat ride. The sailor will also brief you about the history of every ghat. Don’t worry, they won’t charge you any extra money for that.
If you visit Banaras and won’t take a dip in sacred river Ganga. This is not going to happen. My suggestion would be, take a boat ride to the other side of the river. You will get more clean water. Take a good bath and enjoy the surreal beauty of this city.
Banaras have around 2000 temples. You will barely find any home in Banaras without a temple. This city is such sacred. Among this many temples, Kashi Vishwanath temple is the most famous temple of this city. People come from all over the world to have a glimpse of their beloved lord Shiva.
Banaras is also famous for its Bararasi Saree (an Indian attire) and Banarasi Paan (An Indian eatery).
Banaras is beautiful, trust me. You can plan a trip of 2 – 3 days if you want to just explore this city and are not in the mood of attaining Moksha ( salvation). I stayed there for two days and had a good time.