The essential Varanasi sightseeing guide

There are many legends associated with the ancient city of Varanasi or Kashi. It is believed that the Hindu god Shiva and his consort Parvati lived here on the banks of the Ganga River. It was here that the rivers Varuna and Assi originated and locked a piece of land that flourished decidedly as a Hindu pilgrimage site, specifically as the holiest cremation spot to attain salvation. Till date, Manikarnika and Harishchand ghats see as many as 200 cremations a day. Beside the association of life and death on the ghats, Varanasi has a number of temples, the Buddhist pilgrimage Sarnath and the adjacent towns of Chunar and Ramnagar as veritable sight seeing spots. Though one can spend weeks exploring the temples on the ghats, here are the places you must visit.


The Buddhist pilgrimage, Sarnath lies 10 km from Varanasi, and is yet another attraction that appeals to people from all around the world.

Kushti akhadas

The archaic gyms of Varanasi are still buzzing with activity in the mornings as youngsters come here to wrestle in the mid pits and work out with age-old weights

Varanasi’s ghats

The stepped banks (ghats) lie in a crescent shape along the Ganga River in Varanasi. These spring into action as early as 4 am and are buzzing with activity until late night.

Chunar Fort

Replete with legends, the Chunar Fort lies 37 km from Varanasi and is skirted by the Ganga on two sides.

Gauri Kedareshwar Temple

One of the busiest ghats on the Ganga, the Kedar Ghat can be identified by its red and white steps from a distance. 

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