“Karam jisse pukare, woh pohoche Ganga kinare”
When your Karma calls you, visit the Ganga – and the best way to do that is by visiting Varanasi. India’s religious hub and the holiest city out of the seven sacred cities i.e. the Sapta Puri – Varanasi will give you refresh your mind, heart, and soul. The city houses a number of spiritual places, where one can visit for a spiritually healed mind. That being said, Varanasi also houses some other famous attractions like Godowlia Market, Alamgir Mosque, Ramnagar Fort & Museum, and so on. Though the city is heavily influenced by the Hindu culture, all the religions and cultures are openly welcomed in the city. And that’s what makes India a country that certifies unity in diversity.
Famous for the eye-pleasing Ganga Aarti, satisfying prayer offerings, and delicious prasads – the spiritual places housed in the city will remember through your lifetime. So, if you are planning on visiting this city, make sure that the Varanasi city tour package that you choose includes these spiritual places positively: –
1. Kashi Vishwanath Temple
“They say that the one who breathes his last breath in this temple attains freedom from the cycle of reincarnation”.
One of the first places to visit in Varanasi is the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Located on the banks of River Ganga, this temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and is known to be the essence of mythical wonder. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The beauty and spirituality of this have bowled over every visitor in its periphery. Lord Vishwanath, which is one of the named Lord Shiva is known by, is considered to be the abode for all the deceased devoted souls. The temple is famous for the gold dome and spire, and it is said that if you make a wish after seeing the dome, Lord Vishwanath fulfils it. Fascinating, isn’t it?
2. Assi Ghat
Located at the convergence point of the Ganga and Assi Rivers, this divine ghat is yet another famous tourist place in Varanasi. As the legends have it, they say that Maa Durga submerged her sword in the Assi River after defeating Shumbha-Nishumbha – the demon. That being said, the Assi Ghat is one of the most spiritual places for Hindus in India. However, people from any religion can visit the Assi Ghat. This place in Varanasi witnesses a large number of visitors and devotees as it is believed that taking a dip in the holy Ganga in the Assi Ghat can wash away all the sins. Adding to this, there is a Peepal tree under which a Shiva Lingam can be found. One can peacefully enjoy some divine moments of serenity by the river in Assi Ghat.
3. Dashashwamedha Ghat
The Ganga Aarti – one of the events that take place in all the Ganga ghats is a sight to watch. And the Dashashwamedha Ghat is one of the major tourist attractions in Varanasi for the very same reason. It is said that 10 horses were sacrificed here by Lord Brahma, who in Hinduism, is known as the creator of the universe. According to the legends, the 10 horses were sacrificed in order to welcome Lord Shiva. Here, in the evening, priests come together to conduct the evening prayer ceremony, which is open for the visitors to witness. After this, the priests perform the Agni Poojan, which you can watch from the steps of the ghat or take a boat ride for the same. Even though the place is rushed with a large number of visitors, the sight is simply pristine! This is one of the best places to visit in Varanasi if you are looking to reconnect with yourself.
4. Sankat Mochan Mandir
A sacred place to visit in Varanasi, the Sankat Mochan Mandir is dedicated to the powerful Lord Hanuman – your saviour from all the troubles. Located along the Assi River, the temple was built in the early 19th Century by Madan Mohan Malaviya, a famous freedom fighter and educationist. The shrine houses a beautiful idol of Lord Hanuman that is complemented by marigold flowers. That being said, the delicious Besan ke Ladoos are served as a special Prasad here. The temple witnesses a plethora of devotees, especially on Tuesdays and Saturdays as they are considered to be the days of Lord Hanuman and after offering their prayers to the Lord, the devotees also feed the monkeys who reside around the temple area.
5. Kanaka Durga Mandir
Another Varanasi sightseeing destination – the Kanaka Durga Mandir is an example of mythological beliefs. With an interesting legend surrounding the temple, this one of the most important holy tourist places in Varanasi that witnesses visitors from all over the country. It is believed that the idol of Maa Durga that the temple houses is not a man-made statue but appeared on its own in the campus of the temple. Intriguing, right? The temple is the perfect example of the Nagara style architecture, which is quite famous in North India. It has many multi-tiered spires and is known as the Monkey Temple. Constructed in the 18th Century, it is said that the temple was built by a Maharani (Queen) from Bengal.
6. Ahilyabai Ghat
Named after the famous Queen Ahilyabai Holkar, this ghat is yet another divine place to visit near Varanasi. The ghat is known for its name, spirituality, and serenity. One can visit the ghat at any time of the day, however, visit this place in the early morning will give you another level of satisfaction. You can simply sit on the ghat steps for hours and soak in the beauty that Ahilyabai Ghat offers. The pristine aura that the ghat offers make it one of the must-visit tourist places near Varanasi.
7. Rana Mahal Ghat
If you want to experience an unforgettable Varanasi sightseeing tour, the Rana Mahal Ghat must be in your itinerary. Constructed by Raja Rana Jagat Singh – who visited the city as a pilgrim, the ghat has become gradually become one of the major tourist attractions in Varanasi, with a number of visitors coming here all through the day. The Rana Mahal Ghat has a very fancy architecture and the beauty that it offers is simply breathtaking.
8. Man Mandir Ghat & Observatory
Another famous tourist places in Varanasi, the Man Mandir Ghat was constructed in the early 17th Century by Maharaja Mann Singh. One can view the majestic beauty of the Ganga River from a stone balcony, which is located on the northern side of the ghat. Adding to this, the ghat also houses an observatory that was built by Sawai Jaisingh II (the founder of Jaipur city) somewhere in 1710 – 1737. Though the exact year of its construction is not known, the observatory is currently under the Archaeological Survey of India for its refurbishment.
9. Chousatti Ghat
An important place to visit around Varanasi; the Chousatti Ghat is famous for being the abode of Madhusudan Sarasvati – the famous Sanskrit scholar. The ghat is said to be one of its kind also because of the palace that is built near the ghat by King Digbatiya of Champaran from Bihar. That being said, the ghat also comprises of a temple that is devoted to Goddess Kali. During Holi and 12th dark-half of Chaitra month, according to the Hindu calendar, this tourist place near Varanasi opens its doors to welcome a huge number of visitors.
10. Shivala Ghat
One of the underrated places to visit in Varanasi, the Shivala Ghat was built by King Balwant Singh and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Surrounded by mythology and Indian folklore, the ghat offers a magnificent view of the Ganga River and is one of the most perfect photography spots as well. Visit this place near Varanasi to experience the serenity that the city offers while taking an early morning boat ride.
11. Scindia Ghat
Yet another place to visit near Varanasi, the Scindia Ghat is a famous meditation spot in the city. With the tranquillity and cleanliness that the ghat offers, one can witness people sitting on the ghat steps and enjoying the true beauty of this holy place. Also known as the Shinde Ghat, it houses a temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva, which is partially submerged in the Holy Ganga River. That being said, it is also believed that the Scindia Ghat was the birthplace of Agni – The Hindu God of Fire.
Along with these spiritual sightseeing places in Varanasi, the city houses a plethora of other places as well. Visiting Varanasi also means relishing some mouth-watering vegetarian dishes, exploring the famous market, and obviously sitting by the banks of the Ganga River.