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Things to do in Varanasi

Team AckoApr 25, 2023

Varanasi is an ancient Indian holy city located in Uttar Pradesh. Situated along the banks of the Ganges River, Varanasi has more than two thousand years of cultural and religious heritage that is celebrated today. From the numerous temples and ghats to the colorful streets lined with vendors, sacred cows, and saffron-clad holy men, there are countless experiences to be had in Varanasi. This listicle outlines the top 10 things to do in Varanasi during a visit.




10 Things to do in Varanasi

Here are ten of the best activities to experience in Varanasi.

1. Take a Boat Ride on the Ganges River

Witness the religious and spiritual beauty of Varanasi with a boat ride along the Ganges River. By taking a boat ride, one can witness the majestical Ghats of Varanasi, full of pilgrims taking ritual dips in the Ganges and practicing yoga. In addition to providing a relaxing atmosphere, the people-filled banks of the river make for a beautiful photo opportunity. Boating the Ganges is one of the most popular activities to do in Varanasi.

2. Visit Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most important Hindu temples in India. With a long and revered history, the temple was destroyed several times over the centuries and rebuilt. Situated close to the shores of the Ganges in Lord Shiva’s city, Kashi Vishwanath Temple is a must-visit destination in Varanasi. Visitors will observe devotees performing the traditional Namaskar rituals and can also attend the evening aarti service.

3. Walk the Ghats of Varanasi

The elaborate and eye-catching ghats of Varanasi are a sight to behold. Stroll along the banks of the Ganges to explore and visit the numerous Ghats of Varanasi. As part of an ancient tradition, visitors can also join the priests for a spiritual purification ceremony in the holy waters of the Ganges, an experience sure to remain with you for a lifetime.

4. Shop in Varanasi’s Thatheri Bazaar

Take a trip around the famous Thatheri Bazaar in Varanasi. Here, visitors can purchase a plethora of traditional and modern souvenirs, including hand-woven carpets and textiles, handmade jewelry, incense, coins, religious figurines, and more. Although the prices are high, the quality of the items is top-notch, making it an ideal place to shop during a visit to Varanasi.

5. Attend the World Music Festival

Every year, the World Music Festival is held in Varanasi to celebrate the city’s rich cultural heritage. During this 3-day festival, renowned artists from all over the world come to Varanasi and perform music from genres such as classical, folk, fusion, and world music. Visiting the festival is an ideal way to experience traditional Indian music while surrounded by the vibrant streets of Varanasi.

6. Participate in a Yoga Retreat

Varanasi is a great destination to take part in a yoga retreat. With a long history of yoga and meditation, visitors can take part in the teachings and learn about the ancient practice from experienced teachers. The tranquil atmosphere and spiritual ambiance of Varanasi make it an ideal place to connect with the self and nurture a yoga practice.

7. Visit the Upheld Monuments

The city of Varanasi has numerous monuments and ruins from past civilisations. Some of these are the Sarnath, Ram Nagar Fort, and Avimukteshwara Temple. All of these monuments display the city’s rich history and heritage, making them the perfect sites to visit. Moreover, the view of the skyline of the Ghats and surrounding areas is a sight that everyone should witness.

8. Watch a Classical Dance Performance

The ancient art of classical Indian dance is alive and well in Varanasi. Traditional forms such as Bharatnatyam and Kathak are performed by talented dancers and accompanied by a live orchestra. Watching a performance is sure to be an unforgettable experience. Visitors can also experience a fusion of classical dance forms that combines traditional and modern elements.

9. Spend an Afternoon at Ramnagar

Ramnagar is located about 14 kms away from Varanasi and is the ancestral home of the Maharaja of Benares. It is here one can visit the Ramnagar Fort, a medieval fort first built in 1750. Interestingly, the fort museum holds a collection of vintage cars and motorbikes, a must-see for any gearhead. The grounds of the fort also hold a deer park, temples, and gardens, making it a great place to spend a leisurely afternoon in Varanasi.

10. Try Authentic Indian Cuisine

Varanasi is a great destination to sample some of the most delicious Indian street food. From the classic samosa to the famous chaat, the city is teeming with delicious food. Moreover, visitors can also try the traditional North Indian dishes at the eateries in the Chowk and Thatheri Bazaar. Street food in Varanasi is easy on the pocket and offers an authentic glimpse into the local food culture.


A trip to Varanasi is sure to be an unforgettable experience. By taking part in the various activities and attractions, visitors can experience the city’s rich spiritual and cultural heritage. The city has something for everyone, from boat rides on the Ganges River to shopping in the bazaars, to witnessing classical dance performances. Plan a visit to Varanasi and check off the items on this list to make the most out of your trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the responses to the questions pertaining to activities to do in Varanasi.


What are some of the best places to visit in Varanasi?

The best places to visit in Varanasi include the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the Ghats along the Ganges, the Thatheri Bazaar, the World Music Festival, the Ramnagar Fort, and any of the classical dance performances.

How can I experience the unique culture of Varanasi?

To experience the unique culture of Varanasi, one can take part in a spiritual purification ceremony, join the famous aarti service at Kashi Vishwanath Temple, try street food at the Chowk and Thatheri Bazaar, and participate in the World Music Festival.

What safety precautions should I take when I visit Varanasi?

When visiting Varanasi, it is important to keep safety in mind. People should avoid going out alone at night and store valuables securely. Avoiding showing signs of wealth is also advised, as to not attract the wrong kind of attention. Lastly, it is important to remain respectful of the local culture when visiting Varanasi.


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