Come to trendy Varanasi and enjoy its temples, monuments and boating.

For thousands of years, people have worshipped on the shores of the River Ganges at Varanasi. The ancient city is of great spiritual importance to Hindus because, according to legend, Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati stood here at the beginning of time. It is an exciting place of temples, shrines and rituals on the western banks of the river.

A good way to understand the importance of the river to Hindus is to take a boat ride along the waterfront to see the ghats. These are the long stone steps that lead from the city's alleys down to the river. At any time you may see people praying, bathing and washing their clothes. Weddings, funerals and cremations are also conducted on the banks of the river.

In the evening, go to Dasaswamedh Ghat to see the nightly ritual where thousands of lamps float across the water. The ghat is close to the 18th-century Kasha Vishwanath Temple and to the Jantar Mantar Observatory. Tour the 18th-century science base and see instruments that once recorded the motion of stars. The observatory is on the roof of the palace of Man Mahal.

Varanasi has temples at just about every turn. As a general rule, non-Hindus are not permitted inside Hindu temples, but do visit some of the sanctuaries to appreciate their architecture. The white marble Tulsi Manas Temple is open to everyone. Step inside to see walls decorated with images from Hindu legends.

While Hinduism is the main religion in India, Varanasi is also sacred to Buddhists. Visit the small village of Sarnath, just outside the city, where Buddha first preached his message of peace. See ancient holy structures, such as the Dhamekh Stupa, which dates back to the 5th century.

Being a place of religious significance to many Indians, Varanasi is well connected to many parts of the country by road, rail and air. Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport is the nearest international airport, just 11 miles (18 kilometers) away.

When you see the temples and rituals along the waterfront, you'll understand why Varanasi is so special to many Indians.

Known for

Temples, Monuments and Rivers

Top hotels in Varanasi

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Image for Ramada Plaza by Wyndham JHV Varanasi
Ramada Plaza by Wyndham JHV Varanasi
5 out of 5
The Mall, Cantonment, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Rs4,699/night
26 Aug-27 Aug
3.7/5Good! (170 reviews)

Situated in the historical district, this luxury hotel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from JVH Mall and 2.2 mi (3.5 km) from Bharat Mata. Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Dasaswamedh ...

3.7/5Good! (170 reviews)

"Very helpful and polite staff. They couldn’t do enough for us. The facilities are fantastic."…"

Reviewed on 24 Aug 2019

Ramada Plaza by Wyndham JHV Varanasi
Image for Taj Ganges, Varanasi
Taj Ganges, Varanasi
5 out of 5
Nadesar Palace Grounds, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Rs5,900/night
1 Sep-2 Sep
4.1/5Very Good! (200 reviews)

Located in the heart of Varanasi, this luxury hotel is 0.6 mi (0.9 km) from JVH Mall and within 3 miles (5 km) of Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Dasaswamedh ghat. ...

4.1/5Very Good! (200 reviews)

"I stayed in 4 hotels during my holiday in India and this was probably my favourite. The staff are extremely polite, welcoming and helpful, and were always concerned about making my stay as pleasurable as possible. The room was very clean and comfortable and the outdoor pool was a lovely place to ..."…"

Reviewed on 20 Jul 2019

Taj Ganges, Varanasi
Image for BrijRama Palace - A Heritage Hotel
BrijRama Palace - A Heritage Hotel
4 out of 5
Munshi Ghat, Near Dashaswamedh, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Rs9,900/night
26 Aug-27 Aug
4.6/5Wonderful! (81 reviews)

Situated in the historical district, this spa hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Dasaswamedh ghat and Hanuman Ghat. Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Asi Ghat are ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (81 reviews)

"excellent hotel. right on the river ganga and next to daswamedha ghat"…"

Reviewed on 20 Jul 2019

BrijRama Palace - A Heritage Hotel

Popular things to do in Varanasi

Banaras Hindu University
Image for Banaras Hindu University

Banaras Hindu University

Walk around the campus of Banaras Hindu University, a top university in Varanasi. Amble around the area's riverfront or visit its temples.

Dasaswamedh ghat
Image for Dasaswamedh ghat

Dasaswamedh ghat

Observe sadhus conducting rituals, pilgrims bathing in holy water and priests performing the enthralling Ganga aarti ceremony on the banks of the Ganges River.

Ramnagar Fort
Image for Ramnagar Fort

Ramnagar Fort

Admire the architecture of this 17th-century fort, discover exhibits of armor, jewelry and vintage cars and watch stunning sunsets over the Ganges River.

Durga Temple
Image for Durga Temple

Durga Temple

Discover an immaculate image of a revered Hindu god and watch mischievous troops of monkeys at this attractive centuries-old temple.

Tulsi Ghat
Image for Tulsi Ghat

Tulsi Ghat

Watch pilgrims bathe in sacred water, see holy men perform ancient rituals and visit the former home of a great Indian poet.

Dharmarajika Stupa
Image for Dharmarajika Stupa

Dharmarajika Stupa

Founded to enshrine the remains of Lord Buddha, this ancient monument forms part of a Buddhist pilgrimage site home to monasteries, shrines and temples.