All Hindus have a duty to visit the holy city of Varanasi at least once. At any time of day or night, river life, ancient rituals and customs along the Ganges are truly fascinating to observe. Colourful old temples punctuate the riverbanks, and an intricate collection of narrow streets all lead to the water. Witness faithful devotees at sunrise as they visit the ghats to bathe, pray, chat, and wash away their sins. Watch the colourful Aarti ritual in the evening. It is said that those who die in Varanasi receive moksha, emancipation from the cycle of birth to death. Here is a place to lose all sense of your modern life.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in Varanasi – the crowds participate in hundreds of ceremonies each day, celebrating milestones from birth to death. You’ll even see ghats where the deceased are placed in wooden pyres and burned. However, come with an open mind and a trip here is a life-changer.
The Buddhist centre of Sarnath is close to Varanasi, where Buddha's first discourse was heard. Former stupas, temples, and shrines can be found here, although they are mostly in ruins. You can still enjoy the evening Aarti ritual on the ghats, best enjoyed by boat. A guided walk down the streets of this old and holy town is a profound and moving experience.
Including Varanasi as part of a trip to India may not be for the faint-hearted, but the team at Experience Travel Group will do everything in our power to make it comfortable, enjoyable, and truly profound. We’ve witnessed the ceremonies, taken the boat trips, faced the crowds head-on, and we know how to prepare visitors for a remarkable experience.