Varanasi, the land of northern India washed by the river Ganges, place of veneration, where millions of people come every year to purify their souls or to venerate their deceased loved ones. A special place, which leaves no one indifferent because of how different it is from the rest of the world, even from India. And a site that we believe is a must if you travel to India. That is why today we bring you all the advice about him, what to see and do in Varanasi, how to get there, where to sleep…
Varanasi, between life and death
Streets in which cows are habitual walkers, street markets, people everywhere, alleyways, Ghats, cremations, ceremonies, baths … Varanasi is a place where life runs around the Ganges, in its Ghats, where it is essential to see the snow watching How a new day starts from the river.
There we approached to spend a couple of days on our free 20-day route through India. We did not want to miss going through one of the places that most mark all the travelers that come to this country. And if you also want to get closer to this sacred place, we leave you below all our advice and essential to enjoy as we did from Varanasi.
How to get to Varanasi from New Delhi
Varanasi is a city that is somewhat remote from the typical route of northern India and that is why there are many travelers who if they have little time on their trip through the country, discard a visit to this city, although we are the ones we think It doesn’t matter what it costs to arrive because there are unique places in the world that deserve to be visited at least once in a lifetime, and this is the case of Varanasi. But how to get to Varanasi from New Delhi?
Well you can arrive:
A train journey from Delhi to Varanasi takes about 20 hours, so we rule out the option of going by train. To make a trip by car is also very remote and we preferred to invest the money in time to see other cities in India during our route. So the best option to get to Varanasi from the capital, Delhi, is to do it by air.
The plane lasts about an hour and a half and it is all the companies in India that make this route. We did it with Spice Jet and the price of tickets for this route is around € 30 to € 60 per person.
How to get from Varanasi airport to the city center
It is important that you know that Varanasi airport is very far from the city center, there is an hour and a half drive approximately. To avoid having to negotiate or be scammed when leaving the airport, we recommend that you have already hired the shuttle service beforehand. Prices are between 600 and 800 rupees per way.
We did so and we avoided problems when leaving the airport. We manage it directly with our Varanasi hotel, Hotel Rivera Palace. But you can also do it by hiring a private car in advance from just over € 20 for the journey. It is another option to consider.
Transport How to get around Varanasi?
Varanasi has a small and accessible city center, so walking from one point to another is easy, or at least we did. Although if you are lazy or do not feel like walking, you can always take a tuk tuk or a rickshaw to go to the points you want to visit. Just don’t forget to ever haggle the price well. It will depend on how good you are in that art what the journey can cost you!
Accommodation Where to sleep in Varanasi?
To sleep in Varanasi we believe that it is best to stay near the Ghats, since that is the area where the most activity takes place, the day to day of local life and where you can walk both day and night if you want to live and Feel the true Varanasi.
We stayed near Assi Ghat; one of the last Ghats, in a hotel located a step away from the Ganges. An old palace made a modern hotel. Our stay there was very good; it is a hotel that we recommend: the Rivera Palace Hotel. If you want to know more about this hotel and all the accommodations on our route through India, do not forget to visit our special post Accommodations in India.
Gastronomy Where to eat in Varanasi?
In Varanasi we have several foodies’ recommendations that make you very interesting, since the experience was very good or excellent in all of them. And in India you can eat very well. These are our recommendations for you to leave Varanasi with a good taste in your mouth:
Shree Cafe If you are walking through the Ghats and you feel like eating local vegetarian food, we recommend you go to this vegetarian restaurant. A small place with a very good Indian food menu. We tried the paneer aloo and some cheese nanas, and it was all very tasty. They also have salads, western food, shackes, lassis … Varied menu and all very good. We recommend it!
Brown Bread Bakery this is a place much more frequented by tourists. It is also a good option if you are wandering the streets of the Chowk neighborhood. Apart from super breakfasts, they have a very extensive menu of western food (sandwiches, hamburgers, salads …) as well as local food and freshly made smoothies and juices. The service is a bit slow, but the attention was excellent. In addition, part of the money goes to a school in Varanasi. It has wifi and air conditioning. And they have a rooftop terrace ideal for a drink at sunset.
Street food in Varanasi
Pizzeria Vaatika. If you are looking for a place to eat a good pizza to leave Hindu food aside for a night, take note of the best pizzeria in Varanasi. It is located in the Assi Ghat and has a terrace overlooking the Ganges and the ceremonial show that takes place every night here. The pizzas are thin and delicious, and do not forget to try their star dessert: apple pie with ice cream. Spectacular! We liked it so much that we went two nights in a row.
Blue Lassi Another stop that you must make if you are in the Chowk neighborhood is in the blue lassi, the most famous place in the city where to take the well-known yogurt from India, there are all the flavors. Do not leave without trying it.
And so far our recommendations foodies of Varanasi. We hope you like them like us!
Tips on Varanasi
And as always, we end our posts with a series of final and general tips to keep in mind when you go to Varanasi:
- How many days to be we believe that you must dedicate at least 2 full days to this city in northern India? To have time to get there and get used to the site, since it is not easy to visit this place, it is different from everything you have seen so far! You have to have time to live at least one sunrise and one night.
- Forget prejudices and let yourself go. Forget everything they told you, clear your mind and soul, and let yourself be conquered by Varanasi.
- Think that you are in India and especially the traveling women always carry a foulard to cover your shoulders and try if you can avoid showing your knees.
- There is ATMs in the most modern part of the city, although we recommend arriving in this city with cash and local currency to pay for food, transportation and excursions without having to change here.
So we end up with this mini guide of Varanasi. A city that in no case will leave you indifferent and to which we recommend making an almost mandatory stop on your route through India. City of water, life, death, fire, strong smells and sensations, cows, chaos and spirituality, color and flavor. Enjoy a unique place in the world!