Approximate Cost for the Trip – Rs. 6 to 8 K
Best Time: October to March
Varanasi is an ancient city in the Uttar Pradesh state of North India. It’s a perfect city to detox from mundane hustle and bustle. City inhabits many ghats that can leave a mesmerizing impact and help you heal inside out. It also hosts many temples; Kashi Vishwanath is one of the most popular. Besides so many places to visit its hub for some great delicacies that can lift your taste buds. A must visit city not just once but many times as narrated by frequent visitors. Varanasi hosts lakhs of a population, with an area of about 80 km.
How to Commute From Delhi?
You can commute from Delhi in three ways:-
AC Sleeper Bus – Cost- Sleeper – To & Fro – Rs. 2600
Usually, sleeper Volvo is best to commute from Delhi. You must check the rating before taking the Volvo; however, it’s not the only criteria. Avoid the Royal Blue travels, my personal experience. While commuting one side there were some annoying noisy bunch of creep middle age men. When asked to talk slowly they became more aggressive. Conductor takes the least responsibility in managing such unwanted issues. While coming back from Varanasi to Delhi it was even worse, the window glasses of my seat started breaking all of the sudden. It could have been a major injury but the conductor and drivers were least bothered. The only good part was they had washrooms without water and flush.
I would suggest you to take a semi-seater Volvo that may be little uncomfortable but may be safer and lesser in cost as well. If you wish to take sleeper only than try other options than Royal Travels. Usually bus drops you to some petrol pump, 5-6 km near the city. From there you can get rick costing you not more than Rs. 200- 300 bases on the location of your stay.
Train – Cost – To and Fro- Based on availability
Trains are always the best option if you get the tickets on time. You can always contact some local agent for the same as there’s always waiting there. With tatkal tickets, you can book them at less cost.
Flight – Rs 10,000 To and Fro
If you have a deep pocket than flight is the best way to go. Not only will it save your time but will make you journey comfortable as well. If you are a frequent traveler than you must analyze the opportunity cost of your flight as the money saved in commute can be used in another travel. Any traveler prefers to take 10 -12 trips in a year so you need to assign your budget accordingly. However, if you travel once in a blue moon than it should be the best option.
Where to Stay?
There are very cheap accommodations starting from Rs. 500 per night. The upper limit can go to Rs 1500- Rs 2000 per night for a deluxe hotel. If you wish to go for a higher end properties like 3-5 stars than the price will be definitely higher. There are lots of places near ghats also that can cost you anywhere from Rs. 700 to Rs. 1000 per night. Varanasi is a hub for many foreign tourists its occupies throughout the year, it’s good to book to book desired stay before arrival
9 Must Things to Do In Varanasi
Attend the Aarti
One of the most mesmerizing events in Varanasi is to attend its morning or evening Aarti. If you plan to attend the Aarti in the morning than you must wake up at 4 am and reach the ghats at 6 am. Evening aarti starts at 630 pm. You need to hire the boat for the same. Cost for a shared boat is between Rs. 250 to Rs. 350 based on the type of boat you choose. You can select between a paddle or a motor boat. If you wish to go for private boat than the cost will vary.
Try the Local Cuisines
Varanasi is known for various delicacies. You can try their local sweets; there are plenty of unique sweets that you can try there. Besides sweets, you can try their chats, thandai and many other cuisines. Some not to be missed items are variety of lassi. Blue lassi, a popular shop en-route after Kashi Vishwanath temple offers variety of flavors of lassi in a price starting at just Rs. 90.
Another specialty is trying their local cuisine during lunch at a restaurant, baati churma. It has got beautiful village like interior that makes you more connected with the city. Their serve their food in variety of thalis, cost per thali is just Rs. 250.
Buy Some Banarasi Silk
Let me share some unknown secret regarding banarasi silk saree. I am sure most of us have heard about silk sarees from Banaras. Many people visit here specially to buy ethnic stuff at the time of marriage at their home. So the secret is banarasi silk is the result of handicraft work done by Buddhist and Mohammedan. You can get both kinds of work from the two corners of the city, one will be in Sarnath, and other will be in the main city.
Sarnath is a famous place where Buddha took his second step after Bodh Gya. Well maintained, beautiful crafted sculpture throughout the temple makes this place worth visiting. It’s maintained by the Buddha followers from Thailand who resides near the temple and engaged in producing beautiful handicraft work.
Go to Banaras Hindu University (BHU)
BHU is one of the biggest universities in the city of Banaras. It offers many courses including a prestigious degree from IIT. You can also visit the new Vishwanath temple. It’s canteen offers food at a dirt cheap price.
Visit Ramnagar Fort
This is the ancient fort where the king still visits occasionally in a traditional royal way taking a ride on decorated elephant. Little unmaintained but if you love the history you can visit here. Photography is prohibited inside though there’s nothing much. You can take many clicks from outside the premises of the fort that can give you few picturesque shots.
Visit all the Temples
Before visiting Ganga Aarti you can take a trip to many small temples en route. There are a lot of temples to visit that can help you connect spiritually and can help you detox from any negativity.
Kashi Vishwanath Mandir- a must visit
Kashi Vishwanath Mandir is one of the most ancient temples. The queue starts from the morning. If you don’t want to wait for hours in the queue than you can always take a VIP entry that can cost you Rs. 300. Inside the temple, you can get closer darshan (view) of God. For puja (prayer), there’s a separate zone where priest s will take you without even asking. You can choose to go if you wish to do any special prayer. The priest may ask you anywhere from Rs 2000 to Rs. 5000. You can always negotiate on the same. Cameras are strictly not allowed inside Kashi Vishwanath.
Take Ganga Bath
Visiting Ganges for the purity bath is a different kind of pleasure and soulful treat. You must leave little early for the same. You can take a special boat to go to the ghats where you can take the bath.