Varanasi City India - Travel and Touring Guides.

The huge City of Varanasi is located in the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh and has the River Assi to it's south and the Ganga (River Ganges) to it's north and south.

This 3000 year old Indian city of Varanasi is therefore a very important pilgrimage destination for Buddhists and Jains - and is also one of seven sacred cities for Hindus. This topic is simply about a tour and sightseeing in and around Varanasi (as well as to nearbye Sarnath Archaeological Site and Temples) - for masses of information about the history and development of the city etc a good source to look at is via wiki.
Varanasi is also a major tourist destination and is well served by several internal Indian airlines with for instance the flight from Delhi to Varanasi taking around 50 minutes. Varanasi Airport (also known as Babatpur Airport) is located to the northwest and some distance away from the city - it's around an 18km drive into the centre of the city.
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A street in Varanasi, India - (Old City) Sidestreet off Dashaswamedh Road, Varanasi, India. Varanasi's Dashaswamedh area - India. St Thomas's Church, Varanasi, India.

Perhaps one of the few times when you will need a taxi to get anywhere around Varanasi is when heading out to Varanasi airport for a flight out Dashaswamedh - Varanasi, India.- always allow plenty of time because of Varanasi's traffic congestion. From planning a touring point of view it is worth noting that a regular'ish flight operates from Varanasi to Khajuraho (where you can see all those beautiful Jain Temples).
There are several railway stations at Varanasi - the main railhead is Varanasi Cantonment Railway Station and this serves destinations such as Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Howrah and Jammu. For getting to Agra, Jaipur and Jodhpur there is a daily express train which leaves from Mughal Sarai Railway Station. (as with many trains in India - take the "Express" bit with a large pinch of salt of course).

Very busy Dashaswamedh Road, Varanasi, India. Old and once beautiful buildings along the Varanasi ghats in India Cows grazing along the Ghats by the Ganga, Varanasi

Accommodation in Varanasi - Hotels and chosing where to stay.

It is very tempting to consider staying at a hotel alongside one of the Varanasi Ghats - waking up in the morning with a great view of the River Ganges to enjoy etc. etc. The Ghats themselves (apart from when a festival is on) are actually really peaceful most of the time. However walk up the steps from the river and you immediately enter total mayhem - Varanasi Old City is so busy and noisy it is amazing to behold. This is actually quite enjoyable for a while but it might be desirable having spent time in the chaos to leave it all behind and have accommodation in relative peace and quiet. There are some really nice Varanasi hotels around 6 or 7 kilometres away from the Ghats in the Cantoment - just a 60 or 70 rupee auto-rickshaw ride away - and these are located in a much more peaceful setting. Varanasi hotels are relatively inexpensive compared to some parts of India and you can get a really nice room with balcony perhaps overlooking gardens for around 2500 to 3000 rupees per night.

A few photos from around the streets more in the Cantoment area of Varanasi, India.


Ramnagar Road - Varanasi in India. Varanasi's St Mary's Church up at the Cantomnment, Varanasi, India. River Varuna - Cantonment, Varanasi, India. Durga Temple at Varanasi, India
Some weaving looms, the Moslem area of Varanasi, India Somewhat unusually quiet part of Dashaswamedh Road at Varanasi in India. Temple and street in the old part of Varanasi, India. Nice looking building up at Varanasi Cantonment.

Touring and Sightseeing the Ghats and other areas in Varanasi City, India.

As mentioned Varanasi is traffic chaos - the only way to get around for sightseeing in the city area in reality is by using the auto rickshaws which seem to have the ability to get through gaps half their size. Cycle rickshaws are pretty hazardous to ride on - they are way down the food chain and get carved up by everything except cyclists and pedestrians. Accidents involving cycle-rickshaws happen quite frequently - with particularly car drivers treating them with complete disdain - particularly in the Old City area. Any four wheeled transport from buses to taxis/cars really have got major problems in getting around especially in the Old City and in general they are probably not worth bothering with - it can take hours to get nowhere in particular and is probably quicker walking!.

Pontoon bridge used for crossing the Ganges between Ramnagar Fort and  Varanasi City, India.

Visiting Ramnagar Fort beside the River Ganges at Varanasi, India (with photos)


This old riverside Indian Fort is well worth a visit whilst staying on holiday in Varanasi - Ramnagar Fort is located around 14 Kilometres from Varanasi City if you want to go there by auto-rickshaw or taxi so quite a long way round. However you can also get to Ramnagar Fort from the City side of the river by crossing the River Ganges on foot via the pontoon which is a little way from Asi Ghat. It is quite interesting to walk across the River Ganges in this fashion - the whole thing does tend to wobble around a little though. However note that this pontoon is dismantled when the Ganges floods. The pontoon is only meant to be used by motorbikes, cyclists and pedestrians but autos do use it too.
Entrance to Ramnagar Fort - Varanasi in India. Ramnagar Fort building - Varanasi in India. Varanasi's Ramnagar Fort beside the River Ganges in India. Cannon at Ramnagar Fort - Varanasi in India.
Ramnagar Fort, Varanasi, India Square and buildings at Ramnagar Fort - Varanasi, India. Ramnagar Fort beautiful buildings around the Square - Varanasi in India. Ramnagar Fort outer walls - Varanasi in India.
The outside walls of Ramnagar Fort - Varanasi in India. Ramnagar Fort - Varanasi outskirts, India. Ramnagar Fort temples beside the Ganges - Varanasi. Fort buildings at Ramnagar Fort - Varanasi, India.
Ramnagar Fort is open daily and only costs a few rupees entrance fee - there are some nice buildings to admire with quite a lot of the inside allocated to various small museums including elephant seats (howdahs), various cars and transport, guns and arms and other old relics (photos are not permitted in the museum).
There is much more about touring in India via our India Travel and Touring Guide Home Page.

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