Travel Varanasi – City Of Many Gods

I had always wanted to explore and travel Varanasi!  After a 16 hour train ride from Goa, I had finally arrived!  I stepped onto a platform and watched another world unravel in front of me.

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Travel Varanasi – India’s Spiritual Capital

Varanasi is regarded as the spiritual capital of India, an ancient city dated back to the 11th century BC.  I couldn’t believe I was finally going to get to explore Varanasi.

THE GANGES RIVER

From the very beginning I could feel it was a very sacred place and there was a mysterious energy that stirred. Varanasi has thousands of temples and home of the Ganges River which runs along side the city.  The Ganges river is also known as the “holy river”.  It plays an important roll to the Hindu community as it believed to come straight from heaven to earth.

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STREETS FROM A FAIRY TALE

The streets along the river are stoned and narrow, lined with ox carts, old bicycles and enchanting doors – It looked like the streets came straight out of a fairy tale book.  The architecture alongside the river is incredible, there is evidence of Muslim, Christian and Hindu influence.

Before I had travelled Varanasi I didn’t realise that the city is a photographers dream!  We captured some fascinating photos of Varanasi while exploring the city  in time that doesn’t look like it changed in centuries.  Once you start moving away from the river the calm becomes rippled with a busy city life.

THE GHATS – TRAVEL VARANASI

Varanasi is known as one of the oldest and holiest cities in the world, pilgrims line up to the Ghats to wash away their sins or throw their loves ones cremated ashes into the holy water for assured rebirth.  The Ghats are a series of stairs which runs down to the waters edge and plays an important roll in rituals of both life and death.  Many of the rituals take place in public.

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Sometimes bodies are burned in open ceremonies, however its important to keep an open mind and realize that these practices have been around for centuries.  Yes! –  During my Varanasi travel adventures I witnessed some of  these ceremonies, if it’s a part of your belief system or if even if you just a little curious its quite an experience.

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SUNRISE ALONG THE GHATS RIVER

You have to witness a perfect red sunrise on a boat along the Ganges river and watch as the water and the sky becomes one. (Even if it means getting up in the freezing cold in January)

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The sunrise often draws lots of tourist. Don’t forget your camera – I had an opportunity to take some amazing photographs from the boat!

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LOOKING FOR A RELIABLE VARANASI BOAT TOUR?

Varanasi: Get Your Guide

PEOPLE OF VARANASI

There is an interesting mix of different people around Varanasi – annoying touts, pilgrims, few tourist and the locals. While I travelled Varanasi I also noticed a few Sadhus these holy men are fascinating!  Sadhus renounce all their material possessions in search for spiritual liberation.  They are wanderers layered in orange cloth and prayer beads. Hindus see Sadhus as gods representatives, which makes them well respected.  Sadhus are often seen perched high along the Ganges river towers, often meditating or playing the Indian flute.

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I MET AN ASTROLOGER IN VARANASI

Walking along the Ghats, I met an astrologer which was an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life!  I followed him up a few stairs to his small private shrine. (A cement statue of Ganesha surrounded with flowers and bowl of sweet rice)  He asked me to stare deep into his eyes – it was mesmerising!  The anticipation was soon tamed as I floated away in his hypnotic glance.  He looked straight into my soul and told me things about myself that only I could ever have known.  He gave me a tails man for good luck, some wise words and then sent me on my way.

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EXPLORING VARANASI

I hired a driver into town, wandered through two different Buddhist temples and was also taken to a silk merchant.

Speaking English in northern India becomes a bit sketchy but a cup of chai tea broke the ice and the negotiations on price started.  I walked away with a variety of pure silk shawls which made the perfect gifts from India for friends at home.

WHERE TO STAY IN VARANASI?

During my travels to Varanasi I stayed at the Shiva Ganges View Guest House which had the real “unique India” feeling to it.  The guest house is situated on the waters edge at the Mansarovar Ghat, making it an experience on its own.

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Every morning I was woken by a man playing the Indian flute outside my window.  I could hear each note as they floated across the still water and dissipated into the mist on the other side. AirBNB also has some really cost effective accommodations to chose from home stays to bed and breakfast options.

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THE JOURNEY CONTINUES – TRAVEL VARANASI

Its a pity that I couldn’t stay in Varanasi longer but my journey had to continue. I walked away from  Varanasi with a feeling in my heart that I simply cant put into words.  If you are on a spiritual journey this is probably one of those mystical places that help you find some of the answers that you seek, leaving a permanent imprint in your heart.  Hopefully I will get to travel Varanasi again on one of my future journeys to India.

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Travel Varanasi and discover Meditation, Yoga and Reiki which are all practised at a higher level. If you love photography you can capture the true essence of history and heritage.

Have you been to Travel Varanasi in India? Drop us a comment below and tell us what has been your most memorable moment? 

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  Varanasi, India - Want to travel Varanasi? The spiritual capital of India has over 2000 temples, beautiful sunrises and home of the famous Ganges River. Read more about our adventures here. #Varanasi #India #travelindia #Gangesriver #ganges Varanasi, India - Want to travel Varanasi? The spiritual capital of India has over 2000 temples, beautiful sunrises and home of the famous Ganges River. Read more about our adventures here. #Varanasi #India #travelindia #Gangesriver #ganges Varanasi, India - Want to travel Varanasi? The spiritual capital of India has over 2000 temples, beautiful sunrises and home of the famous Ganges River. Read more about our adventures here. #Varanasi #India #travelindia #Gangesriver #ganges

* All cost for this trip way paid by us. Although we try to ensure that all information provided is as accurate and correct, we cannot be held liable for any errors. This site may contain affiliate links at no extra cost to you. These links help keep this site running if you make a purchase using our link. All opinions are our own.  Images may be used around the web as long as you credit us and link back to our website souldrifters.com. Images may not be used for advertising and commercial purposes. You are welcome to contact us for rates and terms for commercial rights.

Liza Williams

Born in South Africa, fascinated with culture and loves wood fire pizza. “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away” Follow me on twitter: @soul_drifters

47 thoughts on “Travel Varanasi – City Of Many Gods

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  • July 5, 2018 at 4:54 am
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    Varanasi is so magical! Thanks for this amazing guide

    Reply
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  • February 19, 2018 at 1:58 pm
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    Varanasi is a city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh dating to the 11th century B.C. the city draws Hindu pilgrims who bathe in the Ganges River sacred waters. I read your blog and i get the valuable information on Varanasi travel. Thanks for such post and please keep it up.

    Reply
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  • November 27, 2017 at 11:55 am
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    Awesome photos! It really does look like a photographer’s dream. We are heading to India next year and can’t wait to visit Varanasi, will check out the guest house for our stay!

    Reply
  • November 26, 2017 at 7:42 pm
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    Varanasi is one city in India that speaks culture and religion on all grounds. We had the pleasure to visit the city a few months back and our visit was invigorating. We wish to go back soon 🙂 Lovely blog.

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  • November 26, 2017 at 7:45 am
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    I must visit that ancient city. Your pictures make me feel, I am watching a historic movie 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

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  • November 24, 2017 at 9:44 pm
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    my grandfather spend a few years in india in the early 50’s and the pictures that you describe as “fairy tale pictures” could have been from him.. they look exactly like the ones he took so long time ago. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  • November 21, 2017 at 2:31 pm
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    I’ve never been to India before, but your photos inspire me to go! Varanasi looks incredible, and maybe one day I’ll get to see it and that sunset for myself!

    Reply
  • November 21, 2017 at 1:58 pm
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    I havent done India yet but when I do, this is going on my list of places to hit out. I do like the look of the buildings besides the river and it seems there is a vibrant atmosphere when looking at the people in the photos.

    Reply
  • November 20, 2017 at 6:58 pm
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    Wow, thanks for this guide. There are so much things to do and it can get overwhelming to figure out where to start. I will definitely reference this when I go! Thanks!

    Reply
  • November 20, 2017 at 6:05 pm
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    I actually never heard about Varanasi before but now it looks like it would be one of the first places I would love to visit in India! It looks so interesting and magical! I love the red and orange colour everywhere! And that red sunrise !! SO beautiful!!!

    Reply
  • November 20, 2017 at 2:58 pm
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    I love how… real, how authentic this is… The river pics are quite something – love the Sadsus, inspiring spirits to say the least!

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  • November 20, 2017 at 2:02 pm
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    Varanasi has a charm. Have been here when I was kid. This post of yours makes me want to visit it soon 🙂

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  • November 11, 2017 at 2:58 am
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    Hi Liza,
    Awesome post and nice clicks! You are right, this city is the same, almost untouched from centuries, as Lord Rama along with His wife Sita and brother Lakshmana travelled across the river, in one of the similar boats in the same river Ganges with boatman Kevata, thousand years ago. You will find the story in one of the temples in Varanasi. I have seen so many pics of the same city with so many photographers and each click is still different with new angle. I am born n brought up in Varanasi in University Campus. Thanks!

    Reply
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  • July 26, 2017 at 9:10 am
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    Hi.. loved reading your blog post on Varanasi. It is indeed an amazing place with a profound cultural aura.

    Reply
  • July 25, 2017 at 3:02 pm
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    Varanasi was our first destination in India. The hardest to be starting with I belive! It was a rough start because we came all the way from Nepal spending 12hours in a nightmare kind of bus ride. Varanasi is very special leaving nobody untouched. I remember how the strongly it smell and dirty so I would always get kind of nausea after a while. Beside that, on our way to our train walking by the ghat my husband got sick. He was down by the ghat vomiting so we had to stay another week for him tl recover.

    Reply
  • July 6, 2017 at 3:20 pm
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    Love your photos! Would love to visit India, it looks like such an amazing and diversely interesting place.

    Reply
  • July 6, 2017 at 3:09 pm
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    Glad you had this experience. It seems like the kind of place you can get lost in. I’ve been thinking about going to India and other countries in that region lately.

    Reply
  • July 6, 2017 at 5:16 am
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    I would love to go to India. It looks like you had a great time in Varanasi and is fun you got to see a shop where they weave silk. Textiles are a favorite part of travel for me!

    Reply
  • July 5, 2017 at 10:46 pm
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    I was a bit shocked when reading about the open ceremonies. It must’ve been quite an experience for you!! But I guess that’s what traveling teaches you to do – be open-minded and appreciate foreign culture 🙂

    Reply
    • July 6, 2017 at 1:02 pm
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      Hi Jas, I truly believe that to have the full experience of a place its important to learn and respect its culture. I learnt so much in India, thank you for reading.

      Reply
  • July 5, 2017 at 5:38 pm
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    wow 16 hour train in India seems challenging! I would love to read about it , But looks like it was worth it! Your photos looks so amazing! Your so right its a photographers dream

    Reply
    • July 6, 2017 at 12:59 pm
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      Hi Ada, yes the train ride was challenging : ) but its all part of the journey. I wish i had the camera i have now to take pictures but its just another reason to go back!

      Reply
  • July 5, 2017 at 5:26 pm
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    Wow, your photos are so lovely, I feel like I’ve been there myself now. Although I’m guessing that I’d have to go there to get the spiritual experience. It must have been amazing.

    Reply
    • July 6, 2017 at 12:57 pm
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      Hi Katherine,

      Thank you for reading, glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply
  • July 5, 2017 at 5:17 pm
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    Glad you enjoyed the ancient city of Varanasi.Did you get to see an evening aarati (prayer) at the Ganges?

    Reply
    • July 6, 2017 at 12:51 pm
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      Hi Paroma,
      Yes, i was there for the evening prayer the energy was something else! Thank you for reading

      Reply
  • July 5, 2017 at 5:15 pm
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    India is on my immediate bucket list! Thanks for sharing, it looks amazing!

    Reply
    • July 6, 2017 at 12:48 pm
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      Hi Hannah, glad to hear that India is on your bucket list, keep an open mind and open heart and you will love it! So much so see and do.

      Reply
  • July 5, 2017 at 4:57 pm
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    Wow, this looks like a life changing trip. Very different from anywhere I have ever visited. Looks like you had a wonderful time.

    Reply
    • July 6, 2017 at 12:47 pm
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      Thank you Christine its great to visit new places.

      Reply
  • July 5, 2017 at 4:57 pm
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    Oh my God! This is from my country and an absolute favorite! This is an ancient city and the wevws are pretty famous from here. You know I will be wearing a benarasi saree when I will get married! I loved the blog. Visiting this place this winter. Will look forward!

    Reply
    • July 6, 2017 at 12:46 pm
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      Wow Madhurima, I really hope you enjoy your time there like I did. Thank you for reading.

      Reply
  • July 5, 2017 at 4:48 pm
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    Great post, really took me there, the pics are amazing, and the description of the place!
    I have read of this ritual, I would really like to visit India, Specially the ganges, and witness this incredible tradition.

    Reply
    • July 6, 2017 at 12:45 pm
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      Hi Esther, Thank you India has tought me so much about the world and my own life. You must go its a life changing experience in so many ways.

      Reply
  • July 5, 2017 at 4:37 pm
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    Wow, what an interesting place to visit! So unusual! But so nice to see – that’s the point of all of us sharing our travels, as bloggers we have to open our minds to new places! Great blog post!

    P.s. I was also born in SA! 🙂

    Reply
    • July 6, 2017 at 12:42 pm
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      Greetings fellow South African, Thank you for your comment, so glad you liked it!

      Reply
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