People from around India come to Varanasi for the Ganges River, and life (and death) in the city revolves around the river.
You’ll find sadhus, or Hindu holy men, throughout Varanasi, often napping in the sunshine or deep in meditation.
There’s nothing better to do when you’re in Varanasi than walk along the Ganges river. Doing laundry is also a popular activity.
Ghats are a series of steps that lead down to a river, and in Varanasi you’ll find ghats continuously along the river. One of my favorites, for its beautiful painted steps, is Kedar Ghat.
Like in all of India, Varanasi is full of color. From the colors painted on buildings to the clothing of pilgrims, you’ll be immersed in colors when in Varanasi.
Taking a seat on a step and watching life and death happen is one of the most incredible things to do in Varanasi.
Though you can go to one of the burning ghats and see bodies being burned (I didn’t take any photos), you can also see funerals taking place where a body is just sunk to the botton of the river. Here’s a funeral I witnessed along the ghat early one morning.
Watch my Varanasi video to see more of this ceremony.
People not only bathe and wash their clothes in the Ganges river, but it’s also consumed!
Taking a morning sunrise boat ride is a great way to see Varanasi waking up and to observe rituals and traditions taking place along the banks of the river.
Every night, and also in the morning (but less), there’s a ceremony to honor the Ganges river. It involves lots of burning incense and fire.
Throughout Varanasi you’ll see many interesting shrines.
You can really sit or lay down and take a nap wherever you please in Varanasi. This man just decided to take a nap in a cage… why not!?
Like I mentioned above, all over Varanasi there are many sadhu holy men. Sometimes they ask for their photos to be taken in exchange for a few Rupees.
Even if a goat starts licking your face, just keep on snoozing!
While walking along the main road of Varanasi, I came across a dead monkey. People would passby and toss coins as the monkey rest.
Exploring the Ganges River and the ancient narrow alleys are the highlights of visiting Varanasi.
A very colorful boat full of people in Varanasi, India.
If you get onto some of the main streets in Varanasi, you’ll find all sorts of delicious street food. During my stay, I frequented the peanut man and the green pea man.
Varanasi is a great place to get lost in the craziness and just explore the city.
You’ll find lots of delicious food in Varanasi too!
If you plan to visit Varanasi, be sure to check out tips and information on my Varanasi travel guide.
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