How to experience the culture of Varanasi
Discover the rich cultural tapestry of Varanasi, India's spiritual heart. Immerse yourself in centuries-old traditions, witness captivating rituals along the Ganges, and experience the essence of spirituality.
Varanasi, considered the spiritual capital of India, is a city steeped in centuries-old history, culture and traditions. Nestled on the banks of the sacred Ganges river, Varanasi offers a unique and fascinating cultural experience for visitors who want to learn more about India's heritage and spiritual contributions.
This article explores the best ways to experience the culture of Varanasi.
Morning rituals on the banks of the Ganges
Start your day at dawn with a visit to the ghats of Varanasi. Witness the spiritual spectacle as pilgrims and locals gather to bathe in the Ganges river. The mesmerising views of sunrise, combined with the soothing sounds of chanting and the temple bells, create a peaceful atmosphere.
Explore ancient temples
Varanasi is dotted with countless temples, each with its unique history and significance. Visit the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple, the Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple, and the Durga temple. Interact with devotees and bask in devotional energy.
Witness the intricate art of silk weaving
Visit local silk workshops to see skilled artisans at work, creating beautiful silk saris using traditional techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation. You will definitely be tempted to buy a sari or two.
Boating on the Ganges
Cruise along the Ganges at sunset. As you float along the river, witness the famous Ganga aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat. It is a breathtaking spectacle of fire, music and spirituality that cannot be missed.
Taste local cuisine
Savour the flavours of Varanasi with delicious street food. Try the famous Banarasi paan, kachori-sabzi and malaiyyo, a sweet dish. For the more adventurous, spicy chaat and litti chokha are must-try dishes.
Dive into music and art
Attend classical music and dance performances. Varanasi is the centre of Indian classical art. The captivating rhythm of the tabla, the soothing sounds of the sitar, and the graceful Kathak dance performance will transport you to another world.
A short drive from Varanasi is Sarnath, where the Buddha gave his first sermon. Explore ancient ruins, visit Sarnath Museum, and immerse yourself in the spiritual atmosphere.
Rejuvenate yourself with yoga and meditation
Varanasi is a great place to rejuvenate your mind and body. Join a yoga or meditation session by the river and find inner peace amidst the bustling chaos of the city.
When immersing yourself in the culture of Varanasi, ensure you respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly when visiting temples and follow photography guidelines at religious sites.
Varanasi is more than just a destination; it’s an experience that will leave an indelible mark on your soul. Embrace its rich culture, spirituality and traditions and carry a piece of Varanasi forever in your heart.
Edited by Swetha Kannan