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10 Places to Visit near Varanasi | Explore the Holy Land of India

Varanasi, a city woven from the threads of spirituality and history, enchants travellers with its vibrant energy and ancient charm. But the magic extends far beyond the captivating ghats that line the Ganges. Explore the captivating destinations around Varanasi and discover a tapestry woven with historical wonders, cultural experiences, and breathtaking natural beauty. Places to Visit near Varanasi offer an array of experiences that reveal even more of the region’s rich heritage and stunning landscapes.

Varanasi is more than just religion. Explore the complex lanes of the old city, a sensory overload of bustling bazaars and magnificent temples. Take a boat ride on the Ganges at sunrise, watching the city come alive in the soft light. In the nearby town of Sarnath, delve into Buddhist history. In the evenings, savour the local street food and lose yourself in the city’s infectious energy. Let Varanasi unveil its magic, one experience at a time.

This blog delves into 15 incredible places to visit near Varanasi, perfect for weekend getaways or short detours from your Varanasi adventure. Each entry will quench your thirst for exploration, whether you seek spiritual solace, historical intrigue, or a thrilling dose of family fun. So, pack your bags and prepare to unveil the magic beyond the holy city!

Here are 10 best places to visit near Varanasi:

1. Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple: Spiritual Abode of Lord Shiva

Description:  One of the twelve Jyotirlingas, or sacred Shiva shrines, the Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the holiest Hindu pilgrimage site in India.  A maze of narrow lanes leads to the temple, culminating in a dazzling vision of gold-plated towers that pierce the sky.  Inside, devotees experience an atmosphere of profound devotion as they pay homage to the Jyotirlinga, a radiant Shiva lingam (representation of the deity).


Best Time to Visit: While the temple welcomes visitors year-round, the cooler months between October and February offer a more comfortable experience, especially for those navigating the crowded lanes.


Highlights: Witness the daily aarti (prayer ceremony) – a mesmerizing display of devotion with fire lamps and chanting priests. Marvel at the intricate carvings and the sheer grandeur of the temple architecture.

2. Assi Ghat: Where the Ganges Meets Serenity

Description: Assi Ghat, the southernmost ghat (flight of steps leading to the Ganges River) in Varanasi, offers a unique blend of spirituality and serenity.  Take a boat ride on the Ganges and soak in the breathtaking sunrise, or simply relax on the steps and observe the daily rituals performed by devotees.


Best Time to Visit: Early mornings are ideal for witnessing the captivating sunrise and the morning aarti, a visually stunning ceremony. Evenings offer a calmer atmosphere for peaceful reflection.


Highlights:  Experience the contrasting energies of Assi Ghat – the lively morning rituals and the tranquil evening atmosphere. Visit the ancient Shiva temple at the ghat and explore the nearby cafes and shops.

3. Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple: Devotion to the Monkey God

Description:  Dedicated to Lord Hanuman, the monkey god revered for his unwavering devotion to Lord Rama, the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple is a vibrant and colorful place of worship.  Devotees throng the temple, offering prayers and seeking blessings to overcome life’s obstacles.


Best Time to Visit: Tuesdays are considered especially auspicious to visit Lord Hanuman.  Throughout the week, the temple offers a lively atmosphere, but avoid peak hours (around noon) if you prefer a calmer experience.


Highlights: Witness the unique rituals performed at the temple, including offering marigold garlands and applying vermillion paste on the idol.  Immerse yourself in the devotional chants and vibrant atmosphere.

4. Chunar Fort: Discover the Timeless Majesty

Description: Standing tall on the banks of the Ganges, Chunar Fort boasts a rich legacy dating back to 56 BC. This majestic structure has witnessed the rise and fall of empires, from the Mauryas to the Mughals and the British. Explore its impregnable walls, climb the watchtowers for panoramic views of the river, and delve into the legends surrounding its hidden chambers and secret tunnels.


Best Time to Visit: Embrace the pleasant weather between October and March. The winter months offer clear skies and comfortable temperatures, perfect for exploring the fort’s vast expanse.


Highlights: Don’t miss the Samadhi of Bharthari, a revered poet-saint, and the Sonwa Mandap, an ornately carved pavilion. History buffs will love the Well of Love, believed to be built by King Vikramaditya, and the imposing Bungalow of Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General of Bengal.

5. Ramnagar Fort: A Journey Through Time and Grandeur

Description: This 17th-century fort, perched majestically on the banks of the Ganges, offers a glimpse into the royal past of Varanasi. Explore its grand courtyards, admire the intricate architecture, and lose yourself in the fascinating museum housed within. The museum boasts an impressive collection of royal artifacts, weaponry, and vintage cars, offering a peek into the lives of the erstwhile Kashi Naresh kings.


Best Time to Visit: Time your visit to coincide with the vibrant Ramnagar Ramlila, a dramatic enactment of the Ramayana held here every year during Dussehra (usually falls in September or October).


Highlights: Witness the aarti (worship ceremony) performed on the shimmering Ganges from the fort’s ghat, a truly mesmerizing experience. Explore the Vishwanath Temple within the fort complex, dedicated to Lord Shiva, and soak in the spiritual aura. Art enthusiasts will appreciate the captivating collection of Mughal miniatures showcased in the museum.

6. Godowlia Market: Dive into the Vibrant Chaos

Description: Immerse yourself in the vibrant chaos of Godowlia Market, a treasure trove for shopaholics and bargain hunters. Navigate through narrow lanes overflowing with a dazzling array of traditional Indian wares. From colorful silk saris and handcrafted jewelry to fragrant spices and local delicacies, Godowlia has something for everyone. Don’t forget to practice your haggling skills and experience the warmth of Indian hospitality from friendly shopkeepers.


Best Time to Visit: The market bustles year-round, but mornings are generally less crowded and offer a chance to interact with the locals going about their daily business.


Highlights: Look for unique Banarasi silk sarees, a timeless symbol of Indian craftsmanship. Sample the local street food, a delightful mix of sweet and savory treats. If you’re looking for souvenirs, pick up intricately carved wooden toys or hand-painted pottery – these make perfect keepsakes to remind you of your Varanasi adventure.

7. Sarnath: Discover the Serenity

Description: Sarnath, the “Deer Park,” is one of the four holiest Buddhist sites, marking the place where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. Explore the serene Dhamek Stupa, commemorating the sermon, and marvel at the majestic Ashoka Pillar, a testament to Mauryan era art.


Best time to visit: November to February offers pleasant weather for exploring the ruins and soaking in the spiritual atmosphere.


Highlights: Witness the Buddhist prayer flags fluttering in the breeze, delve into the Archaeological Museum’s exquisite collection of Buddhist artifacts, and find inner peace amidst the serene Dhamek Stupa complex.

8. Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum: A Treasure Trove of Art and Culture

Description: For art and history enthusiasts, a visit to the Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum is a must. Nestled within the Banaras Hindu University, this haven for art houses a vast collection spanning centuries. Explore intricate sculptures, captivating miniature paintings, and fascinating bronzes, each piece whispering stories of India’s rich artistic heritage.


Best time to visit: Open year-round, the museum offers a welcome respite from the summer heat.


Highlights: Admire the finesse of Mughal miniature paintings, lose yourself in the intricate details of ancient sculptures, and gain insights into Indian artistic traditions through the well-curated exhibits.

9. Varanasi Fun City: Dive into Excitement and Adventure

Description: Craving a dose of adrenaline-pumping fun with your family? Look no further than the Varanasi Fun City! This amusement park offers a thrilling escape with a variety of rides, water slides, and entertainment options. From exhilarating roller coasters to a relaxing carousel, there’s something for all ages to enjoy.


Best time to visit: The park functions throughout the year, but avoid peak summer months for a more comfortable experience.


Highlights: Take a plunge on the thrilling water slides, conquer your fear of heights on the adventurous rides, and create lasting memories with your loved ones amidst the vibrant park atmosphere.

10. Chaukhandi Stupa: Unveiling Varanasi's Ancient Buddhist Legacy

Description: Standing tall amidst the Sarnath ruins, the Chaukhandi Stupa is a unique octagonal monument. This 17th-century structure, built by a Mughal emperor, is believed to enshrine the relics of Buddha’s disciples. Climb the winding stairs for panoramic views of the Sarnath complex and a deeper appreciation for its historical significance.


Best time to visit: Similar to Sarnath, the cooler months between November and February provide the most comfortable experience.


Highlights: Climb the stairs for breathtaking views of the surrounding ruins, delve into the history of the monument’s construction, and appreciate the intricate architectural details that define the Chaukhandi Stupa.


Varanasi’s captivating energy extends far beyond the iconic ghats. This blog unveils 10 incredible destinations near Varanasi, offering a captivating blend of historical wonders, cultural experiences, and breathtaking landscapes – perfect for those seeking to explore the region’s rich tapestry beyond the holy city. Whether you’re a spiritual seeker drawn to the serene Dhamek Stupa in Sarnath, a history buff fascinated by the majestic Chunar Fort, or a thrill-seeker ready to conquer the rides at Varanasi Fun City, these places to visit near Varanasi cater to every interest.

Varanasi is a place that bombards the senses. From the cacophony of chants and bells to the visual feast of colourful saris and bustling ghats, it’s an experience unlike any other. But after a day of exploring the ancient city, you’ll need a haven to relax and recharge. Ramada by Wyndham Varanasi Katesar caters to both your need for relaxation and exploration. So, after a fulfilling day of discovery, return to the hotel’s warm embrace to unwind and prepare for your next Varanasi adventure.