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7 reasons you should visit Varanasi

Varanasi (also known as Benaras and Kashi) is one of the oldest cities in India. Located by the Holy River Ganga and home to world-famous temples, it attracts millions of pilgrims each year.

PixStory photographers decided to explore and unravel the mysticism of this ancient city to understand why it’s a must-visit for everyone.

Scenic boat rides

Boat Rides on Assi Ghat, Abhinav on PixStory

There’s much to see in Varanasi from the Ghats to palaces, and all this sightseeing goes hand-in-hand with an early morning boat ride. The sunrise over the Ganga is sure to make the experience spiritually invigorating as well.

Delicious street food

Varanasi is a paradise for vegetarian food-lovers. Pocket-friendly, flavourful street food can be found in stalls across the city, and can give you deep insights into its culture. Kachori-sabzi, jalebi, golgappe, and thandai are a few must-try dishes.

The river Ganga

The waters of Ganga are believed to be sacred, with the ability to wash away past sins. It is more than just a water body — she is a Goddess and a mother who provides spiritual sustenance.

The temples

Morning Bells by Abhinav on PixStory

Varanasi is home to around 23,000 Hindu and Buddhist temples, many of which have their own rich history and are integrated with Hindu Mythology. Visits during Mahashivratri, Diwali, and Dusshera make the temple experience even more divine as devotees can witness unique and mesmerising rituals.

Fascinating Sanyasis

Assi Ghat, concept by Abhinav

The Sadhus of Varanasi are ascetics who lead fascinating lives away from the everyday burdens of the physical world. Interacting with these wise men is a must for anyone who wants to gain a deeper and nuanced understanding of Hinduism and the world.

The Ghats

8:00 AM on Munshi Ghat, on PixStory

Ghats are so central to Varanasi that the city derives its names from two major ones — Varun Ghat and Assi Ghat. These steps to the river are both auspicious and picturesque, and many pujas are performed on them. There are over 80 ghats in the city, each with its own story.

Mesmerising rituals

Priest performing rituals on The Ganga Ghat, more on PixStory

You can’t experience the holiness of Varanasi without partaking in its unique and enthralling rituals. Each one connects you to God, to your ancestors, to the universe, and even to yourself. These pujas are sure to re energise and purify the spirit.

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Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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