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Life on The Ganges, Varanasi, India

Ganges

Ganges Holidays

Highlights of Northern India

Ganges
9 Days from £ 1,099
£ 1,049

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

Unique wildlife, fascinating culture and spectacular Moghul architecture

Culture
New

India's Golden Triangle

Ganges
7 Days from £ 595
£ 575

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

A gateway to India’s fascinating culture and spectacular Moghul architecture.

Culture

Highlights of Northern India – Summer itinerary

Ganges
9 Days from £ 1,099
£ 1,049

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

India's Golden Triangle plus the incredible city of Varanasi

Culture
New

Highlights of Northern India & Nepal

Ganges
15 Days from £ 2,249

Guided Group (Excl. Flights)

Take a classic journey from India's plains to the mountains of Nepal

Culture

Best Things to Do in Varanasi on River Ganges Holidays

Sunrise Boat Trip: Sailing out onto the River Ganges at dawn is a unique experience. As the morning sun casts a deep orange glow over the water and the morning mist rises, the ghats come alive with hundreds of pilgrims performing their religious rituals. As you watch people bathing, chanting, meditating and washing clothes, you begin to realise the importance of the Ganges. Cruise along the river and see of the most famous ghats such as Manikarnika, Dasaswamedh, Scindhia and Assi Ghat.

Shopping in Varanasi: The frenetic city of Varanasi, also known as Benares, runs along the banks of the River Ganges and is one of India’s most sacred cities in Hinduism. It’s believed that Varanasi was created by the Hindu God Shiva and it’s one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. But throughout the streets of Varanasi, you’ll also find a rich cultural centre and vibrant markets selling silk, muslin, perfumes and art. Some of the best markets for shopping are Thatheri Bazaar, Vishwanath Lane and Godowlia Market.

Visit the Temples: As a renowned pilgrimage site Varanasi is one of the most religious cities in India so visiting the temples should be high on your list of things to do here. Around every corner you’ll see an ancient temple with beautiful architecture. The most famous of all the temples is Kashi Vishwanath which was built in the mid-18th century and sits inside two golden domes. Other impressive temples worth seeing include Annapurna Temple, Durga Temple, Ankatha Temple and Bharat Mata Temple.

Watch Pilgrims Bathing in the Ganges: Providing the people of Varanasi with its vital lifeblood, the Ganges River is considered sacred in the Hindu religion. The holy waters attract pilgrims from across the globe who come and bathe here as it’s believed that by bathing in the water, you’ll purify your soul and wash away your sins. People also come to the Ganges to immerse their relative’s ashes in the water and end the cycle of reincarnation by sending the deceased to Moksha.

Attend an Evening Arti Ceremony: The Arti Ceremony takes place at the Ganges River in Varanasi and is a religious ceremony of light which is best witnessed from the Dasawamedh Ghat. This iconic performance features fire which is used as an offering to the goddess Maa Ganga. Hindu priests light large brass lamps as rituals comprising dance and religious chants take place and it’s believed that the lamps will absorb the blessing of Maa Ganga. This is one of the most spectacular and soul stirring ceremonies you’ll witness along the Ganges at Varanasi.

Try the Local Food: Varanasi is a dizzying maze of narrow lanes filled with traditional restaurants, street food stalls and tea stalls. Indian cuisine is vibrant and extremely diverse, and you’ll be overwhelmed by the amount of choice there is here. Try varanasi Lassi, which is a sweet drink made with saffron, dried rose petals and pistachios and is a favourite with the locals in the city. But if you fancy something a little spicier to fill the hunger gap, try a choti kachori, a snack made with lentils and masala and wrapped inside a crispy outer layer.

The whole trip was awesome, lots of different places visited the tour guide was fabulous lots of knowledge. Did some wonderful things that supported sustainable tourism an expereince never to be forgotton

Deborah Critchley Highlights of Northern India

The trip delivered exactly what it stated and in that respect was wonderful. However, we felt that the pace was too relentless given the large distances needed to travel. An additional day, perhaps in Ranthambore NP (with a further tiger hunt?) and some time by a pool would have been good to break in the itinerary. Overnight second class train from Agra to Varanasi was 6 hrs delayed adding further to the tight timeframe and was somewhat of a challenging experience. Express train from Varanasi to Delhi very good however. Hotels were fine but mostly tired.

donald chalmers Highlights of Northern India

Its an excellent introduction to the wonderful sights, smells and colours of India.

LUCINDA DEACON India's Golden Triangle