Varanasi Culture & history

Our most recommended Varanasi Culture & history

Private Full-Day Varanasi Tour & Monkey Temple

1. Private Full-Day Varanasi Tour & Monkey Temple

Start your full-day of exploration with a convenient pick-up at your accommodation. You will meet your driver/guide at 11:00 AM in the lobby of your hotel and set off on your adventure to find out why the city holds such religious importance in the Hindu mythology.  Your tour will start with a visit to Kashi Vishwanath Temple - a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Witness the beauty of a temple that is considered to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas (the holiest Shiva temples) in India. Here, in the Hindu belief system, visiting the temple and dipping yourself in the waters of the holy Ganga River is considered to be the way of achieving Moksha (liberation). Continue on your tour to visit the famous Monkey Temple, also called Durga Temple. Marvel at the temple's beautiful carvings, inlaid stones and the holy water pond called 'Kund'. Follow your temple trip with a visit to 'Tulsi Manas Mandir', where Hindu scripture Ramayana was originally translated by Tulsidas from the Sanskrit language to Awadhi dialect in 16th-century. Admire the temple walls that display scenes and pictorials from the Ramayana in the form of paintings. You will also get the chance to see Bharat Mata Temple, also called Mother India temple. Here you can see the undivided relief map of India carved out of marble.  Add to the list of beautiful temples visited with a trip to Birla Temple, also known as Marble Temple, another famous architectural structure dedicated to Lord Shiva. After a fascinating full day tour of Varanasi city, the tour will complete and you will be safely dropped back at the hotel.

Varanasi: Full-Day Tour of Temples, Sarnath and Aarti

2. Varanasi: Full-Day Tour of Temples, Sarnath and Aarti

Your private tour will start early with 5:00 AM pickup from your hotel. See the morning aarti ceremony as the sun rises, a magical spiritual experience. After this you’ll visit the main temples in Varanasi, including Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Monkey Temple, Tulsi Manas Mandir, and Birla Temple. These are famous for their ornate carvings and historical significance.  Continue to Sarnath, a must-see in Varanasi. Your guide will teach you the history of this Buddhist pilgrimage site, as you explore the beautiful ruins of Buddhist monuments. See the incredible Dhamekha Stupa, where Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. Then visit the Sarnath Archeological Museum, the Lion Capital of Ashoka, and at a monastery with beautiful wall paintings.  Head back into town to watch the evening aarti ceremony on the banks of the Ganges. Watch the ceremony, where a supreme priest offers prayers o the holy river with a sacred brass lamp. The ceremony involves lights, cymbals, incense, and people singing hymns and chanting. After an amazing day of sightseeing, you will be dropped safely back at your hotel. 

Delhi: 6-Day Golden Triangle & Varanasi Private Tour

3. Delhi: 6-Day Golden Triangle & Varanasi Private Tour

Begin the first day of your trip with a pickup from your hotel or other desired place in Delhi, Noida or Gurugram. Start with a half-day city tour of Delhi. Visit Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple, and India Gate. Drive by Parliament House and the President's Palace. After that, proceed to Agra via a 4-hour drive. Upon arrival in Agra, check in to your hotel.  On day 2, you will get up before sunrise, and head to the Taj Mahal to watch the sun come up over this world-famous monument. You will spend two hours exploring the site. After that, return to your hotel for breakfast and to check out, and then spend an hour visiting the Agra Fort. You will then start the 5-hour drive to Jaipur. After breakfast the following day, you will enjoy a guided tour of the Amber Fort. Next, visit the Jal Mahal, a palace located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake, followed by the Maharaja’s City Palace. Drive past the beautiful Hawa Mahal, a large structure built so the women of the royal household could observe the streets outside whilst remaining hidden.  After breakfast on day 4, you will be transferred to Jaipur airport for your domestic flight to Varanasi. Upon arrival at Varanasi airport, you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel to check in. The rest of the day is free at your leisure.  In the morning of day 5, you will be driven to Assi Ghat, where you will watch the Hindu fire ceremony rituals performed by women priests. Next, enjoy a sunrise boat tour on the River Ganges to see the Ghats of this ancient city. After breakfast, enjoy a city tour of Varanasi which includes the Banaras Hindu University and its temple, a traditional school where children are learning an ancient version of Sanskrit, and a historical wrestling ground.  On day 6, if you have not chosen the option with a return flight to Delhi, you will be transferred to a location of your choice in Varanasi. If you have chosen the option with the flight, upon arrival at Delhi airport, you’ll be dropped off at a location of your choice in Delhi, Noida or Gurugram.

Varanasi: Temples, Ganges Aarti, and Classical Dance Tour

4. Varanasi: Temples, Ganges Aarti, and Classical Dance Tour

Start with an afternoon pickup from your hotel at 3:00 PM. First make your way to the most famous and important temples of Varanasi, the Goddess Durga temple. Learn of the many interesting stories and myths attached to this temple from your guide. Visit the Bharat Mata temple or the Mother India temple. This temple is one of a kind in the entire country where rather than idol worship, there is an undivided map of India, symbolizing the worship for one’s motherland. Visit the Monkey temple, which is dedicated to the monkey god, and the Tulsi Manas temple which has the one of the two greatest epic Ramayana engraved on its wall. See the Shri Vishwanath temple in Banaras Hindu University which is reputed to be one of the tallest in the entire country. After exploring the temples, head towards the Assighat for the evening aarti. An experience which is claimed to be magical by people from all around the world, it includes priests using fire as an offering to the river Ganga with the help of oil lamps. A ritual that goes back to centuries ago, it often attended by a huge number of people from around the world. After attending this aarti, enjoy a cultural dance performance by local artists where they enact a beautiful sketch from an epic or other mythological instance. Afterwards, be returned to your hotel.

From Varasani: Private Half Day Tour to Sarnath

5. From Varasani: Private Half Day Tour to Sarnath

Your half day tour of Sarnath will begin at 11.00am, where you will be picked up from your hotel in Varanasi. You will relax in your private chauffeur-driven and air-conditioned car as you head to Sarnath, just 10km outside the town.  Your knowledgeable English-speaking guide will teach you the history of this pilgrimage site, one of the four supreme sites of Buddhism. You will explore the rustic ruins of Buddhist monuments which are deeply associated with important Buddhist teachings. You will witness the incredible 'Dhameka Stupa' where Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. You will also visit 'Chaukhandi Stupa' another major site, before continuing to Sarnath Archeological Museum that displays many fascinating artefacts. This visit would not be complete without seeing the 'Lion Capital of Ashoka', the national emblem of India. Lastly, you will stop by the 'Mulagandhakuti Vihara' where you will find a monastery with beautiful wall paintings. After the tour, you will be driven in the safety and privacy of your own vehicle back to your hotel. 

Private Sarnath Excursion with Evening Ganaga Aarti

6. Private Sarnath Excursion with Evening Ganaga Aarti

Start your spiritual tour of Sarnath with a convenient pick-up at your accommodation. Meet your driver at 2:00 PM in the lobby of your hotel. After a short meet and greet, you will take a scenic 10 km drive to Sarnath, one of India's main pilgrimage sites for Buddhists.  Upon arriving in Sarnath, your guide will immediately take you on an architectural tour of all the most historically important buildings in the area. Marvel at the truly unique Buddhist architecture and learn about some of the buildings' history. This location is sacred and considered to be the place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment.   Next, visit Chaukhandi Stupa where Buddha met his first disciples. Peruse through excavated artefacts and striking Ashoka Pillars at Sarnath Archeological Museum. Admire the fine paintings on the walls of the monastery that was built in the 1930s at Mulagandhakuti Vihara. After your tour of Sarnath, you will be driven back to Varanasi to attend the grand evening Ganga Aarti at the famous Dashashwamedha Ghat. Be a part of the spiritual evening Aarti where you will witness something truly special. Be in awe of vividly decorated stages with flowers, cloths, brass lamps, musical instruments and, holy offerings. Hear the soulful hymns and prayers accompanied with mantras and immerse yourself in the magical atmosphere. After the evening Ganga Aarti, you will be dropped back to your hotel in Varanasi city.

Other Sightseeing Options in Varanasi

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What people are saying about Varanasi

Overall rating

3.7 / 5

based on 11 reviews

We had a great tour, everything was nicely planned. Our guides provided us with interesting insights and the drivers were also very helpful and reliable. Would definitely recommend this tour!