Varanasi Meet the locals

Our most recommended Varanasi Meet the locals

Walking Tour of Varanasi

1. Walking Tour of Varanasi

Take a three hour private walking tour of the back streets of Varanasi. The tour begins with a pickup from your hotel lobby at 10:00 AM, at which time you will be driven to the heart of the city, in a residential area where your walking tour will start with a guide. Wander through the oldest markets and charming alleys of Varanasi. The city is sectioned into several areas which are distinguished according to their speciality. See the typical way of living of the locals in the narrow lanes, so small, there is barely space to walk! You will see the tiny apartments stacked one over the other, spilling over with life into the streets. Switch to another area lined with numerous dharamshalas, or public dormitories, offering lodging at low prices to the city visitors. The heavy influx of tourists and devotees owes to the large number of dharamshalas as an inexpensive option to spend your days in Varanasi. Try the famous banarasi paan (a mouth freshener prepared with betel leaves) from one of the kiosk in the market. Enjoy the walk as you witness the untouched charm of the city. After the walking tour you will be dropped safely back at your hotel with chauffeur service.

India: Evening Ganga Aarti With Dinner and Private Transfer

2. India: Evening Ganga Aarti With Dinner and Private Transfer

Your driver will collect you from your hotel lobby for the journey to Ghat for Aarti. On arrival at Ghat, you will embark on the boat trip to Dashashwamedh Ghate. The Aarti prayer service is performed each evening by a group of priests. You will also witness the Agni Pooja, which is performed as a commitment to the Lord Shiva. All priests here are students of the Vedas and Upanishads, which is led by the head priest of the Gangotri Seva Samiti. The service is performed by traditionally-garbed priests by the light of brass lamps. This magnificent Aarti takes 45 minutes and starts at 6:45 p.m.  After Aarti, eat in a famous Indian restaurant, where you will enjoy a mouthwatering dinner.

Private Varanasi Heritage Walk with Hotel Transfer

3. Private Varanasi Heritage Walk with Hotel Transfer

Start your day of discovery with a convenient pick-up from your accommodation. After a short meet and greet with your driver you will set-off on your adventure to explore the hidden gems of the spiritual city of Varanasi.  Start your tour at 9:00 AM with a short, scenic drive to the old city of Bangali Tola, in the South Eastern part of the old wing. From here you will start your walking tour, exploring all the mystical narrow lanes and experiencing the spiritual essence of Varanasi. Witness the locals and get a chance to see their lifestyles. Sit back and observe the pleasant chaos of the lively markets where you can approach vendors selling vegetables, spices and, clothes.  As you stroll through the many alleys you will get to see some particular highlights, like the Dalmandi Muslim area, a famous wholesale market selling garments and other exotic items. You will also get to discover the local market of Chowk the Pakka Bazar of Varanasi, Gold Dina Nath the spice market and Lohatiya the utensils market. After a day of walking and excitement, you will be conveniently returned back to your accommodation. 

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.

Varanasi: Maharaja Boat Ride and Dinner

5. Varanasi: Maharaja Boat Ride and Dinner

At around 5:00PM, your chauffeur will pick you up from your hotel and drive you to the Dashashwamedh Ghat, for a Maharaja boat ride with music and Ganga Aarti. Once you have reached the ghat, you will board the Maharaja boat, welcomed by a seller who is dressed up in a uniform complete with a garland and bouquet. The royal boat will be decorated with flowers, furnished with carpet, and you will be served some snacks and drinks like tea, coffee, cashew nuts, cookies and chocolates. Once you go upstairs on the boat, you will see that the floor has been covered with white mattresses, one side of which renowned musicians will be sitting with a tabla and sitar. You can sit here on a chair or on the floor to enjoy the mesmerizing Indian classical music. After admiring the soothing Indian music and praising the art of the musicians, it will be time to watch the magical Ganga Aarti. You will be able to easily catch a glance of this one hour Ganga Aarti from the boat. This awe-inspiring Aarti will start a chant of mantra followed by harmonious hymns dedicated to Lord Shiva, Mata Ganga (Ganga River), Surya (the sun), and Agni (lord of fire). The prayer will be given by a group of priests dressed up in similar clothes (dhoti and kurta), who will be holding a multi-tiered heavy brass lamp and a conch shell. This Aarti is splendid, with the ghats being overcrowded with people to witness this glorious Aarti. Every evening it seems to be the occasion at Dashashwamedh Ghat. After sightseeing this lavish Ganga Aarti, you will be taken to one of the famous restaurants in Varanasi for a tempting dinner, after which you will be dropped back at your hotel.

Other Sightseeing Options in Varanasi

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