In the scorching heat of summer, during an off-season for travel, we embarked on a trip to visit a friend in Varanasi. Aware that the temperatures would soar to a blistering 45 degrees Celsius, we devised a plan to explore the city’s major places of worship in the early morning, savor delectable local cuisine at night, and rest during the remaining hours. Our intention was to fully immerse ourselves in the local culture, cuisine, and connect with the people of Varanasi.
We commenced our journey by boarding the brand-new Vande Bharat train from Delhi Station, arriving in Varanasi at 2:00 pm. Exhausted from the trip, we took some time to rest before heading out in the evening to visit the Sankat Mochan Temple, conveniently located within walking distance of our AirBnB.
The following day, we woke up at the crack of dawn to experience the magical ambiance of Assi Ghat and witness the mesmerizing Aarti ceremony. This morning ritual was accompanied by the Subh-e-Benaras cultural event, which added to the spiritual and cultural richness of the experience. After the Aarti, we hopped onto an e-rickshaw and made our way to the Vishwanath Temple. Despite the scorching sun above us, we persevered and managed to patiently wait in line for three hours to seek the blessings of the deity.
As the day progressed, we explored the bustling streets of Gowdolia Chowk, visited the Dasashmev Ghat, and indulged in the tantalizing flavors of Tamatar ki Chat from the famous Kashi Chat Bhandar. Returning to our AirBnB, we treated ourselves to the renowned Pehelwan Ki Lassi, which certainly lived up to its reputation. To culminate the day, we savored the flavors of the famous Banarasi Paan before calling it a night.
Morning Sunrise from the Ghat.
Assi Ghat Varanasi
New Vishwanath Temple
The following day, we arranged for a cab to take us to Sarnath and the nearby Sarnath Museum. These historical landmarks are meticulously maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and we obtained tickets to access them. As we explored the premises of the Stupa, which was once a meditation center, we encountered remnants and ongoing excavations. The site was well-preserved, providing us with a glimpse into its rich history. The Sarnath Museum also housed artifacts discovered during the excavations, including the original Ashoka Chakra and stamb (pillar).
Well Mainitnied Gardens
Actual Ashok Chakra
Umbrella for shade
Very Old Buddha Statue
4 Lions Seal
Despite the scorching heat and the offseason, our trip to Varanasi was filled with enriching experiences. From immersing ourselves in the city’s spiritual aura to savoring its delectable cuisine and exploring its historical treasures, we left with lasting memories of this vibrant and culturally significant city.