Varanasi - India's spiritual city with Roadhouse Hostels
"Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together".- Mark Twain.
Varanasi(Kashi) is one the oldest city in the world. Its history is so fascinating that it will give you goosebumps. Ever since I had heard about Varanasi from a traveler friend of mine, I wanted to be there. It took me all these years to finally visit Varanasi is mainly because of the addiction to mountains. Sitting in Volvo and getting down in the lap of Himalayas became kind of a routine for me. But finally, after spending a whole week in Spiti I was ready to wander around the beautiful ghats of Varanasi.
ABOUT THE HOLY CITY - VARANASI
If someone will ask me to describe the Varanasi experience in one word, it will be 'transcendental'. There is nothing, but there is everything. There is utter chaos on the roads, but you feel empty inside. On every road, you will see traffic, but you are calm because there is also no hurry to reach anywhere. The city that is surrounded by Ghats and pure vibes of Ganges.
Varanasi is one of the biggest spiritual cities of India. No matter what month it is, you will always find worshippers flooding in. The city is the abode of Lord Shiva and Parvati. The Ganges is said to have its origin in the dreads of Shiva. And then it becomes the mighty river that we see. The city is a center of learning and civilization for over 3000 years.
HOW TO REACH VARANASI
By Air: Varanasi airport is well-linked to some of the major cities in India like Delhi and Mumbai. International tourists can board connecting flights from Delhi airport which is well-connected to all the major cities in the world.
By Road: Varanasi is connected to major cities of Uttar Pradesh and neighboring states with state-run buses. Private air-conditioned buses and sleeper buses also run directly from Delhi.
By Train: Varanasi railway station is connected to major cities of India via rail. From the railway station, tourists can hire a taxi or roam in Autos and rickshaws to explore the city.
WHERE TO STAY IN VARANASI
Being a girl, safety is always the priority before I make any bookings, especially in a new city. And no option is more convenient than a neat and clean hostel. So I co-ordinated with Roadhouse Hostels and made my bookings. I stayed in the single bedroom as well as shared mixed bunk beds room. And not only did I feel safe but loved how neat and clean rooms were. Between the noise of temple bells, rickshaws, traffic, Roadhouse is a quaint silent place where you happily crash after a long day. Also, it is a 5 mins walk from Assi Ghat, so makes it one of the best location.
When I was to leave, my train got canceled and I had to extend my trip for one more day. The staff was supportive and helped me in extending my booking. Even if you are a traveling solo or in a group of friends, Roadhouse hostel is highly recommended. This place has a terrace cum living area. You can chill there and also connect with new people.
BEST TIME TO VISIT VARANASI
I would say, avoid going there in Summers (May-July) and rest you can travel there any time of the year.
THINGS TO DO IN VARANASI
- Take a Ghat tour on the boat - You can choose which boat you want and the 'boatwale bhaiya' will take you to show around ghats and will also tell you all the stories you will ask them.
- Attend evening Aarti at Dashwamedh Ghat: If you don't know why markets are empty during the evening and why people are rushing towards one side, understand that it is the time for Aarti. Everyone gathers at Dashwamedh ghat to witness the most majestic views of Ganga Aarti. That time of the day is just magical.
- Attend morning Aarti at Assi Ghat: Early morning when half of Banaras is asleep, go and witness the magical Aarti at Assi Ghat. Followed by a yoga session and sometimes a musical event also happens in between. I guarantee you, it will be one of the most amazing mornings of your life.
- Witness sunrise from the boat: After you attend the morning aarti, take a boat and see the magical sunrise while you are rowing in Ganga. Sun comes up and it feels like it is rising from the middle of the river. And the sky glows in orange!
- Have the Banaras special breakfast: Kachori, aaloo, and Jalebi. You will not forget the taste your entire life. Can you believe I had the same breakfast all the days I was in Banaras? Food is the lifeline of Banaras after Ganga.
read about street food of varanasi that you shouldnt miss here.
- Visit Temples: Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous temples in Varanasi, also known as the Golden temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was constructed in the year 1780. You cannot take cameras or mobile phones inside so you have to submit them at shops outside the temple.
You can book your rooms at Roadhouse Hostels here.