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Know How to Explore Varanasi Like a Local

Know How to Explore Varanasi Like a Local
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As one of the oldest holy places in the world, the vibrant and spiritual Varanasi is a delight to visit. It not only offers a plethora of unique experiences, but also instills a sense of calm with its ethos. Visited by millions of travellers each year, the best way to experience the essence of the city is through the eyes of the local. Here’s how:

Witness the grand Ganga Aarti

Watching the evening Ganga Aarti in Varanasi is a one-of-a-kind experience. While it happens at most of the ghats lining the city, the most spectacular of them are the one’s at Dashashwamedh Ghat and Assi Ghat. Large brass lamps are lit and are accompanied by the chants and prayers of the priests and devotees.

Explore the temples in Varanasi

Also known for its age-old temples, a visit to Varanasi is incomplete without exploring them. Dotted with temples of all sizes: the small temples are used for daily prayers by the locals while the large ones are associated with history and mythology. The most popular is the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, also known as the Golden Temple. It enshrines the Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva and attracts an incredible number of devotees every day. The 18th-century Durga Temple is also quite popular, built in Nagara style of architecture.

Take a dip in Ganges

The most common scene in Varanasi is where you’ll see locals taking a dip in the Ganges. Since Ganga is considered to be one of the holiest rivers in India, it is widely believed that taking a dip in the holy waters results in the salvation of sins and purification of the soul. Interestingly, the steps of all the 84 ghats in Varanasi lead to river Ganga.

Stroll along the ghats

The ghats of Varanasi are divided according to the activity that they’re most famous for; there are bathing ghats, praying ghats and ghats that are used as cremation sites. Some of the major ghats to visit include Assi Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Munshi Ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat, Scindia Ghat and Raj Ghat.

Shop in the local markets

Widely famous for its silk saris and ornate jewellery, shopping in Varanasi is a must. Visit the local market to buy the illustrious fine silk saris along with shawl, carpet, stone inlay work, bangles and a variety of pickles and papad. The main shopping areas are the Vishwanath lane, Thateri bazaar, Chowk and Godowlia.

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