Travel Tips Varanasi in India
I am very pleased that the Selda wrote a guest post with her tips for Varanasi in India for Fratuschi. On her blog travellife.blog she reports from far away countries and the beautiful Rheingau in Germany.
Her photos from India deeply impress me. It is a completely different world in which Selda takes us:
On our first tour around India, we visited seven places: Khajuraho, Orchha, Gwalior, Agra, Jaipur and finally Delhi. We started in Varanasi, an exotic and vibrant city that I definitely recommend you visit on your trip to India.
Varanasi – Hinduism‘s holiest city on the Ganges and the spiritual capital of India is dedicated to the god Shiva. People searching for their sense of life come together with pilgrims and those waiting for salvation. All have a wish or a vision: to die there, to be burned and to attain salvation. Or perhaps they simply want to bathe in the holy Ganges to cleanse their sins.
Our hotel in Varanasi.
For us, it was important to stay right along the Ganges, the holy river, to best experience the city.
For this reason, we chose the Brijrama Palace Varanasi hotel. Now a luxury hotel, it was once a city palace. Built in 1812, this hotel is one of the city‘s oldest buildings.
Located on Munshi Ghat, if you stay here, you‘ll be right where it all happens and have an incredible view. Ghats are wide stairways that lead to the river and are used for Hindu ritual ablutions. Varanasi has 88 ghats, including the Burning Ghats, which I‘ll tell you about in a minute.
Since the hotel is located directly along the holy Ganges, no alcohol is served and all meals are vegetarian. Even so, we ate well and did not miss anything.
The hotel‘s service was wonderful. Both the pick up from the airport and the tours we booked through the hotel were well organized.
Get around in Varanasi.
I recommend the „Subhah Banares” boat tour, which starts at 5 am and ends when the sun rises on the horizon. Experience the Ganges as it comes to life in the morning and Indians go to the river for their morning bath, laundry and prayer – an unforgettable experience.
My next tip for Varanasi is booking a guided walking tour that takes you through the city‘s narrow and winding streets. Close and tight, you‘ll pass many people. Again and again, you‘ll meet goats, cows or dogs.
I was highly impressed by this experience, and you do not want to miss it.
The Ritual Ganga Aarti.
Don‘t miss this religious ritual celebrated every night: the Ganga Aarti. We went twice, and if I had stayed in Varanasi longer, I probably would have gone more often – that’s how fascinated I was.
Many pilgrims travel to Varanasi to find their salvation, and thousands gather when the Ganga Aarti ritual is performed. Young pandits (religious scholars) dressed in saffron garments perform this aarti (ritual).
Mythology says it was here that Shiva received the light of Linga. If you want to know more about this myth, check out the Wikipedia article.
You should also check out the Manikarnika Ghat from a boat. It is a Burning Ghat: here, the dead are wrapped in cloth and briefly dipped in the holy Ganges before being burned on already prepared fires. The ashes are immediately handed over to the river. Only in this way can the believer be part of the five elements and take part in the eternal cycle of life again. Hinduism states that, with death, only one part of existence ends and one is reborn in another being.
Read more Travel Tips Varanasi here: Penelope from Greece shows you Varanasi between life and death.
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