What to do in Varanasi- Temples & More
How was the last post? Did you read the whole? Are you as eager to visit Varanasi as I was before going there? Oh, you must be.. if not.. seems like travelling is not your thing!! Nooo it can’t be, right? I mean who does not like to travel!! That’s the best thing we do in life.. isn’t it? Okay, one of the best things!! You go by every single word!! Give me a break!!
Okay, back to the subject.. SO apart from what I shared last week on the sightseeing options for Varanasi, there are still more places to see. I just couldn’t put them all in one blog, it was getting too long.. so here’s the next list for you…
The KASHI VISHWANATH Temple:
The temple no one will miss on their visit to Varanasi is this temple. As I had mentioned earlier the Hindu month of Shrawan (mid-Jul-mid Aug) is known as the month of Shiva. Locals, people from neighbouring cities, states, villages are rushing here to offer their prayers to the lord at this time.
But like me if you end up during this time, then here’s what you have to do: completely avoid Saturday/ Sunday/ Monday and Tuesday from going to the temple. Or you may try to see the queue starting miles away from the temple. Good luck with that experience.
If you are just going for a darshan (just a visit), then go in the afternoon, after 12pm and it’s a clear road to visit the temple. It will take just 10 minutes for the darshan. That’s exactly what you read. Be careful of noticing the Shiva lingam, as at first, I understood nothing, I had to take a second darshan, which was only possible due to the correct time I visited (which means there was no crowd at that time). Of course thanks to the caretaker of my guesthouse, who volunteered to be my guide for this.
You can buy offerings from outside the temple to offer your prayer. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO CARRY CAMERA, PHONE, BIG BACKPACKS inside the temple. You have to deposit at the lockers inside the temple or at the shops from where you are buying Prasad to offer to God, They have lockers which they offer for free if bought offerings from them. Or like me leave your precious belongings at your hotel to be on the safest side.
If you want, at the tourist information centre they have locker facility, and you may buy a special Darshan pass for 500 rs per person (minimum cost for darshan the same will increase with your demand for offering puja, touching the Shivalingam and offering puja etc. etc.) from the tourist information centre which is just a 5 minutes walking distance away from the temple ground.
If you are lost, or not able to make your way through, take the help of police, they are everywhere near the temple area and they will help you with all will.
After the temple, you may also visit Jantar Mantar, which is by the bank of Dashashwamedh Ghat. You actually enter through a museum known as ‘Man Sing Museum’, which is technologically advanced and very interesting. You get to know of the history, culture, tradition, food of the place. Though not a lot of people come here, I say pay a visit here, not for the Jantar Mantar, as you won’t understand it without the help of a guide. The building was the palace of Man Singh, later turned into a museum and this museum is technically an avant-garde for the city and the nation itself. & the staffs are very cooperative to help you with the details, information. You will have to have about an hour’s time to see, understand everything. Few displays were kept closed during pandemic, they will soon start again.
Jantar Mantar (the best version is available in Jaipur, Rajasthan & Delhi) was once the astronomy centre or observatory in one word, to understand time, season, month of the year by following the position of the sun, moon and other planets. This was when there was no existence of electricity, google, smartphone or watch, even then people used to calculate time, days, months without any mistakes.
However to conclude, do pay a visit here.
Entrance fees: RS 30.00 per person (Indian national)
It’s open till 5:30- 6 pm in the evening.
*** If you are visiting Kashi Vishwanath temple in the afternoon, then do the temple, go to the museum, take a round of the market outside the ghat, do a little shopping if you want, then come back by 5pm to secure a place for the evening arti. You may also visit Kal Bhairava temple first then start with Kash Vishwanath temple and the rest.
Kal Bhairav Temple:
The location of this temple is a little odd, as you may need either a rickshaw or an auto to go here with a change in between, I went to this temple after Kashi Vishwanath. If you remember I wasn’t carrying my camera or phone with me.
SO I didn’t manage any pictures of the place. Though saying this, the temple is located inside a narrow lane and the temple ground is quite restricted to take any pictures. The temple remains closed for about an hour in the afternoon, it takes about 10 minutes for the entire visit. (on few days of the week like Saturday/ Sunday/ Monday/ Tuesday it can be a little crowded).
There’s also Annapurna Temple, and Bharat Mata temple; both are a short driving distance from each other, which you can visit. Annapurna temple is even older than Kashi Vishwanath temple, as that was the goddess who used to be primarily worshipped before Shiva came to live in Varanasi. Due to rain and humid weather, I couldn’t make it to these temples, or maybe I had already visited too many temples by now.. but surely they are quite popular among the locals.
Mode of Transportation in Varanasi:
AUTO/Tuktuk is the best mode of transport in Varanasi if you want to go all by yourself. Try to take shared auto, i.e. sharing with commoners, and it’s cheap, they don’t cheat you in that way. For airport transfers, you can book them as well, keep OLA app handy, in that way it’s safe.
ALSO, If you are not visiting Varanasi during the winter months, then all these visits are better by late afternoon when the sun is little mellow. The temples are open till about 7-8 in the evening, so not a huge problem.
That’s more or less sightseeing within Varanasi, there’s more .. lot more to share..
Read about my Solo Travel Suggestion