7 Things To Do On A Solo Trip To Varanasi

It was a quick decision to book my tickets. I had packed my bags four hours before the train started. My family was not happy, let’s understand it that way. My solo, impulsive trip to Varanasi was not without distractions, but instead of focusing on the current news, I decided to visit a city that, with a clean slate, was ready for whatever adventures came my way. was ready for “I get it,” I said to myself, just habitually checking my bag for a bottle of pepper spray the day I arrived. And by the end of it, I realized that the solo trip to Varanasi was wonderful and I enjoyed every moment of it. Follow a list of must-do things to do if you are in Varanasi on a solo trip and you will love every moment of it.

Exploration of the famous ‘Galiyans of Banaras’

I mostly explored Varanasi, as it is the only way you can walk through the narrow streets. Most of the culture of this city is absorbed in these ‘lanes of Banaras’. These streets are almost claustrophobic, lined with open sewage and littered with garbage around every random corner. Groups of overhead wires block most of the sunlight that tries to peek through. You have to endure herd flies and wild dogs and sometimes squeeze a huge bull in the narrow alley.

But then… you are suddenly shocked by the smell of hot kachoris and jalebis fried in hot oil. People stop next to the dustbin for a glass of fresh lassi. You see German bakeries and Korean eateries with humble, ambiance interiors, where most settle for foreign food and airfare for their daily quota. These quirky cafes were my oasis when I needed a break from the scorching sun. I met Russian citizens celibate, met psychedelic painters, Spanish families struck with a culture shock (more liked) and the plotting interactions were undeniably memorable. Hippie street shopping and street food all the time is here. But what is interesting is that the local people still live on these streets and the nuances of their daily life blend into the ‘tourist’ experience. I used to pass white men in saris and ash-laden aghoris, making my head turn every now and then, but spitting out the juice of my paan, unaffected by my door with a Hindi newspaper to kill the besieged regular local time. was ready for The foot of an unknown stranger, regardless of the world. Life in the streets is almost like the city’s obstinate declaration that yes, it is one of the oldest cities in the world and its legacy is timeless. You don’t have the power to change its ways, but it can certainly affect you.

Take a boat ride at sunrise (or sunset)

The most captivating experience of my trip was the hands down, boat ride at sunrise. I didn’t expect much from it, but the moment I saw the first rays touching the shores and the city came alive with them, I couldn’t blink an eye. Ghats were flooded, devotees descended into the water for a holy bath, people were praying and meditating, children were fearlessly taking a dip in the water to bathe, washing works were brought into the river. From my boat, I could hear the faint chants of morning prayer emanating from all 88 ghats along the riverbank.

The city had risen with the sun. The Sailor tells the story of a handful of the most important ferries in a crossover of several fake accents. Each ghat was built by a different medieval king, and although they are younger than the ancient ruins at Rajghat, the ghats have inspired their own mythology. The most famous of them all is Dashashwamedh Ghat, where Rama’s father once sacrificed 10 horses in appeal to Surya. As for the city of Varanasi, it was founded by Shiva himself. When time started ticking for the first time, he stood here with Parvati. And in that moment of mysticism, I’m sure you’ll believe it.

Sketch the Ghats

I spent my mornings sketching on the ghats. This is an unacceptable scenario for any artist. Its appearance is blinding everyone. Be it the narrow sections of the building and temple spires, the old staircases that pave your way to the mighty Ganges, people taking holy dip… the ghats of Varanasi are the cardinals of its faith and culture.

Ghats abound with sadhus and other people of the faith. They preach their teachings loudly in their saffron or white robes. The men of the city wear large, shiny tilaks and there is a sporadic roar of “Shiva Shambho” or “Har Har Mahadev” from all sides. Pilgrims come from all parts of the country, many of whom bathe in the Ganges without any conscience. So be prepared to see people undressing in front of you as if they were in a communal bath. No doubt this city practices piety, but certainly not with restraint.

I tried to capture the architecture, the emotions, the people – and how all the elements are symbiotic to the drawings of the ghats.

Try Community Yoga
Subah-e-Banaras is a wonderful initiative which has been started by the Govt. It happens in the morning at Assi Ghat. It begins with a dramatic Ganga Aarti against the rising sun in the background, followed by a short concert of morning ragas and community yoga. I personally have never been inclined towards yoga, but at 5.30 in the morning I found myself meditating in harmony, amongst the rows of people spread out at Assi Ghat, I couldn’t help but indulge in it . There were locals and tourists, people of all ages, some have masterfully mastered the art of breathing gracefully and flexing their bodies on it and there are others who simply manage to shavasana. However, it was a one of a kind experience.

on the way to the hippie cafe
When I discovered its hippie cafe culture I realized the Holy City had some surprise in the bag. The areas around the ghats are particularly inundated with oddball hippie cafes. The interiors of the cafe are kind of cramped, being confined to the galleys.

The first cafe I rested in to find refuge from the ruthless afternoon of my first day served authentic Korean food and had classic English desserts on display windows. Right in front of it was a German bakery and an all-organic cafe. A little further I was a relatively spacious cafe, dripping psychedelia. The walls were painted with trippy scenes and comfy futon mattresses were placed on the floor to sit on. Later I learned that most of these cafes want an inch of introduction to nirvana seekers and foreigners alike.

But the most fascinating thing about these cafes were the intimate classical music concerts that were held regularly. These are usually free or charged nominally. The vocals can be solid classical pieces or upbeat tabla performances or hymns that instantly lift the crowd into high spirits. These concerts not only inform you about the musical prowess of the city but also inspire you to have a deep appreciation for it. I am not a pundit in Hindustani music. I barely know the ‘R’ of the raga. But I never felt myself wrong in any of these gatherings.

Rest in Peace of Sarnath

The clogged streets, the clogged streets, the suffocating crowd really didn’t make me believe that I now stand in the spiritual capital of India at first sight. My spiritual awakening seems far-fetched. Because truth be told, Varanasi can easily become overwhelming. So if and when it becomes too much, you can easily get away from the commotion and explore destinations that are refreshingly quiet. The Banaras Hindu University, Asia’s largest residential university, is a delightful stroll and houses a beautiful museum and the Vishwanath Temple.

Though for me the best of all quiet reliefs has to be Sarnath! Few people know that this land has also been the cradle of Buddhism and Jainism. Sarnath is the place where Gautam Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. With the passage of time this place has developed into the main deer park with Dhamekha Stupa, which is surrounded by small monasteries and Buddhist structures. The landscape is lush green, dotted with stone and red brick ruins of the Ashoka period. You can stretch under the shade of a tree and enjoy the beautiful view for as long as you want. And it’s not far from downtown, in case you were wondering.

talk to people
“The person who earns here does not have excessive desire for wealth and for the person who does not earn, food is served twice a day in the temple. Everyone in this city is satisfied because we see life beyond the quest to acquire material wealth”, a monk at one of the ghats preached to me on the first day of my visit. These conversations with the locals are what give you an idea of ​​the place. Provides cultural insights and insights into socio-political events. The best part of traveling alone is that it gives you a place to be alone and meet new people, and Varanasi gives you an opportunity to start an interesting conversation at every stage of your journey. A little desire and it took me a long way in this journey. I put myself there to talk to the sadhus at various ghats, about spirituality, mythology and their daily life in general.

Also, if you are a lonely backpacker, I suggest you go for a hostel. They are great for socializing! There is a certain charm to the cozy, cordial atmosphere of the hostels. You hang out with people from all over the world in common areas and share your travel experiences over a beer, which beats the sterile confines of a hotel room on any given day! And all hail the friendly hostel staff, who will go the extra mile to tell you about all the quintessential and offbeat things to do in the city.

I know we’re naturally forbidden to talk to strangers, but on a solo trip it’s a skill that comes in handy and provides meaningful experiences.

Overall, Varanasi is not a city for the faint-hearted. Its intensity can either make you love or hate you, there is no difference between it. But if you decide to come to this city, come with an open mind and a curiosity to scratch beneath the surface. If you try to look clearly beyond, the city has a lot to offer. I did not find my spiritual awakening but my journey was certainly more than a sensory experience. The city grew on me and it gave me a lot. And for that Banaras will always be in my heart.


‘या लेखात समाविष्ट असलेल्या कोणत्याही माहिती/सामग्री/गणनाची अचूकता किंवा विश्वसनीयता हमी नाही. ही माहिती विविध माध्यमे / ज्योतिषी / पंचांग / प्रवचन / विश्वास / धर्मग्रंथांमधून गोळा करून तुमच्यासाठी आणली गेली आहे. आमचा हेतू फक्त माहिती पोहोचवणे आहे, त्याच्या वापरकर्त्यांनी ती फक्त माहिती म्हणून घ्यावी. याव्यतिरिक्त, त्याचा कोणताही वापर वापरकर्त्याची स्वतःची जबाबदारी असेल. ‘

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