Varanasi, also known as Banaras or Kashi, is a city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and is a popular tourist destination. However, like any city, Varanasi has its own unique set of safety concerns that travelers should be aware of before embarking on a trip. In this blog post, we will discuss 11 essential Varanasi travel safety tips to help ensure your trip is safe and enjoyable.
Essential Varanasi Travel Safety Tips
1. Know the Culture
Varanasi has a rich cultural heritage, and it is essential to understand and respect the local customs and traditions. The city is known for its temples, ghats, and religious ceremonies. Visitors should dress appropriately when visiting religious sites and follow the guidelines provided. It is also important to be mindful of local customs and avoid behaviors that may be considered disrespectful.
2. Accommodation Safety
When selecting accommodation in Varanasi, it is important to prioritize safety and security. Choose a hotel or hostel that has a good reputation and is located in a safe area. Make sure to keep all your valuables secure in a safe or locker. It is also advisable to carry a doorstop or wedge to secure the door while sleeping or when you are in the room.
3. Transportation Safety
When traveling around Varanasi, it is important to prioritize safety. Taxis or ride-sharing services are a good option for long-distance travel, while tuk-tuks or autorickshaws are popular for short trips. It is also possible to use public transportation, such as buses or trains, but it is important to be cautious when doing so. If you decide to walk, be aware of traffic and use pedestrian crossings when available.
4. Food and Drink Safety
Varanasi is known for its street food, but it is important to be cautious when choosing what to eat and drink. Only consume food from reputable vendors, and avoid anything that looks unclean or undercooked. Drink bottled water or boiled water, and avoid ice cubes made with tap water.
5. Personal Safety
As with any city, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings secure. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuable items, and keep your passport and important documents in a safe place. Be cautious when using ATMs or exchanging money and avoid displaying expensive items or jewelry in public.
6. Health and Medical Safety
Varanasi can be a challenging environment for travelers, and it is important to take steps to stay healthy. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and use insect repellent to avoid mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever and malaria. If you need medical assistance, there are several hospitals and clinics in the city, but it is important to have adequate travel insurance to cover any medical expenses.
7. Natural Disasters and Weather
Varanasi is situated in an area that is prone to natural disasters like floods and earthquakes. It is important to be aware of the weather forecast and take precautions when necessary. If you are visiting during the monsoon season (June to September), be prepared for heavy rainfall and flooding.
8. Safety During Religious Ceremonies
Varanasi is a holy city and is known for its religious ceremonies, such as the Ganga Aarti and cremation rituals. Visitors should be respectful when participating in these events and follow the guidelines provided. It is also important to be aware of potential hazards, such as overcrowding or falling debris.
9. Social Etiquette and Interaction
It is important to understand and respect the local social norms and etiquette when visiting Varanasi. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites, and avoid public displays of affection. When interacting with locals, be polite and respectful, and avoid sensitive topics like religion and politics. Learning a few basic phrases in Hindi can also be helpful in communicating with locals.
10. Scams and Touts
Like many tourist destinations, Varanasi has its fair share of scams and touts. Be cautious of individuals offering unsolicited services or products, and avoid giving money to beggars or street children. It is also important to be wary of pickpockets in crowded areas.
11. Plan Ahead
Finally, it is important to plan ahead and research your trip to Varanasi thoroughly. Make sure to book your accommodation and transportation in advance, and familiarize yourself with the city’s layout and landmarks. It is also helpful to have a backup plan in case of unexpected situations or emergencies.
In conclusion, Varanasi is a fascinating city with a rich cultural heritage and many attractions for visitors. However, it is important to be aware of the unique safety concerns that come with traveling to this destination. By following these 11 essential Varanasi travel safety tips, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to this historic city.