Varanasi is a vibrant and ancient city. This spiritual capital offers a myriad of experiences for travelers, including its rich history, religious significance, and fascinating cultural heritage. Apart from the traditional attractions, Varanasi also offers numerous fun activities that you can enjoy with your friends. In this blog post, we will explore 11 fun things to do in Varanasi, ensuring an unforgettable time with your buddies.
11 Fun Things to Do with Friends in Varanasi
1. Take a Boat Ride on the Ganges
One of the most iconic experiences in Varanasi is taking a boat ride along the sacred River Ganges. Witness the mesmerizing sunrise or sunset as you glide through the calm waters, passing by the famous ghats (steps leading down to the river). The boat ride provides a unique perspective of the city’s vibrant rituals, ancient temples, and the beautiful ghats.
2. Explore the Ghats on Foot
After the boat ride, explore the ghats on foot. Stroll along the riverside and soak in the ambiance of Varanasi’s ancient architecture and cultural heritage. Dashashwamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, and Assi Ghat are some of the must-visit ghats that offer captivating views and an opportunity to immerse yourself in the city’s spiritual aura.
3. Attend the Evening Ganga Aarti
The evening Ganga Aarti (river worship ceremony) is a must-see spectacle in Varanasi. Head to Dashashwamedh Ghat, where you can witness the elaborate rituals, melodious chants, and rhythmic movements of the priests as they pay homage to the holy river. The experience is awe-inspiring and provides a deep insight into the city’s religious practices.
4. Indulge in Street Food Delights
Varanasi is famous for its mouth-watering street food. Embark on a culinary adventure with your friends and savor local delicacies like kachori, chaat, lassi, malaiyyo (fluffy milk foam), and the renowned Banarasi paan (betel leaf preparation). Take a food tour or explore the narrow lanes of the old city to discover the best local eateries.
5. Discover Varanasi’s Silk Heritage
Varanasi is renowned for its exquisite silk-weaving industry. Visit the local silk markets and witness the intricate craftsmanship firsthand. Explore the bustling lanes of the Thatheri Bazaar and Lahurabir area, where you can shop for beautiful Banarasi silk sarees, dupattas, and fabric. Don’t forget to bargain for the best deals!
6. Experience Yoga and Meditation
Varanasi has long been a hub for spiritual seekers, and what better way to connect with your inner self than by practicing yoga and meditation. Enroll in a yoga class or join a meditation retreat to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul. Several yoga centers and ashrams offer daily classes suitable for all levels of experience.
7. Witness the Aarti at Sarnath
Sarnath, located just a short distance from Varanasi, is a significant Buddhist pilgrimage site. Visit the ancient Dhamek Stupa and explore the ruins of monasteries and temples. Witness the serene evening Aarti at the Mulagandha Kuti Vihar and soak in the peaceful ambiance of this historically significant place.
8. Take a Cycle Rickshaw Tour
Explore the lanes and bylanes of Varanasi’s old city on a cycle rickshaw tour. Let the experienced rickshaw puller navigate through the narrow alleys as you pass by colorful shops, hidden temples, and bustling markets. It’s an exciting and eco-friendly way to discover the city’s vibrant atmosphere.
9. Attend a Classical Music Concert
Varanasi has a rich musical heritage, particularly in classical Indian music. Immerse yourself in the soul-stirring melodies of sitar, tabla, and vocal performances by attending a classical music concert. Many music academies and cultural centers organize regular shows, providing an opportunity to appreciate the city’s cultural treasures.
10. Explore the Ramnagar Fort
Visit the historic Ramnagar Fort, located on the eastern bank of the Ganges River. This 17th-century fort, built in Mughal and Indian architectural styles, houses a museum showcasing royal artifacts, vintage cars, and a rare collection of manuscripts. Witness the traditional “Ramnagar Ramlila,” a month-long dramatic performance during the Hindu festival of Dussehra.
11. Try a Varanasi Photography Walk
For photography enthusiasts, Varanasi offers endless opportunities to capture stunning moments. Join a photography walk and explore the city’s hidden gems through the lens. Capture candid shots of sadhus (holy men), locals engaged in daily rituals, vibrant street scenes, and the city’s striking architecture.
Varanasi, with its rich cultural heritage and spiritual ambiance, provides an array of exciting activities for friends to enjoy. From serene boat rides on the Ganges to exploring the ancient ghats and indulging in street food delights, the city offers a perfect blend of cultural immersion and thrilling experiences. So, gather your friends and embark on a memorable journey to Varanasi, creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime.