Best Time To Visit Varanasi – The Holy City Of River Ganga
Varanasi also popular by the name of Kashi and Banaras or Benares is a gem situated in the north of India. The pious city of Varanasi is a sacred pilgrimage destination for the Jains as well as the Hindus. It is also one of the oldest cities in India that has been constantly inhabited by citizens. The settlements of Varanasi have been witnessed since the 11-century. A number of pilgrims visit Varanasi during the old age when they feel being close to death as there is a belief amongst the Hindus that dying in the sacred place of Varanasi brings nirvana to them. Varanasi is a tourist destination that is visited by tourists from all across the world as the taste of Indian culture that one might receive at Varanasi can be attained nowhere else. The view of pilgrims offering their devotions to the sacred River Ganga during the sunrise hours with ancient temples placed in the surroundings can in all probabilities be one of the most pleasing sights in the whole wide world. Varanasi is not a destination that features distinct tourist destinations but for those who feel content with a taste of culture and religious surroundings then Varanasi is the place to be. The ideal most things to experience here include viewing and experiencing the spectacle of death and life on the sacred River Ganga as well as meandering through the ancient alleys of the holy city.
There are hundreds of pilgrims who visit Varanasi irrespective of what the time or season of the year it is. But in case, you’re bounded by no specific time and are looking forward to exploring the city during the ideal most season then this guide ahead would help you know in details of the city and the best time to visit it. The summer months of the city can be scorchingly hot whereas the winter months might feature chilly nights and days. To know more about the best season to visit Varanasi keep reading through.
Varanasi Summers (April to June)
- The summers of Varanasi are quite sunny, dry, and humid with the temperature varying from 32-degree Celsius to 46-degree Celsius. The temperature can also hike up to 50-degree Celsius. Unlike the rest of northern India, Varanasi is not at all pleasant during the summer months. Both people and animals take refuge under any spot offering shade. In fact, the old Varanasi region also called as Kashi enjoys the summer afternoon time as the siesta time.
- Travelers generally try to avoid traveling to the city during these summer months as the city is considered to be the hottest. The kachori gali, one of the small lanes of the city that feature big blackened woks or kadhais, blackened from old age use, restrict visiting to just the cooler evenings.
- Hot and dry winds namely Loo keep blowing across the region during summers, thus making it difficult for the travellers to set out on sightseeing tours and trips. The populous gali that leads to the renowned Kashi Vishwanath Temple is all year round jam-packed with vendors selling various items (mostly religious) also gets all vacant during the harsh summer afternoons.
- The region also might witness occasional showers, which prove to be a sigh of relief for the dwellers as well as the visitors.
- Anyway, if you plan to visit the city during the summer months then taking a stroll along the pious Panchganga Ghat during the evening hours can be quite refreshing and soothing. The renowned Panchaganga Ghat is popular as people believe it to be the confluence region for 5 invisible river bodies.
- The wholesale sari stores that Varanasi is renowned for depict a deserted look featuring locked doors and empty seats during the afternoons owing to the harsh heat. The trade of the city also suffers quite a lot during these months of utmost heat. Although, after 4:00 pm Varanasi begins to get back to life again. A mild breeze starts blowing and gradually removes the heat of the day aside. The evenings are the time when people are seen out and about again in this season.
Varanasi Monsoons (July to September)
- The monsoon months of the city witnesses immediate fall in the temperature after the scorching summers. The people of the city come back to their basic lifestyle and the city’s real beauty gets back in its original shape. The visitors can witness Varanasi in its drenched form while exploring it during the monsoon season.
- This is the time when the weather is a combination of moderate rains, slight humidity accompanied with a bit of heat. Though it’s not as harsh as the summer months.
- It is also a bit difficult to travel around the city during the rainy season. But in case you’re someone who loves to explore a place when it features the smell of the rain and the freshness that it brings then you can try exploring and visiting the popular places in Varanasi the place in the monsoon months.
- Also, during the monsoons, River Ganga might get flooded and a lot of the activities might get affected. The real beauty of Varanasi are the ghats and the surrounding ancient temples, which might lose its original beauty in case the city experiences heavy rain showers. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid traveling to Varanasi during the monsoon months.
Varanasi Winters (November to February)
- The best time to visit Varanasi is during the winter months ranging from the month of November to February. During the winters the temperature of the city is low and one can experience a cool and calm breeze all throughout the day.
- Since the summers of Varanasi are hot, dry and humid and the monsoons are wet the winter months are considered the ideal time to explore this holy city. The winters are ideal to take up sightseeing tours to tourist spots around Varanasi as well as to explore the ancient lanes by taking a stroll.
- Varanasi weather is quite cool and comfortable during the winters. The city is in a happy mood with lush greenery all around and coloured flowers blooming everywhere.
- The temperature during the winter months ranges between 5-degree Celsius to 15-degree Celsius. The ideal time to take a sightseeing tour is during this season as no hour of the day requires you to stay indoors. You can take a stroll through the lanes of the city, enjoy hot delicacies of the renowned ancient shops, and explore the popular places in Varanasi.
- The ghats of the city feature a calm and cool breeze that makes it an ideal hour of the day to sit by the holy river Ganga and enjoy sipping on hot tea. The combination of the cool breeze, hot tea, and the water in close vicinity makes it one evening to remember. Another activity that you can indulge in and enjoy to the core is taking a boat ride in the early morning hours and enjoy the rising sun’s glory from the same.
- You can visit Banaras Hindu University and take a stroll across the massive campus. This is one of the popular places in Varanasi that people do not tend to miss while visiting the city. A day tour to seek the blessings of the almighty at the various ancient temples including the Vishwanath Temple, ISKON Temple, Batuk Bhairav Temple, Durga Temple, and various others.
- One of the ethereal experiences that one must not miss at any cost is the mesmerizing Ganga Aarti. It takes place in the evenings and is open to being witnessed by the visitors. The entire river bank gets enlightened with the golden light of the lamps and aarti that are lit during the aarti. All the pandits performing the aarti follow similar means, which is coordinated and totally mesmerizing. In case you own an interest in photography then the evening Ganga aarti is something that would give you some of the best clicks of your lifetime. There are a number of photographers spotted around for the same purpose.
- It’s during the winter months that pink, red, as well as yellow vermillion flowers, are seen adorning the sides of the pious Ganga. The air of the surrounding reverberates with the ringing of the gongs, bells, melodies of the conches, and the religious chants of the pandits. To experience it all while the Varanasi weather is at its best is another level of experience altogether. When the cool winter breeze gets full of the pleasing scent of the flowers that are offered to the Ganga as well as the air mixes with the incense stick scent the place becomes the most ideal one to beat. Plus, the experience of being amidst such a blessed surrounding can’t be jotted down. One only needs to experience it at least once in a lifetime.
Where to Stay
Staying in Varanasi will let you enjoy experiences that you have never experienced before. The city is one of the best places to enjoy the historicity of India. The old temple city is city of exploration and every nook and corner has a story to tell. So, it is best that you look for good accommodation for your stay in Varanasi because your stay here is not going to be a short one!
You can book hotels according to your budget, or according to the amenities you need, or based on their distance from the bus stop or railway station. The Oyo app will help you pick out the right accommodation here. The hotels here are known for their classic Indian hospitality and you can find premium luxury hotels as well as budge hotels for your stay. Most hotels serve their own food and the traditional food of the city is yet another reason to stay here.
What to Eat
Food in Varanasi is a revelation and you will be amazed at how wonderful simple things can taste. The food here is such that you can have it anytime in the day or night and not feel that you have had enough.
Kachori Sabzi in Varanasi is a perennial favorite and the best place to get it is Kachori Gali. Yes, there is an entire lane dedicated just for kachoris and you are sure to find something unique with every vendor. Most of the sellers here use their own spice blends in their sabzis or vegetable, which is most comprised on potatoes and grams and that is what makes one vendor stand out from the other.
The other thing that you simply have to try here is the samosa and they are these deep fried pockets of goodness which you will love to snack on at any time of the day. Dahi Chutney and Chura Matar are other favorites here and do not forget to try the golgappa. Baati Chokha, which has its origin in Bihar, is a local favorite here and they are very filling and very tasty. Made from gram flour and stuffed with spices, these roasted balls are then served with a side of chokha which are made from potatoes and eggplants.
Do not forget to try out the kesar jalebis and if you are visiting in the winters, then Makkhan Malai is a must try. Made from whole cream milk, the froth from the churned milk gets a creamy texture which is topped with nuts, pistachios and saffron and is heavily inspired from Persian cuisine. Then, be sure to top off your meal with a traditional, Benarasi meetha paan or betel leaf wrap. And lastly, you have to have a glass of Thandai to complete your day.
Apart from these, there are an assortment of chats and papads that are sold in the streets and stalls of Varanasi. Tomato chutney here is very famous and you will simply love the spice blends that top of these chats. It is quite possible to forget about your diet when you are visiting this part of the country and a food walk along the streets and by-lane of the city will be the best way to explore its diverse cuisine. There are some restaurants here that sell non- vegetarian fare as well.
Where to Shop
Shopping in Varanasi will leave you spoilt for choice and you just cannot miss the display of Benarasi sarees. The silk sarees of Benaras are famous all over India and a woman’s wardrobe is considered incomplete if she does not have a Benarasi saree in the closet. The saree shops of the Peelikotha area are the best and they store sarees in all shades. The sarees have heavy embroidery work in gold and silver zari, and the lighter the silk, the more intricate the embroidery, the more expensive the saree is. In earlier days, there were weavers who spun sarees that were so fine that they could pass through a ring.
Once you are done saree shopping, head over to the local jewelry shops which line the streets of the old part of Benaras and you will be left spoilt for choice. The bangle collection that some of the jewelers have here will beat any major jewelry brand in India. You can also buy necklaces, earring and rings and the designs are mostly inspired by traditional Indian motifs. The prices are very reasonable and you will end up buying a lot items from here for your girl gang.
If you are looking for something completely integral to Varanasi, then do buy artifacts of Gulabi Minakari, which is practically unknown to other parts of India and is very unique and special to the city. While most people know about the minakari work of Rajasthan and other western states of India, the pink filigree work from Benaras is very unique and is performed by craftsman along Gai Ghat. Pick up souvenirs like elephants, bangles and figurines to decorate your shelves back home.
Head over to the local markets in Mirzapur if you want to buy handmade carpets. These carpets are entirely spun by hand by knotting the threads and the most amazing patterns are created. Similarly, the markets are also full of wood and stone carved toys and figurines and they are also quite inexpensive and make for great gift items on a budget.
How to Reach
Reaching Varanasi is quite easy from any part of India since it is a major city in Uttar Pradesh. It has its own airport and one can get direct flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and other important cities. Buses to Varanasi leave from all major cities of Uttar Pradesh and one can avail public buses and well as private air- conditioned buses. Likewise, if one is traveling by train, then all major trains from various parts of India go through the Varanasi railway station. You can get down here and then take a cab or a bus to reach the main city center.
In the end, we get to conclude that the best time to visit Varanasi is during the winter months. Although, you might plan to visit the city in any of the other months around the year but to enjoy the city at its best you must plan your visit anytime during the winters. To avoid any hassles you can book hotels in Varanasi online. There are a number of such options ranging from premium to budget hotels which are available for travellers. Also, while returning back do not forget to buy some keepsake to remind you of your trip to this holy city of Varanasi. Happy Holidaying!!
P.s. You might like these related resources:
- 10 incredible places to visit in Varanasi and what to do there.
- 11 Must-Visit Popular Places near Varanasi.
A music enthusiast and a sucker for harmonies, Megha loves singing and expressing her emotions through her writings. Stuck between a fragile heart and a strong mind, she intends to stay passionate about her work. She has a soft corner for animals and loves binging on netflix!
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