How to Spend 2 Days in Varanasi
Two days in holy Varanasi give you enough time to explore the most important Hindu and Buddhist sights and visit a local silk-producing village. Here’s how to maximize your time in the sacred city.
Day 1: Spiritual Varanasi
Morning: Rise before dawn for a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges River; you’ll travel past riverside ghats and observe pilgrims performing early-morning rituals. Then, take a guided walking tour of Varanasi Old Town to learn about Hindu traditions and see ancient temples.
Afternoon: In the afternoon, head out to the most important temple in Varanasi; Golden Temple (Kashi Vishwanath), which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The best way visit the temple as part of a walking tour, which offers a more intimate glimpse into Varanasi Old Town than you’d get from a coach or car.
Night: Make your way to Dashashwamedh Ghat before dusk to observe the evening Aarti ritual, which starts right after nightfall. During this moving evening prayer ceremony, local priests use lanterns to give fire offerings to the Ganges River, while religious music plays in the background.
Day 2: Surrounding Areas
Morning: Devote the first half of your day to visiting the villages that surround Varanasi on a half-day tour, most of which stop at the villages of Chiraigaon and Sarai Mohana, which is celebrated for its silk production. Here, you’ll have time to shop for the famous Banarasi saris.
Afternoon: In the afternoon, make your way to Sarnath, one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India. Tours include hassle-free transfers and shed light on significant stupas such as the Dhamek Stupa, where Buddha allegedly gave his first sermon following enlightenment.
Night: While most people associate Varanasi with religion, it's also an important center for Indian classical music. A great way to spend your last night in town is to watch a classical music and dance performance, during which you'll hear a range of local instruments.