Varanasi, known as the city of light, has been a spiritual power center for at least 4000 – 6000 years. Considered to be the world’s oldest living city, Varanasi continues to thrive culturally with its wonderful traditions, Sanskrit studies, classical music, ancient architecture and street characters that make this place one of the richest heritage sites of the world.
With over 3600 Hindu shrines and temples, 1388 Muslim shrines and mosques, 42 Sikh temples, 12 churches, 3 Jain temples, 9 Buddhist temples and several other sacred sites….they say that by seeing Varanasi, “One can see as much of life as the whole of India can show”. People from all parts of India, speaking different languages and dialects and bringing with them their own traditions and superstitions have settled in this city.
Half Day Cultural Tour of Temples, BHU, Sarnath and Muslim Area
Let Varanasi Old City Tours take you on a cultural exploration of Varanasi. By car we will visit one of the most prominent churches in the area, ancient temples with soot covered walls that hold the secrets of centuries of prayers and Banaras Hindu University, famous throughout India and abroad for its stature in the academic world,which has a beautiful campus full of greenery and tranquility with a great History Museum.
In the fifth century BC, Buddha preached his first sermon under the famed Bodhi tree at Sarnath speaking on how to end suffering and achieve enlightenment. It is located about 10km north-east of Varanasi. There are many Buddhist monuments and edifices in Sarnath. Some of the important Buddhist monuments at Sarnath are the Dhamekha stupa, the Chaukhandi stupa and monasteries and temples of different schools of Buddhism from Japan, China, Thailand, Burma and others. The Indian Buddhist society called Mahabodhi Society maintains a park around the Buddha temple. The Mahabodhi Temple within the park even has a tooth relic of the Buddha.. We will spend about 4 hours here with your expert tour guide who will tell you about the history, architecture and religious background of the sites.
There is also a vast expanse of ancient ruins at Sarnath. Several Buddhist structures were raised at Sarnath between the 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD, and today it presents the most expansive ruins amongst places on the Buddhist trail. The Ashoka pillar of Sarnath is the National emblem of India.
From Sarnath, we travel by car to the vibrant Muslim area famous to see where they make the most beautiful silk sarees the world over.
Boat Expedition to Ramnagar Fort, Durga Temple and a Visit to a Rural Village :
The Mughal style Ramnagar fort, built in the 18th century, is situated on the opposite bank of river Ganga and can be reached by boat (or by auto – see below for details).
Our boat tour begins at Dasashwamedh Ghat where we will head south, passing the Harishwar burning ghat, grand Maharaja palaces, an ashram for widows, the colorful Kedar Ghat temple and the water buffalo bathing area along the many ghats. During the ride, the Varanasi Temple tour guide will introduce you to the history and folklore of Varanasi and point out famous landmarks and riverside ceremonial rituals.
The Ramnagar fort houses a museum displaying the Royal collection which includes vintage cars, royal palkies, an armory of swords and old guns, ivory work and an impressive antique clock that displays year, month, week and day but also astronomical facts about the sun, moon and constellation of stars. You will get a glimpse into the glamorous past of the Maharajas where decadence was just a part of everyday life. To this day, it still remains the ancestral home of the Maharaja of Banaras.
Also, in the area is the Durga Temple a favorite destination for worshipers and pilgrims. We will visit the temple and then venture into a local village where life moves at a much slower pace. Women in electric colored sarees work the neon green fields (a juxtaposition of colors worthy of a painting) children play, large groups of water buffalos shuffle along quietly and men work fixing this and that. The local people couldn’t be friendlier and invitations for chai run amok. While Varanasi proper has so many landmarks to visit, it is refreshing to get outside the city and get a glimpse of real village living.
We will return to the main ghat on the gentle currents of the Ganga where we will finish the tour.
From here we will help you find transportation back to your hotel.
Start: Varanasi Temple Tour Office
Tour Duration: Tour duration is approximately 6 hours. Start time varies depending on weather, so please check with us.
Start time varies depending on weather, so please check with us.
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