All right! Traveling alone to just any part of Varanasi is more adventurous than finding crystal skulls with Indiana Jones in the kingdom of Akator. There is an exotic cultural amalgam in one corner and a deep feeling of the renaissance in another. But your unprepared trip to Varanasi can turn you into a spiritual Zombie without a map in the desert. We bring you some of the best tips that come in handy if you are exploring the destination of Gods, holy Varanasi in India. Here we go:
Best way to arrive in Varanasi
If you are already in India exploring other places, then take a flight to Delhi and from there you can take a direct train to Varanasi. From the Varanasi railway station, you can opt for a variety of modes of transport. From tumtum to fancy motor rickshaws with some gravity-defying passengers, you are on your own all the way.
Go the street way
Varanasi is a small holy destination. Not really an ideal city for those looking for some really good authentic Indian food restaurants. To say, there are just none. You have to roam around on the streets filled with devotees around the world and naked Aghoris openly smoking marijuana on the ghats. Try the food you get on small roadside eateries. That’s the real flavor of India and Varanasi. Some of the best Indian dishes are there on the street. Gorge on some spicy Kachoris and cool yourself off with delicious lassis (buttermilk) in the glasses designed for Hulk.
It is recommended that you reserve a room in the hotel in advance so that you can grab a better deal. Otherwise, you will have to be a really great bargainer. You can though get some really affordable guides right when you step out of Varanasi station. Invest in one.
One of the best things about Varanasi is that you can cover it on your feet. There is just no need to plan anything special for sightseeing in the holy place. The real thing is right there on the ghats. People from around the world come to wash off their sins here. The cremation rituals connect you to the world of spiritual nirvana. You get to see a colorful tableau of different beliefs, religions, and cultures altogether. You live it all right there on the ghats.
No pictures of the cremation rituals allowed on the Ghats
Part of your daily walk will entail seeing the cremations on the Ganga but remember you cannot take pictures of cremation rituals being performed by just anybody on the ghats. It is considered as the disrespect by the family members of the deceased. Keep both camera and phone turned off, if you are planning to just witness the ritual. Ask for permission before clicking Aghoris and Sadhus
The streets of Varanasi are all filled with colorful Sadhus and Aghoris smoking marijuana like chimneys. Some of them are scary while others are interesting. However, do not click their pictures without valid permissions. They can charge you a hefty fee or just get offended for no reason.
The Vishwanath Temple is the most celebrated and it is said that it is not open to foreigners.
Rickshaw-wallah scams: Here is one tip to avoid the scam.
One should be aware of the rickshaw wallah scams. If your driver tells you that your hotel has burned down or the road is closed but they know another hotel it just means they are asking for the commission. Do not fall in the trap, rather refuse to pay unless you arrive at your destination and check you really are at the right destination before getting out.
You might get lost in the alleys
The alleys are small and in plenty, they will give you a feel of the real Varanasi. You’ll almost certainly get lost but ultimately they lead you to the main road from where you can start all over again. Make sure to ask for your business card from your guesthouse and carry it along with you. So that in the case of any confusion you can ask people for directions when it’s time to get back home.
Too much PAAN everywhere
People here love Paan! You will find all the dudes chewing it and the sad part, they split it all over the place and roll it at lots of booths..so just be careful!! Although paan is popular all over India but you would have never seen so much of paan as they indulge in at this place.
Varanasi is one of the most popular places to visit in Northern India. It helps you get on the road of self-discovery and the travel tips above make the journey a lot easier.