For many western travellers in search of a destination completely unlike their homes, India looms large by virtue of its unspoiled beaches, ancient historical monuments, colourful and crazy urban living, majestic natural landscapes and, of course, its place in the history of Buddhism and Hinduism.
Amidst so much, one especially distinctive city is ancient and spiritual Varanasi, also known as Benares, located at the heart of this vast country’s Ganges Valley. Believed to have been founded by the Hindu deity Lord Shiva around 5,000 years ago (making it one of the oldest cities in the world), Varanasi is regarded as holy to Jains and Buddhists, and perhaps the most important pilgrimage site for Hindus, who visit it from all over the world.
While Varanasi is generously supplied with ancient Buddhist stupas, Hindu temples and many other things to see and do, it is perhaps most famously known as the place where legions of devotees gather and bathe in the holy River Ganges, the “river of India” believed by many Hindus to be the source of life. The amazing spectacle at any of the numerous Ghats (riverfront areas with steps leading down to the water) is not to be missed. Guided Varanasi tours are highly recommended as the maze of streets hides many treasures and the riverside ceremonies often require explanation.
Varanasi is easily the cultural capital of India and home to many Indian scholars, philosophers, musicians and artisans. It is therefore no surprise that the city is a great place to shop for local trinkets and souvenirs, especially silk products. The quality of embroidery is among the best in Asia and the handmade local garments the perfect souvenir for loved ones back home.
Of course, travellers of all tastes should not fail to sample the city’s mouthwatering vegetarian cuisine, with tasty local specialities such as kachoris (fried pastry puffs stuffed with spicy lentils), puris (puffed wheat bread served with vegetables) and crispy samosas (triangle-shaped dumplings stuffed with curried potatoes and peas). Hungry visitors will find the best and most authentic Indian cuisine in the many Varanasi restaurants, some attached to the Varanasi hotels that cater to all budgets and are open to pilgrims and leisure travellers alike.
TraveltoVaranasi.com is the perfect gateway through which to experience this amazing city in north India, and to book Varanasi hotels and tours. Proudly managed by the hardworking team of Tathagata Journeys, the web portal lets travellers book first-rate hotels and tours that will provide the most authentic Varanasi adventure. In line with the philosophy of whl.travel, the website also features a number of responsible hotels and tours that ensure tourism goes hand in hand with the sustainable development of the community and the preservation of the local environment.
“Being the hub of culture and spirituality in India, Varanasi is a popular and beloved destination. We are therefore very fortunate to be a part of it and we look forward to facilitating travel in this destination. We aim to promote small accommodation providers in Varanasi and also some very experiential tours and activities,” dedicated Tathagata team member Yogita Ranapaheli shared. Tathagata Journeys is also the whl.travel local connection for Darjeeling and Sikkim.