Exploring Varanasi: The Spiritual Essence of the City of Light

Exploring Varanasi: Seeking the spiritual in the city of light

Nestled on the banks of the Ganges River, the city of Varanasi, with its spirituality and cultural richness, is a mesmerising destination that enchants visitors from around the world.

Mark Twain said: “Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together.” I too have always been fascinated by Varanasi. The very mention of this ancient city, nestled along the banks of the sacred Ganges River, brings up images of ancient ghats and the mesmerising Ganga Aarti.

It is a city that has intrigued me for years, and its spiritual essence has had me planning a pilgrimage of my own for a while now. Nestled on the banks of the legendary Ganges River, the city of Varanasi, also known as Banaras and Kashi, holds a unique allure for travellers not just from India but from all parts of the world.

So join me as we embark on a journey to explore the spiritual essence of the City of Light.

The Ghats

The ghats in Varanasi are special places where spiritual and everyday life come together. As I stood by the Ganges or Ganga as its commonly known, I saw a row of steps along the riverbank. Each one seemed to me a stage defining a different part of life. People were dipping in the river to wash away their sins, priests were chanting holy words, and families were saying their last goodbyes to loved ones who had passed away. It was a reminder of the cycle of life and death, a sacred ritual that has played out here for centuries.

The ghats weren’t just stone steps leading to the river; they were a testament to the spirit of the city.

The Ganga Aarti

No visit to Varanasi is complete without witnessing the grand Ganga Aarti. As the sun set, I joined the crowd at Dashashwamedh Ghat. Priests, dressed in saffron robes, moved gracefully, guiding flaming lamps in beautiful patterns. The ringing of bells, the prayers, and the glowing flames created a magical atmosphere, filling the moment with peace, calm and deep spirituality.

A city of mystique and spirituality

Varanasi isn’t just a city; it’s a realm where mysticism and spirituality coexist. The narrow, winding lanes, the crowded bazaars, and the hidden temples all add to the city’s charm. The local people I met were warm and welcoming, eager to share the city’s stories and secrets. From the Kashi Vishwanath Temple to Sarnath where the Buddha delivered his first sermon, Varanasi is a treasure trove of spiritual experiences.

Across the globe, people visit Varanasi for its essence of spirituality and rich history. It’s a place that stays with you, leaving a lasting impact on your heart and soul. Its traditions and charm continue to inspire those who visit, guiding them on a path towards enlightenment.


What is Varanasi known for?

Varanasi is renowned for its spiritual and cultural significance globally. It’s a city known for its ancient traditions.

What is the nearest airport to Varanasi?

The Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport (VNS) is the nearest airport to Varanasi.

What is the best time to visit Varanasi?

The best time to visit Varanasi is during the winter months, from October to March when the weather is pleasant to explore the city’s attractions.

Are there any other attractions in Varanasi besides the ghats?

Yes, Varanasi has numerous temples, including the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, and historic sites like Sarnath, where the Buddha delivered his first sermon.




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