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Varanasi (वाराणसी) also known as Benares or Banaras is the holiest city in India situated on the banks of the River Ganges. One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world is filled with spiritual charms and colors, temples and shrines and is considered holy by the Hindu, Buddhists and Jains. Visiting Varanasi requires travelers to be open minded and cultural adventurous.

The holy city of Varanasi is where funerals take place 24/7 in the open air burning sights at the Ganges river surrounded by goats, cows, children playing cricket and grieving families without emotions. Tens of tourists boats passing by while ashes are flowing in the air, silk color wraps from the bodies lined up at riverside next to piles of wood being brought in by boats. In the background you can hear the Hindi music, the bells ringing from the temples and elders singing to the gods. Very few places in India are as colorful, charismatic and spiritual as Varanasi.

The city of Varanasi can be reached by train or bus from any major destination and city within India, as well cheap hostels and hotels can be found fairly easy. When arriving in the city, auto rickshaw driver(s) will offer to be your guide which is unnecessary in a city as small as Varanasi. Especially when transportation is cheap. You will need approximately one morning and one evening in Varanasi in order to see the not to miss ceremonies and temples on the holy Ganges river. It’s recommended to arrive around mid-day – book a hotel for one night – go see the evening ceremony – go back to your room as most establishments close at 9 o clock sharp – go see the sunrise around 6 o clock – check out your hotel by 12 o clock and proceed to the next destination.