Varanasi Day Tours and Trips

Located on the banks of the River Ganges and considered to be one of India's most holy of cities, Varanasi is an overwhelming melting pot of colour, chaos and spirituality. Believed to have been founded by Shiva as early as the 11th century, Varanasi - or Kashi and Benares as it has variously been known - is also one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities, serving as an important centre of learning and civilization for over 2,000 years. Today thousands of Hindu pilgrims from all over the country come to Varanasi to bathe in the waters of the sacred River Ganges to wash away their sins.

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It is thought that to die in Varanasi is to ensure release from the cycle of rebirths, an intrinsic part of Hindu belief in reincarnation with the added bonus of instant enlightenment. For this reason the city is popular with the elderly, especially female widows who often shave their heads and wear white after the death of their husbands. The Hindu rituals of life and death take place very publicly on the city’s famous riverside ‘ghats’, the name given to steps that lead down to holy waters. Here cremations on funeral pyres take place throughout the day with ceremonies held out in the open and the bodies simply wrapped in white cloth. Eventually the ashes will be scattered into the Ganges River.

It is this accessibility to the practices of ancient tradition, coupled with Varanasi’s labyrinthine streets and colour that draw people. The best vantage point is from aboard one of the dawn boat rides on the Ganges. Scores of people enter the water from the ghats to purify themselves before the rising sun. Providing the backdrop to this display of humanity is an incredible array of temples and ancient buildings.

Upcoming Varanasi Day Tours and Excursions

ExcursionDurationDepartingFrom GBP
Guided Viewing of Ramlila in Varanasi 5 hours 24 Sep 2017 £20.31
Private Walking Tour of Varanasi 3 hours 24 Sep 2017 £22.57
Varanasi Morning Sunrise Boat Tour 3 hours 25 Sep 2017 £26.33
Half-Day Sarnath Tour from Varanasi 3 hours 24 Sep 2017 £26.33
Private Evening Aarti with Sunset Boat Ride 3 hours 24 Sep 2017 £41.38

Varanasi Morning Sunrise Boat Tour

3 hours
FROM £26.33

Take an early morning boat ride down the River Ganges and witness as this holy city awakens for the...

Half-Day Sarnath Tour from Varanasi

3 hours
FROM £26.33

Travel northeast of Varanasi for a half-day trip to Sarnath, an erstwhile holy city now renowned for...

Private Evening Aarti with Sunset Boat Ride

3 hours
FROM £41.38

End your day in Varanasi with a private sunset boat ride on the River Ganges where you’ll have the...

Guided Viewing of Ramlila in Varanasi

5 hours
FROM £20.31

Watch a performance of Ramlila, a clever street show re-enacting the life of the Hindu deity Rama,...

Private Walking Tour of Varanasi

3 hours
FROM £22.57

See the sights of Varanasi and gain insight into daily life on a guided walking tour through its...

Private Day Tour of Varanasi and Sarnath

1 day
FROM £83.32

Start the day with a sunrise boat ride on the River Ganges to witness morning prayers and then...

Private Full-Day City Tour of Varanasi

13 hours
FROM £66.20

Take in the best of Varanasi on this private tour, including a sunrise boat tour, exploration of...

Planning a longer visit to India?

Browse some of our popular multi-day trips that spend a day or more in Varanasi. Alternatively, if you would like to include a visit to Varanasi on a bespoke touring itinerary to India, take a look at our tailor-made holiday planning section.

India Day Tours and Excursions

Experience the best of what India's cities have to offer with our range of day tours in the Golden Triangle and beyond.

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