Varanasi or Benaras is one of the oldest and holiest cities in India. A popular pilgrim spot, the city is a testimony to India’s rich cultural, traditional, and historical heritage. A sacred place for the Hindu communities, Varanasi is a fascinating city in more than one way.

The historical temples, the charming ghats, colossal universities, alluring museums, and many other wonderful places attract a large number of tourists every year to the city. Apart from the spiritual travellers, many enthusiastic tourists from all over the world come to the city to revel in its ethereal charm. 

So, if you are planning to visit Varanasi, you must be careful about the timing of your trip to get the best holiday experience. The place is known to have extreme weather conditions. So, here is a complete guide on the best time to visit Varanasi. The guide also gives you valuable information about the best places to see in Varanasi and things to do in Varanasi.

Visiting Varanasi in Winter (November to February)

Like most places in central India, Varanasi too experiences cold weather during winter. The average temperature during the season varies from 5 to 15 degrees Celsius. With pleasant weather, and cool air, winter is undoubtedly the best season to visit Varanasi. During this time, you can explore the city and visit the popular tourist attractions comfortably. 

Whether you are visiting the ghats, the temples, going on a boat ride over the holy River Ganga or taking a stroll in the lanes of the city, you would enjoy your time. During the season, you can see the colourful flowers blooming all around, and the lush greenery only adds to the charm of the city. 

During the mornings, you can head out to visit the temples and seek blessings of the Gods and Goddess at the ISKCON Temple, Durga Temple and Vishwanath Temple. Later, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll inside the massive Banaras Hindu University campus, and get to know about its rich history and significance in the Indian cultural and educational heritage. 

You can reserve the evenings to witness the magnificent Ganga Aarti, which takes place every evening on the banks of the Ganges. The sight of the lamps, the sound of the chants and the conch reverberating throughout the region is sure to fill your heart with immense joy and peace. Not to forget, the medley of colours you see during the aarti is a visual treat that will remain etched in your memory. 

Visiting Varanasi in Monsoon (July to October)

The monsoon in India starts from mid-June or early July, and almost all parts of the country receive rains. While some parts receive torrential rains, in other parts it rains only moderately. Varanasi falls in the former category, and even though the city gets high rainfall, it does not dampen the spirits and devotion of the tourists and devotees. 

Even during the monsoon season, the city gets several visitors every day.  And, while July to October months may not be the peak tourist season, it is still the best time to go to Varanasi as you get to see a different side of the city, which you may not see during the rest of the year. The fresh bouts of rain make the weather cool, and the showers provide a massive respite from the scorching heat that precedes the monsoon. Thus, you can be sure to feel comfortable throughout your time in the city. 

Watching the River Ganga being full and flowing at her ferocious best during the monsoon is an exhilarating experience. But, be very careful while you are at the riverside or at the ghats. Due to rains, the ghats and the area around the river tends to get extremely slippery due to algae accumulation. So, watch your steps, and avoid getting too close to the river. 

Visiting Varanasi in Summer (March to June)

The weather in Varanasi is known to be extreme. The summers here start from late February and the heat continues to rise with every passing day till June. April and May are the hottest months of the year and unlike other parts of India, the city experiences dry heat and there is little or no humidity. 

The daytime average temperature during the peak summer season ranges from 40 to 45 degrees Celsius and it rarely falls below 30 degrees Celsius. So, if you have been planning to go to Varanasi, remember, summer is not the best season to visit Varanasi temples. The hot and dry wind blowing across the region can make it challenging for you to go outdoors and doing any activity may tire you. 

However, it must be noted that the areas around the ghats and by the riverside tend to be a little cooler than other parts. So, if you visit the holy city during this time, it is advisable to stay indoors during the day, and venture out only in the late evening after sunset. You can also keep yourself cool in the hot weather by sipping on some delicious lassi, a local delicacy. Made of yoghurt, it helps in preventing dehydration and keeps your body cool. 

Best places to visit in Varanasi

 

  • Assi Ghat

The city of Varanasi is located on the banks of the Holy Ganges, and is home to many ghats. People from all over the world flock to these ghats to see the evening aarti rituals. One such popular ghat is the Assi Ghat. 

A popular tourist spot in the region, you must definitely visit Assi Ghat during your Varanasi trip. Located on the far south, the ghat holds deep sentimental value for the Hindu devotees, and it is crowded all through the year. Devotees come here to pay homage to Lord Shiva and worship the huge lingam situated under a gigantic Peepal tree. 

The beauty of this place is that in spite of all the commotion going around, you can find inner peace here. There is something magical about this place that makes you feel calm and allows you to delve deep and connect with your inner self. 

You can visit this place any time of the year, but November to February would be the best months to visit Varanasi.  

  • Kashi Vishwanath Temple 

The most important place in Varanasi, your visit to the city would be incomplete without a visit to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple is one of the holiest places in India and am important pilgrimage for the Hindus. 

One of the 12 Jyotirlingas, the temple finds its name mentioned even in the holy scriptures. Apart from its religious significance, the temple is known for its unique structure and marvellous architecture.  

  • Ramnagar Fort and Museum

A historical fort, Ramnagar Fort and Museum was built in the 18th Century. Although, most of the structure is now crumbling and in ruins, it is a must-visit place to get an insight into the grandeur of the Mughal life and their brilliant architecture. 

The fort vicinity also houses a vintage museum that has some of the rarest collection of American cars, medieval costumes, and ivory works. But the most popular attraction here is the astronomical clock, which was used in the ancient times to note and observe planetary movements.  

  • Sarnath Temple

If you do a simple online search for the Varanasi best time to visit, you would get many suggestions on visiting the place in the winter season. So, if you are planning to visit the city during this time, make sure to include Sarnath in your itinerary to enhance your holiday experience. 

Located about 13 kms from Varanasi city, it is one of the most famous Buddhist pilgrim sites in India. And, after jostling through the crowd at the Kashi Vishwanath temple and being amidst the chaos at the ghats, you find peace, and solitude at the temple.  

  • Banaras Hindu University

The biggest residential university in India, Banaras Hindu university is among the most popular and famous places in Varanasi. Spread over 5.3 square kilometre area, the university campus houses more than 30,000 students who live and study within the campus. 

Apart from its magnanimity, the university building is known for its stunning Indo-Gothic architecture, which is reminiscent of the colonial era. The sprawling lawns and wide-open area add to the charm of the university. 

Things to do in Varanasi

If you think Varanasi is all about devotion, and spirituality, you are wrong. There are many other fun things to do in Varanasi. Here are our top suggestions of things you must definitely do in Varanasi.  

  • Take a dip in the holy Ganges 

The Ganga River is one of the most sacred rivers in India. It is believed that taking dip in the holy waters of the river washes away people’s sins. Whether you believe in this legend or not, taking a dip in the cold waters will be a memorable experience.  

  • Visit the village of weavers

Banaras silk is world famous, and the clothing made of this material, especially sarees, are immensely popular. Home of some of the finest craftsmen, Banaras has its own weaver’s village, i.e., Sarai Mohana Village, which has several silk weaving looms. 

The weavers here create some of the most intricate designs on sarees and other garments. From exquisite bridal wear with real gold and silver embroidery designs to usual everyday wear items, you can find everything here.  

  • Go shopping

You can take back some amazing souvenirs from Varanasi like silk garments, ornate jewels, shawls, carpets, and bronze idols. Indulging in some shopping is a great way to make the trip fun. 

They say, every journey is an experience. And, a trip to Varanasi is an experience that you must have in your life! 

  • Indulge in the local cuisine

A Varanasi trip would be incomplete without allowing yourself to indulge in the local food. The city is every food lover’s paradise. From mouth-watering gol gappe to chaat and the delectable jalebi and rabri, there are plenty of items that will leave you coming back for more. 

In conclusion, the best time to visit Varanasi truly depends on what you seek from this spiritual haven. Whether you visit Varanasi in summer, monsoon, or winter, each season offers a unique experience. Plan your trip according to your preferences, and Varanasi will not fail to offer you a journey of a lifetime steeped in culture, spirituality, and history.

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Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd. (MHRIL), a part of Leisure and Hospitality sector of the Mahindra Group, offers quality family holidays primarily through vacation ownership memberships and brings to the industry values such as reliability, trust and customer satisfaction. Started in 1996, the company's flagship brand ‘Club Mahindra’, today has over 250,000 members , who can holiday at 100+ resorts in India and abroad.

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