1.1 Ghats and the River Ganges
1.2 Religious buildings
1.3 Other sights
Varanasi is not a city with distinct tourist destinations; the experience is in watching the spectacle of life and death on the river and meandering through the alleys of the old city.
Ghats and the River Ganges
Dasaswamedh Ghat (main ghat)
The River Ganga is a sacred river for the Hindus and you will see traditional rituals and bathing occurring at all times of the day. On the Eastern banks, the River Ganga is flanked by a 300-m-wide sand belt, beyond which lies a green belt, a protected area reserved for turtle breeding. The western crescent-shaped bank of the River Ganga is flanked by a continuous stretch of 84 ghats, or series of steps leading down to the river, stretching for 6.8km. These ghats were built by Hindu kings who wanted to die along the Ganges, and they built lofty palaces along the river, most of which are now hotels, to spend their final days. You can walk along the river and see all of the ghats, but the best option for viewing the ghats is to charter a boat and see them from the river.
Hindus consider it auspicious to die in Varanasi, so some ghats are known as burning ghats, where over 200 corpses per day are cremated in full view before their ashes are eased into the Ganga.
Some of the most popular ghats, from north to south:
25.3150283.017891 Panchganga Ghat. the meeting of the five rivers.
25.3108783.014092 Manikarnika Ghat. the main cremation ghat; a must-see, but remain quiet and never take photographs (note: scams are plentiful here; see the "Staying Safe" section).
25.3081883.009933 Dasaswamedh Ghat. known as the 'main' ghat, this is the site of the large evening aarti ceremony. The ceremony starts right after the sunset.
25.3050783.009244 Rana Ghat. The ghat is on the banks of Ganga which helps people to do religious ceremony without any difficulty.
25.2994383.00765 Kedar Ghat. brightly painted in stripes and busy with bathers, very photogenic.
25.3021983.007816 Narad Ghat. the ghat on which bathing with spouse is not advised because the myth of contention.
25.298183.007317 Harishchandra Ghat. the cremation place where Raja Harishchandra did the last rituals of his son.
Hanuman Ghat. It was previously known as Ramesvaram Ghat and located at holy spot known as Juna Akhara in Varanasi. People believe that the Ghat was constructed by Lord Rama and hence it is dedicated to his favorite disciple, Lord Hanuman.
Shivala Ghat. The ghat is constructed by King Balwant Singh and it played important role during Middle Ages. It comes under western part of Varanasi and as name suggests disciples connect it with Lord Shiva.
25.2903983.006458 Tulsi Ghat. site of the large water purification plant.
25.2886583.006769 Assi Ghat. a popular place to stay, with many hotels, restaurants, and internet cafes.
New Vishvanath Temple at BHU
25.3152683.0179610 Alamagir Mosque. Overlooking Panchganga Ghat, it's a great place for a bird's eye view of the area.
25.3172582.989311 Bharat Mata Temple. The Bharat Mata temple at Varanasi is the only temple dedicated to Mother India. It is located in the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth campus. The Bharat Mata temple was built by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupt and inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936. The statute of Bharat Mata is built in marble and is a model of undivided India, depicting the mountains, plains and oceans. The most peculiar thing about the Bharat Mata Temple is that instead of the customary gods and goddesses, it houses a relief map of India, carved out of marble.
25.2821983.0401512 Durga Temple. Built in 18th century, Durga temple is made as a tribute to Goddess Durga. It is also one of the well known temples in Varanasi.
25.3176582.9739113 Gauri Matha Temple. The devi at this temple is supposed to be the sister of the lord Kashi Vishwanath. Its a tradition to visit her just before you leave Kashi. You buy sea shells at this place and offer them to the God saying that the virtues of donating the shells goes to her while you keep the virtues of having visited the holy shrines in Kashi and bathing in the ganges. The trip to Kashi is expected to yield results only after completing this custom.
25.3176582.9739114 Kaal Bhairav Temple. is the temple for Kaal Bhairav - a dreadful form of Lord Shiva symbolizing death. Its a tradition to buy black threads (costs about ₹15 per 50 threads as of Sep 2009), keep it in the shrine and then wear it on the arm, wrist or around the neck as a protection against evil forces.
25.3176582.9739115 Nepali Hindu Temple. A small golden temple, built in Nepali architecture, near Lalita Ghat.
Dhamek stupa at sarnath
25.3761783.0227116 Sarnath. It is believed that in Sarnath Buddha gave his first sermon to his disciples after getting enlightenment. There is also a Museum in Sarnath. The exact location is also known as Deer Park. Sarnath is 13 km from Varanasi and is very peaceful. Several Asian countries have built Buddhist temples there following their own ancient architectural traditions.
25.3108583.0106817 Shri Kashi Vishwanth Temple (The Golden Temple). Security is tight making entrance difficult and sometimes completely off limits to foreigners. No bags, cellphones or pens are allowed. They can be deposited in the shops by the temple entrance. The temple was destroyed multiple times by Mughal invaders and was re-constructed by Hindu kings who followed them.
25.2857782.9965218 Tulsi Manas Temple. Located near very popular Durga temple, this marvelous temple is dedicated to lord Rama. Tulsi Manas temple was established during 1964 in the form of white marble structure.
25.288682.999319 Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple (Sankatmochan Mandir), 27, Durgakund Rd, Jawahar Nagar Colony, Bhelupur, ☎ +91 99354 67417. Sankat Mochan Temple is dedicated to the Lord Hanuman. This temple is also called as the Monkey temple because of the presence of lot of monkeys inside the premises. It is one of the holy temples of the Lord Hanuman and the main location for Hindus for their many religious as well as cultural festivals. It is located in the southern part of the Varanasi, on the way to the Durga Mandir and New Vishwanath temple BHU, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. The meaning of the Sankat Mochan is relief from all the problems (Sankat means problem and Mochan means relief giver). Sankat Mochan Temple was constructed by the educationist and freedom fighter Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya (the founder of the BHU) in the early 1900s. The Hanuman Jayanti (birthday of the Lord Hanuman) is celebrated every year by organizing a special Shobha Yatra (a parade) from Durga temple (Durga Kund) to the Sankat Mochan Temple.   (updated Apr 2018)
25.2677282.9912620 Banaras Hindu University. a very green and peaceful campus. Few actually know that this University was built during Indian freedom struggle and is known as Oxford of the East. This is the largest residential university of Asia, having approx. 124 independent departments. You can also visit Bharat Kala Bhavan, a museum of Art and Archeology inside the university. There is also a huge white marbled temple called Vishwanath Temple which was built by Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya, the founder of the university.
25.125582.874721 Chunar Fort (15km southwest of Varanasi). A 2,000+ year old fort.
Kriti Gallery, Raman Niwas, Mahmoor Ganj (opposite All India Radio Station), ☎ +91 9839058007. 11AM-6PM. A place to interact with contemporary art in the city of Varanasi.
25.3077783.0108322 Man Mandir Observatory. This observatory has instruments such as sun dial to measure the eclipse, time and other similar kind of elements.
25.2697783.0243923 Ramnagar Fort (Located on the eastern bank of the river, opposite Tulsi Ghat). The fort of the King of Kashi. Built in 1750 in the Mughal style.