Everyone wants to visit Varanasi! It’s the oldest continuously lived-in city in the world.
The Ganges is a filthy river and the town of Varanasi is like a rubbish tip. This is the dirtiest city we have seen in India, but it gives a perspective of how Hindus (and Indians in general) accept death and dying, as this is the funeral capital.
The city is famous for the many Hindus that are cremated there every year. The fires burn 24 hours a day and ashes are then collected and scattered on the holy river the Ganges; new born babies, pregnant mothers and holy men are not cremated here.
We recommend staying at the Ganges View, which is a small guesthouse, but it is right on the water and walking and boating is easy, meaning you don’t have to negotiate the intolerable traffic conditions.
Sarnath is where the Buddha gave his first sermon and certainly worth a visit to the beautiful architectural monuments
Our suggestion is if you want to see the Ganges, visit Haridwar, 12 hours drive or train trip away.
We haven’t painted a very pretty picture of Varinasi, however, it is a place of significant spiritual importance.