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How to Spend 3 Days in Varanasi

How to Spend 3 Days in Varanasi

Three days in Varanasi gives you plenty of time to tick off important spiritual attractions, learn to cook an Indian meal, and explore further afield on a visit local villages. You’ll even have time for a day trip to Prayagraj, formerly Allahabad. Here’s how:

Day 1: Essential Varanasi

Devote your first day in Varanasi to the city’s essential sights. Start with an early-morning boat ride on the Ganges River, which reveals Hindu pilgrims performing sunrise prayers and rituals. After your boat ride, take an early-morning tour of old Varanasi with a local guide, during which you’ll learn the history of Dasaswamedh Ghat and Talang Swami Ashram. Spend the afternoon visiting some of the city’s holiest spots, which include Golden Temple (Kashi Vishwanath); it's believed that those who make a pilgrimage here gain liberation from the karmic cycle of death and rebirth. In the evening, head down to Dashashwamedh Ghat to watch the evening Aarti, an atmospheric ceremony during which priests make offerings to the Ganges River.

Day 2: Sarnath and Village Life

Dedicate your second day to exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sarnath, one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India, on a half-day tour. Visit the Dhamek Stupa, where the Buddha is reputed to have giver his first sermon after attaining enlightenment, and the Sarnath Archeological Museum, which houses almost 7,000 Buddhist artifacts. In the afternoon, head out on a tour of Varanasi’s rural villages; most tours stop at the town of Sarai Mohana, a great place to shop for silk saris, and Chiraigaon, where visitors can learn about rural life. Top off your day of exploration with a cooking class and dinner in a local home before turning in for the night.

Day 3: Day trip to Prayagraj

Spend your final day in Prayagraj, a 3-hour drive from Varanasi. Formerly known as Allahabad, Prayagraj is the second-oldest inhabited city in India and an important pilgrimage site; it’s also one of four destinations for Kumbh Mela, the largest spiritual gathering in the world. Start your day with a visit to the Triveni Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati Rivers, before heading to the Allahabad Fort, a 16th-century Mughal Fort with great riverside views. Other popular attractions include the Anand Bhavan, an old museum that was once the headquarters of the Indian National Congress, which is worth a stop for anyone interested in political history. Finish your day with a visit to Khusro Bagh, a beautifully-manicured Mughal garden with a number of well-preserved Mughal mausoleums.

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10 Tours and Activities

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Insight Varanasi Day Tour

Insight Varanasi Day Tour

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19
This unique tour of Varanasi offers visitors an insider's look at local customs and traditions in one of the world's oldest living cities. Tour the Hindu and Buddhist sites with an expert guide, including the Ganga Ghats, where pilgrims come to absolve their sins and the Sarnath, where Buddha delivered his very first sermon.
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  • 14 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$117.34
From
$117.34

Private 5-Hour Varanasi Tour at Dawn Including Boat Ride

Private 5-Hour Varanasi Tour at Dawn Including Boat Ride

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2
If you’re looking for an enchanting experience of India’s religious traditions, opt for this private tour of Varanasi at dawn. Take a sunrise cruise down the holy Ganges River, see bodies publicly cremated at Manikarnika Ghat, and visit the famous Golden Temple (Kashi Vishwanath). See, too, pilgrims bathe at Assi Ghat and local wrestlers fight in mud pits during this cultural experience. Hotel pickup and drop-off in Varanasi are included.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$83.00
Price varies by group size
From
$83.00
Price varies by group size

Varanasi Evening Aarti Tour

Varanasi Evening Aarti Tour

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21
Spend three unforgettable hours in one of India's most ancient cities during this evening Aarti tour in Varanasi. Experience the beauty of this Hindu ritual where light is offered up to deities. Hear religious songs sung out into the night and watch as lamps are offered to the gods. Learn why locals say this city liberates the soul from the human body during this once in a lifetime cultural experience.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$48.00
From
$48.00

Private Full-Day Varanasi Tour with Ganges River Boat Cruise

Private Full-Day Varanasi Tour with Ganges River Boat Cruise

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9
Explore Varanasi on a private full-day tour that includes a sunrise and sunset boat ride on the Ganges River. Visit landmarks in and around Varanasi including Banaras Hindu University (BHU)'s Bharat Kala Bhavan museum, and Dhamekh Stupa in Sarnath — an important Buddhist site. Finally, watch the evening aarti ceremony from the sunset boat cruise.
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  • 12 to 14 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$64.00
From
$64.00

2 Days Varanasi tour package for first timers

2 Days Varanasi tour package for first timers

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28
Get a comprehensive tour of Varanasi on this 2-day that's perfect for first-time visitors. Spend two days in the company of a guide, learning everything there is to know about one of India's holiest cities, perched on the banks of the Ganges River. Visit all the must-see attractions and listen to in-depth commentary on the city's history, religion, architecture, and modern-day life.
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  • 2 days
  • Free Cancellation
From
$185.00
Price varies by group size
From
$185.00
Price varies by group size

Private Full-Day City Tour of Varanasi Including Boat Ride

Private Full-Day City Tour of Varanasi Including Boat Ride

Avoid getting lost in the winding lanes of this ancient city on a private day tour. Experience the sacred Hindu atmosphere and rituals of Varanasi on and beside the Ganges River, and also visit the nearby town of Sarnath, where Buddha first preached after reaching enlightenment. End the day by witnessing the daily Ganga Aarti, or worship ceremony, beside the river.
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  • 13 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$88.00
From
$88.00

Private Day Excursion To Allahabad Same day Tour From Varanasi

Private Day Excursion To Allahabad Same day Tour From Varanasi

Cover all the highlights of Allahabad in a single day tour from Varanasi. This private tour will give you and your party undivided attention from your guide and allow you to travel at your own pace. Visit sites such as the Allahabad Museum, Swaraj Bhawan, Patalpuri Temple, and others with guided commentary tailored to your interests.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$68.49
Price varies by group size
From
$68.49
Price varies by group size

Varanasi Boat Ride and Ancient Temples Day Tour with Breakfast

Varanasi Boat Ride and Ancient Temples Day Tour with Breakfast

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Experience Varanasi on a sunrise cruise on the Ganges River followed by visits to several temples during a half-day tour accompanied by a private guide. Ride in a boat from Assi Ghat to Manikarnika Ghat, observe a puja ceremony at Kashi Vishwanath temple, and visit two more temples for a comprehensive overview of one of the world’s oldest living cities. Includes traditional vegetarian breakfast, and hotel pickup and drop-off.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$83.00
Price varies by group size
From
$83.00
Price varies by group size

Spiritual Tour in Varanasi with a local- Experience true essence of spirituality

Spiritual Tour in Varanasi with a local- Experience true essence of spirituality

Explore your inner self on this unforgettable life changing experience, learn new techniques. This experience is one of its kind which is designed to elevate you, this journey will take you inward, to explore so many things about yourself that you didn't know existed. The spiritual tour has nothing to do with any religion of the world, it will answer a lot of questions within yourself about your existence. 1. Learn to harmonize mind, emotions, body and life energies on this unique experience that can change your perception on life. 2. Learn techniques of how to experience the very life within yourself, which is joyful & ecstatic. 3. Understand with clarity the role of Conscious Mind, Intellect and Sub-conscious Mind. 4. Learn about ancient Yogic culture in its true sense.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$21.49
From
$21.49

Varanasi Morning Boat Tour [RowBoat]

Varanasi Morning Boat Tour [RowBoat]

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17
See the ancient city of Varanasi come to life as you make your way down the scenic Ganges River by boat. Observe Hindus practicing their morning rituals as the sun comes up along the banks of the river and learn about local customs and traditions from your expert guide.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$42.67
From
$42.67