“Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”
Varanasi is one of the oldest living cities of world. The name Varanasi emerges from the confluence of two Gangetic tributaries- Varuna and Asi. The city is known as the land of sacred light or City of Light. Varanasi is painted in gold throughout the day with sunlight and diyas’ light in the night. It is a sacred pilgrimage city for Hindus that they should visit once in lifetime. Varanasi is also of religious significance to Buddhists and Jains. But people of all religion get fascinated from this antique city. This city requires a week long visit to unearth every detail. But you can cover all the important places to visit in Varanasi in 2 days. Here is your guide map to all tourist places in Varanasi and places to eat in Varanasi within 48 hours.
How to reach Varanasi?
- Air– Fastest option; Varanasi Airport is well connected to all major cities
- Train– Affordable; Varanasi junction railway station is linked with all major stations of India
- Road– Adventurous; Varanasi is connected to National Highway 2 (Links Delhi,Agra,Kanpur and Kolkata)
Places to visit in Varanasi in 2 days
All Hindu pilgrims go on the panchtirth (5 tirtha) Yatra. This yatra covers 5 major ghats of Varanasi- Assi,Dashashwamedh, Adi Kesava, Panchganga and the oldest,Manikarnika. The pilgrims take dip in the holy Ganga at each Ghat.
They also take sankalpa and offer flowers as per the ritual. The stretch of this tirtha is 4km long. One should follow the south-north (Assi to Manikarnika) sequence. While most people prefer to walk, the option of ferry ride is also available. You should opt the boat ride if you want to explore other tourist places in Varanasi.
The first place to visit in Varanasi in 2 days is Assi Ghat. The journey of panchtirth starts from the southernmost ghat of Varanasi.This ghat is situated near Banaras Hindu University. Assi Ghat is one of the popular tourist places in Varanasi’s map. Pilgrims and devotees worship the shivalinga at Assi Sangam. The linga is situated under a gigantic peepal tree. Assi is also a famous bathing ghat during major Hindu festivals.
Also Visit– Tulsi Ghat
The second stop of panchtirth yatra is the main ghat of Varanasi, the Dashashwamedh Ghat. If you have opted to walk, you can visit the Harishchandra Ghat(a famous cremation ghat).Dashashwamedh is regarded as the second oldest ghat of the City of Light. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Brahma performed Dasa-Ashwamedha yajna (the sacrifice of 10 horses)here. This ghat is popular for the enchanting Ganga Aarti that begins after 6:45 pm.
Adi Keshava Ghat
The third stop of panchtirth yatra is Adi Keshava. This ghat is situated at the confluence of River Ganga and Varuna. The famous Vishnu Temple, Adi Keshava, is located here. The linga of Sangameshwara (Lord of Confluence)is a must visit for pilgrims and devotees of Shiva.
The fourth stop in the tirth is Panchganga Ghat. It is famous for the beautiful convergence or sangam of 5 rivers but only Ganga is visible. The crowd here is usually less when compared with other ghats. People enjoy the calmness of this ghat.
Also See: Places to visit in Jaipur in 2 days
The final stop of panchtirth is the oldest ghat of Varanasi, Manikarnika.It is a cremation ghat. Pilgrims take the final dip here to attain moksha or salvation. Manikarnika Ghat is regarded as the most sacred ghat of Varanasi. As per legends, goddess Sati died here. People offer pinda dan or ashes of ancestors to attain salvation. A well in Manikarnika Kund is believed to be built by Vishnu. Your panchtirth yatra is now complete!
You will cover this yatra within an hour by foot. The estimated time via boat depends upon how long you want to spend your time in a particular place.
Fare of boat ride across Ganga River– Rs. 300 per hour
Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Pilgrims who complete panchtirth yatra visit Kashi Vishwanath Temple next.This is one of the most important places to visit in Varanasi in 2 days. Or even in 1 day. The name is derived from Kashi,another name for Varanasi.Also referred as Shiva’s abode, this is the oldest of the 12 jyotirlingas of Shiva. Hindu scriptures tell us that Shiva’s endless radiant(jyotirlinga) divided the universe into three parts. Kashi Vishwanath temple is central to Shaivism. The devotees believe Kashi is the whole world. The revered Mangal Aarti starts from 2:30 am and ends at 4:00 am. This can be only attended with ticket. The temple is open for darshan from 4 am to 11 pm.
Important Festivals– Makar Sankranti, Mahashivaratri, Dev Deepavali amongst many.
Ramnagar fort is an eighteenth century fort built by Raja Balwant Singh . It is located on the eastern bank of river Ganga. The only way to reach the fort is through ferry from Dasashwamedha Ghat. Ramnagar fort was built at a good height to keep it safe from possible floods. The Ramlila festival started here during dusshera and continues to live till date. Ramnagar fort is a fascinating place to visit in Varanasi in 2 days. The fort is open for visit from 10am to 5pm.
Bharat Kala Bhavan
This 20th century museum is located in Banaras Hindu University. The collection of Bharat Kala Bhavan makes it an amazing place to visit in Varanasi in 2 days. Often regarded as the best university museum, Bharat Kala Bhavan houses a wonderful collection of paintings, archaeological discoveries, textiles, decorative art,etc. One of the distinguished visitor of this museum was Mahatma Gandhi. As per records, he praised the collection of Bharat Kala Bhavan.Even if you find museums boring, the diverse collection of Bharat Kala Bhavan makes it worth visiting. Visit this place anytime between 10:30 am to 4:30 pm.
Sarnath is located 10 km away from Varanasi. It is an important pilgrimage for Buddhists and Jains. It is believed that Gautam Buddha preached his first lesson on Dhamma here. Singhpur in Sarnath is the 11th tirthankara’s(Shreyansnath) birthplace. Apart from being religiously significant, it is a popular tourist place near Varanasi. There are several grandiose stupas which were built in ancient period but still stand tall. The Dhamek Stupa is 128 feet tall and signifies Buddha’s first preaching on Dharma. Similarly, the Chaukhandi Stupa is built on the place where Buddha first met his disciples. The ruins of great Ashokan Pillar is also in Sarnath. The gates open at 8:00 am and closes at 6:00 pm.The historic city of Sarnath is definitely on the list of places to visit in Varanasi in 2 days.
Also see- Bodhi Tree, Dharmarajika Stupa,Archaeological Museum and Wat Sarnath Thai Buddhist temple
- Distance from Varanasi- 35 minutes by road
- Best Time to Visit Varanasi- October to February
Places to Eat in Varanasi
What is a Varanasi Visit without trying its street food? How can you not try Varanasi’s lassi? These are the common questions you will be asked if you miss out the local food. Here is a list of best places to eat in Varanasi that you must visit and eat your heart out.
Kachaudi Gali, Lahori Tola, Varanasi
Kachori Gali should actually be on the list of places to visit in Varanasi in 2 days. No matter what, you should definitely try the lip smacking kachoris. This gastronomical gali is located near Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Often eaten as breakfast, this snack is available from 7 am. The food is so popular that they run out of kachoris almost everyday. The prices here are also very reasonable. The only con is you have to go here by 7 am to enjoy a hearty breakfast.
- Cost for two– Rs. 150
- What people love– Kachoris
- Zomato Rating -NA
Aanand Mandir Cinema Hall, Raja Bazar Rd, Andhrapull, Teliyabag, Varanasi
For those familiar with this restaurants, they will agree that this should a tourist place in Varanasi’s Map. Baati Chokha is famous for its delicious litti chokha. This is the best option to try varieties of local dishes.The thali priced at Rs.190 includes Bati,Sattu,Dal,Chokha,Paneer,Chutney,Churma and Kheer. Visit here anytime between 11am to 10:30pm.
- Zomato Rating– 4.6/5
- Cost for two– Rs. 450
- What people love– Food,ambience and service
Deena Chat Bhandari
Hanuman Mandir, Ramapura Luxa Rd, Luxa, Varanasi
In your 2 days visit, you should definitely try Deena Chat Bhandari’s specials. The bestsellers as per zomato are Dahi Golgappas and Golgappa Pani.The price of both snacks are Rs.60 for one plate, containing 12 pieces.Other must haves from here are Palak patta Chaat and Papri Chaat, priced at Rs 40 respectively.The place opens at 2pm and closes at 10:30pm.With diverse options to choose from, Deena Chat Bhandari is ideal for lunch and evening snacks. This is definitely one of the best places to eat.
- Zomato Rating-4.6/5
- Cost for two– Rs. 150
- What people love-Food, food and food.
Pizzeria Vatika Cafe
B-1/178, Assi Ghat Rd, Shivala, Varanasi
With a fantastic view of Assi Ghat, this is an ideal place to eat in Varanasi. From Italian to North Indian,you get loads of option to choose from. Though a bit expensive when compared to others on this list, the taste makes it a value for money deal. The must haves from Pizzeria are Appy pie,Pasta, Ravioli and Thin crust pizza. This restaurant is open from 7:00 am to 10pm.
- Zomato Rating-4.2/5
- Cost for two– Rs. 700
- What people love– Pizza, ambience and view.
Other must haves-The following street food and drink are very tasty and are available in every corner of Varanasi.
- Malaiyos- Available only in winter, malaiyos are delicious milk treats made with pistachio and saffron.
- Lassi- From Mango Lassi to mixed fruit lassi, Varanasi lassis are full of flavor served in a big glass.
As Diana L. Eck correctly pointed out, Varanasi is a living text of Hinduism. For the living, Varanasi ghats and temples are symbols of purification of sins. For the dead, Varanasi is a place to attain salvation or liberation. Within 2 days, you can cover the heart and soul of city. You can try different types of food.
Do visit the places listed above. You won’t be disappointed.
Further read: Historical places in Madhya Pradesh you must visit