Which is the best area to stay in Varanasi?
If you are going to Varanasi, make sure to stay on the banks of the River Ganges, which is located an hour from the airport and is the most popular and sacred place for Hindu pilgrimages, and is a mystical, magical and exhilarating experience, as well as being ideal for visiting the area´s other famous attractions and close to the city´s business centre. If you have the choice, the best time to visit Varanasi is from September to March, when rainfall is low and it doesn´t feel as hot.
The main destination for pilgrims visiting the city is the Ghats, which are stone steps that lead down to the River Ganges. There are over 90 Ghats, and although the Cremation Ghats are the most well known in Varanasi, others are used to carry out rituals to absolve all sins. The best time to visit the Ghats is at sunrise or sunset. Asides from exploring on foot, another interesting option is to see them from the river, on a boat that travels down the Ganges River. The riverbank is full of boats ready to take you for a ride.
You can visit the many temples on foot, with one every few steps. The most noteworthy in the area are the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, with its impressive solid gold domes, and the Nepali Temple that boats spectacular carvings and beautiful views of the River Ganges. When exploring the area you will be enticed by its many stalls. Varanasi is known for having one of the best silks, so you can haggle away in one of the hundreds of street stalls, or alternatively head to The Bed Silk & Pashmina or to Baba Black Sheep to make your purchase. For nearby places to eat you have the Shree Café and Mona Lisa Café.
Some 6 kilometres outside of this area you will find the Banaras Hindu University, which is well worth the visit as it offers many places for exploring such as the striking New Vishwanath Temple, as well as being a relaxing place to sit and contemplate people meditating, doing yoga or resting in its ample and beautiful gardens. Another place outside of the main area, but which is also easy to access, is Sarnath, where it is said that Buddha gave his first speech after having achieved enlightenment in Bodhgaya. To get around you can use the rickshaws, electric-rickshaws or public transport.