Soak up the atmosphere in Varanasi, India’s spiritual capital and one of the oldest cities in the world.
Situated on the banks of the river Ganges, Varanasi is important in several reliions. For Hindus it is the holiest of the seven sacred cities, for Buddhists it is close to Sarnath where Buddha gave his first sermon, founding the religion and for Sikhs it is where Guru Nanak Dev stayed on his path to founding Sikhism. It is not surprising then that the city is home to around 23,000 temples as well as several centres of philosophy, music, education and art. For even more temples, visit the nearby town of Khajuraho, less well-known but nonetheless remarkable for its incredible collection of temples. Famous for their erotic carvings, they represent mainly the Hindu faith as well as some dedicated to Jainism.
Despite the temples, without doubt the most iconic sight in Varanasi is the 84 ghats, stone steps leading down into the Ganges. Some are used for cremations, many for pilgrims performing rituals in the waters of this holy river. Spend some time watching the day pass on these steps, an experience never to be forgotten.