James May: Our Man In India Varanasi Episode (S3 E2 - A Bit Like Glasgow)

Varanasi - 4 Day Private Tour

Let's explore the city to understand it at its best.

Day 1

05:00 pm-07:00 pm  Evening Boat Ride: Go for an evening  boat ride by the sunset and witness the activities by the river side in the evening, watch the cremation at Manikarnika Ghat from the boat. Finally stop at Dasaswamedh Ghat to enjoy the Ganga Aarti ceremony from your private boat.  

Day 2

10:00 am - 01:00 pm Sarnath: Visit the buried site of Sarnath where Lord Buddha preached his First Sermon. Sarnath remained an active center of Buddhism up to the end of the twelfth century. Centers of learning arose and many sects and sub-sects flourished here, until the Moslems plundered and raised it to the ground.

01:00 pm - 02:00 pm Lunch break.

02:00 pm - 04:00 pm City Tour: Visit the famous Banaras Hindu University. Ranked among the top three universities in India, visit the New Kashi Vishwnath Temple inside the campus, Durga Temple and Bharat Mata Temple (Mother India Temple). 

04:00 pm - 06:30 pm  Bengali Tola Walk: Walk through the narrow alleys of Varanasi is a rich cultural walk which takes you through the heart of the residential areas in the old city. Visit a temple, a private residence and an ashram.
 
Day 3

07:00 am - 09:00 am South City Walk: This walk begins from the south end of downtown Varanasi starting from Assi Ghat. Visit the birth place of Rani LaxmiBai She was one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and became for Indian nationalists a symbol of resistance to the British Raj. Next visit to the residence cum temple of Goswamy Tulsidas a Hindu poet-saint, reformer and philosopher who translated the holy epic of Ramayana from Sanskrit to Awadhi.

Visit an Akhara at Tulsi ghat (the traditional mud wrestling ground) to watch the traditional way of exercise & wrestling.

Finally from Tulsi Ghat we go walking up the stairs through the alleys to Lolarak Kund Dedicated to Surya, the Sun God. Varanasi witnesses the holy dip taken by thousands of female devotees in the ancient stepwell pond of Lolark Kund (a sacred water body) and marks the festival of Lolarak. Couples from Varanasi and its neighboring villages will perform religious rituals and pray to Lord Lolark Aditya that they be blessed with a child.

09:00 am - 11:00 am Return to the hotel for breakfast.

11:00 am - 01:30 pm Weaver’s District Tour: Walk through the weavers district of Varanasi and learn about the life of the weavers and the process of hand weaving of the famous silk brocades and Banarasi sari. Banaras’s handloom weaving traditions have found mention in Vedic and Buddhist literature.
 
01:30 pm - 04:30 pm Lunch break & some rest in the hotel.

04:30 pm-07:00 pm  Evening Boat Ride: Go for an evening  boat ride by the sunset and witness the activities by the river side in the evening, watch the cremation at Manikarnika Ghat from the boat. Finally stop at Dasaswamedh Ghat to enjoy the Ganga Aarti ceremony from your private boat.  

Day 4

05:30 am-08:00 am Morning Boat Ride. Return to the river at sunrise, when its banks are alive with the multitude of worshipers who come to immerse themselves honoring life’s milestones as they face the rising run. A rowing boat ride at dawn along the Ganges is a quintessential Varanasi experience. The early-morning light is particularly inspiring, and all the colour and clamour of pilgrims bathing and performing puja unfolds before you.   

08:00 am - 10:00 am Breakfast and some rest in the hotel.

10:00 am-01:00 pm Northern Bazaar Walk explores a variety of wholesale markets for Paan (betel leaf), spice, artificial jewelry, flowers, etc. Walking through the narrow alleys of these markets with a variety of smell and vision gives a phenomenal experience to the Guest.  

01:00 pm - 04:30 pm Lunch break & rest in the hotel.

04:30 pm - 06:00 pm Death & Rebirth Walk: This special walk aims at giving an insight about the significance of Varanasi as a place for Death & Liberation, where elderly people come to spend their later years just to get an opportunity to die and get liberated from the recycle of birth & death. 

Visit the cremation ghat and learn about the death rituals in Hinduism there, may be you get an opportunity to see an Aghori sadhu performing rituals at the cremation to attain spiritual gains and and finally visit an Ashram and meet an Aghori Sadhu who has renounced his worldly life and living the life of an ascetic since last 3 decades. You can interact with him, ask questions if you have any and learn about the spiritual journey.

Tour ends

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