City Name: Varanasi
Where is it located?: Varanasi is in northern India on the Ganges River.
Why do people go there?: Mark Twain once wrote, “Benaras (Veranasi) is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together.” Varanasi is the holiest city in India, where Hindus come to the banks of the Ganges river.
How do travelers get there?: Varanasi is on the travelers circuit and most people arrive by bus.
City Code: 0542
Population: 3.1 million
Languages: Hindi & English, there are 14 other official languages: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit; Hindustani is a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely.
Neighborhoods: Chunar, Jaunpur, Sarnath, Chandra Prabha Wildlife Sanctuary, Kaimoor Wildlife Sanctuary
Attractions: Alamgir Mosque, Durga Temple, Vishwanat Temple, Bharat Mata Temple
Accommodations: Varanasi Hostels
Tourist Office: India Tourism Office
Off-the-beaten-path: Sarnath, Bodhgaya and Kushinagar
Health Issues: Cholera, Dengue Fever, Hepatitis, Malaria, Meningococcal Meningitis, Typhoid
Tips for Visiting
When to go: India is vast – with various mountain ranges, ecosystems and climate factors that make it impossible to say the best time to visit India. In one part of the country it will be cool, and in the other part it will be humid, hot and raining.
Common Phrases: hello = na-ma-skar; goodbye = ach-ha; please = krip-ya; thank you = dhan-ya-vad; it is nice to meet you = aap se mil ke khu-shi hui; where’s the phone = phone ka-haan hain; what time is it = kya sa-may hai; how much does this cost = yeh kit-ne ka hai; how are you = kya haal hain
City Specific Events: Shivaratri, Buddha Purnima Festival, Ram Lila
How to get around?: Local transport runs the gamet of the experience. It all depends upon how much money you want to pay and how much of the experience you want controlled, although it seems like nothing works in India.
Good to know: Varanasi is an important pilgrimage centre for the Hindus.
Cheapest airport to fly into: The cheapest airport to fly into Varanasi is the Babatpur Airport.
Need more information?: Check out the Varanasi travel guide for more on what to see, where to stay, and how to get there.