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The fascinating thing about this mystical city is that its rituals are revealed openly to along the many riverside ghats, which are used for everything from bathing to burning the bodies of the dead. Yoga, blessings, massages, shaves, and games of cricket are among the other activities you'll find performed along the river edge.
Visitors come to Varanasi for a brush with the divine. The most interesting part of the city is its ghats (steps at the water's edge). Take a walk along the river front and watch life flow by. You can also go on boat ride on the Ganges River, preferably in the early morning or at dusk. In the evening, head to Dasaswamedh Ghat for the aarti (prayer ceremony). A look at the burning ghat, where dead bodies are cremated on the funeral pyre, is fascinating. The magnificant Vishwanath Temple, built in 1776, is an important Hindu holy place. Varanasi is also well known for its classical dance and music, and yoga.
Don't miss Diwali in Varanasi. The city is especially spiritual and magical at this time, when the river banks are lined with the glow of small lamps, people chant, and bathe in the river in the early hours. Around Kartik Purnima (October/November), a five day Ganga Mahotsav festival is also held in Varanasi. The focus is on live classical music and dance. Other important occasions in Varanasi include Mahashivratri, Buddha Purnima (Buddha's birthday), and Dussehra. Varanasi is quite famous for the performances of the Ramalila that take place there around Dussehra. The Dhrupad Mela music festival is held in March.A side trip to Sarnath, around 20 minutes from Varanasi, is worthwhile. This is where the Buddha gave his first discourse. In contrast to the hustle and bustle of hectic Varanasi, it's a peaceful place where you can wander around the grassy gardens and ruins of Buddhist stupas.