Varanasi is a beautiful city which welcomes travellers with an open heart. It lets you be the part of its crowd and flow like water in its narrow lanes. Be it tranquillity of the ghats or the chaos of the roads it sets you free to explore every bit of it. However, Just like any other place in this world, there are few things you should never do In Varanasi
1. Clicking pictures at Manikarnika Ghat
Manikarnika Ghat or the burning Ghat of Varanasi is one of the most important places for the followers of Hindu religion. According to the Hindu mythology, this is where a person attains Moksha which is the ultimate goal of Hindu life.
This ghat is often full of families who are there to perform the last rights of the deceased member. As a mark of respect please keep your camera/mobile down when you are here to witness the cremation. Even if you decide to click a picture then try to click it from some distance or a boat.
2. Hiring Guides without seeing their license
When on Ghats or around any monument you will be approached by a lot of self-proclaimed guides who will try to sell their services. Most of them will keep on insisting even after you say no. These fake guides are the students and locals who are trying to make easy money by fooling the foreigners.
Always check/ask for the license when you hire a guide or else be ready for self-made history lectures coming at you in an inarticulate way. The best way to get rid of them is by ignoring them or telling them that you have no money.
3. Walking around with cash and Valuables
Be it Varanasi or any other place in this world it’s your responsibility to safeguard your belongings. You will be able to find lockers at an expensive hotel or else you will have to leave your stuff in your room. Walking around with that necklace or your Rolex watch is certainly not a great idea.
The Less you have, The less you have to worry about – Gautama Buddha
All the major restaurants and hotels accept Master/Visa cards for everything else ATMs are always around the corner. 2000 Indian Rupee ($30 per person) at any given time are more than enough you should be keeping in hand.
4. Using any kind of mind-altering substance
Please keep in mind that using any mind-altering drug or smoking Marijuana is illegal in India and most of the time drug dealers lace it with rat poison and other harmful chemicals to make it addictive. However, Bhang (edible weed) is acceptable and there are many Govt approved Bhang shop in the city.
Bhang has long-lasting effects which may last for hours, a day or two depending on how much you take it and for how long it stays in your digestive system. Sometimes Bhang can even upset your stomach which may ruin your entire trip. We request you to please use your conscience and make decisions accordingly. Though a little bit of it in Thandai won’t hurt! 😉
5. Trying to see too much in too little time
Don’t try to see everything in one day you will get exhausted. Varanasi is a small city but its nothing like your average tourist destination. It has a very complex system of streets where life and death walk side by side without affecting each other. From the ancient old temples to the serene ghats everything in Varanasi has a life and euphoric vibes.
For once turn off your GPS and get lost in these narrow streets, touch and feel the architecture, sit down at ghats and lose the sense of time. We promise you that amidst the chaos of these streets and tranquillity of these ghats you will find yourself, the real self.
6. Not trying the local/street food
In a city famous for its street food don’t be a pizza guy. The day in Varanasi starts with Kachori, Jalebi, Malaiyo followed by Chat, Chuda-Matar, Lassi, Golgappe, Aaloo Tikki and ends with Malayi Puri, Kheer-Mohan, Ras malai. Offcourse we eat fillers and main course in between.
Varanasi is literally a heaven for foodies! So, if you’d like to taste the real Banarasi food then check out these top ten places to eat street food in Varanasi. Don’t worry about the calories you can burn them all while walking around the Ghats! 😉
7. Road Trip?
Reaching Varanasi by your own vehicle is not a bad idea but driving it inside the city is a headache. If you’re coming in your own vehicle then please park it at your hotel and use local shared autos/tuk-tuk. Especially on the road from Maidagin chowk to Lanka. This stretch sees heavy traffic during the peak hours and driving in Varanasi is a kinda hectic task. Even if you managed to survive the traffic then you will have to struggle for the parking space and not to forget the cows standing in between the roads.
Varanasi is made of Streets and Ghats, best to be explored on feet and boat. Most of the places in the main city can be reached by ghats as they are interconnected. Try to utilise ghats, streets and tuk-tuks for your daily commute.
8. Not Spending Time With Locals
Banaras/Varanasi is not just a city its a way of living life. It is said that every Banarasi has a Banaras inside them. It’s an ideology and strength which these people keep inside. Guides and scholars can teach you about Varanasi but the locals can make you feel it.
Spend some time on Ghats or tea stalls, we bet that you will have the conversation of your life!
9. Making Fun of the Rituals
Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world and it is the religious capital of India. In a country with so much diversity, the traditional and ritual difference is pretty obvious. You might witness few things which will not make sense to you and will challenge your knowledge about the Hinduism. When this happens then please be wise enough to learn about it instead of laughing on it, asking questions to locals is a great way to start!
It’s not about just Varanasi PDA is illegal in entire India. According to Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code, whosoever does an obscene act in a public place is liable for a punishment of 3 months, fine or both. However, that’s just written in books and no one will actually file a case on you. But beware of the moral police, sometimes they act way too fast than the actual one. Also, these laws don’t apply to nude temples arts, Sadhu and Aghoris for obvious reasons.
Just keep these 10 things in mind and we bet that you will have an amazing experience. Also, check out the top 10 offbeat places to visit in varanasi if you want to make the most out of your trip.
Just in case if you need any help or you have any question then, please write to us in comments we will be happy to help! 🙂