Varanasi is a beautiful city that welcome travelers with an open heart. It lets you to be a part of its crowd and flow like a stream in its narrow lanes. Be it tranquillity of the ghats or 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 a 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 a Hindu life.
This ghat is often full of families who are there to perform the last rites 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 a distance or a boat.
2. Hiring Guides without seeing their license
When at 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 your denial. 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. 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 the world, it’s your responsibility to safeguard your belongings. 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 otherwise ATMs are always around the corner. 2000 Indian Rupees are more than enough for a day.
4. Consuming any kind of mind-altering substance
Please keep in mind that consuming any sort of 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 shops in the city.
Bhang has long-lasting effects which may retain for hours, even for a day or two depending on how much you have taken 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 use your conscience and make decisions accordingly. Though a little bit of it in Thandai won’t harm 😉
5. Trying to see too much in too little time
Don’t try to see everything in one day or else you will get exhausted. Varanasi is a small city but it’s nothing like your average tourist destination. It has a very complex system of streets where life and death walk side by side. From ancient old temples to serene ghats, everything in Varanasi has a life which radiates euphoric vibe.
For once turn off your GPS and get lost in the 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, your real self.
6. Not trying the local/street food
In a city which is famous for its street food, don’t try be a pizza guy. One’s day in Varanasi starts with Kachori, Jalebi, Malaiyyo followed by Chat, Chuda-Matar, Lassi, Golgappe, Aaloo Tikki and ends with Malayi Puri, Kheer-Mohan & Ras malai. Of course we eat the 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 with your own vehicle then 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 very hectic task. Even if you manage to survive the traffic then you will have to struggle for the parking space and do not forget about the cows standing amidst 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 via ghats as they are interconnected. Try to utilise ghats, streets and tuk-tuks for your daily commute.
8. miss Spending Time With Locals
Banaras is not just a city, it’s a way of living life. It is said that every Banarasi holds a bit of Banaras inside them. 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 lifetime!
9. Making Fun of the Rituals
In a country with so much diversity, traditional and ritual differences are pretty obvious. You might witness a few things which might not make sense to you and might challenge your knowledge about Hinduism. When this happens then please be wise enough to learn about it instead of laughing on it, asking questions from locals is a great way to start!
It’s not just about Varanasi, PDAs are prohibited in the 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, Sadhus and Aghoris for obvious reasons.
Keep these 10 things in mind and we bet that you will have an amazing experience here in Varanasi. 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 you need any help or have any queries then please write to us in the comments, we will be happy to help! 🙂