Varanasi, the cultural and spiritual hub of India, welcomes travelers from around the world with its ancient charm and vibrant energy. As you embark on your journey to this sacred city, understanding the transport hubs is crucial. In this guide, we explore the various railway stations, the airport, and bus terminals in Varanasi, providing essential details on their proximity to the main city, costs, and connectivity with the rest of the country.
Traveling to Varanasi by train
- Varanasi Junction (Varanasi Cantt Railway Station)
Location: Approximately 4 km from the city center
Connectivity: Varanasi Junction, also known as Varanasi Cantt Railway Station, is a major railway hub connecting Varanasi with all major cities across India. Trains ply regularly to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and other significant destinations.
Cost: Train ticket costs vary depending on the class and destination. Varanasi Junction offers a range of services from budget to luxury travel.
Tip: Book your train tickets in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure your preferred class and schedule.
- PT. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Junction
Location: Approximately 16 km from the Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Connectivity: Mughalsarai Junction is one of the busiest railway stations in the region and a major railway division under East Central Railway. It serves as a crucial junction for trains heading to and from northern, eastern, and central India.
Cost: Similar to Varanasi Junction, ticket costs vary based on class and destination.
- Banaras Railway Station
Location: About 7 km from the city center
Connectivity: Manduadih Railway Station is another important railway station in Varanasi, handling both passenger and freight trains. It is well-connected to major cities like Delhi, Lucknow, and Kolkata.
Cost: Train ticket prices are in line with standard railway fares.
Traveling to Varanasi by air
Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport
Location: About 26 km from the city center
Connectivity: Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, also known as Varanasi Airport, has both domestic and limited international flights. It connects Varanasi with major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata, as well as international destinations like Bangkok and Colombo.
Cost: Flight ticket prices vary based on the airline, class, and destination. Domestic flights are generally more budget-friendly than international ones.
Tip: Check for deals and discounts when booking your flights, and consider flexible travel dates for better fare options.
Travel to Varanasi by bus
- Varanasi Bus Stand (Cantt Bus Station)
Location: Situated around 3 km from the city center
Connectivity: The Cantt Bus Station primarily serves long-distance routes connecting Varanasi with major cities in Uttar Pradesh and neighboring states. Buses ply to destinations such as Allahabad, Lucknow, and Patna.
Cost: Bus fares vary based on the distance traveled and the type of bus. State-run buses are generally more economical than private services.
- Varanasi Bus Stand (Rathyatra Bus Station)
Location: Approximately 4 km from the city center
Connectivity: Rathyatra Bus Station is another major hub catering to both short and long-distance routes. Buses from this station connect Varanasi with nearby towns and cities.
Cost: Similar to the Cantt Bus Station, ticket prices depend on the distance covered and the type of bus service.
Local Transportation in Varanasi
- Auto-rickshaws: Auto-rickshaws, or simply ‘autos,’ are ubiquitous in Varanasi and offer a convenient mode of transport for short distances. Negotiate the fare before starting your journey, and keep in mind that auto-rickshaws are a practical choice for exploring areas such as Ramnagar & Sarnath.
- Cycle Rickshaws: For a more leisurely and eco-friendly option, opt for a cycle rickshaw. These pedal-powered vehicles are a charming way to meander through the narrow alleys of Varanasi, providing a relaxed pace that allows you to absorb the sights, sounds, and aromas of the city. Plus they are allowed to go anywhere in the city where other means of transportation are banned.
- Electric Rickshaws: Varanasi has embraced sustainable transportation with the introduction of electric rickshaws. These battery-operated vehicles offer a quiet and pollution-free mode of travel. Found mainly in crowded market areas and near ghats, these are the perfect choice for exploring specific parts of the city. Hop on for a shared ride!
- Boats on the Ganges: Navigating the Ganges by boat is not only a means of transportation but also an experience in itself. Boat services operate along the river, offering a unique perspective of the ghats and riverside temples. Negotiate prices with boatmen, and consider a sunrise or sunset boat ride for an ethereal view of Varanasi.
- Walking: Perhaps the most immersive way to experience Varanasi is on foot. The labyrinthine alleys and vibrant markets are best explored at a leisurely pace, allowing you to discover hidden gems, street food delights, and the intricate details of the city’s architecture. Walking is not just a means of getting from one point to another but an invitation to absorb the essence of Varanasi.
- Ride Sharing: For a modern and convenient travel experience, Ola, Rapido, and Uber operate in Varanasi. Using their respective apps, you can book cars, auto-rickshaws, and bike taxis. This offers a reliable and standardized option, especially for those who prefer the ease of app-based transportation. (Pro tip: Use the Ola/Rapido app to book bike taxis)
Varanasi’s transportation infrastructure seamlessly blends the traditional and the modern, making it accessible to travelers from various corners of the globe. Whether you choose to arrive by train, plane, or bus, the city’s transport hubs are well-equipped to ensure a smooth and memorable journey. Embrace the diversity of the Indian transportation experience as you navigate the spiritual lanes and cultural wonders of Varanasi.