RIVER FRONT - Varanasi lies along the sacred Ganges River and has a 4 km long river front with hordes of devotees performing rituals at all times of the day. The Ghats look the best at dawn and boats can also be hired at reasonable rates from the ‘Dashashwamedha’ ghat.
ALAMGIR MOSQUE - Popularly known as Beni Madhav Ka Darera, this mosque is a blend of Hindu and Mughal styles of architecture. It was built by Aurangzeb on the site of the Vishnu Temple and overlooks the Panchganga Ghat.
DURGA TEMPLE - About 2 km south of Varanasi, this 18th century Durga Temple is also called the Monkey Temple due to aggressive monkeys that reside here. It has been built in a common north Indian style with an ornate shikhara, with five segments symbolizing the elements, supported by finely carved columns. Durga represented as shakti or female power is clad in red, riding a tiger and fully armed with a sword, Shiva’s trident and Vishnu’s discus. A forked stake in the courtyard was used in the past during festivals to sacrifel goats. Non-Hindus are allowed to the courtyard but not into the inner sanctum.
VISHWANATH TEMPLE - Located within the premises of the Banaras Hindu University this temple built by the Birlas was planned by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. This temple is open to all people irrespective of caste or creed.
TULSI MANAS TEMPLE - Erected in 1964, this temple lies about 150 m south of this Durga Temple. It is dedicated to Lord Rama and is situated where Tulsidas, the great medieval saint, is believed to have written the great epic, Shri Ramcharitmanas. The two-tier walls are engraved with verses and scenes from this epic.
BANARAS HINDU UNIVERSITY - One of the oldest educational centres of India, this university was was founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya in 1917 for the study of Sanskrit, Indian art, culture and music. The university campus extends over five square kms and contains the Bharat Kala Bhavan. The Bhavan has a beautiful collection of miniature paintings, sculptures dating from the first to the fifteenth centuries along with old photographs of Varanasi and brocade textiles. The campus premises also houses the New Vishwanatha Temple.
MUSEUM - Located in Sarnath about 10 km from Varanasi, the Archaeological Museum houses a part of the Ashokan pillar. It also has figures and sculptures ranging from the Mauryan, Kushana and Gupta periods excavated at Sarnath dating from the 9th to 12th centuries.