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Varanasi- The Holy City of India

Varanasi is considered as the holy city of the Hindus and is located on the banks of the sacred river Ganges. It is an ancient city, inhabited by large population. Rightly considered as the religious capital of India, Varanasi has numerous temples and ghats along the river. It has been house to many eminent scholars, writers, poets and musicians. The great poet Kabir lived in Varanasi and the great Gautama Buddha gave his first speech of enlightenment at Sarnath in Varanasi. The city, apart from housing some of the ancient temples at the backdrop of River Ganges, has also acts as ancient centre of education.

Accommodation Options and Languages Spoken
Several guesthouses are located in Varanasi with decent facilities and services. Staying around the Ghats would be fun, as the temples and the main market are located in this area. Although it is an interesting place to stay, but can be unsafe at times. Sarnath is considered safer, though it’s little far away from the buzzing Ghats. You can also select lavish hotels that are few, but the best. Hindi is the official language and English is well understood over here.

History
Varanasi, one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus, is believed to be discovered by Lord Shiva some 3000 years ago. Located in Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi is a pilgrimage destination, attracting thousands of pilgrims from all over the country and across the globe. Known for its arts, education and religious activities the city is also famous for silk and muslin and is an important industrial and commercial centre.

Popular Places
Varanasi has some of the majestic and ancient temples, the most important being the Vishwanath temple. Also known as the golden temple, it was destroyed by the Mughal emperors, but reconstructed by the Hindu kings. Kaal Bhairav Temple and Durga Temple are some of the temples one can consider visiting. Also, one can visit the popular Banaras Hindu University. Spectacular ghats along the Ganges are must to visit. You can take boat rides to witness beautiful sunrise and sunset. Ramnagar Fort and Chunar Fort are other nice places to visit.

Getting Around
Rickshaws are prime mode of transport in the city of Varanasi. They are reliable and cheap for long distances. You can also take taxis, though they are inconvenient due to the heavy traffic of Varanasi. You can book private cars, along with local guide to get around the city conveniently.

Places of Entertainment
There are various cultural activities conducted during Hindu festive season. One can visit the local markets for shopping. Various Indian delicacies served here are sure to appeal your taste buds. No bars are located in Varanasi, as it is religious place. One can visit the banks of Ganges at evening to participate as audience in classical music programs and puja.

Currency
The official currency of the city of Varanasi is Indian rupee. One can obtain the present exchange rates for Indian rupee via news on the internet.

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