The Subah-e-Banaras Experience - Mornings In Varanasi

Subah-e-Banaras and Shaam-e-Awadh – the saying literally translates into the two most beautiful things to witness in the world, a morning in Benaras and an evening in Lucknow. A morning in Varanasi promises to be the most interesting experience you’re sure to have in all of India.


Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and is a city that is of supreme importance for every devout Hindu. This means that Varanasi and its people place a strong emphasis on religiously practicing their rituals. The rituals begin just before dawn. Some of them carry on through the day and are scheduled for different times of the day. The last of the rituals is around sunset.

What Is The Subah-e-Banaras experience?

The Subah-e-Banaras is essentially a 45-minute long Ganga Aarti. The aarti takes place at Assi Ghat and is an offering of prayer to both the Sun God and the holy river Ganga. The aarti is an extremely surreal experience and is performed diligently every single day of the year.

Also Read: The Ultimate Itinerary: 48 Hours In Varanasi

Varanasi, Banaras, Benaras

Exploring Varanasi And Its Many Ghats

After you’ve witnessed the magical Subah-e-Banaras Aarti, and as the sun is just about to rise over this beautiful city of lights, head to a voyage on the Ganges. One of the most beautiful aspects of mornings in Varanasi is that the aarti is not attended by massive crowds, so only the most religious devotees will be in attendance. The city is still just waking up for another eventful day.

We recommend hiring the services of a guide on your boat ride, as he explains the significance of the various ghats in Varanasi. The city has 88 ghats in total. They’re either a place of worship or an entry point for bathing in the Ganges.

The main ghats in Varanasi are the Dashashwamedh Ghat - a ghat Lord Brahma (the Creator) built for Lord Shiva (the Destroyer) and performed a yajna by offering a sacrifice of ten horses. This ghat is arguably the most spectacular and is home to the vibrant evening Ganga Aarti.

Assi Ghat, the place where you will attend the Subah-e-Banaras ceremony, was once the southern boundary of the old city, the confluence of the Ganges and the now dry River Assi.

The ghat is also best connected to BHU (Banaras Hindu University).

Mornings in Varanasi

Keep an eye out for two very important ghats, Manikarnika and Harishchandra. As soon as the sun is up and the day has begun, these ghats start accommodating rituals of cremation, where the cremation by fire begins. The belief is that if you are cremated in Kashi (Varanasi), you are separated from the cycle of reincarnation and you attain Moksha, attainment of the soul.

While on your boat ride, you’ll witness a lot of temple bells around the ghats being rung in a call for the aarti. You’ll also be greeted by the sight of countless devotees taking their morning dip in the holy river praying to the sun.

Once you’ve finished your boat ride, you’ll most likely find yourself at either Raj Ghat or Dashashwamedh Ghat. Get to exploring the beautiful alleyways of Varanasi. The city’s charm is not lost on anyone who has visited it. All the early morning exploration is sure to work up an appetite. So grab some traditional Banarasi breakfast like aloo kachori, jalebi, and chai. A breakfast that’s rich and simple both at the same time.

Varanasi, Benaras, Banaras

Explore the famous Akhadas of Benaras too. These are places where athletes practice Kushti (wrestling). What is a sport for us is an art form for them. The devotion, their discipline, and the whole experience of spending time in the Akhada, even exercising with them is great for the mind, the soul, and even the body - considering that you’d be indulging in breakfast that’s as unhealthy as it is tasty.

To summarize, a lot of cities are known for their nightlife, but Varanasi is different and how! It’s popular for its mornings. That is where the action is, and just by 10 or 11 am, you end up gathering so much perspective on the city. It would be so fulfilling to learn why they go about diligently practicing their rituals before getting on with their lives - something that’s beautifully symphonic with how this city manages to not only stay relevant but also be revered over so many centuries.

Tell us what you love about Varanasi the most, if there’s something we missed or something you’re most excited to do when you’re there.

Also Read: Best Homestays In Varanasi


What Should We Not Miss In Varanasi?

The Subah-e-Banaras - The early morning aarti of the Ganges is something you must experience when in Varanasi. The best part is that it won’t be crowded as it’s early in the morning.

Boat Ride Across The Ganges - A ride along the tranquil Ganges will give you many photo opportunities and drink in the sights of activity along the many ghats of Varanasi.

Visiting The Ghats - There are 88 ghats in Varanasi, all of which lead to the Ganges. While some are bathing spots, others are for cremation. Life and death both are up for display when in Varanasi.

The Street Food - Varanasi’s street food scene is marvelous, and you wouldn’t be able to resist the aloo kachoris, samosas, malaiyo, and lassis.

How Many Days Are Enough For Varanasi?

Two days would be sufficient for you to get the perfect Varanasi experience. There would be enough time for you to witness both aartis and the boat ride on the Ganges, and exploring the ghats at your leisure. Also, don’t forget to visit Sarnath, the place where Gautama Buddha delivered his first-ever sermon after his enlightenment.

Why Is Assi Ghat Famous?

Assi Ghat, which is located in the southernmost part of Varanasi, is the place where the Subah-e-Banaras takes place. It’s also the confluence point of the Ganges and the now-dry Assi river.

What Is Famous Food In Varanasi?

The city is almost exclusively vegetarian. When you’re in Benaras, don’t forget to try the litti chokha, baati chokha, kachoris, and samosas. When it comes to sweets, treat yourself to malaiyo, thandais, and lassis. Varanasi is quite liberal when it comes to the consumption of bhang, so you can have a merry good time here too. Just remember to be responsible!

Which Month Is Best For Varanasi?

The winter months (between October to March), are the best time to visit Varanasi. Just make sure to pack something warm to wear, as it could get quite chilly, but on the upside, you won’t be tired from all the walking.

Where Should I Stay In Varanasi?

Being one of the biggest pilgrimage sites in India, Varanasi has its share of budget and luxury hotels alike. Based on your preferences, check out Unstumbled’s curated list of hotels in Varanasi.

Is Varanasi Worth Visiting?

Irrespective of whether you’re a devout Hindu, Varanasi is a city that must be on the bucket list of every traveler. The oldest city in India and the holiest for the Hindus has a lot of surprises and a bustling life that could even be overwhelming for international travelers. The walk through the ghats, watching the funeral rituals, and the priests hold huge lamps in obeisance to the Ganges are all a sight to behold, and not seen anywhere else!

Is Varanasi Safe At Night?

Varanasi is generally safe, but like big cities everywhere, has its share of issues too. The primary among them are the narrow lanes that you’re highly likely to get lost in, especially at night for women. We recommend that you avoid stepping out at night, particularly if you’re not accompanied by a guide.

Is Banaras And Varanasi Same?

Yes, Banaras is the older name of Varanasi. This city is also known as Kashi.

Which Ghat Is Famous In Varanasi?

The Assi Ghat and the Dashashwamedh Ghat are among the most famous in Varanasi. The Assi Ghat is where you can witness the Subah-e-Banaras, and the Dashashwamedh Ghat is close to the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

  • Region
    North India
  • Type Of Experience
  • Best Time To Visit
    All through the year. Every morning at 5 AM
  • Food You Must Try
    Have a local breakfast which is Delectable Kachoris, Piping Hot Jalebis and Chai
  • How Much Will It Cost Me
    INR 100-200 for the breakfast and INR 1000 for a private motor boat or INR 100 for a shared one