The Ultimate Itinerary: 48 Hours In Varanasi

Varanasi, the ‘City of Lights’ awaits your arrival to give you the best spiritual and historical experience you’ll ever get. Dotted with various ancient temples, stupas, ghats, and other historical monuments, Varanasi is the world’s oldest inhabited city. Situated on the banks of the holy river Ganga, you get to witness the unparalleled rituals of life and death performed at the gorgeous ghats of Benaras. 

Walking through the busy allies, taking a boat ride on river Ganga, and paying homage to its magnificent shrines is what makes the trip truly exhilarating. All of this and more can be experienced by forming a good travel itinerary. Our 48 hours in Varanasi itinerary will help you with exactly that!

Places To Visit On Day 1 In Varanasi

  1. Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple
  2. Ramnagar Fort
  3. Dhamek Stupa
  4. Sarnath Museum
  5. Dashashwamedh Ghat

1. Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Your trip to Varanasi cannot be complete without visiting the famous Shri Kashi Vishwanath temple. You can start your first day in the city at this temple which is covered in ornate carvings and fabulous interiors. 

The Kashi Vishwanath temple is a famous holy pilgrimage attracting a high footfall throughout the year. Constructed in the year 1780, it enshrines one of the Jyotirlingas (idol) of Lord Shiva. This makes Kashi Vishwanath temple one of the 12 main temples that house Lord Shiva Jyotirlingas. You can visit the temple early in the morning (around 3 to 4 am), to catch the aarti (prayers) and kickstart your day with positive vibes.

Timings: 3 am to 11 pm.

Entry Fee: None


2. Ramnagar Fort

The popular Brown Bread Bakery would be a great choice to get some breakfast. After you’re all fueled up, try to reach the next destination that is the Ramnagar Fort early, so you can avoid the crowd. And, to reach the fort you need to take a 30-minute jaunting boat ride from Tulsi Ghat. 

Located right opposite the Tulsi Ghat on the river Ganges, the Ramnagar fort was built in Mughal style by the then ruler of Kashi. The fort houses two temples, one of which is dedicated to the author of Mahabharata, Ved Vyasa, and another to worship Lord Hanuman. You can also check out the museum which exhibits antique scriptures, vintage vehicles, furniture, royal costumes, and other collections of the Royal family. 

Other than these you’ll also find armories from different countries, and a unique watch that shows the day, date, time, and other details of various planets, the sun, and the moon. If you’re planning to visit between October and November, you can catch a glimpse of the extravagant Ram Leela festival, with the scenes from Ramayana being enacted at the fort.

Timings: 10 am to 5 pm.

Entry Fee: INR 20 for Indians and INR 150 for foreigners.

Also read: The Ultimate Itinerary: 48 Hours In Mumbai

3. Dhamek Stupa

From the Ramnagar Fort take a boat ride back to Tulsi Ghat, to move on to the next destination in the itinerary. There you will find the famous cylindrical dome-shaped Dhamek Stupa. Also known as Dhamekh or Dhamekha Stupa, this monument was originally built during the reign of King Ashoka of the Maurya Dynasty. 

It was built to signify the fact that Sarnath was the place where Lord Buddha spread wisdom on Buddhism to his disciples. Dhamek Stupa is a popular attraction among Buddhists all over the world and is often flocked by tourists. Spending some time at this stunning structure will help you gain a deeper insight into the history and culture of Buddhism.

Post the enlightening tour of Dhamek Stupa, you can go on to have a stomach-filling lunch at a nearby restaurant, before continuing your trip.

Timings: 6 am to 5 pm.

Entry Fee: There is no fee for Indians. You can also take a combined ticket for the Stupa, Sarnath Museum, and the Archaeological Ruins Complex. The fee for the same is INR 25 for Indians and INR 100 for foreigners.

4. Sarnath Museum

A 10-minute walk from the Dharmek Stupa, and you’ll arrive at the beautiful Sarnath Museum. This museum is one of the oldest site museums as per the Archaeological Survey of India. It was built to exhibit the many antiquities, artifacts, sculptures, and other collections found on excavating the land nearby, under the initiative of Johan Marshall. 

To date, the museum displays all artifacts from the third century B.C to the twelfth century A.D. While you’re here, you will also come across the iconic statue of the Ashoka Lion Capital, known as the “National Emblem of India”.

Later, you can also visit the other nearby tourist attractions like the Sarnath Buddhist temple, which is one of the closest to the museum. Make sure that you reach the next stop that is Dashashwamedh Ghat, before sunset.

Timings: 6 am to 5 pm.

Entry Fee: INR 5.

Also read: Best Homestays In Varanasi

varanasi ghat

5. Dashashwamedh Ghat

Of the 88 ghats, Dashashwamedh Ghat is one of the main attractions of Varanasi. This is mostly because you get to witness the holy Ganga aarti (prayer) that takes place here every evening. The aarti starts after sunset and lasts for over 45 minutes. 

You can take a boat ride at Dashashwamedha ghat and enjoy the changing colors of the sky, pink, purple, orange and a bright red. And, you can end the day by witnessing the popular Ganga aarti, with several priests performing the rituals carrying a deepam (lamp), giving the ghat a really spectacular look.

On that note, you can end your day by heading on to the busy allies of Varanasi to enjoy a great meal and then crash at your accommodation.

Timings: Open 24 hours.

Entry Fee: None.

Places To Visit On Day 2 In Varanasi

  1. Assi Ghat
  2. Sanket Mochan Temple
  3. Bharat Mata Temple
  4. Shopping At The Local Market

1. Assi Ghat

Day 2 of your trip will be slightly different than your first day, except for a few things. The day will start with watching the sunrise at the Assi Ghat. Legend has it that Assi ghat was the place where Goddess Durga threw her weapon after avenging the demon Shumbha-Nishumbha. And, it gets the name Assi from the fact that it is located where River Ganga and River Assi meet. 

Folks from all over the world come to visit this ghat and pay homage to the Shivalinga by offering Jal (water). It would be indeed a rejuvenating start to your day to attend the morning aarti at Assi Ghat accompanied by Vedic chants and raga.

Timings: Open 24 hours.

Entry Fee: None.

2. Sankat Mochan Temple

After visiting the Assi Ghat, you can freshen up and have a delicious breakfast, post that visit the popular Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Rama and Hanuman and was built by the freedom fighter, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya in the 1900s. 

You can’t miss out on the famous laddoos (sweet) given as prasad (religious offering) at this temple. Also, be careful of the monkeys at the temple who try to steal the prasad, but that is just out of taste and not out of spite!

Timings: 5 am to 11:30 am and from 3 to 10 pm

Entry Fee: None.

Also read: The Ultimate Itinerary: 48 Hours In Guwahati


3. Bharat Mata Temple

By noon, you can reach your next destination which is the Bharat Mata Temple. Don’t worry we are not trying to make your itinerary boring by making you visit all the temples of Varanasi. Bharat Mata Temple is a unique temple, that you must definitely visit. 

Unlike other temples with gods and goddesses as deities, this one enshrines the marble-modeled map of undivided India. Situated in the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth Campus, this temple was inaugurated in 1936 by Mahatma Gandhi. It is a tribute to everyone who helped in the making of united India and glorifies India’s nationalism.

Timings: 9:30 am to 8 pm

Entry Fee: None.

4. Shopping At The Local Market

Later, you can then go ahead and enjoy a nice meal at any of the well-known cafés of Varanasi. Once your tummy is full, you can continue your day by going around the popular local shops and getting some shopping done for yourself and your loved ones.

Some of the best things to get from Varanasi are Benarasi silk sarees, souvenirs decorated with Gulabi Minakari artwork, wooden toys, glass beads, rudraksha mala, hand-knotted carpets, Indian literature books, and accessories. Some of the prominent markets to get these items from are:

  • Thateri Bazar
  • Gai Ghat
  • Golghar
  • Lahurabir Bazar
  • Mirzapur
  • Vishwanath Galli

Tips To Spend 48 Hours In Varanasi 

  • Ensure you choose your accommodation nearby the ghats, so you get to see the magic of the beautiful city of Varanasi.
  • Get to know the Sadhus and understand their perspective on life and spirituality.
  • If you plan to visit the Manikarnika ghat, don’t take pictures of the cremation.
  • Make sure you ask before clicking pictures of the Sadhus, as some of them tend to charge a fee.
  • Be blunt while dealing with the touts in Varanasi as they can be very persistent and can give you a hard time. So from local shopping to taking a boat ride your bargaining skills will be put to the test.
  • Wear appropriate clothes based on the location you’re visiting. You might want to choose to dress conservatively if you’re visiting a temple.

Summing Up                  

Two amazing days filled with spirituality and fun await you in the vibrant city of Varanasi. And, this could be your hint to take that trip to Varanasi and soak in its lights and glory. So, go ahead and start packing your bags so you can actually make the most of this itinerary.


Are 2 Days Enough In Varanasi?                    

Yes, Varanasi is filled with temples, ghats, museums, and other places of pilgrimage. All in all 2 whole days are enough to get a great tour of Varanasi.

How Can I Spend 2 Days In Varanasi?

Here are some of the places to cover within 2 days in Varanasi:

  • Shri Kashi Vishwanath temple
  • Ramnagar Fort
  • Dhamek Stupa
  • Sarnath Museum
  • Dashashwamedh Ghat
  • Assi Ghat
  • Sanket Mochan Temple
  • Bharat Mata Temple

Which Is The Best Time To Visit Varanasi?

Winters are the best time to take a trip to Varanasi. It can get chilly during the months of December to February, with an average temperature of 5 degrees Celsius, but you won’t get tired of getting around the city.

Is Varanasi Worth Visiting?

Absolutely! Visiting Varanasi will help you gain a better understanding of the roots, culture, and history of India. You can also get to learn about the various legends linked to this place and know the importance of this holy place.

What Is Benaras Famous For?

Benaras, also known as Varanasi is famous for its Benaras silk sarees, paan, carpet-weaving, gold and silver thread work, Gulabi Minakari artwork, and accessories like bangles.

What Is Special In Kashi?

Kashi is known for the popular temple of Shri Kashi Vishwanath. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is a famous place of pilgrimage among Hindus.

Is Kashi The Same As Varanasi?

In ancient times, Varanasi used to be known as Kashi. So, yes Kashi, Varanasi, and Benaras are all the same place.

What Time Is The Ganga Aarti In Varanasi?

You can witness the holy Ganga Aarti at the Dashashwamedh Ghat, which takes place around 6:30 pm during summers and around 7 pm in winters and goes on for about 45 minutes.