Areas and Localities in Varanasi
The Ghats are unmistakeably the soul of Varanasi. From tourists to pilgrims all throng this area to attain spiritual enlightenment and experience the enchanting beauty of the calm and peaceful Ganges waters. There are about 80 ghats along the long stretch of western bank of river Ganges. This 5 kilometer ghat stretch is divided in three sections – northern stretch, southern stretch and old city stretch.
The old city stretch is the liveliest of all ghats. Dashashwamedha Ghat, the most significant of all ghats witnesses hundreds of visitors every day. If one can ignore the constant bragging of the touts and manages to soak in the unusual beauty of the place, the ghat will prove to be the most amazing sites in the city. Ganga aarti that takes place every evening around 7 pm is a sight to relish and the spiritual atmosphere that it manages to create is indeed self awakening.
Other ghats around the old city area are Manikarnika ghat or the cremation ghat, where dead bodies of Hindu religion are cremated. The sight can be disturbing especially for those not accustomed with Hindu rites and rituals. Someshwar ghat also known as Lord of the Moon ghat is believed to heal diseases and attracts a lot of visitors. Mushi Ghat, Ahalya Ghat, Dattatreya Ghat, Scindia Ghat all falls under the old stretch of Varanasi and buzzing with astute devout and curious tourists.
Southern Stretch occupies Assi Ghat, the biggest of all ghats and all boat trips of river Ganges begins at this juncture. Hawkers and street entertainers keep the area busy all day long. Tulsi ghat, Shivala ghat, Bachraj ghat, Harishchandra ghat and Kedar ghat are some of the popular ghats in the southern stretch.
Northern stretch has Ram ghat, Gai ghat, Trilochan ghat and Panchganaga ghat, but the area is more famous for the majestic Alamgir mosque built by Mughal emperor Aurangazeb.
A trip to Varanasi is incomplete without a walk around the wary, narrow alleys of old Varanasi. To experience a bit of adventure in the spiritual city, a trip down the lanes Bangali Tola is a must. It is easy to lose your sense of direction while walking through this labyrinth, but fear not as this is the beauty of the place. Not to worry as there is always a way out. These lanes will take you back to pre-colonial era where you witness century’s old rusted buildings and interesting palatial architectures.
If ghats reflect the spiritual side of Varanasi, then Chowk portrays entertainment and life. Rows of shops selling the famous Banarsi sarees, handlooms and various handicraft items can be see here. Majority of the city’s popular eateries and food kiosks are found in the Chowk area. If you happen to visit the area don’t miss out on the jalebi, snow cone, roasted peanut and chaats.
Benaras Hindu University area
Benaras Hindu University is one of the biggest residential universities of Asia. The University itself is a mini-town with its main campus comprising 1,300 acres or little 5 km and its south campus covering an area of 11 km. The university, known for its architectural beauty and historical significance has evolved as one of the main tourist attractions of Varanasi.
Sigra is located in the modern and developed regions of Varanasi. Unlike the old area, Sigra is more urban and cosmopolitan. Huge shopping malls and branded retailers are available in this area. This locality is also known for its number of multiplexes and good eateries. Dr Sampurnanda Stadium is also located in this vicinity.
Chandpur Industrial Estate
Chandpur Inustrial Estate was located in 1962 as promote industrial growth in the region. Today over 100 industries are operating their business successfully from the area.