The Spectacular 4-km sweep of the Ghats is a unique sight, best viewd at dawn, in that "soft first light" when the river and Ghats have a timeles appeal. Life in almost panoramic details unfolds here from dawn to dusk as a steady stream of devotees-swelling to thousands of auspicious days-perform rituals by the Ganga. The Ghats are best approached by Dashashwemdha Ghat, where boats are available on hire.
The Kashi Vishawanath Temple
Also known as the Golden Temples, it is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the presiding deity of the city. Varanasi is said to be the point at which the first jyotirlinga, the fiery pillar of light by which Shiva manifested his supremacy over other gods, broke through the earth's crust and flared towards the heavens. More than the Ghats and even the Ganga, the Shivalingha installed in the temple remains the devotional focus of Varanasi. It is open only to Hindus.
The Gyanvapi Mosque was raised by Auranzeb near the present Vishawanath Temple or the Golden Temple.
Commanly called the 'Monkey Temple’; it was built in the 18th century. Although it is one of the best known temples, it is open only to Hindus. Beware of the monkeys here who are daring and menacing.
Tulsi Manas Temple
Constructed by a family of Varanasi, this modern temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. It is situated at the place where Tulsidas, the great medieval seer, lived and wrote the epic "Shri Ramcharitmanas", which narrates the life of Lord Rama, the hero of the Ramayana. Verses from Tulsidas's epic are inscriibed on the walls.
Bharat Kala Bhawan (Banaras Hindu University)
A Short rickshaw ride from the Durga temple is the Banaras Hindu University, one of the oldest educational centres in India. Founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya as a centre for the study of Indian art, culture, music and also for Sanskrit, it has developed into a modern academic centre of various desciplines. Within the campus is the finest collection of Mughal maniature paintings and brocade textiles. Open 10.30 A.M. to 4.30 P.M.
New Vishawanath Temple
Situated in the premisis of Banaras Hindu University, a modern place of worship planned by Pandit Malviya and built by the Birlas. Open to all, irrespective of caste or creed.
An amalgamation of Hindu-Muslim religious sentiments, this mosque is also known as "Beni Madhav ka Darera". Curiously, the entire lower portion of the mosque is retained as a Hindu temple.
Ram Nagar Fort and Museum
A 17th-century fort, Ram Nagar is the home of the Maharaja of Banaras, who is revered as the representative of Shiva in the city. The museum's collection includes interesting vintage silver and brocade palanquins, howdahs, a replica of the royal bed and an armoury of swords and guns. (Open 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.). Ramnagar is also very famous for its Ram Lila.