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When to visit Varanasi

by nattybabe Online Now Mar 23, 2013 at 10:19 PM

I am looking at destinations close to Dubai which can be visited in a weekend over the summer months as I unfortunately have no more annual leave until September, and will go crazy staying in Dubai all that time.

I have found cheap and brilliantly timed flights to Varanasi and I have a couple of questions. Assuming that the weather is going to be hot and humid, when is the best time between May - August to visit? Does the monsoon cool things down at all, or just make it impossible to travel?

Any hotel recommendations also? None of the reviews are any good for any of the hotels, so is there a best of a bad lot? I don't have a budget and can stay 5 star if that is the best on offer.

Thanks for your help! Natalie

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20 Answers
  • nasir_acc80's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by nasir_acc80 Online Now Mar 23, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    you can go Sharjah, Amman, Musandam etc. There are many choices to go any where. There is lot of fun places......have a look around.

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  • vpas's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by vpas Online Now Mar 23, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    First of all have you chosen Varanasi just because you found cheap tickets from Dubai? There are many other places that you can visit in India which have great locations and good accommodations.
    Secondly, if you do want to visit Varanasi, you better stay at 5 star hotels if you do not mind the expense. You could also check out the accommodations recommended by Lynne Hamman on her Varanasi page.
    Good luck,

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  • nattybabe's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by nattybabe Online Now Mar 23, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Thanks both, but I wasn't after suggestions for other destinations, but rather weather and accommodation advice.

    Why would I go to Sharjah??? There is nothing to see there. I have been to the majority of the major cities in the Middle East (including Amman and Musandam) and a fair few in India. Varanasi interests me as well as has convienient flights which is why I have chosen it.

    Thanks, I will have a look at Lynne's page as suggested.

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  • vpas's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by vpas Online Now Mar 23, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Do take a look at my pages to know the "real picture" about Varanasi. Also make sure you stay as far away from the main Ghat which is the Dasawamedha ghat. The main ghat is not at all clean and hygienic.
    You could also do Sarnath, Allahabad or Lucknow from Varanasi. I enjoyed Lucknow.

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  • goutammitra's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by goutammitra Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    You can visit Varanasi any time of the year! It's a wonderful place and there are very good hotels to accommodate guests from India and abroad. Yes, monsoon will be little cooler. The heat will be like your Dubai heat with no sweating ! So you will not have much problem. I used to stay at Clarks Varanasi and long back at Hotel Gautam, similar to my name! Clarks is a 5* hotel but I am sure there are better hotels that have come up.

    Please don't miss the evening Arti at the Ganges, hire a boat around 4.30/ 5.00 PM for 2 hrs to see the Hindu Burning Ghat ( Dasaswamedh Ghat) But don't take pictures as many tourist will be around then see the evening Arti at Manikarnika Ghat, which you shall remember life time.

    In case, you require any emergency assistance, please get in touch with me, we have a full functioning Area office there, someone will come to your help for sure! If you have litle more time then see Sarnath ( 2 hrs) and you can take next early morning train to Satna to see world famous Khajuraho! Please carry a rain coat or umbrella in case there is rain!

    Don't you find this interesting!

    have a nice trip to Varanasi, India.

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  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by davidjo Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 1:36 AM

    If you are in Varanasi you must visit Ramnagar Fort and Ramnagar Museum on the bank of the Ganges.It is still the residence of some royal family members. There is also the Golden Temple on the campus of the university as well as several Ghats along the river and Durga Temple. I visited Varanasi years ago and it was in August. I think i stayed for 5 days and caught a few rain showers but nothing too heavy!

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  • meenajoshi111's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by meenajoshi111 Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 4:11 AM

    omanair.com/special-offers/5...

    there is this offer from oman air ways just see if it interests you

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  • meenajoshi111's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by meenajoshi111 Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 4:11 AM

    omanair.com/special-offers/5...

    there is this offer from oman air ways just see if it interests you

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  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by Donna_in_India Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 4:33 AM

    Hi - make no mistake, monsoon or not, it will be hot and humid - into the mid-40s. I've never been a fan of the rains - just makes it more messy. :-) Still...plenty of people travel in the monsoon so go and enjoy. I totally agree with staying away from the ghats. We stayed at the Radisson - null Oruro Intro, Photo 0 - and it was absolutely wonderful to go back to someplace calm,clean and cool at the end of the day! I'd also recommend getting away from the ghats for sightseeing. Not too far away are - Birla Mandir, Ramnagar Fort, Tibetan Buddhist Monasterty, and the very interesting Sarnath & Archeological Museum. The morning boat trip on the Ganges and the evening Aarti in the water are the must-dos in Varanasi. I have further info on all things mentioned on my Varanasi page...."Varanasi" - Varanasi by Donna_in_India. Enjoy!

    Very odd about the link to the hotel....can't seem to fix it.  Nonetheless, it's on my Varanasi page - link provided.  :-)

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  • anilpradhanshillong's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by anilpradhanshillong Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 4:55 AM

    1. Varanasi is as old as time itself. Go and discover yourself there. It's utter bliss, esp. in the very early hours, say 3.30 am/4.00 am.

    2. Monsoons may bog you down a bit but since you cannot help it owing to your holidays, go towards mid-August rather then May.

    3. Plenty of 5-star hotels in Varanasi.

    4. Don't forget Sarnath. It's a totally different type of serenity there.

    5. If you have the time, try out the triangle of Varanasi, Allahabad and Lucknow

    6. My page on Varanasi here:

    "Varanasi-A City Before Time Was Invented" - Varanasi by anilpradhanshillong

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  • goutammitra's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by goutammitra Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 5:34 AM

    Well suggested Donna! It's been long time I was there!

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  • goutammitra's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by goutammitra Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 5:42 AM

    goutammitra wrote:
    Well suggested Donna! It's been long time I was there!

     BTW, Both the Ghats Dashawsamedh and Manikarnika are the main attraction of the Old Varanasi, whatever filthy it may be! You may also visit Assi Ghat, but if you miss the main attraction, then no point going there! It's said in India for centuries " Banaras Ki Subuha Aur Awadh Ki Sham" , mean it''s worth seeing the "Dawn " of Varanasi and evening of "Audh", mean present day Lucknow! One piece of advise, please take a shared boat with at least 4 people, this will save you from Stalkers and Ruffians! I had been to Varanasi not less than 50-60 times as my brother used to study at BHU!

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  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by Donna_in_India Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 5:54 AM

    goutammitra wrote:

     BTW, Both the Ghats Dashawsamedh and Manikarnika are the main attraction of the Old Varanasi, whatever filthy it may be! You may also visit Assi Ghat, but if you miss the main attraction, then no point going there! It's said in India for centuries " Banaras Ki Subuha Aur Awadh Ki Sham" , mean it''s worth seeing the "Dawn " of Varanasi and evening of "Audh", mean present day Lucknow! One piece of advise, please take a shared boat with at least 4 people, this will save you from Stalkers and Ruffians! I had been to Varanasi not less than 50-60 times as my brother used to study at BHU!

     Goutam - I did not mean to suggest not seeing the main ghats!  I hope you did not read it that way.  I was suggesting to venture away from them as an addition,  I agree...what would be the point?  :-)

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  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by lynnehamman Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 5:55 AM

    This is the hotel that we stayed at- and I recommend it not only for excellence, but for its location. It is a fair way from the cremation ghats, hence the unpleasant odour does not pervade all senses. Have a read: Varanasi Hotel Tips by lynnehamman

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  • aadil's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by aadil Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Do not miss seeing one of the five astronomical observatories of Raja Jai Singh which is often not seen by most people who visit Varanasi. It is on the river front and offers a great view from the top of the terrace where the astronomical instruments are erected. The rooms with stained glass windows are also worth seeing. Be careful of the monkeys there and don't eat any food in front of them.

    The burning ghats are a smelly affair but to see the rituals and funeral proceedings from the top of a hotel nearby is better than going down to the ghats for a closer view.

    The other great places to visit are Banaras Hindu University's Museum, the many famous ancient Hindu temples, the ghats on the river Ganges, the evening aarti from the boat on the Ganges, Sarnath for it's Buddhist architecture and temples besides the Dhamekh Stupa and the ASI's Archaeological Museum with Emperor Ashoka's Lion Capital which is the emblem of India and don't forget to shop for the famous Banarasi sarees!!!

    Lots of places to eat some great food too though mostly vegetarian except in some places like the German Bakery near Assi Ghat where non vegetarian food is also available.

    The weather from May till mid July will be really hot and humid but after the rains begin it will cool down but will be wet and difficult to move around when it is wet as it gets really dirty and stinks all over. Since you don't have a better time to come than this period when it is the worst season to visit make your choice between the summer (devil) and the monsoon (deep sea)!!!

    Other interesting places close to Varanasi are Lucknow and Allahabad which are also worth visiting if you have the time to do so.

    Hope this helps.
    Cheers,
    Aadil.

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  • quincey0722's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by quincey0722 Online Now Mar 28, 2013 at 4:29 AM

    eling.I was in Varanasi during Lord Krishna's Birthday last year (10 August). My friends and I stayed at a backpackers hotel (sorry Id rather not recommend ). It was raining most of the time so it was hard to walk with mud all over your sandals. We were very careful not to step on cow's dung, hopping left and right. We went to river bank of Ganges and took a boat towards the main Ghat ( at 150 rupees, it was first offered at 250 but my friends are good in haggling hehe ). There were over 50 boats at the side of the Ghat. A program dedicated to Krishna was held with chants all over the loud speaker. You can feel the serenity and peace amongst tourists and locals. It was solemn and impressive, I would never forget that feeling. Then suddenly it rained hard! with thunder and lightning! we were scared the boat would hit the other boats, flip or sank. Thank goodness and probably thank Krishna it didn't. It was like he showered us for the beautiful chant that the people offered on his birthday. It was awesome! the best 150 rupees ride we ever had! as my friend shouted. Maybe you should come a bit earlier say July but I wouldn't miss a festival like that. I'm coming back this August but the birthday was moved to the 28th ( is it bcoz of the calendar?). Anyhow, Id be there! Just try to find a hotel a bit far from the crematory as Lynne advised. Oh yeah! be careful when buying silk products and handmade bangles, the strands are too loose.

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  • goutammitra's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by goutammitra Online Now Mar 29, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    No Donna, I agree with you!

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  • goutammitra's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by goutammitra Online Now Mar 29, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Thanks Aadil, I forgot to mention that and more thanks for reminding me. I now recall, there is a temple near BHU, where the Hanumans ( Large black face monkeys) also pray like human being!!! They also do not bite or chase human but behave like humans.

    It's been very long time I went there, may be in 1986/ 1987. Need to revisit soon!

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  • nattybabe's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by nattybabe Online Now May 7, 2013 at 12:43 AM

    Thanks all for your advice, it has been extraodinarily helpful. I'm now all booked in for early August! Will remember to pack a raincoat and wellington boots. :) Looking forward to it.

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  • samitbabu's Profile Photo

    Re: When to visit Varanasi

    by samitbabu Online Now May 19, 2013 at 3:44 AM

    And do not forget a good digital camera ..Ull capture moments seen never again ..!!!

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