1. Ganga Aarti
The Varanasi Ganga Aarti takes place every sunset at the holy Dasaswamedh Ghat, near Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The aarti is performed on a stage by a group of pandits, all draped in saffron colored robes with their puja plates spread out before them. It commences with the blowing of a conch shell, and continues with the waving of incense sticks in elaborate patterns and circling of large flaming lamps that create a bright hue against the darkened sky. The movement of the lamps, held in the pandits’ hands, is tightly synchronized to the rhythmic chants of hymns and clang of cymbals.
2. Dip in holy Ganges
There are plenty of ghats in Varanasi, from where devotees can take a holy dip in the Ganges and it is considered to be the most auspicious moment by all Hindu religion believers. You do not want to miss the chance to fulfil the millennia old tradition while you are at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.
3. Boat ride
Some say the majesty of the Ganges River is best appreciated as the sun is rising and setting. In the morning you can experience the red sun rising in the east, shining on pilgrims as they start their bathing rituals. In the evening you can experience Ganga Aarti too.
4. Seek blessings at temples
The Vishwanath Temple of Kasi (Varanasi) is one of the oldest and most sacred Hindu temples in India. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas – important centres of Shiva worship. The Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple of Varanasi is said to have been established by the renowned saint Goswami Tulsidas and reconstructed by Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya in the early 20th century. Located quite close to the Vishwanath Temple, is the Annapurna Devi temple where the Goddess Parvati is worshipped as the giver of food and nourishment.
5. Enjoy the street food
Street food is an essential part of Indian culture and cuisine. There are a number of street foods from across the country that are famous, but nothing that beats the hot and crispy kachoris and samosas from Benaras. Vegetarian delicacies are majorly prepared in desi ghee and mustard oil, be it spicy, sweet or sour. Most Varanasi sweets have a milk and ghee base like the Magdal, Sankat Mochan ke Laddoo, Parval Mithai, Kheer Mohan and Launglata among others.
6. Soak in music and dance of banarasi gharana
Varanasi also developed as a great center of Dhrupad style of singing. In the 16th century, Govind Chandra ruled Varanasi and during his regime Dhrupad became the count music. With the development of Dhrupad, other styles like Dhamar, Hori and Chaturang also grew. The famous Assarwari, “Ghunghat ke pat Khol” was made famous by the Nirgun singers of Kashi while Meer Rustam (the Nawab of Awadh) patronised music festivals like Jhoola, Jhoomar, Kajri, Birha, Dangal, Gulab Bari as well as music on boats. Varanasi is also associated with many great instrumentalists. Shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan is famous worldwide while Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar has earned wide acclaim throughout the world.
7. Weavers of Varanasi
In the city as old as time, with a weaving tradition that is equally historic, Benarasi saris have kept abreast with changing tastes. The sarees are among the finest sarees in India and are known for their gold and silver brocade or zari, fine silk and opulent embroidery. The sarees are made of finely all had said this should be about Banarasi weaving including carpets etc and not just saris. Woven silk and are decorated with intricate design, and, because of these engravings, are relatively heavy.
8. Take a holy dip in triveni sangam
The Triveni Sangam, where the Kumbh Mela takes place, is the meeting place of three rivers: the Saraswati, Yamuna, and Ganga. The Triveni Sangam is considered to be a very sacred place in India to Hindus, who believe that taking a dip there will wash away sins and free them from the cycle of rebirth, thereby achieving Moksha.
9. Visit the Kumbh Mela
The Kumbh Mela is the largest gathering of humanity at any one. 100 millon people attended the Kumbh at Prayag in 2013! That is 1/10 of India’s population! All other congregations pale in comparison with the Kumbh. The ocean of humanity, the sea of tents, the colourful flags, countless pilgrims taking a dip in the water, the smell of smoke from holy fires, the beautiful sunrise it is a breathtaking panorama.
10. Discover the grandeur of UNESCO heritage sites
Unesco World heritage sites have always been a big attractions for traveler from all over the world and people like to visit these places very much. Specially travelers who love history and architecture love to visit world heritage sites all over the world. Delhi also have three Unesco world heritage sites – Red Fort, Humayun’s tomb and Qutub Minar and these are must visit when you are in Delhi.
11. Visit Chandni chowk – An ideal symbol of ‘Sarva Dharma Sambhava’
Chandni Chowk has emerged as an ideal symbol of Sarva Dharma Sambhava. It was initially shaped as a square at the centre of which was a pool that shimmered in the moonlight which is what the market is named after. The shops around the bazaar were arranged in a half moon pattern around the square. Delhi’s most famous mosque, Jama Masjid, was built in 1650 in the vicinity. The Gauri Shankar temple, the Central Baptist Church and the Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib are also located nearby.
12. Shopping in Delhi
The vibrant atmosphere of Delhi markets can make shopping lots of fun. In fact, Delhi has the best markets in India, selling a huge array of items including handicrafts from all over the country. These top markets in Delhi are a treasure trove of goods waiting to be discovered. The Delhi Haat, Tibetan Market on Janpath, Chandni Chowk, Sarojini Market, Khan market are some of them.
13. Visit Akshardham and Lotus Bahai Temple
Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple in New Delhi epitomizes 10,000 years of Indian culture in all its breathtaking grandeur, beauty, wisdom and bliss. It brilliantly showcases the essence of India’s ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spiritual messages. The Akshardham experience is an enlightening journey through India’s glorious art, values and contributions for the progress, happiness and harmony of mankind. The Lotus temple is built in the shape of a lotus flower and is the last of seven Major Bahai’s temples built around the world. Completed in 1986 it is set among the lush green landscaped gardens. The structure is made up of pure white marble. The architect Furiburz Sabha chose the lotus as the symbol common to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. Adherents of any faith are free to visit the temple and pray or meditate.
14. Relish local delicacies
The best way to know a city intimately, is to romance its food. A lot has been written about Delhi and its food, and justifiably so. Delhi loves it food. And more than that, it loves sharing its food with those who love all things delicious. If you wish to enjoy it, shed your high-brow attitude to soak in the flavours and delicacies. The streets are lined with halwais (sweet-sellers), namkeen wallahs (sellers of savouries) and paranthe wallahs.
15. Celebrate Republic Day including the parade at Rajpath
Republic Day honors the date of 26th January 1949 when the Constitution of India came into force as the governing document of the country. It marks India’s identity as a republic nation. The Republic Day Parade refers to the ceremonious parade on Rajpath, New Delhi, held every year on the same date. The parade showcases India’s Defence Capability, Cultural and Social Heritage. The Republic Day Parade takes places along Rajpath, in Delhi. Its route is more than five kilometers long. The parade sets out from Raisina Hill near Rashtrapati Bhavan (President’s Palace) and follows Rajpath past India Gate to the Red Fort.