BESPOKE BANARAS EXPERIENCE
With over 20 years of experience in sharing and introducing the city of Banaras to scholars, artists, students, and the inquisitive traveller, we have curated bespoke experiences based on the interest of the visitors. These experiences are based on the interests and the amount of time one wants to spend in the city. These are day long excursions into the labyrinth of the city and its magical realms. The culture, cuisine, art, history and stories of Banaras will fill your day with their eternal flavours.
One can opt for a day, 2 days or 3 days experience to start with and then see where the city and its rasa takes you.
The City of Salvation
(Kashyam Marnam Muktim)
This walk is a tribute to the ancient and profound Hindu belief that one who ends his life in Varanasi will gain ‘mukti’: liberation from the cycle of birth and death, and ultimate merger with the divine. We visit the sanctified sites where families bring their loved ones in their last hours, so they can gain ‘mukti’. The walk includes temples, a heritage mosque and the great cremation ground on the banks the River Ganga.
The Confluence of Cultures
Varanasi is considered a microcosm of the whole of India. For centuries pilgrims from all over the country have been coming to this sacred city along the River Ganga to pray and perform rituals, in the process influencing city life in myriad ways. We walk along the heritage zone of Old Banaras, discovering palaces, temples, and neighbourhoods where Hindus and Moslems live in close proximity. You may also see the great Banaras Hindu University, along with its museum.
The local bazaar with its conglomeration of sights, smells, activities, colours and noises is the start of this walk. See the local craftsmen at work, watch how local dishes are prepared in the streets, interact with the owners of the sweet shop, and the paan and chai shop. Then visit some of the prominent, historical family homes as well as temples and havelis.
The Healing City
Learn about the religious and spiritual practices of different communities, from their demons to their saints. Visit a site associated with India’s great saint-poet Kabir. With a combination of walking and cycle rickshaws, venture through different locations in the city up to the confluence of the Varuna and Ganga rivers.
The Ramnagar Ramlila Experience
This ride-and-walk foray takes us on a journey to the royal past of Varanasi. Explore the Fort of the Maharaja of Banaras and adjacent neighbourhoods. We reveal the great story of Lord Ram which is enacted in the play of Ramlila in the months of September and October every year – a performance considered unique in the world.
City of Crafts
Varanasi is home to many craft traditions such as Zari-making, silver foil (‘warak’), silk-saree weaving, and the art of silversmiths and goldsmiths. We visit the homes and workshops of the local craftsmen.
City of Buddhism
In this walk we trace the steps of the Buddha who, after his enlightenment, walked to the city of Banaras looking for his first disciples. In quiet, meditative steps we walk along his path, seeing the temples and pilgrims’ rest houses. We walk from Rajghat to Sarnath (about 3-4 hours) where Buddha gave his first sermon and started the religion of Buddhism. A tour of the sacred archaeological site of Sarnath is included.
Every day in Banaras, early morning sunrises and evening sunsets see numerous pilgrims coming to River Ganges to thank ‘Ma Ganga’ and ask her for special blessings. We witness this special worship ceremony, ‘Ganga Arti’, enhanced by an understanding of the rituals used. You can decide if you want your boat-ride in the morning or evening.