Sinchita Mitra

Varanasi is one of the most visited places in India. Owing to its religious background, enchanting ghats, and breathtaking shrines, Varanasi is truly a wondrous place. However, what makes a Varanasi even more captivating are the charming places that are located close to this lovely city. From serene locales to Buddhist sites, Varanasi is surrounded by places that will make you gasp. You can easily visit these mesmerizing places on your vacation at Varanasi.

Here are some of the places that you can visit located around Varanasi.

Sarnath

An important pilgrimage center for Buddhists, Sarnath is a revered gem in India. The town of Sarnath is mainly known for being the first place where Gautam Buddha came to teach his ideologies and preach them to the locals. Sarnath is an extremely significant part of India’s history, and you will be in life with its zen atmosphere and tranquil nature.

It is quite a welcome change from the crowded alleys of Varanasi. You will find brilliant Buddhist stupas namely the Chaukhandi and Dhammek Stupa, which makes this place even more alluring. Take a tour of this entire city and visualize serenity that flowed here when Buddha himself was given out the sermons.

Kaimur

Located a little further away from Varanasi, the town of Kaimur is resplendent with three brimming rivers -Karmanasha, Durgawati, and Kudra. Situated at the border of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, this little town is also known for its innumerable shrines and ancient monuments that shine a light on the exceptional Mughal era of India.

Kaimur has everything a tourist can want- breathtaking temples (Baidyanath, Maa Mundeshwari Temple, Chorghatia and Sidhanath Temple), a national park, scenic mountains, and cascading waterfalls. If you wish to experience the blissful nature of Kaimur, then come here from October to March.

Allahabad

If you are planning to visit Varanasi, then do not give Allahabad a miss. Renamed as Prayagraj, this ancient city has seen many battles, blood baths, kingdoms, and the fall of those kingdoms.

A heavenly city, Allahabad still attracts many visitors, who come here to witness the glorious history of this city. Some of the popular attractions are- Allahabad Fort, Allahabad University, and Anand Bhawan. The famous Kumbh Mela is also held here every 12 years, and it attracts about 120 million people from around the world.

Allahabad is quite a chaotic and crowded city, however, if you wish to see the other more serene side of this city, then enjoy nature. Sail on a boat from Triveni Sangam, either during sunrise or during sunset, and watch as the city is all still. You can also head off to the iconic Allahabad Public Library, which is filled with some of the oldest books in the world.

Do not miss the delicious street food of Allahabad, and let your taste buds experience the buttery beauty of Seekh Kebabs.

Ayodhya

Another popular city in India,Ayodhya can easily be visited from Varanasi. This ancient city is extremely sacred for Hindus, as it is the birthplace of Lord Rama. Located by the banks of the tranquil Sarayu River, Ayodhya is a city worth visiting. Brimming with old temples, a textbook full of history, and a year full of mythological stories, Ayodhya will enchant you and warm your heart. You will also find some beautiful Buddhist and Jain shrines here.

Some of the places you should visit here are Bahu Begum Ka Maqbara (also known as the Taj Mahal of the East), Hanuman Garhi, Kanak Bhawan, Nageshwarnath temple, Treta Ke Thakur, Vijayraghaw temple and Choti Chawni. You can also visit the high controversial site of Ram Janmabhoomi.

Kushinagar

Another ancient city of India, Kushinagar is a significant pilgrimage site for Buddhists. It is part of the four holiest cities in Buddhism. According to legends, Buddha dies here.

As a tourist, you can witness a lot of destroyed stupas that are still echoing with stories of a time long gone by. Visit the Ramabhar Stupas, which is where Buddha is buried. You can also visit the magnificent Wai Thai complex, which is a regal shrine. Kushinagar is a great place to know a lot about the ancient history of India. You will find a lot of art and culture in this town, that will help you to weave a story about the ancient time.

If you can, also visit Bodh Gaya from Varanasi, which is also one of the four most important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists.

Lucknow

The Nawabi city of Lucknow has so much history and culture, that it will take you a few months to fully immerse into the lively culture and past of this city. Filled with a royal atmosphere, Lucknow is a cultural hub of India. Perfect for history lovers, food lovers, and just plain old adventurers, Lucknow is like a dream city.

Whether you are sitting idle at Kukrail or munching on Tunday ke Kebabs, Lucknow will never fail to charm you. Make sure to witness the wondrous dance and songs of Lucknow, and let the melodious qawwali play with your soul. Make sure to dig into the wonderful kebabs, admire the brilliant architecture, and most of all get lost the old markets of Lucknow.

Satna

Quite a popular tourist place, Satna is located about 4.5 hours away from Varanasi. This little town is a great place to escape from the hustling crowd of Varanasi and will give you a breath of fresh air. Filled with unique temples and mouth-watering street food, Satna is quite a revelation.

Just enjoy the laid back life of the locals, enjoy fun-filled plays, folklores, and a beautiful silence that is lacking in the city of Varanasi.

Rewa

The wondrous town of Rewa is quite a delightful visit for lovers of history, nature, and exploring. Filled with little forts like the Govindgarh fort, and the Rewa Fort and gushing waterfalls like Purwa Falls, Keoti Falls and Chachai Falls, the town of Rewa is a visual treat. It is a place where you go to just look around and soak in everything that comes your way. Let the fresh air fill your lungs with a strange kind of warmth, and you will feel all your burdens flying away.

If you wish to dig further in history then visit the Baghel museum to know more about Rewa. You will find some wonderful artefacts straight from the personal belongings of the Maharaja of Rewa.

Wrap up your visit by heading off to Pili Kothi which was a palatial building built by the kings of those times.

Khajuraho

The temples of Khajuraho have always attracted thousands and thousands of people from around the world. Known for its intricate carvings and some erotic designs, Khajuraho truly stands out when it comes to temple architecture in India. If you wish to see the temples at their finest then visit the famous Lakshmana Temple, which is devoted to Lord Vishnu. It is one of the oldest temples in the India world, and you will be surprised by how well it has stood the test of time.

There are about 600 visuals of god and goddesses in this temple, and it is also adorned with scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana. The carvings and sculptures are so life-like, that you will be left wondering about who the artists where.

Make sure to take a guided tour through the temples to understand the nuances of the shrines in a better way. Each of the cravings and sculptures has some significance and weave a story when you see them together.

Visit Khajuraho is a must when it comes to visiting India. It is a true heritage of India, and you can easily visit it while on your trip to Varanasi.

Bandhavgarh

If you wish to visit something different while on your trip to Varanasi, then head off to the Bandhavgarh National Park. Located about 327 km from Varanasi, this national park is definitely worth the extra effort. This serene park is alive with animals and birds that makes it so enchanting and charming. You will find species like tigers, bison, and langurs. The lush green trees and the constant sound of the crickets give it quite an eerie vibe. Walking through Bandhavgarh National Park is like living in the great outdoors. Keep your eyes peeled for exotic birds like Malabar Hornbills and gold fronted leaf birds.

You might also come across pythons in this park – so be extra cautious and careful. If you wish to awaken the explorer in you then find the hidden caves that are present in this jungle. These caves have inscriptions etched in Sanskrit.

To get around the Bandhavgarh national park you can hop on to a jeep safari and explore the great wildlife.

These enchanting places will truly add another allure to your vacation, and show you avenues that will capture your attention and make you fall in love. Places like Sarnath can also be visited as a half-day tour from Varanasi. These places will show you a world beyond the mainstream city of India, and take you on a joyful ride.

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