The ancient city of Varanasi or Benaras, perched on the banks of the holy Ganges river, has been attracting pilgrims for centuries and is one of the world’s oldest inhabited inhabitations. When famous novelist Mark Twain visited India in the last decade of the nineteenth century, he described the city as “ancient than history, tradition, and even legend.”

Varanasi is one of the country’s seven holiest towns and is thought to be the home of Lord Shiva. Varanasi’s ambience has been layered with centuries of history, art, and culture, which is most gloriously visible at its ghats (stepped banks of a river). The Ganges ghats are the focus of Varanasi’s spiritual scene, attracting pilgrims in pursuit of sanctity and divine providence. The ghats are the scene of time-honoured rites that are still conducted today, from the famous Ganga arti (fire ceremony) to cremation ceremonies.

Buddhism in Varanasi

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha lived and worked in North India more than 2500 years ago.

Three of the four most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites can be found here, and it was from here that Buddhism made its way into the world. This journey through the heartland of early Buddhism offers an experience of the living traditions of Buddhism in the spiritual atmosphere of its places of origin.

It provides an experience of meditation in places of particular power. The 14-day tour takes you to impressive places of pilgrimage and outstanding cultural sites.

Visit the places where the Buddha attained enlightenment, where he announced the Four Noble Truths and where he entered Nirvana at the end of a fulfilled life.

Stand in front of the rock on which he sat and meditated, and sit under the sacred Bodhi tree together with pilgrims from all over the world. Admire the imposing ruins of a once famous Buddhist University and the majestic Lion Capital (sometimes called the Asoka Column) of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, who contributed significantly to the global spread of Buddhism over 2000 years ago.

The journey begins in the Hindu pilgrimage city of Varanasi, where you immerse yourself at the banks of the holy Ganges in the eternal cycle of life and death, of growth and decay, which is nowhere more intensely experienced than in India.

A journey that also provides inner fulfilment and gives you many inspiring memories to take home with you!

Buddha in Varanasi

Places to visit in Varanasi