The holy city's Banaras Art Gallery is a thriving fine art exposition space established in the year 1988. Set up to promote the vibrant culture and illustrious heritage of the city, it supports various modern as well as tribal artistes of the region. Art lovers can explore myriad art works depicting Varanasi in various forms and portrayals. The gallery also runs the PUNARWAS art program in a bid to provide a successful platform to emerging artistes.
Carving one of the world's mostly populated river beds, River Ganges, believed to be arising directly from Lord Shiva's head, is the holy mother for North India. The ancient city of Varanasi is one of the most prolific gifts of this stunning river which ranks top among the world's big rivers in the amount of water discharge. The 7 kilometer (4.34 mile) stretch of the ghats along River Ganges is a major site of sacred rituals in Hindu tradition; Dasashwamedh Ghat and Manikarnika Ghat being the most popular. Originating from Himalayan glaciers, this river is considered as one of the largest in India and surely is a ravishing sight in spite of the devouring pollution.
Established in 1920, this museum of Banaras Hindu University has a vast collection of artifacts portraying the cultural and artistic heritage of the region. Patronized by renowned poet Rabindranath Tagore, and art historian Rai Krishnadasa, the museum boasts an authoritative collection of decorative art, textiles and archeological materials. The collection is organized through specific galleries such as Mahamana Malviya Gallery, Nicholas Roerich Gallery, Chavi (Painting Gallery), Nidhi Gallery and the likes. The painting collection at Bharat Kala Bhavan richly portray the captivating expression of Indian fine art.
Perched on the terrace of the magnificent Man Mahal Palace, Jantar Mantar is Varanasi's prime observatory, designed to the likes of the ones found in New Delhi and Jaipur. Constructed by Maharaja Jai Singh in they year 1737, the science museum showcases various milestones of India achieved in the field of astrology and science. Apart from serving its main purpose of helping determine stars and planet positions, it also helps to measure altitude, local standard time and the sun position.
Set upon the eastern banks of the River Ganges is the imposing Ramnagar Fort which was built from red sandstone and marble in the 17th Century by Maharajah Balwant Singh. The sprawling complex also includes a couple of temples which enjoy expansive views of the river and of melancholic sunsets which get further compounded by silhouettes of the water buffaloes trudging along forlornly in the distance. A museum within, captivates visitors with its collection of Rolls Royce cars, hunting rifles and palanquins which were used by members of the erstwhile royal family. The Maharajah of Varanasi lives here in his palace which is off-limits to casual tourists. The best time to visit is probably before sunset as this is one of the few attractions in Varanasi which affords visitors sunset views. Entrance to the fort complex itself is free but charges apply for museum entry.
Established in 1910, the museum building itself partly follows the construction plan of a monastery. The wide collection inside dates back from 3rd Century BCE to 12th Century CE. Lion Capital of Ashoka, which is exhibited at the center of the main hall 'Shakyasimha gallery', is the celebrated attraction of Archeological Museum Sarnath. Also on display is a large number of Buddha statues in various postures. Many historic landmarks detailing the evolution of Buddha philosophy can be observed at this authoritative collection which is a treasure-trove for researchers and scholars.
Nestled in the heart of the buzzing Maheshpur town, Godowlia Market is swarming with local traders selling all kinds of stuff at great bargains. Found at a short distance from the nearest railway station, it is labeled as one of the busiest open markets of the city, and quite rightly so. The cramped lanes are packed with stalls selling household essentials, ethnic jewelry, handmade shawls and zari garments, among other intricately designed apparel. Post a tiring shopping spree at Godowlia, one may choose the visit the serene Kashi Temple lying a few blocks ahead.
Kriti Gallery was set up by Navneet Raman in the year 2006. It is one of the most sophisticated and interesting contemporary art galleries in the country. It was established with an idea to provide space for exchanging artistic and cultural interaction. It organizes exhibitions, artists in residency program and projects and handicrafts boutique. The exhibition showcases Indian and international art forms. The residency is a place where you can interact with different artists who work towards promoting art and culture in India. Lastly, the boutique presents some of the finest handicrafts that are worth appreciating.
A bustling market in the heart of the holy city, Vishwanath Gali is where you can find all things local and traditional. While the market largely caters to pilgrims headed to the nearby Kashi Vishwanath Temple, it is also buzzing with a number of shops that sell Banarasi sarees, dress materials, religious books, statues and jewelry. Particularly popular with foreign tourists are brass items and the Rudraksha mala.
In tune with the enormous religious potential of Varanasi, Shri Siddh Hanumanji Nyas is a Hindu religious sight at Scindhia Ghat in Varanasi. The refreshing spiritual practice of 'Nyas', which rejuvenates mind and body by the constant chanting of mantras is the highlight of the place. Located in an old building close to the Scindhia Guest House, this place is visited by large number of foreign and Indian spiritual seekers. Dedicated to Lord Hanuman, this place will replenish the hidden energy sources inside you.