One of the most ancient cities in the world, Varanasi is said to be over 5000 years old. The holy city has been in the news off-late owing to the inauguration of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor and the cleaning up of the holy ghats under the Swachcha Bharat Abhiyan.
The power, beauty, and charm of the Holy River Ganges are the star attraction here. Many would spend on Delhi to Varanasi flight tickets only for a chance to enjoy a boat ride across the sacred waters and catch glimpses of the prominent ghats. Ideally, a sunrise boat ride is what you should opt for.
- You can witness rituals steeped in religious fervor that are typically performed on the ghats only at dawn. These are elaborate ceremonies that you may not have witnessed elsewhere.
- The best views of the ghats are offered during the wee hours of the morning. As the sun rises, the ghats and the neighboring temples take on an ethereal glow as you travel across the serene waters. The cool morning breezes of the Ganges set the mood just right.
Always Make Early Bookings
There is a huge demand for these boat rides. Having to haggle with local boatmen and tourist guides may just take the sheen away from your peaceful, spiritual holiday. Ideally, make an online booking for a guided boat tour way in advance.
Online bookings are reasonably priced. Make a well-researched choice based on reviews and customer ratings. This will ensure a professionally executed tour, with an informed tour guide who will take you through. The meanings behind the ceremonies and traditions you see being performed will mean nothing to you without a thorough explanation. Your guide will also elaborate on the significance of each of the ghats here.
Book a tour that does not require you to pay additionally for ghats and temple entries. These should be ideally included in your guided tour package. Some tour packages charge a comprehensive amount for the basic package and then charge you extra for each temple or ghat you wish to cover. This could end up being an expensive deal!
Alternatively, if you must make your bookings at the last minute, you can also ask the travel desk at your place of accommodation. They will arrange guided tours. The charges however could be marginally high.
Beware of Scams
There are scams where tourists are cheated in the name of sunrise boat tours. All they get is a short ride to a cremation ghat where they are forced to hop off and coerced to donate funeral pyre wood. Travel blogs are full of such stories. Making an online booking with a reputed tour provider will also help avoid such unpleasantness.
The boat ride typically lasts for about 2 hours. One boat accommodates around 6 to 8 people. If you are a family of 4 or a couple, you may be clubbed with others. Traveling on a separate boat for a smaller group will cost you more. Carry a small container and fill it with the water of the holy Ganges on your way back. You can pack it safely and carry it in your check-in baggage on your Varanasi to Delhi flight.