Walking Tours

The best way to get a true sense of the real Varanasi is to explore it on foot with Varanasi Old City Tours walking tours. The ancient city fronting the holy Ganga River consists of a labyrinth of narrow lanes snaking around the old city like Shiva’s most favored animal – the cobra. This was no accident. Since this is the city of Shiva, the city was designed to create the path of the cobra and has been a signature feature ever since, setting it apart from any other city in the world. New discoveries are just around every corner and the only way to experience this is on foot.

Varanasi Old City Tours has designed walking tours that give you the chance to really investigate the river front area as well as the old city bazaars, shrines, temples, unusual landmarks and, most importantly, the people of Varanasi. Walk with us and discover Varanasi!

Explore Varanasi Off the Beaten Path

Artisan basket weaver
Artisan basket weaver



  • Street market
  • Artisan Basket weaving neighborhood
  • Kalbhairav Temple, Dharahara Mosque, Swami Narayan Temple, Golden Temple

Your Varanasi Old City Tour will begin with a short cycle-rickshaw ride to the Bisheshwar Gang area, venturing into the neighborhoods and markets to see “everyday” Varanasi. Here you will see bustling markets bursting with curious fruits & veggies, vibrant spices, tea, street stalls cooking up tasty snacks, fresh cow milk (and we do mean minutes fresh) as well shops selling merchandise including uber-cool aluminum tea containers, textiles and wholesale medicine shops.

We will also meander through parks to appreciate a bit of greenery in an otherwise concrete city where folks take time out for their daily yoga practice or a stroll. Next in line is the Kalbhairav Temple, a sacred temple believed to protect devotees from black magic. Then, walking off the beaten path, through the local slum area we’ll go to the artisan basket making neighborhood where women effortlessly weave branches into rustic baskets while sharing a bit of local gossip.

Next we visit the colorful Swami Narayan Temple and the grand Dharahara Mosque (Panch Ganga Ghat) to give you some insight into local religion and spirituality. The tour will culminate at the Golden Temple.

Start: First Main Road Crossing – Godowlia           End: The Golden Temple

Tour Duration: Tour duration is approximately 3-3.5 hours. 

Cost: $17 per person. 15% discount for 3 or more people.

Includes: Knowledgeable and funtastic English-speaking tour guide, cycle rickshaw fees, complimentary bottle of water.

Tips and Details: We will be doing a lot of walking so please wear comfortable shoes. Please note that there are no Western-style toilets easily available anywhere in the vicinity of the walk. Our maximum group size is usually not more than 6-8 people. If you’d like a hotel pickup or drop-off, please let us 24 hours in advance.


Evening Ganga Riverside & Old City Walk with Aarti Ceremony

Varanasi Aarti Ceremony
Varanasi Aarti Ceremony


Highlights include:

  • Varanasi Observatory
  • Bengali Tola Bazaar and marketplace
  • A visit to a local Akhada where men go to perform ancient Indian exercise, equivalent to a “gym” as we call it today and a cow sanctuary.
  • Aarti Ceremony at riverside

We will begin our tour at the Main Dashashwamedh Ghat and make a quick visit to the renovated Observatory.  Then we will head towards Assi Ghat taking in all the sights of life along the river. Be prepared to see a lot of unusual, inspiring and amazing things!

From the ghats you’ll go up-up-up one of the many steep staircases and head into the winding alleyways to discover fascinating temples and ashrams like you’ve never seen or heard of before, the local cow sanctuary and an ancient Indian Akhada wrestling gym.

Your guide will share the most interesting legends and facts to give you a better understanding of their purpose and importance. The tour will make its way through the famous Bengali Tola bazaar bustling with South Indian pilgrims, sitar shops, small temples and food and sweet shops.

The tour will culminate at Dashashwamedh Ghat where we will stay and watch the spectacular evening Aarti ceremony performed by students of the Vedas and Upanishads to worship the mighty GangaRiver. The beautiful Hindu ritual of worship (known as puja) unfolds each night on the banks of the Ganga with brass lamps, bells, fire and incense, accompanied with chants and hundreds of candles floating on the river.

Start/End: Main Ghat – Dashashwamedh 

Tour Duration: Walking tour duration is approximately 3 to 3.5 hours plus 1 hour Aarti ceremony). 

$22 per person. 15% discount for 3 or more people.

Includes: Knowledgeable and friendly English-speaking guide and  complimentary bottle of water.

Tips and Details: We will be doing a lot of walking so please wear comfortable shoes. Please note that there are no Western-style toilets easily available anywhere in the vicinity of the walk. Our maximum group size is usually not more than 6-8 people. If you’d like a hotel pickup or drop-off, please let us 24 hours in advance.

Book Your Tour: Reservations

Art Lover’s Tour: Traditional Handicrafts, Classical & Contemporary Art

Blue Mural
Blue Mural


  • See artisan handicrafts being made in local neighborhoods
  • Visit a sari production houses
  • Contemporary Art Gallery visit
  • Tour street art murals along the Ganga River Front

Our comprehensive tour will give you an insider’s glimpse to both traditional and contemporary art in Varanasi for all art lovers.

Varanasi is renowned for its classical Indian painting and textiles including its famous silk and cotton weaves, especially saris. It’s is also a haven for artisans of traditional handicrafts including basket making, carvings and more.

We will begin the tour in a  tuk tuk to visit silk saris production house where silk saris are being hand loomed and embroidered in its intricate beauty. Next off to local neighborhoods where artisan basket makers busily work as well as other artisans revered worldwide for their trades.

Not only does Varanasi continue its traditional trades as it has for centuries, it is also a thriving metropolis for Contemporary Art where young local artists are pushing the boundaries. In support of these local artists, we will also visit Kirti Art Gallery, the only Contemporary Art Gallery in Varanasi. (Gallery is only open from December – April).

The tour will culminate for a walking tour along the river front to admire all the street art that sets it apart from other areas of India. Here, young artists are making their mark and adding their own personality to street art.

Start / End: Main Ghat – Dashashwamedh

Tour Duration: Tour duration is approximately 4 hours.

COST: $25 per person. 15% Discount on groups of 3 or more people.

*Please feel free to get in touch prior to your arrival to Varanasi if you need any assistance booking accommodations or airport or train station pick up.

Book Your Tour: Reservations

Foodie Tour & Cooking Class

Walking Tour of Varanasi: Spice Market
Walking Tour of Varanasi: Spice Market

What better way to explore a city than its food! Explore Varanasi and its culture and tradition in this amazing food and heritage walk of the magical Old Varanasi! 

Designed for foodies, this incredible gastronomic walking tour is the perfect way to sample the best street food and snacks Varanasi has to offer and get a taste of this extraordinary eternal city. On this 3-hour guided tour you’ll have delightful bites of local Varanasi street food.  

You will weave through bustling lanes of the Old City and spice markets, taking in the vibrancy of Indian bazaars, sampling unique and new flavors & tastes, sample exotic fruits & vegetables and spices and find out how they are used in Indian cuisine.

You are sure to find hundreds of big and small, old and new outlets offering mouth-watering delectable cuisine. You’ll have food served to you in local and regional style such as tea in a terracotta cup, chaats in leaf plates and bowl; these experiences are the features of this quintessential food tour in Varanasi. Let’s embark on a flavorful food tour of Varanasi together!

The Foodie Tour will finish off the walking tour with a private cooking class with a local who will teach you the basics of Indian cooking. You will cook one meal together and then enjoy your sumptuous feast that you made by hand!

Make sure to come with an appetite!


Your first stop will be at main produce and spice market at the Main Ghat – Dashashwamedh. Sample exotic fruits, local pickled delicacies called achaar and learn how the local exotic spices are used.

We will then venture further into the Bengali Tola bazaar to try some sweet jalebis (deep fried sweet dish made by corn flour and sugar syrup) and samosa (fried triangular bread stuffed with potatoes) from family vendors that have been perfecting their dish for over 100 years. Walk ahead with your guide and see first-hand how paneer cheese is made and on to try a chilled glass of Lassi (Sweetened yogurt) and Raj Kachori (kind of chat filled with fresh yogurt, sweet and sour sauces in a crispy edible bowl.)

Once you’re done here, get ready to stuff some gorgeous paranthas (Indian flatbread filled with a variety of stuffing’s like cheese, cashews, chilli, and lemon to name a few!), Kulia ki chaat (different fruit bowls filled with chickpeas and masala) and seasonal specialties.

After this, walk towards along the river front to fill your belly some more with dishes like rabri-faluda (rice noodles) and chole bhatura (chickpeas curry and fried bread).

Finish your gastronomic journey with some chilled and mouth-watering kulfi (Indian ice cream with more than 50 flavors) before you start your cooking class.

COST: $55 per person. 15% Discount on groups of 3 or more people.

Start / End: Main Ghat – Dashashwamedh

Duration: 3 hour walking tour plus one hour cooking class

*Important information to know before you go:

  • This tour offers only vegetarian food options. Some of them contain dairy products.
  • If you have any allergies or dietary restrictions, please inform your guide in advance.
  • Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
  • As this is crowded area, please take care of your personal belongings.
  • While we make every effort to visit places that have high cleanliness standards, we will be primarily visiting and eating street food from stalls and not restaurants. Varanasi Old City tours cannot control and does not take responsibility for how our customers react to the local food experience.
Book Your Tour: Reservations

You can always add a boat ride to your walk to get the complete Varanasi Old City Tour experience: Check out our “Evening Walking Tour of the Bengali Tola, Ganga Riverfront and Aarti Ceremony Boat Ride”