Varanasi in four hours? (Pro)

#1 Feb 6th, 2012, 10:35
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  • riverair is offline
#1
Hello,

My wife and I are seasoned India travel pros. We travel all the time to India, mainly to Rajasthan, but have gone all over.

We are planning on returning in May, utilizing Oberoi's sumer Holiday special.

My question is to you all: Can we see the main highlight of Varanasi in just three hours? We primarily want to see the Ganges...that's it.

There is an Air India Flight from New Delhi that has a four hour layover:

Leave
Tue, May 29 10:30 AM
New Delhi
DEL 11:50 AM
Varanasi
VNS non-stop
1hr 20min
total time Air India 406
Seat map . Return
Tue, May 29 3:50 PM
Varanasi
VNS 5:05 PM
New Delhi
DEL non-stop
1hr 15min


How far is the Ganges from Varanasi's airport....is the short trip doable?

Thanks,

Bob
#2 Feb 6th, 2012, 12:40
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#2
Yes, it is feasible to do in 4 hours, provided you take return cab to Dashashwamedh Ghat, which is around 30 kms from airport.
#3 Feb 7th, 2012, 13:31
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#3
its possible but i would really urge you to carve out at least 1 day if at all possible
#4 Feb 7th, 2012, 21:00
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#4
. . . or a year . . . with that time-frame I might just head to the river (as you are and get into a boat . . .
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#5 Feb 7th, 2012, 21:07
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It took us 90 mins to get from the airport to Pandey Haveli,the traffic was a nightmare,but on the way back only 35 mins.
Its possible but you are at the mercy of the traffic.
#6 Feb 7th, 2012, 21:10
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Very good point about the traffic, mariska . . . it can be BRUtal . . . depending on the time of day . . . Shiva's wishes
#7 Feb 8th, 2012, 08:20
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darmabum View Post . . . or a year . . . with that time-frame I might just head to the river (as you are and get into a boat . . .
more time the better! haha i will be back in assi ghat in march for 3 more months before venturing into the south!
#8 Feb 8th, 2012, 08:29
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#8
Thanks for your advice everyone. How far is the River from the airport? At least we are getting there in off times... Is there a particular main ghat we should go to? Dashashwamedh Ghat?

Bob
#9 Feb 8th, 2012, 09:15
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#9
welcome in varanasi,
it will take 1.00 hour from airport to ghat Dwasamedh ghat, you can go by boat, from Varuna Ghat to Dwasamedh Ghat. and you can enjoy River ganga too. Varuna Ghat is near to airport, or if you only wanna see ghat then go by road but traffic........... DD
these days election is going to happen in our state at 15 feb so, if you wanna go then go before or after 15 feb. because on that day traffic will be closed for all day.
#10 Feb 8th, 2012, 09:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riverair View Post ...My question is to you all: Can we see the main highlight of Varanasi in just three hours? We primarily want to see the Ganges...that's it....
I can imagine a passion to see the Ganges.
I can imagine your just barely being able to bring it off.
I cannot imagine your visit being rewarding if you have any other aim thatn just ticking one more Important World Sight off your list.

If it were we who were doing it, we'd be forever fretful about whether the plane to Varanasi would be on time we've had long delays waiting for Air India flights, and canceled flights as well.

Then we'd be fuming about midday traffic jams, which in Varanasi are something legendary, even by Indian standards.

Then we'd probably find the taxi putting us down a ten minute walk from the ghat, with no clear instructions on how to make our way down one of India's most congested and tumultuous streets, through some of the India's Premier League touts, to one of the most important, but also crowded and noisy, ghats.

And then we'd find ourselves confronted with a broad but bland river, in itself scarcely worthy of the obligatory photo we'd make, all the while getting ulcers fretting about getting back outta here to find another cab to get us to the airport on time. And realizing that the stuff we really want to see is not the river itself but the ghats and the town behind the ghats and all the rich confusion of one of the world's great and ancient cities. Which we don't have time even to glance at, lest we miss our plane.

On the other hand, if you could, just could, bring it off, it would be a hell of a rush. Good luck.
#11 Feb 8th, 2012, 19:31
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by hfot2 View Post I can imagine a passion to see the Ganges.
I can imagine your just barely being able to bring it off.
I cannot imagine your visit being rewarding if you have any other aim thatn just ticking one more Important World Sight off your list.

If it were we who were doing it, we'd be forever fretful about whether the plane to Varanasi would be on time we've had long delays waiting for Air India flights, and canceled flights as well.

Then we'd be fuming about midday traffic jams, which in Varanasi are something legendary, even by Indian standards.

Then we'd probably find the taxi putting us down a ten minute walk from the ghat, with no clear instructions on how to make our way down one of India's most congested and tumultuous streets, through some of the India's Premier League touts, to one of the most important, but also crowded and noisy, ghats.

And then we'd find ourselves confronted with a broad but bland river, in itself scarcely worthy of the obligatory photo we'd make, all the while getting ulcers fretting about getting back outta here to find another cab to get us to the airport on time. And realizing that the stuff we really want to see is not the river itself but the ghats and the town behind the ghats and all the rich confusion of one of the world's great and ancient cities. Which we don't have time even to glance at, lest we miss our plane.

On the other hand, if you could, just could, bring it off, it would be a hell of a rush. Good luck.

Thanks for the lengthy reply! So, If you were to stay....where would you? The Taj?
#12 Feb 8th, 2012, 19:47
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#12
Hi.
A lot of the cheaper budget hotels are situated above and around Pandey ghat,thats where we stayed,but if i'd had a larger budget i'd have probably stayed at Asi ghat,there was few nice looking hotels there and the area in general is a little quieter.
#13 Feb 8th, 2012, 20:28
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#13
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Originally Posted by riverair View Post Thanks for the lengthy reply! So, If you were to stay....where would you? The Taj?
The Taj in Varanasi is renamed so as not to be affiliated with the Taj group. When I went there a few years ago the receptionist at the desk could not speak English, nor could the person who showed me a room. Also the carpeting was worn completely through to the floor and should have been replaced years ago, and there was dirt everywhere. All of this is typical for India even in nice hotels, but I was just shocked that the Taj Hotels would put their name on such bad service and poor maintenance.

Since then I think they renamed the hotel "Gateway" because it was easier to rename it than tame the wild Benarasi people to behave like Taj employees.
#14 Feb 8th, 2012, 20:53
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#14
I stayed at the Shanti in Agra . . . I put a video of walking into the Shanti on youtube . . . I'm there as dharmabum5850 . . . you can also find some video that I shot in Varanasi on youtube . . . .
#15 Feb 9th, 2012, 04:10
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Noting that you are taking the Oberoi Summer Holiday Special, I'd hazard a guess that your tastes run more toward the five-star hotel than the backpacker's guesthouse.

Problem is, I believe all the five star hotels in Varanasi are quite a distance from the action. Since you want to see the river in all its glory, we'd suggest you look at our favorite, Palace on Ganges:


We've stayed there a couple of times and been satisfied. It is a very well-intentioned hotel, though by no means five-star. It is comfortable and well-appointed, though, and they try hard.

Their great advantage is location, on Assi Ghat, at the upstream end of the the string of ghats that runs along the Ganges. It is in a peaceful area, which in Varanasi is something special. And you have but to walk out the front door, hang a left, and start walking into the wonderful world of the ghats. It's no great challenge to walk pretty near the whole string of ghats to the downstream end, then find your way up through town to a major road and take a cab back. Or you can walk back on pedestrian lanes within the ancient town itself a block or so back from the river and find a whole 'nother way of looking at Varanasi that most tourists, confined to the noisy and busy vehicular roads, never get to see.

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