Your last few days would definitely have been life-changing in Varanasi. One of the seven holiest cities according to Hindus, pilgrims from across the globe arrive here either to wash their lifetime of sins in the Ganges River or to cremate their loved ones. It is here where the most intimate rituals of life take place in public view.
Head towards the Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport (Varanasi Airport) where you would be able to take domestic and international flights out of this holy city. The airport is located in a central location near malls, markets and hotels for easy accessibility. Taxis and rickshaws are the usual mode of transport to the airport because they are cheap and convenient. Avoid taking a bus because it is usually crowded and infrequent. There are a wide variety of shops and restaurants available for passengers within the airport. The airport provides free baggage handling facilities and wheelchair-friendly facilities for the disabled. Senior citizens can also request for free baggage-handling arrangements.
Where to Go
Hop on any domestic Air India flight to Gaya, another major pilgrimage city for Hindus and Buddhists in Bihar, India. Gaya is a picturesque city surrounded by a series of rocky hills. Make a mandatory trip to see the 94 foot tall Vishal Buddha Mandir that will leave you stunned by its beauty. A 11km bus ride will take you to Bodh Gaya, one of the holiest places for Buddhist pilgrims. It is said that this place was where Buddha attained enlightenment. Take a thousand steps up the Brahmajuni Hill for a bird’s eye view of the city. Before you leave this city, pay your respects at the Vishnupad temple which houses Vishnu’s “footprints” imprinted into solid rock.
Head to Agra on a domestic Air India flight from Varanasi and be awe-inspired by the most stunning building in the world, The Taj Mahal. You can take beautiful pictures of this white-marble monument without leaving the comfort of your hotel room. Rooftop terraces in the Taj Ganj area and boat rides down the Yamuna River offer lovely pictures of the Taj. Head to the ruined city of Fatehpur Sikri and the pilgrimage centre of Mathura to learn more about the rise and fall of the Mughal Empire.
Jet Airways flies frequently from Varanasi to Khajuraho, a city famous for temples with erotic sculptures. Go on a sightseeing tour of the Chandela Dynasty temples, which are rated as one of India’s greatest attractions. There are stone carvings detailing Indian life and acts from the Kamasutra depicted on these monolithic temples.
Flights such as Air India and Buddha Air take passengers from Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport to international destinations such as Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. The flight to the city will provide you with a spectacular view of Mount Everest and other peaks along the Himalayan range. Take a trip to the Golden Temple (Kwa Bahal) and greet the main priest, a 12-year-old boy. Bring your camera along to capture the exquisite architecture of this temple. The Bodhnath Stupa, adorned with fresh marigolds and prayer flags, is a must-visit. The monument serves as a three-dimensional reminder of Buddha’s path towards enlightenment.
You can also leave from Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport on Mihin Lanka airlines to Colombo, Sri Lanka. Visit the city’s most interesting shrine - St Anthony’s Church, which has a typical Portuguese church exterior but a sub-continental interior. Stroll through Viharamahadevi Park, the oldest and largest park in Colombo and make your way through the narrow and busy streets at Pettah Market.
Explore the magnificient Grand Palace and Wat Prakeaw by hopping on Thai Airways from Varanasi to Bangkok. Just across the Chao Phraya River lies one of Southeast Asia’s most iconic temples, Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn). Head to Chatuchak Market for a great shopping experience and perhaps one of the best mango sticky rice and tom yum soup in the city.
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Airports near Varanasi
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