Things to do in Varanasi early in the morning!

Varanasi Things to do morning meditate boy male man young ghats
A young boy meditating on the ghat, early in the morning...

I have been to Varanasi a few times in the last few years, and love the city to the core. There is so much that you can do there at every hour of the day. The mornings in Varanasi are especially wonderful, and allow many activities, unlike many other cities which wake up late.

If you are there only for a few days, make sure you are out of your hotel room around 5am (6am in winters) and walk on the ghats to experience the city the fullest. You will meet many interesting people, pick up many interesting conversations and basically have a brilliant start to the day!

Here are some of my top recommendations for spending the morning in the city. These are all out of my personal experiences, and I would love to hear more from my readers as well, so that I can try them out on my next visit there...

1. Chai and Jalebis

Have chai and jalebis early in the morning in the lanes around the ghats...they are absolutely irresistible :) I am a big fan of Indian sweets, so the place was heaven for me! So how do you find a good place to samples these? Well its rather simple, and I followed the same fundamentals here for locating as I do in any other country - ask a local. There is nothing better than nicely picking up a conversation with locals, and early morning most are in good mood to also talk to you. If you are a foreigner, its even better. Do invite hem for a selfie as well, and most would love you after that :)

2. Bhang wali Thandai

For those who want to spend the day high on happiness, make sure you try the 'bhang wali thandai'! It makes your head go light, your steps fly and your mood to soars to the sky :) I would recommend at least two glasses of strong Thandai with Bhang to enjoy the drink. The result of Bhang is not immediate and it can take a while before you get the high. Bhang in excess can make you go rather looney as well, though the fun also doubles up after that :)

If you take too much of it, make sure you stay out of water. Its best to have long philosophical conversations with the Sadhus on the river bank than risk your life in flowing water :)

Curious to know more? Read: Try Bhang Lassi in Varanasi

3. Swim or a boat ride in Ganga (Ganges)

And swim in the morning when the river is mostly deserted, its the best thing to do. Its best not to try skinny dipping, even though you will see some in states of partial to almost full nakedness. But what the heck - you must go ahead and do what you are comfortable with. Men can simply strip down to their underwear or less and take the holy plunge, while women need to exhibit a bit more caution - its best to join another group of women who are already in river, instead of swimming all alone. Having said that, its not unsafe to do that as well, just that many eyes might follow you around.

And if you can't swim, take a boat ride into the rising can enjoy the cool river breeze, be away from the noise of the city, feed the river fish, and look at the life on the ghats...

4. Massage on the ghat

This is something that happened to us completely unplanned. My friend decided to give it a try and ended up getting a rather cosy and intimate massage from another, slightly older, man. It was all in good humour and I think he enjoyed it absolutely throughly! The masseur is generally an expert and actually knows how to relax the muscles all over your body.

I also tried it out later, and would certainly recommend it to the men at least. Its great to jump into the river after a session - with your relaxed muscles, you simply glide over water!

Read more: Massage on the ghats in Varanasi

5. Pray, Meditate or do Yoga

Finally, spend sometime with yourself to pray/ meditate/ contemplate. The mornings on the ghats are surprisingly calm and peaceful. As the sun rises people start flooding on to the ghats and it becomes more and more difficult to find our own space, so if you are into meditation, make sure you reach early and make that connection with your inner self.

The other thing you can try out is Yoga in the morning. There are many Yoga schools, and they are mostly located in the narrow lanes near the ghats. I visited only one and absolutely loved the space - it was a very old house living side by side to a huge banyan tree. The tree was inside as well as outside the house...

If you are looking for more suggestions, here's a great post for you: A visitor's guide to Varanasi.

Varanasi Things to do morning food chai streets tea
One of the local chai shops in the lanes around the ghats
Varanasi Things to do morning swimming indian naked man male swimming ghat
Morning swim :)
Varanasi Things to do morning boating sunrise ganges
Taking an early morning boat ride...
Varanasi Things to do morning bathing sadhu naked male man priest ghat
Offering prayers to the holy river


  1. Hey Siddhartha, does this bhang wali thandai make you laugh uncontrollably.... do you remain in your senses?
    Just curious you know, if I travel to varanasi .... should I try it or not :) or the best way is just have nice swim, pray and leave for the next destination :)

    1. Haha...not really Shilpa, I think you will be fine unless you take too much of it. And it would be fun even if you do...and you may or may not actually laugh :) If you have never tried it before, do try it there...two glasses at least!

    2. Ok... two glasses at least !!!! Human nature marvels me..... now if I visit varanasi.... excited about having at least two glasses of Thandai, if not anything else hahahaha !!!!

    3. Absolutely! Have more if you want to up the stakes :)

  2. Love your blog's new look! Nice photos as usual. :)

  3. Captured and expressed well.

  4. Nice images from every day Indian life. I wish i could visit too India at least once :)

  5. Sounds like a wonderful way to spend a morning! Thanks for sharing this!

  6. Hii Siddharth.. could you please let me know the place or number .where I can do the massage.

    1. You don't need a number - just go to the ghat and many masseurs will come offering you message :)

  7. Hey, siddh had met any sadhu's and naga baba's.

  8. I had visited Varanasi last year and experience was wonderful....There are Many things to do here but I love some activities more ...Yoga and Boat ride in Ganga River.........

  9. Wow ! Amazing pictures and description:)
    Thanks for sharing


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