As the golden sun turns crimson and sinks into the arms of the Ganges, the river banks come alive with the chants of priests and chimes of temples. Amidst the chorus of tourists, pilgrims, and locals, you will find them. Huddled together in a corner, strumming on a John Lennon piece, a group of hippies finding peace in a few puffs on the bong (chillum). Sharing the same space will be a few ash-clad ascetics (sadhus) pretty much engaged in the same activity, sans the music. This is probably the most classic scene of a regular evening in Varanasi.

varanasi for the hippie
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For the hippie on a hunt

India is not just about the Taj Mahal or the Backwaters. Move away from the exotic beaches, the solitude of Varanasi is spiritual. The flower-power days might be a thing of the past, but the hippies still exist. Only in a different generation and with a fresher perspective. And if you are that free soul, on the lookout for a colorful journey of life, then you have landed yourself in the right place.

Varanasi or erstwhile Benaras has been a dream destination for the ‘free bird’. For the hippies, this holy city has always been a refuge from the chaotic conundrum of the metros. Though the ‘religious capital of India’, this eclectic town is a world beyond the temples, prayers, and priests. Varanasi unravels its hidden layers to those who want to get under its skin.

The more you explore, the more you would be intrigued to discover the city. Book Varanasi cabs to get a taste of everything the city has to offer. Rest assured, this mysterious town of the Ganges has its way of leaving its seeker hungry for more.


Exploring Varanasi on a hippie’s feet

If you are on a path to seeking enlightenment, spend some time with the sadhus who spend their days and nights on the ghats (river banks). They might not speak your language but as you observe them and their ways of life, you would learn about life with a whole new perspective.

Let your creative side awaken on the banks of the holy Ganges. They say, there’s something eerily magical about the ghats of Varanasi. For hippies with a creative agenda, like music, art or writing, there’s no better place than on the banks of the Ganges. The bustling pilgrims, strange tourists, un-emoting sadhus and even the tramps, make for artistic inspirations.

Whether it’s the spiritual energy of the place or the hallowed vibes, you are sure to find peace, even amidst the bustling crowds.

Indulge in a ‘trip’ of ‘bhang’– naturally found and locally made hallucinogen, which is mixed with flavored and sweetened milk or lassi. Find them easily at the government-run ‘Bhang shops’ for a guilt-free and ‘liberating’ trip.

Ditch the shady guest houses and lodges, who claim to be ‘ideal for hippies’. Opt for a tourism department run traveler homes or better, a hostel – where you would find travelers with a similar perspective.

If the raucous crowds of the ghats and streets pose heavy on your head, disappear into the lanes and alleys of the town and engulf yourself in a solitary trance. It’s much needed if you are here to seek true nirvana.


Irrespective of what you seek in life, food is something one cannot forgo. Especially if you have had ‘an eventful night’. The Aahar Vihar Dhaba and the Chahat Restaurant, on the Allahabad highway, are places where you would find the kind of ambiance you are looking for. Book a car on rent in Varanasi to get around to the best eateries in town. You could also head to the Classic Café, which, actually is a hookah bar. Befriend some like-minded people and engross yourself in deep conversations while the wisps of flavored smoke drape you.

Varanasi is sacred yet spectacular, soulful yet surprising. And if you are a real hippie at heart, you will see the hidden layers of this fascinating city of India, in its true colors.


24 Comments on Varanasi for the Hippie

  1. Sharvari Paivaidya Mehan
    March 11, 2018 at 5:08 pm (1 year ago)

    Wow I could feel like I was actually at Varanasi experiencing the sights and sounds of the ghats and the Ganges.
    I so should visit Varanasi again

  2. Zainab
    March 11, 2018 at 8:54 pm (1 year ago)

    Really been on the wish list for awhile. Let’s hope soon 🙂

  3. Nameesh
    March 12, 2018 at 12:45 am (1 year ago)

    Wow ! You have portrayed Varanasi pretty well in your article. Would definitely want to visit it soon and share my thoughts.

  4. Obsessivemom
    March 12, 2018 at 7:24 am (1 year ago)

    We’re planning to visit Varanasi this summer, though we’re far from being hippies with two kids in tow. But I am looking forward to interesting evenings by the ghats and might visit some of those dhabas and restaurants.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Happily, gratefully busy this FebruaryMy Profile

    • tinabasu
      March 13, 2018 at 12:08 am (1 year ago)

      Its awesome isn’t it! Thanks for visiting the blog.

    March 12, 2018 at 8:03 am (1 year ago)

    Awesome visuals Tina; Benaras is one of my favourite places in India and I cant get enough of it!

    • tinabasu
      March 13, 2018 at 12:09 am (1 year ago)

      It’s one of my favorite places too – it has a soul of its own.

    • tinabasu
      March 13, 2018 at 12:10 am (1 year ago)

      It indeed is mystical. Thanks Am.

  6. Dr Bushra
    March 13, 2018 at 11:51 am (1 year ago)

    Indeed one of the finest place to see the true India I want to discover it as in hippie mood soon

  7. Geethica Mehra
    March 13, 2018 at 1:56 pm (1 year ago)

    The land of Lord Shiva has baang everywhere. So it’s a new place for hippies to discover there pleasure with spiritualism.

    March 13, 2018 at 4:57 pm (1 year ago)

    Varanasi cab is your perfect way to see Varanasi and not miss out on any of the highlights and touristy spots.

  9. Princy Khurana
    April 27, 2018 at 4:53 pm (11 months ago)

    I really have been wanting to go to Varanasi for long. the city really intrigues me.

  10. Courtney from Antipodean Adventurer
    April 29, 2018 at 4:21 pm (11 months ago)

    Wow, I truly love your writing style. I could imagine exactly what this place looked and sounded like just through your writing! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Preety tiwari
    September 8, 2018 at 10:44 pm (6 months ago)

    Varanasi is a tourist destination and a hindu holy place. It is located on the river Ganges. A must visit place.
    #MyFriendAlexa #DelhibloggerReads


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