Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

Crazy to choose Varanasi instead of Agra?

Crazy to choose Varanasi instead of Agra?

Old Jul 13th, 2011, 05:45 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,516
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
NoFlyZone that is exactly what we did & it was perfect for us! Enjoy!!
jules39 is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2011, 05:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,025
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
And for yet another opinion, I'd choose Varanasi. I went to both on my first trip to India and they both wowed me. The difference for me was that the Taj was a 1/2 day stunning visual experience (Agra, was a -5 IMHO) whereas Varanasi was a 2-3 day immersion in the essence of India. On my last trip to India, I returned to Varanasi for its "essencenceness", its vitality, spirituality and eye jollies. Fortunately for you, there are no "bad " choices between the two.
Robbietravels is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2011, 07:10 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 102
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Visit Agra on your next trip to India.
Although you won't need one, it'll be a good excuse to go back!
m_bran is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2011, 10:34 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 300
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Like some have already said, go to see the Taj because it is what symbolizes a visit to India. Also it is beautiful culturally as well as sentimentally...man's love for his wife forever. It's a thing of beauty.

Varanasi for different experience..religious experience....your choice.

rhkkmk...FYI significance of River Ganges...river ganges by the time it gets to Varanasi is polluted. However, ganges river became sacred in old times because the river water will not let bugs, crawlers etc to grow. It has to do with the rocks it goes over and the chemical mix keeps the water pure (unlike possibly any other river in the world). Hence it became known as the "sacred ganges". So I presume if you remove the solid sediment pollution, the river water would be restored to it's original pure condition. While the religious pilgrims take a drink of the sacred water when they visit Varanasi, I would NOT recommend that you do that. Just to be safe!!
magical is offline  
Old Jul 15th, 2011, 05:05 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,509
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kathie ...glad you are on RHK's case. You are sooooo right about the food. I am looking forward to Varanasi. He may have a spiritual happening while we are there.
kmkrnn is offline  
Old Jul 15th, 2011, 05:53 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,053
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
magic--- you and margaret can drink all the water you want from that river and even bath in it, magic rocks or not.... i'm sticking to bottled water and hotel showers (and i'm not that sure about the showers).... haha

please contact me: [email protected]
i have some questions for you... thanks
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jul 15th, 2011, 09:10 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Varanasi hands down. While the Taj may be the "symbol of India", I don't feel it honestly renders the experience of traveling through India, or of India iteself. It is completely centered around tourism, and while Varanasi also has its share of tourist influence, when there I still felt the strong sense of community and liveliness of a very old city with an incredible spiritual history. Take a sunrise boat ride down the Ganges and walk around the frantic streets!

Also, if you weren't already planning on it, check out Jaiselmer and Udaipur while in Rajasthan. I lived in Rajasthan for four months and these were two of my favorite destinations!
k8spi is offline  
Old Jul 15th, 2011, 01:54 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 4,564
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Another way to look at it:

Agra's sites are incredible monument to the past: The Taj Mahal, the Fort (as much a do-not-miss as the Taj Mahal, IMHO) etc.

Varanasi is a place where people do as they have done for years and years--you can see history as the present.

Hope this makes sense.

Realized this distinction in trying to help someone decide between Amritsar (Golden Temple) and Agra (TM Fort) and chose the former based on this way of looking at it. There's an excitement and a lesson you get at the "living" places that isn't there in the place that is an exquisite tourist attraction. it's not one "better" than the other--just a different type of experience.
CaliNurse is offline  
Old Jul 16th, 2011, 06:29 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 446
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Look, Agra is an overnight train ride from Varanasi,find a way to slot both in, You have 2 and a half weeks what's your itinerary? maybe there's somewhere else worth leaving out.
Clark55 is offline  
Old Jul 16th, 2011, 03:34 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 300
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
rhkkmk----sent you email per your request....would be delighted to answer any questions.

Regarding water....since 5 star hotels have their own filtered water supply, we never worry about drinking the water or showers etc at these hotels anywhere in Asia especially India.

Everywhere else, drink bottled water or hot tea or hot coffee. Request that any soft drinks you order have their bottle caps removed at your table in front of you for your peace of mind, and skip additional ice.

If drinking lassi(usually served cold), which we love, we ask that it be made with bottled water and use ice made from filtered (bottled) water. However, to be quite honest when it comes to lassi, you are taking a chance with the ice portion. But it tastes so good!! Oh, if you stick to better restaurants, they can accomodate your request about filtered water etc.

All in all, take precautions, but DONOT forget to relax and enjoy your trip.

Just as a joke, take a sip of the "holy ganges river water". Only if you are a devout pilgrim. Haha. Don't risk it. NO DRINKING any holy water anywhere. Sorry. Not even as a joke.
magical is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2011, 07:45 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 509
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We visited both on our trip last fall. For me, a visit to India would have been incomplete without seeing the Taj and the Red Fort -- okay I'm an architecture buff. And, contrary to many, I quite enjoyed Agra. If you decide to skip this one, be prepared for when you return and EVERYONE asks why you didn't go there. <grin>

Varanasi ENHANCED our visit -- I loved the sunrise boat ride on the Ganges...the evening aarti visit, not so much. IF/IF you are a spiritual person, you shouldn't miss it. Otherwise I would concentrate on Rajasthan if I had limited time....just my personal vote.

If you think you want to go for Varanasi, then I agree with Cicerone that you really do need to FLY there...it takes too much time to drive. If you're after a relaxing (stop and smell the incense?) kind of trip, I would try not to spend too much time on travel.
skibumette is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Aug 23rd, 2009 05:18 PM
Sep 6th, 2007 10:08 AM
Jun 4th, 2007 10:02 AM
Aug 8th, 2004 03:59 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -