Varanasi Sightseeing can be undertaken as a day trip. Varanasi - few places in India are as colorful, charismatic or spiritual as the bathing ghats lining the Ganges here. The city of Shiva is one of the holiest places in India, where Hindu pilgrims come to wash away a lifetime of sins in the Ganges or to cremate their loved ones. Varanasi, previously named Benares and Kashi, has always been an auspicious place to die, since expiring here is believed to offer moksha. The magical but sometimes overwhelming city is where the most intimate rituals of life and death take place in public on the city"s Ghat"s.