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“A rare opportunity”
Review of Varanasi Walks

Varanasi Walks
Ranked #6 of 66 Tours in Varanasi
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: VaranasiWalks is the oldest experience oriented eco-friendly walking tour and boat journey collective in Varanasi. Since 2008 our Explorers have given an intimate look at the holy city of Varanasi and are able to show you places in the city that the average tourist could never find. Our walks cater to those who want to see the layered interiors of the city and avoid the static silk shopping game. The boatrides include short walks and detailed history along with immersed experiences! As a collective of residents of the city we are flexible and open to working with you to create a experience you will never forget. VaranasiWalks was started by Jai while he was running a successful Hindu Studies & Hindi Language university program and working in the Social Service sector. Jai has been giving walks in Varanasi since 2004.
Reviewed November 23, 2013

It is rare that you encounter someone as informed as Jai who also is also excellent at passing on his knowledge of culture, heritage and history to others. He is a wonderful bridge between cultures. It is clear that he has made himself a student of Varanasi, it's archecture and it's peoples. He is easy going, and open to any question you might have during the walk. I wish I could find a Jai everywhere I travel, to show me the 'true' nature of those places. He can turn a seemingly dirty and narrow gully into a museum of historical novolties. I would reccomend all his walks. My personal favorite was the early morning boat ride.

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Thank Josiah B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VaranasiWalks, Owner at Varanasi Walks, responded to this reviewResponded November 25, 2013

Ahhhh Mr. Josiah… the one married to the Varanasi girl! I need to develop more walks to get you back here I suppose… did you take Death & Rebirth Night Walk in Varanasi? I think not! Yes, you need to come more often and find out all the secrets of your love's hometown, and we must prepare for those adventures with a trip to the very secret 'man bar' filled with gun toting lawyers, sharp dressers and general riff raff having "lokal" whiskeys & water in highball glasses. That part of the adventure is free if you pour a peg for me! Looking forward for your next visit!

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196 - 200 of 248 reviews

Reviewed November 21, 2013

Using Varanasi Walks is THE way to get the most out of any trip to Varanasi. Apart from the fact that he and his colleagues are hugely well informed about every nook and cranny in the place (and there's an almost infinite number to explore) Jai provides an excellent and highly personal service to his clients.

He even spoke - we called him from a taxi - with a driver who tried to persuade us that our hotel didn't exist and that it was anyway totally inaccessible (it did and it wasn't) and that we should use his 'brother's' place instead.

Laotse, was an ideal walking guide: friendly, very knowledgeable and responsive throughout a fairly long but fascinating walk.

Can't recommend Jai and his team highly enough

Thank chris256
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VaranasiWalks, Owner at Varanasi Walks, responded to this reviewResponded November 25, 2013

Thanks for the great review! I remember your situation… arriving late in the evening to one of the best riverside hotels, Jukaso Ganges, a little gem tucked away so deep that you can only get to it by boat or a few hard to navigate twist and turns through darkened alleys… it would have been easy to give up! Thank God you found it and I am sure you had a super time! Laotse always takes people for too long! When I call him sometimes after 4 hrs he often says 'Sorry Bhaiya, I am still on the walk'! What to do with these kind of staff : ) !!!! Jai

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Reviewed November 8, 2013 via mobile

Our walk around the northern area of the city was great. Our guide Nanda was a veritable encyclopaedia of information on everything from Hindu philosophy and local politics to sign painting and street dentistry! As a native of Varanasi he has a deep love for the city but also a very pragmatic/humorous view of the reality and problems here. It was fun to spend time discussing all this as we explored the streets.

The tour itself included hidden temples, narrow backstreets and courtyards. It gave us a chance to visit areas away from souvenir shops and touts and see things we wouldn't have otherwise. nanda also gave us great advice about other festivals to see and places to visit in the rest of our stay which was very helpful. I would highly recommend this walk and Nanda as guide.

We also took the evening boat tour. Whilst this was equally as informative as the walk it was maybe not as good value. We didn't have time for part of the tour which was planned to walk to a temple and as there are many boats covering the same route up and down the river we could probably have seen the sights much cheaper - all be it with less info.

All in all though the walks are good value and help open the city to outsiders.

Thank Cliff M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VaranasiWalks, Owner at Varanasi Walks, responded to this reviewResponded November 13, 2013

Nandan is super isn't he! As one of our most articulate and detailed staff members he offers such a fresh perspective on just about everything and is able to integrate modern issues within the spirituality and flow of the ancient holy river city. Regarding your thoughts on boat rides it is true that you can find a boat for a few hundred rupees (or several hundred : ) if your bargaining skills are not at the top of the game) but we have found that people really come away with wanting more information and small journeys off the boat that the fisherman/boatwallahs just cant provide. Sometimes a hotel has a boatman and then it is cheaper but again the loss of dialogue and ability to ask questions to a seasoned explorer of the city is lost. So we just call it as we see it... 2.5 - 3hrs per person for a boat journey or walk... the boatrides are beautiful but more static and the walks are more interactive but then we dont have to pay for rowing while on our feet! Best of luck on the rest of your journey!

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Reviewed November 7, 2013

I've been on 6 walks/boat rides with Jai-he's got a wonderful grasp of the historic, religious, and cultural significance of Varanasi. Jai is very approachable, easy going and my university students loved spending time with him. His approach to understanding a city by eating, experiencing and sharing vignettes will help you more fully understand the complexity and color of Varanasi. I highly recommend going with Jai.

Thank ISP2013
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VaranasiWalks, Owner at Varanasi Walks, responded to this reviewResponded November 12, 2013

This is certainly one of the most amazing cities in the world filled chock full of history, culture, spirituality and best of all... PEOPLE! Looking forward to your time again with us in the future!

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Reviewed November 6, 2013

Love Delhi and the Fiona Caufield guidebooks are the best and we appreciate the time and effort that goes into each entry. With Varanasi Walks she is, again, correct. The owner, Jeremy, is wonderful for organizing the details of the tours and he has done a great job of developing other guides and from all the reviews we are sure he does a great job. We had a wonderful experience with Laotse, a young man who has taken time and great effort to learn and understand the city he grew up in and to learn the stories, the history, the nooks and crannies of the amazing city of Varanasi. He took special effort, extended his time so we could see so many interesting people, sites, and daily activities. He was flexible, accommodating and extremely knowledgeable. We highly recommend Laotse and wish him and his family all the best.

Thank Gregory R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VaranasiWalks, Owner at Varanasi Walks, responded to this reviewResponded November 12, 2013

Thanks so much for coming on a VaranasiWalks tour! We hope that you come back again and spend more time with us!

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