Top tips for a visit to Varanasi, India's holiest city
The ancient city of Varanasi is often considered the holy capital of India
Those who have been on tours of India will know that it is impossible to really appreciate the country's history and culture without understanding the importance of religion.
The birthplace of four of the world's major religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism - India is home to dozens of holy sites and thousands of temples, statues and shrines dedicated to various gods and faiths.
But the ancient city of Varanasi is perhaps the most important holy site of them all.
Located on the banks of the River Ganges, Varanasi is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world and the oldest in India. It is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations for Hindus, as well as being the birthplace of Buddhism.
Speaking to TNT magazine, Raghvendra Agrahari, who works as an official tour guide in the city, offered his top tips for things to do and see for visitors to Varanasi.
"One little-known adventure is that on the east bank of the Ganges, where there is the chance to ride horses," he advised.
"Agree a fee with a boatman to take you across the river and after 10am you'll find a few boys who let tourists ride their horses for a small fee."
For those looking to chill out after a long day exploring the city, Raghvendra recommends the Assi Ghat area.
"Alcohol is not that easy to find in Varanasi, but head to the Palace on Ganges at Assi Ghat where they have a roof-top restaurant and you might get a drink - some places will serve it to you wrapped in plain paper as alcohol is not really allowed on the river."
And if you get a chance, he suggests trying the local delicacy 'puri sabzi' - a breakfast dish of fried puffed bread and fried vegetables. "It’s a Varanasi staple," says Raghvendra.