Situated on the banks of the sacred River Ganges, Varanasi has been a centre of learning and pilgrimage for over 2,000 years. Principally associated with Hinduism, the city is considered holy by Jains and was also visited by Buddha during his lifetime. With its temples and palaces, holy men and pilgrims, winding narrow alleyways and crowded waterfront ghats, Varanasi is an assault on the senses and unlike anywhere else in India. Take an early morning boat ride on the Ganges to view the sunrise and witness the pilgrims who gather to perform their religious rituals then return at sunset for the beautiful evening aarti ceremonies. During the day, explore the old city lanes and also visit the ruined city of Sarnath where Buddha first preached his message of enlightenment 2,500 years ago. Pettitts specialises in providing quality, tailor-made holidays and tours to India.