Varanasi Street Art – Adding colour with Graffitis and Art

by Jul 13, 2020Art & Culture, India Art & Culture, Photostory, Uttar Pradesh

There are a lot of things that we love about Varanasi and each time we visit there, the list keeps growing. The city is no doubt vibrant with its colours and smell. And added to the already vivacity of the city is the incredible Varanasi Street Art. These Varanasi Wall arts or wall paintings are something that we discovered in the last few years of our Varanasi trips. Every time we travel to Varanasi, our eyes find some new wall art on the roads, ghats and even in the alleys.  In this blog, we are going to take you on a journey through the amazing Varanasi street art and wall paintings.

To be honest, Indian cities and towns never had a thriving wall art scene before. But the scene is changing now. We saw some amazing street art when we visited Bishnupur. Darjeeling was also not immune to street art. It is always good to see the lifeless walls and spaces being filled with colours and ideas!

Varanasi Wall Art at ghats

Street Art – What and When?

Street art has a long history that is also mired in controversies. Graffiti can be safely called as the precursors of street art and murals. Graffiti, in itself, was more of a guerilla street art prevalent in the 1960s and ’70s.  Graffiti in its initial days were more transgressed – being in exact conflict with the “accepted” social and moral norms. Mostly the artwork served as a way to express frustration with the government or society at large.

With time graffiti and street art has evolved. Street art is now created in public spaces and they tend to convey a message. Still, in the realm of the urban environment, street artists nowadays use various forms to convey their thoughts through art.

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Varanasi Street art of image of Lord Shiva

Varanasi Street Art

Street art can be seen in a lot of spaces in Varanasi. The area around the Ghats in Varanasi served as a great canvas for the Varanasi Street art and the artists. The walls, water tanks have and almost every dull space received a colourful makeover. Obviously the street art at the Varanasi Ghats is mostly with religious tones having figures of Gods. But we were surprised to see a few abstract ones as well.

Some of these paintings are really and the artists deserve applauds for such a piece of wall art. We saw quite a number of people taking pictures, especially the young ones taking selfies!

An abstract wall art of flowers, dumroo and pot on the walls near the Varanasi Ghats

Varanasi Street Art – Where?

We definitely recommend you to take a stroll to the ghats. And don’t just stay satisfied with the main ones. You will see a lot of cool graffitis and artwork between Assi Ghat and Dashashwamedh Ghat. But go beyond Dashashwamedh. Infact walk beyond Manikarnika towards Raj Ghat. You will see some vibrant and colourful artwork there.

The next one would be the Kachahari Chauraha in Hamrautia locality. This place is full of Varanasi Street art, mainly around the circle area.

Apart from these, just keep your eyes open for Varanasi street art and wall art. They can be found anywhere in the city. We even saw a few in the Cantonment area.

Do not miss the alleys and lanes as well. Some of the most beautiful artwork is hidden in the narrow alleys of Varanasi.

Varanasi Street Art

To cut the long story short, we travel to Varanasi to look for street and wall art apart from its Ghats, Ganga Aarti, temples, alleys and food! I guess the list will keep on increasing.

Like every other street art, the ones in Varanasi are not permanent. The canvas changes, artists change and so does the artwork. And Agni and I keep telling each other, “There was some other graffiti here last year”!

Varanasi Street Art in Photographs

The face of Brahma is painted on the large pillar near Rajendra Prasad Ghat. I was almost sure that this place had some other picture the previous time we visited.

The face of Brahma at Varanasi

This huge face is found at the Babua Pandey Ghat!

Wall art of a hude bearded face at Babua Pandey Ghat in Varanasi
Wall art of Goddess Durga

Is this a crocodile? Or is it a Dinosaur?

Image of crocodile (can be dinosaur as well!) at the walls near the Varanasi ghats.

Some abstract Wall art in Varanasi

This photograph is our favourite! Just look at the child looking below!

Wall art at Shitala Ghat Varanasi

Oh! We all love posing in front of some colourful background! Don’t we?

Wall art in Varanasi ghats

And here are some of the most colourful wall arts in Varanasi!

Kids Playing in the ghats of Varanasi

And when you explore the Alleys of Varanasi!

Peek-a-boo!

Varanasi Ghats wall art

How to Reach Varanasi?

Varanasi is a city located in Uttar Pradesh. It has a domestic airport that receives flights from New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and other major cities of India.

Varanasi is also well connected by trains from all over India. There are 3 major railway stations in Varanasi – Varanasi Junction, Kashi and Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Junction (DDU).

DDU was earlier known as Mughalsarai Junction and is located about 18 km from Varanasi city. It is an important station and receives most of the important trains like Rajdhani and Duronto Express. You will get auto-rickshaw and cars from DDU station to Varanasi city. It takes about 35 to 40 minutes to reach Varanasi city from DDU in normal traffic.

Resources on Varanasi

Do you love Wall art? What do you think of these Varanasi Street Art? Let us know in comments below. If you liked this post, please share this with your family, friends and neighbours.

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Street art of Varanasi
Varanasi street art of Hanuman

Agni & Amrita

Agni & Amrita

Travel Experts

We are Agni and Amrita, the story-telling team behind Tale of 2 Backpackers and partners in crime in travel and (mis)adventures of life. We have been travelling together for more than a decade looking for immersive experiences while enjoying the little beauties of life. We are intrigued by heritage, culture, festivals and people and that is reflected in our travel. And yes, we love the Himalayas too.

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18 Comments

  1. I’m someone who always loves street-art and I try to dedicate some time for street-art wherever I am. I have to agree about the lack of modern street art in India since several years and that its been changing in the last decade. My hometown Chennai too has come alive with street-art and so many college students have been involved in it! Love the street are here in Varanasi. Just splendid. Love both the traditional, realistic ones as well as the contemporary, abstract ones. Btw, that’s neither a croc or dino, my best guess is Yaali.

    Reply
    • Yes, Yali could be the one! We kept on thinking about what it could be! 🙂 I would love to see the street art of Chennai as well!

      Reply
  2. I never knew that Varanasi has got so many wonderful and beautiful street art. Being an avid lover of street art, I would love to explore all of them. I loved the sadhus painted in various ways. The abstract art too looks beautiful and very colorful. That crocodile is really interesting and very realistic. Even you have captured the wall which says not to pee.

    Reply
    • Thanks Yukti! We actually loved that one that said “not to pee”!

      Reply
  3. I was in Varanasi last year and honestly, I never realised that it had so much graffiti. I was concentrating more on the ghats and the people. Wow, I wish I could have seen this side of the city and seen these pretty street art. I love finding street art in a city as I feel it gives a sense of the local artists. This maybe for my next visit then.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Raksha!

      Reply
  4. This is so cool. Street art is so unique and I think it speaks so much about the area’s culture as well as the local artists. I think its awesome that this form of artwork is becoming more accepted. It certainly must take a lot of talent to do something like this. I love the crocodile/dinosaur.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Melissa!

      Reply
  5. I have been wanting to go to Varanasi for so long now. From all the pictures I have seen and the posts I have read the vibe seems so amazing and surreal. Absolutely love vibrant street arts and these murals are so stunning. Yet another reason to make my way to Varanasi even sooner now! Can’t wait for the lockdown to get over.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Harshi!

      Reply
  6. I love street art … no matter what destination we visit, we always spend time walking around the streets and I feel like I’ve discovered gold when I stumble across a fabulous bit of wall art. I really think that this kind of art has a place in a community, and adds to the vibe and atmosphere of a place. But it really annoys me when those images get tagged over by graffiti …

    Reply
    • Street art are the best!

      Reply
  7. Love the vibes and the color! These are beautiful. I really do not mind seeing this in my own neighborhood but I agree with you that street art has been mired in controversies.

    If people just learn to be more open, a colorful and fun world is exactly what we need right now.

    Thank you for sharing about Varanasi.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, Clarice!

      Reply
  8. These look sooo stunning! I loved being able to learn a little more about these stunning works of art.

    Reply
    • Thank you!

      Reply
  9. We love to find street art when we travel. It is a fun and colourful way to see a city. I love the variety you found. Good tip about looking in alleys. Sometimes you find fascinating pieces tucked away. I love the pieces that are just a little abstract and make you stop and figure out the picture. Some great pieces here!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Linda!

      Reply

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