India's soul... a place you need to experience, and not just see
North walk (Essential Varanasi!)
Starting in the heart of the old city, the walk takes you through its colourful markets, captivating places of worship, ancient buildings of stupendous architecture, and even greater stories!
Understand the key elements of Hindu philosophy, how Varanasi's unique Geography led to its becoming India's spiritual capital, and the city’s compelling take on Death & Moksha (Salvation). Punctuated with frequent hidden-in-the-corner spots of solace amidst the hustle-bustle, the walk perfectly emulates the eccentricities of Banaras!
South Walk (City of Good Life!)
South is the calmer part of Varanasi whose serene settings have inspired philosophers and poets for centuries and where the timeless virtues of this city can still be seen in their full glory.
Get up-close with Indian classical Music, community Yoga, blissful Temple ambiences, traditional Wrestling, artisans working on intricate handlooms and 2,500 year old Pilgrimage sites. Weaving through the favourite spots of the locals, the walk leaves with a deep understanding of the special way of life in this oldest continuously living city of the world!
Sunrise Boat Tour
Varanasi boasts of the most spectacular mornings anywhere in India! And being on a boat on the Ganga is certainly the best way of witnessing them 🙂
The Sun rises on the Ganga in its full glory and the pilgrims and the locals alike come to seek blessings from the duo. Ride with us to soak the merger of nature and humanity in the most relaxed manner. Understand the role that the beloved Ganga plays in the lives of people and revel in the stories of the myriad forts, palaces, and temples dotting her ghats.
Sunset boat tour
The mighty 2,500+ km Ganga, worshipped across India for her nourishing and cleansing powers, is at her beautiful best in the 7 km stretch at Varanasi 🙂
Sunset time presents a very different shade of the Ganga as the Ghats abuzz with activity of a kind. Cricket matches, Kite-flying, Social gatherings and more! Watching the bustling life unfold at the ghats, as we peacefully flow with Ganga’s serene waters, is like a first-hand experience of Moksha (Salvation). The boat ride ends with witnessing the majestic evening Ganga Aarti at the main Ghat.
The story of how a simple, yet profound, epiphany of an inquisitive explorer became the guiding light for 500 million people in today's world is a most fascinating one. And what better place to relive the tale than where he himself set the wheel of Buddhism in motion about 2,500 years ago!
Join us as we explore the ruins of the first Buddhist monastic system, the Dhameka Stupa where Buddha preached his first sermon, marvel at the gleaming Lion capital which is now India's national emblem and visit peaceful Buddhist temples. Connecting the dots at these places, we will also understand how a decadent Prince Siddhartha became the enlightened Buddha, and used some fine entrepreneurial skills to spread his wisdom 🙂
Varanasi is a photographer's paradise - with subjects spanning Pilgrims, Sadhus, Hindu Rituals, Colourful markets bustling with people, and the enchanting alleyways teeming with ancient buildings & life!
Join us as we discuss the rules of Framing, Composition, Light and Spotting, and then methods of breaking them one by one to render unique photographs! Leading the walk is Anupam, a professional Photographer who has taught Photography in the esteemed Banaras Hindu University and has been clicking Varanasi for 18 years now! You don't need a fancy DSLR to join this tour, even a good phone Camera would suffice. But do bring lots of enthusiasm, and be ready to step outside your comfort zone to capture your perfect Varanasi memory 🙂
Special Festival Tours
Ramlila Tour (Sep 2017)
It's that time of the year again - when India’s biggest theatre is being played across the Ganga from Varanasi! With larger-than-life sets, fascinating screenplay and a storyline that has inspired Indians for thousands of years, the Ramlila of Ramnagar draws thousands of viewers, referred to as Ramayanis, from all walks of life. Young-Old, Men-Women, Sadhus-Businessmen - sit on the ground, in the trees, and on the walls - listening to the dialogues in pin-drop silence, and then breaking into jubilant cheers and bhajans between the scenes.
Join us as we head into this fun-filled annual pilgrimage and witness the magic of Indian melas! 🙂
Timings - 4 pm - 9 pm, 24 Sep 2018 - 23 Oct 2018
Starting point - South Point Cafe, Nagwa, Lanka (Map)
Ending point - South Point Cafe, Nagwa, Lanka (Map)
Pricing and Booking Information HERE
Note - Photographing the festival is not allowed. The images here have been taken with due permission from Ramlila organizers
Dev Diwali (Nov 2018)
Imagine the generally spell-binding ghats of Varanasi decorated with millions of handcrafted lamps, colourful Rangolis, and cheerful cultural events! Even the Gods, it’s believed, come to Varanasi on this day, to witness this mesmerizing spectacle!
Join us as we soak in the beauty of the ghats end-to-end, going with the Ganga’s flow in a peaceful boat. Understand the mythological and cultural significance of this most beautiful festival. And become a part of the festivities as we join the locals on the ghats to light our own lamps 🙂
Street Food Walk
The lively and labyrinthine Varanasi streets famous for their hidden historical gems, are also home to some of the most delectable desserts and street food options, whose recipes have been perfected over centuries!
Join us as we walk through the bylanes to the best of the food joints savoring Malaiyo, Tamatar Chaat, Kalakand, Malai Toast, Maalpuas, Gol-Gappas, Banarasi Paan and much more! And relish in not just the mouthwatering delicacies, but also hearty conversations with their Banarasi makers 🙂
Cooking session with a Family
Food is widely regarded as a great way of understanding a culture. And what's better than learning how to cook it with a local family in their kitchen!
Understand how to expertly use spices (not just the hot spicy ones!), make yummy curries, and bake the perfect chapatti. And at the end, relish it with the family over some hearty conversations 🙂 Also included with the meal is a chai/herbal tea, a dessert, and bucket-full of Indian hospitality!
Traditional cuisine in a Writer's Heritage Haveli & Literary session
Does the idea of relishing a traditional cuisine being prepared in an open courtyard of a beautiful 18th-century haveli sound appealing to you? What if we told you that the haveli belongs to a legendary writer who introduced realism in Hindi literature? And what if, to go with the sumptuous food are some fascinating discussions on poetry, society and book reading? 🙂
The writer being talked about here is the legendary Bhartendu Harishchandra! And the traditional meal - Litti-Chokha, with Choorma, Daal, and Rice. Come, join us for an afternoon of Lipsmacking-food, Luxury, and Literature!
Cultural Activities with Local Experts
Kite Flying session with a local Champion
Learn how to fly those colourful kites that you've always been so thrilled to watch. Let Rambabu Ji, a winner of several local championships, guide you through the whole process by breaking it down into easy 1-2-3 steps. The setting would be the rooftop of Rambabu Ji's ancestral house along the Ganga Ghats - which also makes for some excellent photo opportunities!
About the host - A boatman by profession, Rambabu Ji is a man of multiple talents! He has won many a Kite-flying, Swimming, and Wrestling competitions during his youth and even today, at the age of 35, continues to nurture his hobbies while also successfully raising his family with his wife and 2 kids. He is a typical Banarasi - in love with life. In his boat, you will always find a Kite and a string 🙂
Yoga session with an Instructor
Are you intrigued by Yoga but have never found a good place/instructor to start? How about starting it here in Varanasi - where the Yoga sutras were first compiled by Patanjali about 2,500 years ago? And with an instructor who even follows the Yogic philosophy in her life? The session can be organized indoor/outdoor, and for any level - beginner, intermediate or advanced.
About the host - Coming from a family with a strong ethos in ancestral wisdom, Anchal grew up with a deep interest in Yoga, Sports and the healing power of food. Besides practicing the Asanas and Pranayamas, she also applies the Yogic Philosophy in her day to day life and is a great instructor to initiate you on your Yogic journey 🙂
Classical Music performance, with an intro to Ragas & Talas
Immerse yourself in a soul-moving Jugalbandi of Sitar, Flute, and Tabla in a heritage haveli inside the Gallis of Varanasi - where music thrives. Also, be introduced to the fundamental principles of Melodies and Gharanas (Schools of Hindustani Classical Music) as the musicians guide you through their nuances with ample demonstration 🙂
About the host - Coming from a family of Varanasi's acclaimed musicians, Sandeep Ji is a professional Tabla player. Accompanying him are his Banarasi friends who hold Masters degree in Sitar and Flute. The performance will take place inside Sandeep Ji's house where stirring music has been played every day for more than 100 years now!
Kushti Akhara with a Pehelwan
This one is especially for all the fitness freaks out there! Learn a millennia-old Indian traditional wrestling form of Kushti with one of its most fervent hobbyists, in a 400-year old functional Akhara. Participate in the natural exercise routines involving Indian style dand push-ups, climbing ropes on a tree, swinging maces and more! Also, understand the diet regimen of the Pehelwans, and witness (or even participate in!) a bout of wrestling 🙂
About the host - Siyaram Ji has been practicing Kushti for the last 54 years, and even today, at 64 years can give most of us youngsters a run for their money when it comes to fitness! He's also a wonderful human being and a born teacher - which has also earned him respect as the Guru of the Akhada.
Painting Workshop with an upcoming local artist
Do you love the feel of creating something new? Or are traveling with your kids and would like them to do a fun-filled activity with them where they can get their hands dirty? Then come, join Hitesh, one of Varanasi's most promising upcoming artists and paint your experiences of Varanasi on the canvas.
About the host - Hitesh is pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts from the prestigious Banaras Hindu University. The speed with which he can translate ideas onto paper (his own or that of others) is mind-boggling! Gifted with a crazy creativity genome, we have bet on this kid to become one of India's greatest upcoming talents. His patience, often found missing in genius artists, is an added advantage 🙂
Kathak Dance workshop with a local stalwart
If Dance is your thing, then you mustn't miss this activity in Varanasi - the center of the classical dance form of Kathak. You will learn not just about the fundamentals of Kathak, but be able to perform at least a short piece! So shed your inhibitions, put on the khunghroos and dance away to joy 🙂
About the host - Vishal Krishna is among the brightest upcoming stars of the city and the grandson of Sitara Devi - India's most celebrated Kathak Dancer. He's been experimenting with old and new styles within Kathak throughout his life and is eager to share the joy. The workshop will be held in his ancestral house in Kabir Chaura - the same place where also practised the legendary Sitara Devi!
Know Your Storytellers
Aayush is fascinated by India's rich history and it's vibrant social and cultural landscape. Graduating from India's top engineering and management institutions, he decided to follow his passion and co-founded Roobaroo Walks.
Being an avid traveller himself, he loves to bring alive places with an eclectic mix of stories, facts, and conjectures. A deep sense of curiosity drives him to engage his audience and turn monologues into discussions. Let the engineer in him help you unravel India’s seeming complexities in a logical (and fun!) manner 🙂
Coming from a family with a strong ethos in ancestral wisdom, Anchal grew up with a deep interest in Yoga, the creative arts, and the healing power of foods. A seeker by nature, she drives the direction of Roobaroo – a quest for better understanding of the world outside and within, while keeping the focus on people, stories, and free expression.
In her spare time, Anchal can be found on the basketball court, immersed in books, and dancing! 🙂
Sudarshan with his perennial smile and a boy-next-door attitude will put you at ease right away. With a deep interest in history and culture, he effortlessly weaves ancient legends and stories in a modern context. His stories are peppered with simple life advice derived from Indian mythology and are sure to hold you in good stead in the long run 😉
At work, Sudarshan is very organized and enjoys meeting people and when not working, he loves cooking, and his girlfriend (who he’s soon to marry!)
Saurabh engages and enthralls his audience with rare panache. His love for Public speaking and Poetry led him to anchor several major heritage shows, where he got a chance to learn more about Varanasi from her most eloquent lovers. Actively involved in the social service scene, he has been awarded Varanasi’s Youth icon for 2 consecutive years. He is also a self- confessed foodie and even locals are taken aback by his nuanced understanding of recipes and ingredients!
Tune-in with him into the ‘khulla mizaaj’ (joyful spirit) of Varanasi 🙂
Anupam is the man around town with a camera! Exploring the alleys of Varanasi from a photographer's perspective for 12 years, Anupam has a familiarity with his city that is hard to rival. At age 26, he had become a guest lecturer at the esteemed Banaras Hindu University. Every photograph for him is a story, and at Roobaroo, he’s been experimenting with more ways to share these stories 🙂
An extroverted personality and a knack to facilitate conversations between the locals and travellers alike, lead to interesting detours on the walks led by him!
With roots going back seven generations in the city, Mudita is a true Banarasi at heart. She loves sharing stories, applying multiple perspectives to even mundane things, and doesn’t take herself too seriously! A foodie at heart, she will introduce you to the best local hangouts. She is also an amateur dancer, nature lover, and travel enthusiast.
Her child like effervescence is sure to delight you as she shows you around her city 🙂
We are a registered company (Reg. No. - UPSA43707842), with a team that's keen on sharing the Indian heritage with the world. We all come from different educational and industrial backgrounds, held together by a common philosophy rather than a formal network.
Testimonials from our explorers
We took back to back tours with Akansha (essential Delhi walk) and Aayush (food tour) and both were absolutely amazing!! Worth every rupee and so much fun. The walking tour takes you to places you would never get to otherwise, and the food tour - well, simply delicious. Plus, Aayush was such an outstanding guide, we wish we could have continued all day. Highly recommended!
Reviewed on TripAdvisor
We had a great day in Delhi with Roobaroo walks. We asked them specifically to customise a trail and they promptly researched the area and constructed a fascinating tour through it which enhanced our historical understanding and appreciation of the site. Plus, Roobaroo always has the best stories! Afterwards, Aayush took me to the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh temple, and showed me around with deep knowledge and sensitivity. Helping out in the Gurudwara kitchen after eating lunch with the community was one of the highlights of my trip 🙂
Reviewed on TripAdvisor
Roobaroo planned a splendid walking tour for us in Mehrauli in Delhi even though this site was not on their list of organized tours. They researched it thoroughly and provided us with a well thought out and very knowledgeable tour of the area. I can’t say enough about this tour group. As a world traveler, I have had experiences with many tour organizations but none with the thoughtfulness and intelligence displayed by Roobaroo
Reviewed on TripAdvisor
Roobaroo Walks will take you to places few meters away from chaos & you will be awe struck to experience the gentle side of Varanasi - peace like no other place has. Every corner has a story & Roobaroo Walks is best at narrating them. I have been to the city multiple times in the past but only got to know the real city after going for the tour!
Reviewed on TripAdvisor
Rivendell, a bunch of hobbits, and Gandalf! That's how I pictured ourselves while Aayush was navigating us through the narrow labyrinths of the mystical & magnificent Banaras. Saw all cultures & beliefs converging into one space and modifying themselves as per modern times. Tales from the oldest civilisations wrapped up in a 3-hour walk!
Reviewed on TripAdvisor
While we had explored the city by ourselves, & all of us have been in India for several months, having the walk made Varanasi come alive and added so much more context to everything we had seen. They were also very responsive while booking (it was a bit last minute and we were a bit indecisive), so that was much appreciated!
Sonya S, USA
Reviewed on TripAdvisor
I participated in the north & south walks. They were both different and offered real insights into life and religion in Varanasi that a guide book will never give you. These tours are not to be missed. The walk reveals Varanasi's history through personal stories of inhabitants. An added advantage is that they are realistically priced!
Helen Barrow, Australia
Reviewed on TripAdvisor
There are 2 Varanasis: BR (Before Robaroo) and AR (After Robaroo). BR is a crowdy, caotic, smelly, noisy and dirty city where you want to run away asap. AR is one of the most interesting places you've ever been and you'll ever be with a very rich history, super interesting culture, crazy rituals and habits, and one of the best food you can find on earth!
Pato Castellano, Argentina
Reviewed on TripAdvisor
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