The country’s 39-day staggered general election – from April 11 to May 19 — has neared its mid-point, with votes due to be counted on May 23.
Varanasi was one of two seats that Modi fought and won at the last election in 2014. He has so far chosen to represent Varanasi in parliament and is not likely to pursue any other seat.
Surrounded by tens of thousands of supporters, Modi, who is seeking a second term as premier, bowed to the crowd with folded hands from an elevated podium. He then toured the city in an SUV, standing to greet supporters through the sunroof.
The city was decorated with BJP flags and saffron-colored balloons, as sounds of drums and songs praising Modi grew louder as the prime minister arrived.
At the end of his roadshow, Modi participated in a holy Hindu ritual on the Ganges riverside.
Earlier on Thursday, leader of India’s main opposition Congress Party, Priyanka Gandhi, also held a roadshow in northern Jhansi city.
(Production: Lucy Marks)