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A bustling market in the heart of the holy city, Vishwanath Gali is where you can find all things local and traditional. While the market largely caters to pilgrims headed to the nearby Kashi Vishwanath Temple, it is also buzzing with a number of shops that sell Banarasi sarees, dress materials, religious books, statues and jewelry. Particularly popular with foreign tourists are brass items and the Rudraksha mala.
Run by a city local named Monu, Monu Tours organizes, bout tours, tuk tuk tours, car tours and walking tours for those keen to explore the sacred city's rich culture and heritage. Boat trips usually happen during sunset or sunrise and take visitors through the beautiful and serene Ganges. Walking and tuk tuk tours let one visit the various markets, temples and the Ghats, rightly labeled as the soul of the city. During each of these tours, visitors also get to devour local grub served at food stalls dotting various narrow lanes and streets.
Located along the busy Dasashwamedh Road is the beautiful sandstone Guru Brihaspathi Mandir (temple) whose entrance is lined with shops selling saffron garments sporting ancient Sanskrit verses, Hindu religious symbols or simply the word 'Kashi' (ancient name for Varanasi). Legend has it that Lord Shiva revealed himself to Guru Brihaspathi thousands of years ago here, and till date Hindu pilgrims consider this temple a must-visit. Thursdays are auspicious and getting past the teeming crowds can be a task but if witnessing spiritual fervor at its height appeals to you, go for it!
International Music Centre Ashram is located in Bangali Tola in Varanasi. It conducts concerts every Saturday and Wednesday. Special Music Festival is conducted at the end of each month. Some of the musical instruments taught here are Sitar, Flute, Tabla and Vocal. It also teaches Yoga and Dance. The Bangali Tola area has a number of shops that sell musical instruments. So no matter which classical instrument you choose, you are sure to find the same nearby.
Named after a celebrated Bengali lawyer and freedom fighter from India's Independence Struggle, the Chitaranjan Das Park occupies a quiet spot off the busy Dasashwamedh Road. One is likely to encounter crippled beggars, sadhus (holy men) and vagrants who lounge around seeking respite under the leafy trees here. The monsoons witness a flurry of activity in the form of free distribution of food to the less fortunate.
A historic temple considered to be over 2000 years old, Dharmesh Temple is a well-worthy site to visit near the Hotel Alka in Meer Ghat. The preserved atmosphere has a serene vibe and the surrounding areas are inhabited by families who conduct the religious rituals at the temple. The historic 'well,' located in the same premises, known as 'Dharmesh Koop' is also a sacred sight to watch. The old 'Shanidev Tree' is another spectacle in the compound. Do visit the temple and talk to the people around who will explain the rich history willingly.