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Prince Silk Palace may not appeal to the budget-conscious traveler as it tends to deal mostly with affluent charter tourist groups or on a commission basis with touts and guides who convince travelers to visit their 'uncle's shop. It is recommended to enter this shop as a walk-in and preferably without the accompaniment of a guide; this way you won't be paying 30% extra for the guide's commission charges. Raw silk, fine silk, leather silk, Gandhi silk, silk pashminas, ties, scarves and bed covers are all on offer. The portly owner who goes by the name of Prince will set you down on his cushioned floors and unfurl an array of sheets, shawls or sarees before you. Prince offers good options for those wanting to take home a piece of the famed Benarasi silk works.
Making the most of its prime location along the busy Dasashwamedh Road, Sunita Beads Shop is one place where you will be spoilt for choice. Every inch of space on all three walls are taken up by jewelry on display. Whether its shiny bracelets, earrings, anklets, necklaces or colorful glassy beads that catch your eye, it's all for the taking here. Be warned: you may have have a tough time deciding what to finally pick up especially since the mind-boggling number of displays spill from the walls onto the floor.
Maa Silk & Handicraft Industries is located right by the side of Om Communications in the Tripura Bhairavi area of the Old City. This is where travelers head to purchase and take home memoirs of Varanasi's legendary silk sarees. Bed covers, silk ties, brocade, raw silk, pure silk, scarves, batik prints and even leather silk is sold here. A good idea is to come here alone and not accompanied with touts, tourist guides or 'friendly' locals who want to take you to their 'uncle's' silk shop.
Dasashwamedh Sabji Mandi is the main vegetable market along Dasashwamedh Road which assures you heaps of farm-fresh veggies to choose from at inexpensive rates. Walk through this market and watch the locals go about their daily purchases whilst bargaining for better rates and bigger quantities. Photographers are most likely to have a field day with the riot of colors and piles that lay carefully stacked once dawn breaks; whether juicy red tomatoes, deep purple aubergines or cool green cucumbers, you're sure to find it all here!
Tucked away in the by-lanes of Varanasi's Old City lies the Vishnu Tea Emporium whose hand-painted signs are seen on almost every wall of the ghats area and its alleys. Young Vishnu who speaks a smattering of French proudly discusses how he explains the tea-making process to French tourists in their own language. Home-made spices and coffees are up for sale, while those wanting to sample a hot tea before buying it can do so too.
Located near Shanti Guest House, the entrance to this bakery is quite unappealing. Though it nullifies the first impression to an extent with a classic range of breads and pastries and a compact, colorful dining space. The place doubles up as a multi-cuisine restaurant with amazing choices of Indian, Italian, Continental and Chinese cuisines. May be a bit on the louder side as it is right in the middle of a narrow alley, the atmosphere is still conducive for a relaxed meal. Burning Ghat and Lalita Ghat are in the close vicinity. Also an attraction not to miss around here is the Nepali Temple which is just meters away.