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Kriti Gallery was set up by Navneet Raman in the year 2006. It is one of the most sophisticated and interesting contemporary art galleries in the country. It was established with an idea to provide space for exchanging artistic and cultural interaction. It organizes exhibitions, artists in residency program and projects and handicrafts boutique. The exhibition showcases Indian and international art forms. The residency is a place where you can interact with different artists who work towards promoting art and culture in India. Lastly, the boutique presents some of the finest handicrafts that are worth appreciating.
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.
The lesser-known Dundi Raj Ganesh Mandir lies just a few minutes away from the acclaimed Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Heavily armed policemen are the first thing you will encounter at the entrance, and they will fiercely ward off anyone trying to take photographs even from the entrance. Though this may seem a bit much to foreign travelers, the reasons are more to prevent terrorists from conducting a recce rather than preservation of sanctity. The main deity of this revered temple is Lord Ganesha who is the son of Shiva.
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.