Lassi, a yogurt drink topped with fruits and spices, is hugely popular in the Northern side of India, and Varanasi has the atmospheric Blue Lassi Shop to boast an exclusive shop. Painted in blazing blue, the small outlet is on the narrow alley leading to the mighty Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The small seating area has a nice display of photographs. Served in earthen pots, the drink is a must-try while in India; look no further than this blue laden charmer to try it out.
Hugely popular for the skillfully crafted shawls, upholstery and scarves, Baba Black Sheep is a favorite destination of tourists in Varanasi. The silk here is woven with utmost care and precision; the owner often willfully offers to describe the tedious process. Neatly stacked in two sections the exquisite fabrics will charm you with a grand assortment of colors and design. A leading exporter of Pashmina (Cashmere wool) Shawls, this shop holds the privilege of being listed in popular travel books and magazines. Do visit for the impressive collection of genuine silk products.
A local market made famous as a treasure trove of brass products, Thatheri Bazar lies close to the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple. A walk through its narrow lanes lets you explore the various kinds of brass ornaments and utensils made by the local smiths. The brass water pot, called 'kamandalam', is a popular item sold here. Additionally, one can also shop for intricate minakari accessories, clay pots, copper bowls and hand-made rugs.
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.
Nestled in the heart of the buzzing Maheshpur town, Godowlia Market is swarming with local traders selling all kinds of stuff at great bargains. Found at a short distance from the nearest railway station, it is labeled as one of the busiest open markets of the city, and quite rightly so. The cramped lanes are packed with stalls selling household essentials, ethnic jewelry, handmade shawls and zari garments, among other intricately designed apparel. Post a tiring shopping spree at Godowlia, one may choose the visit the serene Kashi Temple lying a few blocks ahead.
The Bed Silk and Pashmina is a treasure trove for the finest silk fabrics and clothing in the holy city. Found at Assi Ghat's Ganga Math, the fabric shop also stocks an exhaustive collection of cotton and pashmina shawls, cushion covers, and scarves. The attendants are extremely courteous and friendly, helping you in choosing the right product as per your needs.
In a city that is synonymous with the celebrated Banarasi Silk Sari, there is no dearth of shops selling this exquisite Indian garment worn by women across the country. Hira Silk Palace is one such example which is hard to miss owning to its prime location on the main Dasashwamedh Road. Not just pure silk, you can also pick up Baluchari, Jamdani, cotton and other interesting variations in a hue of colors to suit your taste. This shop manufactures its own sarees which makes it yet another reason to stop by. The well-informed staff will do their best to give you a quick lesson on the finer nuances of this elegant garment.
One would hardly imagine the possibility of buying a Pierre Cardin pen in the heart of Varanasi's crowded Old City. Calling itself the 'An Exclusive Pen Shop,' PENCO offers you not just designer pens but a whole gamut of office and school stationery including calculators, files, journals, color paints, erasers, charcoal pencils and more to choose from. Stop by for a visit if you are ever in need of quality products at fixed rates.
Varanasi has long been associated with traditional wooden toys that are crafted and polished with lacquer, and of the best places to buy these is from the quaint Agrawal Toys Emporium which is in the same building as Sahi River View Guest House. The toys are more for center-table display than for kids to play with however, this does not act as a deterrent to families and kids who are equally intrigued. Souvenirs, CDs, cassettes, post cards and handicrafts are also on offer here. A good idea would be to visit the adjacent Harmony Book Shop later and then head to the breezy Assi Ghats steps for a sojourn.
Located right in the heart of Varanasi's hippie haven - Assi Ghat, the Kashi Annapoorna Book House is run by the astute businessman Manish Dixit who has done well in meeting the needs of scholars, researchers and students interested in Indian art, philosophy, religion and lifestyles. Supporting the local arts community, don't be surprised if you come across a photography exhibition by neighborhood teenagers. An interesting collection of music and movies is on sale too. This book shop also stocks Himalaya Ayurvedic products which are a rage with Indophiles abroad going by the sheer number of exports that take place each day.
Founded by Ruchika Mehrotra, a Master of Fine Arts degree holder from the esteemed Banaras Hindu University, Ruchika Art Gallery is truly a treasure trove of traditional Indian crafts. The talented artists recreates the breathtaking Varanasi ghats on her canvas, while also weaves magic with antique replicas and Ganesha models. The atmosphere at the gallery is quite welcoming and ambient, complete with soothing music being played in the background and the courteous staff bringing you a cup of tea as soon as you walk in.