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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the world's leading sportswear brands, Puma, has a charming store in Varanasi. Particularly aimed at the style-conscious youngsters of the city, this high end store has a collection of casual wear for men and women, bags, and sports goodies in addition to the wide range of sneakers and athletic shoes. Located inside the SSD complex, which is quite close to IP Mall Sigra, Bharat Mata Mandir and the classy Hotel Varuna.
With a network spanning over 120 countries, United Colors of Benetton is one of the world's leading luxury brands. Serving Varanasi with the elegant designs is this store inside SSD complex in Sigra. Located next to the Puma store, this outlet has a vast choice of casual shirts, t-shirts and denims for men and women. Definitely a stop over for the brand conscious and the style conscious, this shop has an attractive demeanor. Also visit the nearby IP Mall Sigra for a more elaborate shopping experience.
Fabindia is a success story all the way; this Indian retail store which has opened outlets in Italy offers buyers quality even if the prices appear slightly inflated. Women can choose from capris, kurtas, dupattas, bags, stoles, skirts, pants and jewelry while men are not left behind with tunics, kurtas, churidars, jackets and shirts to take home. The colors here tend to be in pastel shades with a trademark light embroidery. Not just clothes but also home ware and wellness products like bed sheets, quilts, napkins, mats, curtains, sun screens, face scrubs, skin toners, shampoos and hair-conditioners are yours for the taking.
Short for Indraprasth Mall, the IP Mall in Sigra is fast-becoming the pride of the simple folks of Varanasi who have started to wake up to the glamour of globalization. Although tourists seek out the spiritual nature of the ghats, a look at the mall culture is a must to fully comprehend a city in transition which still somehow maintains the delicate balance between tradition and modernity. Giants such as Reebok, Citizen, Sony, Lee, McDonalds, Adidas and Dominoes have marked their presence here and are well-patronized, while the IP Cinemas within offers audiences a comfortable cinematic viewing experience. A play-area with a toy train has been thoughtfully planned out for families with little children.
The Archies Gallery is an absolute treat even if just to browse around in. Soft toys, greeting cards for all occasions, wind chimes, stationery, key chains, red love pillows, photo albums, personalized mugs, accessories, books and all kinds of bric-a-brac line the walls from top to bottom. A set of friendly staff will help you find what you're looking for. Only fixed marked prices here so relax and let the shopping begin.
What could the M in Planet M possibly stand for? It's MUSIC! This retail chain has penetrated most urban pockets of India, and Varanasi is no exception. Not just music CDs, also expect to find a range of international movie DVDs, pen drives, digital photo frames, games, Apple iPods, accessories, caps, cups, t-shirts and more. Call for timings.