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Located a few minutes away from the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the Raj Bandhu Sweet Shop is buzzing with activity during all times of the day. Selling the choicest sweetmeats in town at fixed rates, you can even sample a few of the usual suspects such as gulab jamun, jalebi, motichur laddoo and others. Spicy deep-fried snacks that Indians consume at tea time are also on offer. This shop is hard to miss because of the line of policemen who sit right by the entrance to guard the little streets leading up to the temple.
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.
When all of the city's locals descend upon one destination to shop for traditional Indian wear during festivals, marriages or auspicious occasions, you know this place is something to reckon with. Kala Niketan commands a huge presence in Varanasi's list of shopping options for saris, lehenga cholis and embroidered garments which make up the wedding trousseau. The rates are slightly on the higher side but you can be assured of quality and peace of mind. This is a great shop to head to if you want to take back home a slice of Varanasi's proverbial Benarasi Silk Sari.
The H.K. Flower Shop is one of the many that line the entrance to Varanasi's Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Located just a few feet away from entrance number two, locker facilities are available for those who want to deposit their valuables, mobile phones, cameras and shoes before entering the holy premises. Though the locker service is free, they do expect you to buy some flowers or other offerings to cover costs. It's also possible to grab a chai or a chilled Coke and relax for a bit in the shaded interiors.
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.
Think Benares. Think Benarasi Paan! And where better to experience this delicacy than at the highly patronized Deepak Thambal Bhandar which lies right by the Kashi Vishwanath Temple main entrance on Dasashwamedh Road. For the uninitiated, paan is simply a betel leaf smothered generously with lime paste and sweeteners and spices. Eaten and spat out with great gusto (not necessarily into a spittoon), men with red-stained mouths chew lustily on this delicacy that Varanasi has grown to become synonymous with. Deepak Thambal Bhandar serves up delicious variants of paan which should be sampled at least once even if it is an acquired taste and not necessarily something that grows onto you immediately or ever!