Some go to Varanasi for spiritual enlightenment, some for salvation of their sins. Some are allured by its picturesque charm while others seek a good culinary experience. Whatever your reason may be, there’s a lot to bring back home to cherish the memories of the streets of Benaras. Nayonika Mandal shares her list of things to buy from Varanasi.
Something Sweet: The dark brown rustic coloured famous Benarasi Peda is nothing like the one found in Delhi. Not too sweet, it’s perfect for even those who do not have a sweet tooth! One more uncommon feature is the use of rose water which is used to enhance the taste and give it a mild rosy aroma.
BSD Tip: Try the sweet from near the famous Hanuman temple – Sankat Mochan. The sweet shops in Kachori Gali closer to Gadauliya are also popular.
Benarasi Saree: Your trip to Benaras would be incomplete without buying a Benarasi saree! Besides big showrooms and stores which are filled with designer Banarasi what caught my attention were the small old-styled work places. Original craft, customized designs, catchy colours, perfect texture and quality make it an exquisite sight.
BSD Tip: Even if you don’t buy a saree, we recommend you to check out the Peeli Kothi area of Varanasi. You can see the sarees being woven by weavers there. Quite an experience!
Something Spiritual: These were bottles of Ganga jal, and two more similar things that can make for wonderful gifts: rudraksh mala & Shiva lingas made up of crystal and black and white marbles.
Kashi Vishwanath temple is a must visit on a trip to Banaras. But before you actually enter the temple there is small walk of around 100-150 meters. But trust me once you enter the line you won’t underestimate 100 meters as a distance because there are almost 200 people in front& at back of you at a place which is as wide as a street in Paharganj in Delhi. However, both the sides of the small, slippery & creepy lane is lined up by shops similar to what can be seen in Vaishno Devi. These shops offer you a range of these pious items at attractive price& from pocket size to as big as you want.
Wooden Toys: One last thing that deserves a mention in this list are the wooden toys. Cleanly carved and finished with a bit of tribal and rustic designs, these can serve as an attractive show pieces placed in the drawing room.
Besides all these things a lot more delicacies of Benaras can be easily found in the old Benaras market located very close to the famous Ganga Ghats . The old city markets are not very big and are very similar as the markets as in Sarojini Nagar in Delhi. And when I say similar I also mean similar kind of haul that can be seen at Sarojini. The old markets are very famous among the locals and are easily accessible from any part of the city through autos.
Essential Travel Tips:
- While you are shopping in Benaras, don’t forget to have the famous lassi
- Beware of touts; do proper research before choosing your hotel
- Autos and taxis are easily available in Benaras, but remember to negotiate prices before you hire one