Varanasi has earned a reputation as the religious and cultural capital of the country. However, not very many people are aware that this city, which is renowned for its religious kiosks, river-washed ghats and spiritual ashrams, is equally famous for its thriving commercial centers. The city of Varanasi is one of the important trading centers in the country. This has inspired itinerants and merchants to migrate to this city and make Varanasi their permanent residence. The biggest attraction of Varanasi is the exquisite hand woven silk fabrics laced with intricate thread work. This fine and complicated embroidery work on silk is a popular and a common art form in India. Besides this, the city is also famous for its handicraft products such as ivory, woodcarvings, wall hangings, carpets, sculptures in brass etc. You can easily shop for these things on the street-side stalls of Varanasi. Go through the article to explore the shopping places in Varanasi.
Shopping Places In Varanasi
Varanasi is one of the major exporters of silk in the world and the trade sector of the city is purely dominated by silk weavers and merchants. The Banarasi silk is considered the most prized fabric in India and forms a vital part of every Indian bride’s trousseau. This soft, silky material is usually worn by the women folk only during important ceremonial events. The Banarasi brocades are hand woven in gold and silver color threads that are exclusive in this region. Banarasi silks can cost you a bomb. However, if you wish to grab the best deals on silks, then head to Ganga silks on Sivala road, which offers a jaw-dropping range of Banarasi silks at amazing prices. You can also check out for these silks in the government-managed emporiums if you don’t wish to splurge. You can also shop for these famous silk weaves at Mohan Silk store, Mahalaxmi Sari House, Bhagwan Silks and Mehrotra Silk Factory near Brahma Ghat. If sari is not what you are looking to buy, then you can also find scarves, endless rolls of silk fabric, shawls and other silk products. With its soft silken textures the Banarasi silk personifies a women’s elegance. So, don’t forget to include this most coveted silk on your shopping list.
While you are shopping for handicrafts, do shop for the intricately intertwined carpets from Mirzapur that are hugely popular in the region. They come in a wide variety of multicolored hues combined with captivating patterns. The right place to look around for handmade souvenir items is at J. R. Ivory, Arts & Curios, Kashmir Crafts at the Hatua Market, The New Curio Cottages located at the Buddha Vihar Colony and the S.L. Handicrafts on R.H. Towers.
If England has been home to Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, the ghat’s of Varanasi has been an inspiration to many famous Indian writers such as Prem Chand, Jaishankar Prasad, Ram Chandra Shukla who elevated Hindi literature to a higher level. Apart from the large literary population living close to the banks of Ganges, Varanasi is also home to some of the best universities in the country. If you are bookworm then you don’t have to be disappointed as the city has a number of book houses that comprises of Indian literature, philosophy, poetry and other diverse topics. Head straight to Indica Books near Assi Ghat, Pilgrims Book House located close to the famous ‘monkey temple’ and also take a peek at Universal book house located on Gowdowlia to find a great collection of books.
Home to one of the largest arena of Hindu faith, spiritual paraphernalia can be easily bought from shops situated close to the ghat’s and temples of Varanasi. You can find street stalls that sell bright colored vermillion, fragrant incense sticks, sandalwood and other interesting items.
The city is also well known for designing traditional musical instruments in the country. The musical artistes are the most sought after by famous musician such as Ravi Shankar and Ustad Bismillah Khan. Do stroll through the market place to find some of the finest music instruments such as sitars, table, pakhawaj and shehnai. If you love music, then this is the right place to visit in India.
No tourist should return from Varanasi without sampling some of the local delicacies in the city. Banaras is also famous for its mangoes that flood the local bazaar streets during summer season. The mangoes come in two popular varieties, the ‘langda’ and the ‘malda’. Although seasonal, these juicy delights still manage to stir an obsession among the people here. Apart from this, you can try out the Banarasi beetle leaf specialty, also known as ‘paan’, which is common after-meal refreshment served in this region.