Varanasi is famous for its silk weaving, and Banarasi silks are a part of every girl’s wedding trousseau. Banaras Brocades are prized the world over. Brassware, copperware, wooden and clay toys and exquisite gold jewellery are some of the other craft the city is famous for. The hand - knotted carpets of Mirzapur and musical instruments are among the other shopping attractions. Banaras is also famous for its ‘ Langda Aam’, a variety of mangoes available in the summer. Betel leaf is also a specialty. The main shopping areas are Chowk, Vishwanath Gali, Thatheri bazaar, Lahurabir, Godoulia , Dashswamedh Gali and Golghar.
With hustlers and rickshaw drivers keen to drag tourists into shops offering commission, shopping in Varanasi can be a nightmare but its worth seeking out the city's rich Silk weaving and brasswork. The best areas to browse are the Thatheri Bazaar (for brass), Jnana Vapi and the Vishwanatha Gall with its Temple Bazaar (for silk brocade and jewellery). State run emporia in Godaulia, lahurabir and the Chowk - the three Handlooms outlets at Lahurabir, Nadesar and Neechi Bag, and Mahatex in Godaulia - of fixed prices and assured quality. Housed in a former palace opposite the Taj Hotel, Cantt, the CIE has a large and impressive selection but, despite its official-sounding name, is outrageously expensive Kashmiri-run chain aimed exclusively at the fivestar market.
Sales pitches tend to become more aggressive when it comes to silk, and you need be wary of the hard-sell. Qazi Sadullahpura, near Chhavi Mahal Cinema, lies at the heart of a fascinating Muslim neighbourhood devoted to the production of silk. Upica, the government-run emporium has the advantage of fixed prices, with outlets at Godaulia opposite the Taj Hotel, Cantt. Handloom House, D64/132K Sigra, another government sponsored chain, is the best and safest place to buy silk with a modern showroom although the sales staff appear disorganized. For tailoring, try Paraslakshmi Exports, Chandrika Colony Sigra (ph: 361496), a silk business providing a good and prompt service; they'll deliver to your hotel, and also offer ready-made waistcoats and boxer shorts.
Varanasi is not only the cultural capital of India. The place has a special importance also when it comes to commerce. The city is a flourishing commercial center and has a lion share in the trade volume in the regions east of Delhi. The city from ages has been a center of handicraft especially silk weaving. Nowhere in the world would you find this fine embroidery not even in China.
Other items that are worth buying include brassware, ivory ware, gold jewelry, woodcraft, wall hangings, lampshades, carpets and busts of various deities. Pick up a few for mementoes. The main shopping areas are Chowk, Godowilia, Vishwanath Lane and Thatheri Bazaar though modern shopping malls are also popping up. The city dominates the silk weaving arena in the world. It has become the part and parcel of any ceremony so much so that finely weaved Banarasi silks are a part of every girl's wedding trousseau. Banaras Brocades has no competition whatsoever. Do buy a few to gift your dear ones. They are costly and might burn holes in your pockets but as said, "Good Things Costs Money".
Banaras is also famous for its ' Langda' or 'Malda mangoes', a variety of juicy mangoes that have a craze all over India. Betel leaf is also a specialty in Banaras. If you have an ear for music then Benaras is a place to be. The city that has likes of Ravi Shankar and Ustad Bismillah Khan as its patron boasts of skillfully designed musical instruments that are famous throughout the world. These include among others Sitars, Tabla, Pakhawaj and Shehnai.
Keeping the preferences of tourists in mind the city has developed an Urban Haat where artisans (State and National Awarded) from various states are brought together to showcase the handicrafts of India daily on roster basis of 15 Days. So that the excitement of up coming crafts remains the same. The Compound of Haat is provided with all basic public amenities accolade the Indian music, art, craft and culture spiced with exclusive food plazas.
Venue : Urban Haat, Sanskritik Sankul, Maqbool Alam Road, Chowka Ghat, Varanasi.
Entry Ticket `2/-; Timing: Daily 9:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Souvenir Shops and Malls
M/s Mehrotra Silk Factory, S. C. - 21/72, Englishia Line, Varanasi.
M/s J. R. Ivory, Arts & Curios, D-20, Vishvanath Gali, Varanasi.
M/s Baba Black Sheep , Bhelupur , Varanasi.
M/s Bhagwan Leela Sports, 41-Sindhu Nagar Colony, Sigra, Varanasi..
M/s Mohan Silk Store, D-5/154, Vishvanath Gali, Varanasi.
M/s Bhagwan Store, D-10/3, Vishvanath Gali, Varanasi.
M/s Chaudhari Brothers, Thatheri Bazar, Varanasi
M/s Mahalaxmi Sari House, 10, Chandrika Colony, Sigra, Varanasi.
M/s Bhagwan Silks, S-10/86, Sarnath, Varanasi.
IP Mall , Sigra Varanasi
JHV , The Mall , Cantt.
Modern Reception Centre, Sarnath
Shivansh Handicraft, Pandey Ghat, Varanasi, Mob. 9335640006
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