Varuna-Ganga Sangam

We started our walk from Dashashwamedh Ghat and reached Malviya bridge. Kashi Railway Station is nearby on the left hand side. After crossing Malviya bridge, we reached Besant College road on the right side. And finally, the very first ghat of Varanasi – Rajghat. Nearby is Varuna Ganga Sangam.

Varanasi is having 80 ghats. Varuna and Assi (The last ghat) if combined is known as Varanasi.

Aghan Purnima is the day devotees start town parikrama from Manikarnika Ghat to reach Varuna Ganga Sangam. Next day i.e., first day of the Pausha (पौष) month as per Hindu calendar i.e., almost in the last week of December as per English calendar, Atargiri mela (festival) is held at Varuna Ganga Sangam. Devotees gather in large numbers to worship the Varuna and Ganga rivers and then by boat they sail towards Manikarnika Ghat to complete the journey.

Knowledge enhanced. Thanks to Lachchu, Bablu of Sarai Mohana village and many many thanks to Shree Vinay Kumar Tripathi – priest of Aadi Keshaw Vishnu temple for sharing knowledge.

Traditional Sweets and Snacks

We started our walk from Dashashwamedh Ghat and reached Malviya bridge. After crossing the bridge, we reached the Besant College road. First, we visited ‘Varuna-Ganga Sangam’ and a visit to the nearby Lord Vishnu temple. While coming back, we stopped at Rajkamal’s shop to have some snacks as we were very hungry. There we saw other than snacks traditional sweets such as Lai ke Laddu (puffed rice balls), Groundnut Chikki, Ramdana Patti, Chini ka Patta etc. etc. We requested for ten rupees Besan ki Papdi which is my personal favorite namkeen. It was very tasty.

If you roam around Varanasi, you will find numerous shops selling traditional sweets and snacks.

Lotus Flowers

This photo was taken at Phool Bazar, Bansphatak, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

Rs. 5/- per Lotus Flower. It is offered to Lord Shiva, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Hanuman.

Keshav Pan Bhandar (60 years old) – Best Paan Shop in Varanasi

Banaras is famous for paan, as we all know. As there are numerous paan shop, I was in search of one of the best paan shop. Assi Ghat was a nearby location, and we two were riding rickshaw. Upon query from a passer-by, knowledge was enhanced.

At Lanka there is Keshav and at Godowlia Chowk there is Gama Paan Bhandar.

As Lanka was nearby, we decided to continue our ride. The shop is almost at the corner of Nagwan Road, Lanka crossing. I was amazed to watch more than 10 people waiting for their paan. I was another to join the waiting list. Our order was Meetha Paan. After ten minutes of waiting, it was served. Cost Rs. 15/- per paan. And the taste, quality is excellent. Worth waiting. Usually when we have paan it stays for a long time inside our mouth, but this paan melted so fast and the flavor remained for a longer time. It was Maghai for sure and the preparation the real talent.

Address: Keshav Pan Bhandar, Nagwan Road, Sant Ravidas Gate, Lanka, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Shop Timings: 6 am – 12 night.

Upon query, I was told this shop is 60 years old, but their ancestor’s oldest shop is at Vishwanath gali, nearby Dashashwamedh ghat.

Pahalwan Sweets (65 years old), Lassi and Doodh, Lanka Crossing

We two were nearby Lanka and were deciding to return home, but then I inquired with a shopkeeper about a famous shop selling ‘Launglata’ as I was having little knowledge about a shop selling one of the best Launglata in Lanka. I was guided to visit Lanka and visit Pahalwan Sweets. Thank you – said I.

Within minutes I was there, but first the request was for two plates, both with one Samosa and one Kachori. It was served with tomato chatni. Delicious – the chatni. Kachori was tightly filled with ‘Sattu’ and very good in taste. And then I requested for one ‘Launglata’. Within Banaras you will see most of the sweet shops selling Launglata but for this 65 years old shop I will say – fantastic preparation.

Samosa – Rs. 4/-

Kachori – Rs. 5

And Launglata – Rs. 8/-

Shop Timings: 9 am – 2 am

I was amazed when the owner said few times even till 4 in the morning.

And why is Pahalwan the name of the shop?

Because my father was a wrestler (pahalwan) – The owner said showing a photograph.

Baba Thandai (60 years old), Hauz Katora

One day during the evening hours we – three friends were on our way to have Dahi wale Gol Gappe. At Bansphatak inside a small lane, I saw a colorful shop with the display board ‘Baba Thandai’. I entered as I was interested in Thandai but whether it is ‘Bhang ki Thandai’ or only ‘Thandai’ prepared with dry fruits, saffron, milk etc. etc. – The question.

The owner of the 60 years old shop enhanced knowledge. He said – though he serves Thandai only prepared with milk, saffron, dry fruits, etc. etc. but yes, Bhang is also available for FREE.

We do not take Bhang. We requested for two glasses of Thandai and later one more glass as it was delicious.

Rs. 35/- cost of one big Thandai glass.

Shop Timings: 1 pm – 10 pm

One should visit.

Blue Lassi Shop (70 years old), Kachowri Gali Chowk

We were walking in the lanes and by-lanes of Varanasi and saw a display board talking about Blue Lassi Shop 100 meters away. We followed the route till we reached the shop. It was full with customers. We check the menu. Apple Lassi, Banana Lassi, Strawberry Lassi, Chocolate Lassi, Mixed Fruit Lassi and many such flavors are available. I was confused which one to have. I requested the owner busy with making Lassi for customers to prepare Lassi as per his choice.

He replied – How can I decide when I don’t know you. Stay at least for 10 days, and then only I will be able to decide.

I had a smile. Decision was taken – Mixed Fruit Lassi.

Served in a large Kulhad. One of the best Lassi I had till-date. Full of calories because till the evening I was not hungry.

Cost – Rs. 85/-. One should try Lassi at Blue Lassi Shop if visiting Varanasi.

The shop is 70 years old opens at 9 am till 9 pm.

Landmark: Burning Ghat