Counted among the oldest continually inhabited cities of the world and the holiest in Hinduism, Varanasi is a tourist destination popular among pilgrims from different parts of the world. While the city is renowned as a place to wash away sins in the sacred waters, it is an amazing place to buy local as well as international products.
When in Varanasi, shoppers can get their hands on these wonderful souvenirs in the street markets scattered all across the city:
Banarasi Silk Sarees
The holy city is best known for selling rich quality Banarasi sarees and women from all over the world do not miss to grab their hands on at least two or three during their visit. You can find them in a variety of shades and colours. While Banarasi Sarees are available all over the city, peelikothi area of Varanasi and the whole sale shops in Thateri bazaar are some of the popular areas where you can get the finest collection and quality at great prices.
The Holy Water of Ganga
It is said that the holy water of Ganga or Ganga Jal is the biggest export from Varanasi and most people take the water along with them. There are heaps of plastic bottles of all sizes available for sale on the way to the Ghats of Ganga. People can carry water in these bottles or can pick it up in small copper cans that come with a seal to prevent leakage. These cans are especially designed as souvenirs to carry from Kashi.
An unknown art of the holy city, Gulabi Minakari is one such souvenir all sorts of tourists would love to take back home. While the Minakari work on precious metals like gold and silver is done in western India – Rajasthan and Gujarat, the Mina work in pink colour is done only here in Varanasi. Visitors can spot craftsmen performing this art in the by lanes near Gaighat; the small souvenirs of birds and elephants decorated with Gulabi Minakari are amazing home decorators and are the mostly sold items here.
Rudraksha Mala is one major accessory one should not miss buying when in Varanasi. It is a polished seed of Rudraksha tree considered to be the tear of Rudra and earlier form of Shiva. This organic jewellery has been worn by saints from time immemorial and is thus considered a very sacred seed among Hindus. You can get all types of Rudraksha here and can also buy coins engraved with Varanasi’s two famous temples on both sides. People buy these accessories as a remembrance of Varanasi.
The markets in Varanasi comprise several lanes of coloured wooden toys. You can meet wood crafters in Khojwa area of the city that typically make bright coloured wooden toys in the form of elephants and birds. You can also find human figurines, wooden creation of Shiva family, key chains and pencils with curious caps. Other places where you can buy wooden lacquerware toys and furniture from across India include Etikoppaka in Andhra Pradesh, Chenna Patna in Karnataka and Sankheda in Gujarat.