Address: D 20/21 Munshi Ghat tel: +91-542-2452179; +91-542-2455139.
Ram Bhawan is the residence of the Kautilya Society in Varanasi. KS is an Indian NGO that promotes intercultural dialogue and Ram Bhawan is its study Centre that offers hospitality to people interested in Indian studies. However travellers can also stay there also for just a couple of days. The atmosphere of Ram Bhawan is conducive to reading and study and remains faithful to the simple comforts of an Indian home with a splash of colour. Walls are painted in the colours of the ancient city: a cooling forest green facing the court; peacock blues and mango orange in the bedrooms. Furniture is colonial Teak or cane.
Ram Bhawan is a four-storey house built in a traditional Indian, joint-family style. It enjoys a beautiful view of the river Ganges from the terrace. It is situated in the heart of old city of Varanasi, next to Dashashwamedh Ghat.
The ground floor has a large sitting area, library and offices. The upper three floors have three bedrooms each, a sitting area, dining room, kitchen and bathrooms. The terrace has a study room with spectacular views of the river and the city. Bedrooms are furnished with a bed, a study table, chair, fan, mosquito net and a network outlet. Wireless internet connection is available 24 hours. Electrical back up systems help guest to cope with the frequent power cuts at Varanasi.
By Indian law, it is necessary for all residing guests to become members of the KS Organization; annual membership is 6 Euros; life membership is 20 Euros.
Donations requested for rooms range from € 5 to € 10 per day, including half board (€ 2 per day per guest for additional guest sharing the same room). In low season rates are approximately 20% lower. Special prices can be obtained by groups renting entire floors. Long term guests can get attractive discounts. Donations requested for rooms include breakfast and lunch prepared by a well trained cook. In the evenings, it is possible to cook something in the kitchenette on the third or first floor.
When renovating Ram Bhawan, the Kautilya Society founding members had to choose between creating many guest rooms and preserving a traditional Indian joint family environment. We chose the latter, which explains the few rooms we have and why we cost more than the average guest house in Varanasi. Ram Bhawan guests appreciate our decision. They find it a “home away form home”. After a long journey to Banaras, when guests enter the inner court of the ground floor at Ram Bhawan, they immediately feel a sense of calm.
While individual rooms are available for students at special rates for long-term stays, the house lends itself very well for being rented by small groups per floor, or by a larger group that wants to have the entire house at its disposition for a retreat or a study seminar.
Some remarks on the Ram Bhawan Guest Book:
“It was well worth the 40-hour train ride from Madras,” wrote Nancy Hausner from Woodstock, New York. “
“Places, people and timing add up to make an experience joyous or not; and there is no doubt in my mind that staying at Ram Bhawan, with its newly painted walls, amazing roof view, entire floor at our disposal, and kindness of everyone made my time in Varanasi as magical as it turned out to be,” wrote Ellen from Nepal. “It’s like finding a wonderful home in a strange land.” (Information taken from the Kautilya House website at www.kautilyasociety.com)