The Page Break Cafe

Owner: Amitabh Singh

Address: Assi ghat, Varanasi

The Page Break Cafe located at Assi ghat is a great place to enjoy a coffee.  The cafe offers free wifi internet. While you enjoy a coffee you are free to read the books and magazines in the coffee shop.  Air conditioning is also provided for customers during the hot season.  Behind the shop is an Amul ice-cream shop which also sells Amul butter, milk and cheese.  If you are looking for handicrafts, Amitabh also sells those in his attached Wow! India shop. 

Kautalya House

The Kautilya House has been open for some years as a guest house.  However, in 2010 a coffee shop was opened on the roof.  The menu is light consisting of sandwiches, eggs, cookies and various snacks.  There are teas from Darjeeling, Assam, Chinese and herbal as well as an assortment of coffee drinks.  For fruit drinks, there are thirteen kinds to choose from as wel as some blended drinks with coffee or even cranberry juice.  The roof top coffee shop gives a nice view of the city as well as the riverside.  On the ground floor is the beads and fabrics shop.


Follow this link to see the Kautilya House website.

Ram Bhawan: The Varanasi residence of Kautilya Community

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.

Address: D 20/21 Munshi Ghat tel: +91-542-2452179; +91-542-2455139. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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)


Flavours Cafe

Flavours Cafe in Lanka next to Ravidas gate is now open for business.  This could be the coldest place in Lanka as a generator is installed to run the three air conditioning units. The view from the cafe through their floor to ceiling windows is excep tional. Flavours offers many types of coffees as well as non-caffeinated drinks.  They also sell many types of pastries and even pizza and sandwiches. Hours are 10am to 10pm.  After a hiatus of two years, Flavours is again ready to serve Varanasi!

Open Hand : Community Crafts & Coffee

Location: Dumraun Bagh Colony, Assi

Tel: 0542-3253626

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: www.openhandonline.com

Wow! you are in for a treat when you come to Assi! Just a short walk up from the river in Dumraun Bagh Colony is a shop called “Open Hand.” Through a gate and up the stairs and it looks like you’ve entered a fabrics shop. However, turn the corner and you’ll notice a coffee bar as well. It is here that all sorts of breakfast and lunch items can be ordered. Are you a coffee or a tea drinker? There’s a lot to choose from including pot of tea or your very own French press. For those who like cold drinks the smoothies are made from fresh fruits. Six varieties of salad from Calabrian to Hawain to Mediteranean are also available. Once you’ve gotten your drinks and food, feel free to browse the fabrics, most of which are made right in Varanasi. Whether bed and pillow covers or shawls and satchels, most everything is made from silk. There are also items from Kashmir such as carpets and ornaments. What’s exciting to know about Open Hand is that everything is made locally (or in India somewhere) by highly experienced artesians. The products are reasonably priced and a friendly staff is waiting to serve you. Drop by Open Hand and take a look at beautiful silks while sipping a cup of your favorite drink.


Om Coffee | BHU Vishwanath Mandir

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Name: Om Coffee

Owner: Ramji Yadav

Location: Vishwanath Mandir, Banaras Hindu University

One of the best hangout spots in Banaras is outside the Vishwanath mandir at BHU. As you come up to the entrance to the temple, you’ll see right and left stores selling food and books. There’s a lot of South Indian food available here primarly because it’s s tourist spot for South Indians. However, one small shop is doing a good business of Cold coffee or mango smoothies (both with or without icecream). The three primary workers in this business are Pallu, Raju and Pintu. You’ll notice the place right away cause there’s two guys standing above the crowd with several blenders making shakes and having a good time. Pintu does the delivery and clean up with a smile. It got so that when they saw me coming, they’d have the coffee ready and delivered to my special spot right under the papal tree. Yep, that’s the spot where you can watch thousands of people each day coming and going from the mandir. The police also like that spot because of the shade it provides. But I like to stand against the guard rails there and think about like while I’m sipping my coffee. If you are in the neighborhood, stop by Om Coffee for a cold one in the summer or a warm one in the winter.