Address: D 20/21 Munshi Ghat tel: +91-542-2452179; +91-542-2455139.
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.
Devraj Beads (upper photo) Dashashwamedh, Varanasi
Kamal Beads (lower photo) Dashashwamedh, Varanasi
While these two shops are quite small, they offer the same beads for a cheaper price than the beads found in the large well-lit stores. Meet Devraj and Kamal who sit all day and long into the evening on the road leading to Dashashwamedh ghat. They are not related by blood but are related by state as their grandparents immigrated from Tamil Nadu. In fact, many of the little shop keepers along the road are from Tamil Nadu. When Dr. Manmohan Singh came in to Varanasi in 2008 to give the baccalaureate address at Banaras Hindu University, all the shopkeepers on the road were forced to get rid of their semi-permanent wooden stalls so that the road would be clear for Dr. Singh's motorcade all the way up to the river. They were told that they would be allowed to move their stalls back several days afterwards. However, that was not to be the case. In fact, the entire community had to struggle just to be allowed a few feet of space to hang their wares. Each morning Devraj, Kamal and others set up their shops. Each night they must again dismantle their shops and bring their wares back to their homes. The stories these people tell are astonishing in that, their lives are filled with hardships we would rather not know about. Despite their hardships, they are surviving and that is a testament to the human spirit. If you are looking for something unique to purchase in Varanasi, consider these glass beads which are made in Varanasi. You will find that the price is right and you will leave knowing you've helped one of the more needy shopkeepers.
Owner: P.C. Jose
Manager: P.C. Stamy
Buddha Vihar, The Mall, Varanasi (behind Clark's Hotel Cantonment)
Ph: 0542-2506588, 2506328
What are the colors of the rainbow? Well they are violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red just as the name of the company states! Mr. Jose has been in the glass bead business since the 1980s. The factory where he makes the beads is in the same building in which he lives and runs his two story shop. The place is not hard to find as it is in Cantonment right behind the famous Clark's Hotel in Buddha Vihar. Besides thousands of types of beads, he also sells saree, silk and woolen shawls, carpets, handicrafts and an Indian instruments. Mr. Jose is incredibly well traveled and enjoys talking to his customers. Come by the shop and see many of the handicrafts of Varanasi all under one roof!
Dashashwamedh, Prayag Ghat, Varanasi
Geeta and Sanjay Goswami are part of the larger Goswami glass bead sellers along Dashashwamedh. They have a little shop right on the steps of Prayag ghat. There is a ton of stuff crammed into the four foot by three foot shop! As can be seen from the top photo, it is even hard to get a good view of the owner himself. Pushing aside the beads, I met Sanjay and learned that he has been in the beads b usiness for many years. To supplement their income, they also sell some typical worship items such as prasad and sindoor. However, their main business are the selling of glass beads. Take a few beads in your hands and you'll be surprised at how heavy glass really can be. All the beads are made in people's houses in Varanasi. Take home a "homemade" craft made right in the heart of the Varanasi today.
Dashashwamedh Road, Varanasi
Rita Beads is the place to go for glass beads in Varanasi. Rita along with her family, has been in business for twenty years. All the beads are made in people's houses in Varanasi. If the right materials are available and the person has the skills, the process of glass bead making can be done at home. All the beads at Rita beads are "homemade" Varanasi creations. They all are made in houses in Varanasi. If you are in the Dashashwamedh area, stop by and say hello to Rita. Ask her about the process of glass bead making. This intricate craft goes on all over Varanasi. Take some beads home with you today!
Sakshivinayak, Vishwanath Lane, Varanasi
No doubt this is the largest bangel and costume jewelry store in all of Varanasi. Shri Ashok Kumar Manik (pictured right) has run this shop since his childhood. His son Sant Kumar Manik (pictured left) is the third generation for this shop which has been running for seventy years. You have never seen bangles until you come to this shop. Besides bangles costume jewelry is also available including necklace, earring s, armlets, anklets, finger rings, toe rings, key rings, ladies belts, and cosmetics. If you are wondering how costume jewelry gets repaired, go up to the second floor and watch the very skilled repairman at work. Preetam Jewelers' products are all repairable right in their own shop! A stop in Varanasi is not complete until you drop by Preetam Jewelers and Priya Bangles Stores.
Owner: Agam Narayan Singh
Assi Ghat, Varanasi
You may already know that Indian society has a fascination for gold and an interesting topic for discussion is the price of gold per ten grams. You may also know that there are around sixteen marriage symbols which married women wear of which, fourteen of the sixteen consist of gold jewellry items! Traditionally, Indians used jewelry as a means of wealth protection as that which is worn remains safely in your possession. Added to that the relative ease with which people in India can turn their gold into cash at any jewelry shop it becomes understandable why Jewelry plays such an important role in Indian economics. If you also have a love for jewelry but would prefer a cheaper alternative, then try Suneeta Jewellers at Assi Ghat. Agam specializes in silver designs of all shapes and sizes. The store owner Agam is a sixth generation jeweler who has been creating quality jewelry at Assi ghat since 1994. Agam loves his job and the smile on his face shows it. He can make anything your imagination can concoct. Just the other day he was making a miniature skateboard out of silver. In fact, ever piece of jewelry he has made is catalogued on his Picasa gallery at http://picasaweb.google.com/suneetajewellers
Where you wanting some custom designed gold jewelry? He can make copied of his products in gold as well. All jewelry at Suneeta Jewelers is 92.5% pure as per International standards. According to Agam, his shop is the only one in all of Varanasi with that kind of guarantee. You might also be surprised to know that Agam also has a passion for Enfield motorbikes. His bike is parked out across the lane from his shop. Is your Enfield needing repairs? Agam can direct you to a reputable mechanic. Agam is one of the leading personalities of Varanasi so don't pass up any opportunity to meet him!