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.