The best place in Varanasi to buy fresh spices is in the old city near Kabir Chaura. There are a good dozens shops in the Gola Dinanath lane selling a good dozen spices. From Godowlia, you go north up the hill to Chowk. After Chowk, the road goes steadily down. Eventually you come to a large cross road called Saint Kabir road. Turn left there and Gola Dinanath lane will be on the left. The spice mix they make in this lane is called Pura Masala "all the spices" and is a mix of eleven plant including black pepper, cummin seed,cardamon, cinnamon, and clove. I went to this shop because it was the only one in which a woman was working. Her name is Ruby, obviously a nickname. Her brother (on the left) is named Sachin. They also own the big shop on the corner in which their father sits. I bought 250 grams of pura masala--enough to last several months. They say it goes well with both vegetables and meat. For vegetables you add on spoon while for meat you add two spoons. If you are going to try your hand at cooking Indian food, go by Gola Dinanath lane and get 250 grams just to try it out.