THE DAWN IS NIGH
Travel+Leisure India|March 2021
Varanasi may be best known for its ethereal ghats and boat rides on the River Ganga, but its svelte lanes are brimming with culinary specialties and unique silk saris. On a fine morning, TARUKA SRIVASTAV samples these and discovers just how much the pandemic has affected the local businesses
TARUKA SRIVASTAV

MY FIRST TRIP AFTER THE lockdown lifted was a road trip from Lucknow to the holy city of Varanasi, also known by its ancient name of Banaras. Needless to say, I was excited to usher in ‘Subah-e-Banaras’, the local term for experiencing ‘morning in Varanasi’, which starts with the Ganga Aarti at Assi Ghat, followed by a boat ride on the river considered holy by Hindus.

The quickest way to immerse yourself in Varanasi is to sample the local cuisine. Street food is hard to beat, especially when it is breakfast time. There are many hotspots around Assi Ghat, but these aren’t the most accessible parts of the city. Driving a car is hard work, and the abruptly ending pavements make the area less walkable than other parts of the city.

No matter where you are in Varanasi, you are never too far from a stall of kachori, the city’s ubiquitous street food. But there is one place that everyone gets directed to, my guide D K Pandey tells me. In the bustling market of Luxa Bazaar is our destination: Deena Chat Bhandar, surrounded by a gaggle of eager, mask-wearing customers. Named after its owner, Deena Nath Kesari, who started selling tamatar chaat in the late 1980s in a khomcha (a moveable stall), this shop is run by his grandson Atul Kesari. “The tamatar chaat is the most popular dish on our menu, and people from all over the world have praised our preparation. The recipe is decades old,” boasts Kesari, quickly adding a clarification over the footfall. “What you are seeing isn’t even half the number of what we normally have in our shop; it’s due to COVID-19. Thankfully, things are improving and we hope to welcome more locals and tourists.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM TRAVEL+LEISURE INDIAView All

The Intelligent Traveller

TIPS AND TRICKS TO HELP YOU TRAVEL SMARTER

4 mins read
Travel+Leisure India
March 2021

THE ROUTE TO PEACE

In a bid to relive his motorbiking days, SAMIR BHATNAGAR saddles up and sets off from Sikkim to Bhutan. On the trip, he discovers a kingdom brimming with quiet joys, untouched natural beauty, and cultural riches.

1 min read
Travel+Leisure India
March 2021

THE DAWN IS NIGH

Varanasi may be best known for its ethereal ghats and boat rides on the River Ganga, but its svelte lanes are brimming with culinary specialties and unique silk saris. On a fine morning, TARUKA SRIVASTAV samples these and discovers just how much the pandemic has affected the local businesses

5 mins read
Travel+Leisure India
March 2021

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni AUTHOR: PURVEYOR OF A NEW WORLD

She is known for retelling Indian epics from the perspective of their female characters. Currently a resident of Texas, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni talks to ADILA MATRA about the outsider’s gaze, her latest book, feminism in Indian literature, and unique travel experiences.

2 mins read
Travel+Leisure India
March 2021

Avni Doshi AUTHOR AN ODE TO MOTHERS

In her Booker-shortlisted debut novel, Burnt Sugar, Avni Doshi effortlessly weaves together complex narratives of memory loss, motherhood, and trauma. She speaks to SUMEET KESWANI about the book’s inspiration, her connection with Pune, and the evolving idea of home.

3 mins read
Travel+Leisure India
March 2021

FEMME O'CLOCK

Designing a watch for a woman’s wrist needs both skill and artistry. For International Women’s Day, here are five timepieces that are stylish and technically impressive.

2 mins read
Travel+Leisure India
March 2021

CELEBRATE YOURSELF

From organic coconut oil to wine-infused lip balms, here are the top beauty buys for women on the go.

1 min read
Travel+Leisure India
March 2021

Goa With A Twist

Innovative dining, well-curated high-teas, offbeat local trails, and unparalleled hospitality—Hilton Goa Resort crafts a world far removed from the Goa to which we are accustomed. By Adila Matra

4 mins read
Travel+Leisure India
March 2021

BUT FIRST, SKINCARE!

This month, ace the beauty game with luxe facial lixirs, buttery foot creams, pearl-infused face masks, and more.

1 min read
Travel+Leisure India
February 2021

BORN TO PLAY

Water is a gadget’s biggest enemy. Whether it’s a diver’s watch that endures tremendous pressure in the depths of the ocean or a yachting watch that makes complex calculations, a timepiece crafted to deliver in water is a technical feat that should be celebrated.

2 mins read
Travel+Leisure India
February 2021
RELATED STORIES

E8 Caste and the Indian Tech Ivies

IIT grads are highly sought after in Silicon Valley. Are they bringing deep-rooted prejudices with them?

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
March 15, 2021

कोरोना संक्रमण के मद्देनजर प्रयागराज, वाराणसी एवं मेरठ में रात कर्फ्यू

उत्तर प्रदेश में कोरोना वायरस के बढ़ते संक्रमण पर अंकुश लगाने के उद्देश्य से प्रयागराज, वारणसी एवं मेरठ जिला प्रशासन ने बृहस्पतिवार से रात का कयूं लगाने की घोषणा की है।

1 min read
Samagya
April 09, 2021

Unusual SUSPECTS

In your quest to curate a wedding wardrobe that’s eclectic in shades and silhouettes, you may have become familiar with lehenga fatigue and find yourself craving an alternative. Shararas to saris, there are ample options for the sartorially-savvy bride to indulge in some crossover couture. Here, Khush gives you bookmark-worthy Indian wear interludes that’ll provide just the right amount of relief.

4 mins read
Khush Wedding
Issue 29

A PERFECT PLOT

Khalid Bashir Gura reviews Mystery of the Urban Monks, the debut novel by bankerwriter from Jammu, Vikram Singh. Published by Story Mirror, the novel was widely appreciated for its storyline

5 mins read
Kashmir Life
February 28 - March 06,2021

SAVE OUR SARI

Textiles treasures from across India to have and to hold in your bridal trousseau.

4 mins read
Khush Wedding
Issue 28

गुरु नानक देव जी समाज और व्यवस्था में सुधारों के बहुत बड़े प्रतीक: नरेन्द्र मोदी

प्रधानमंत्री ने प्राचीन शहर की महिमा का वर्णन किया और कहा कि काशी ने युगों-युगों से दुनिया का मार्गदर्शन किया है

1 min read
Kamal Sandesh (Hindi)
December 16, 2020

With Love, From SPAIN

Alberto and Marina, known as @viajaentusofa on Instagram, quit their day jobs to travel around Asia and South America for nine months, and India was one of their first stops. As the Spanish duo continues to explore the world, setting couple travel goals, they recall everything that made their Indian trip memorable—from the colours to the chaos and everything in between.

3 mins read
Discover India
January - February 2021

नौ माह बाद अयोध्या और वाराणसी के लिए तीन स्पेशल ट्रेन की मिलेगी सुविधा

ट्रैन हफ्ते में दो-दो दिन चलेंगी

1 min read
Haribhoomi Delhi
January 07, 2021

Weaving Stories

Bindu Gopal Rao explores Weaverstory, a luxury authentic Indian handloom store that uses khadi, linen, cotton, georgette, silks and blended yarns to create exquisite pieces of clothing...

5 mins read
Apparel
November - December 2020

किसानों से छल करने वाले भ्रम फैलाने में जुटे : मोदी

काशी से संदेश : प्रधानमंत्री ने कहा-गंगाजल जैसी पवित्र नीयत से काम कर रही सरकार

1 min read
Hindustan Times Hindi
December 01, 2020