Most of the Old City cafés are vegetarian, and alcohol is not tolerated, but the Cantonment is less constrained, and some hotels have bars. After an early morning boat trip, try the traditional snack of kachori, savoury deep-fried pastry bread sold in the Old City next to the ghats – but avoid the chai stalls here as the cups are washed in the river.

Stomach disorders are common in Varanasi, so stick to bottled or treated water and be careful when choosing where you eat. Among hotel restaurants, Vishnu Rest House on Pandey Ghat does excellent thalis and the Yogi Lodge must have the cleanest kitchen in the Old City, dishing out non-spicy curries and travellers’ favourites.

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