Hustlers and rickshaw drivers are always keen to drag tourists into commission-paying stores, but avoiding those, shopping in Varanasi can be great, and it’s worth seeking out the city’s rich silk-weaving and brasswork. The best areas to browse are the Thatheri Bazaar (for brass), or Jnana Vapi and the Vishwanatha Gali in Godaulia with its Temple Bazaar (for silk brocade and jewellery). And of course, never go shopping with a guide, official or not, nor ask any guide or rickshaw-wallah to take you to any shop.

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