With the vast array of diversity in the country, we have people of different faiths and religions residing here. Although the belief systems of the population may vary from region to region, there are certain holy places in the country that have always been in purview of religious significance. Since Hindus form a majority of the population in India, there are a host of Hindu pilgrim sites which are given utmost importance by the people. Whether you are believer of the faith or not, you must have heard of Chaar Dham yatra, haven’t you? Similarly, there’s another pilgrimage called Kashi Vishwanath Dham. 

The more than 200-year old historic temple was built by a Maratha ruler in the year 1780 as a dedication to Lord Shiva. In Hinduism, it is believed that there are 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and Kashi Vishwanath is one of them. For decades, this holy site, which is situated in the ancient city of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, has been flocked by devoted worshippers to hail to the Almighty. However, the space in the temple was never sufficient to accommodate the ever-increasing queue of believers each year. 

In the wake of this scenario, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently inaugurated the first corridor of the Kashi Vishwanath temple. The idea is to expand the premises of the temple to let the worshippers pay their respects to their heart’s content. In lieu of this, the first phase of the corridor is going to open up 23 buildings to the visitors, with all kinds of facilities available for them. From vedic centres to food courts and city museum, the 40 acquired properties around the temple have been converted for the convenience of tourists and locals alike. With a massive area of 5 lakh square feet, the capacity of 50,000 at one point, has gone up to accommodate 75,000 people in the premises of the temple. 

Chanting the slogan of Har Har Mahadev, PM Modi initiated the first step towards reviving the old temple while keeping its sanctity intact. With the launch of the new corridor, if you’re planning to pay a visit to the temple any time soon, we bet you would want to seek the blessings of the Lord but how about being blessed with some good food too. Varanasi, particularly Kashi, is home to a variety of local delicacies that can be savoured during the pilgrimage. 

Here are some of the special foods of the region that you should definitely try. 

1.  Blue Lassi 

We were as stunned as you look right now when we first heard about blue lassi. This name says more about the shop than the frothy drink. Lassi, for the unversed, is a thick milky drink that is usually savoured in Punjab and Haryana. If you’re in Kashi, you cannot miss out on the blue-walled shop that is well-known for its fruit-flavoured lassis. Be it mango or kesar, you can make your pick from this 15-year old shop and enjoy. 

2.  Kachori And Subzi 

A staple breakfast or evening snack in most parts of Uttar Pradesh, the kachori-subzi duo is a favourite among the UP walas. Crispy and crunchy deep-fried kachoris are served with a spicy aloo ki subzi on the streets of Kashi. You can devour the lentil-based badi kachoris which are also called dal ki pithi or nibble on the choti, stuffed potato kachoris. Best places to relish would be Neelu Kachori Bhandar or Jannat Cutlet House. 

3.  Malaiyo 

Known by several names like Makhan Malai, Nimish or even Malaiyo, this creamy dessert is a winter staple across Varanasi, Lucknow and Kanpur. The sweet meat is made from foamed milk which is served in earthen pots along with a garnish of chopped almonds and pistachios. The dessert is exclusively available in winter season and best eaten at centennial Markandey Shop in Kashi. 

4.  Tamatar Chaat 

When talking of local street food, you can’t miss out on the chaat variations that are prevalent in different parts of the country. One such chaat which is unique to Varanasi is Tamatar ki chaat. Tomatoes and potatoes are spruced up together with a combination of spices, malai, namak pare and sugar. This interesting chaat is a favourite in the city. You can also try Chuda Matar chaat, although it is available in several parts of North India. 

5.  Dahi Chutney Golgappe 

A variation of chaat but inside a golgappa, that’s what this dahi chutney golgappa is all about. The khatta-meetha flavour of the chutney and dahi dunked in a light and crispy golgappa instead of papdi is a delish combination.