Your Guide To The Best Lassi And Thandai In Varanasi
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Summer is the perfect excuse to indulge in cooling drinks. Desi coolers like aam panna and nimbu pani may occupy the top spots when it comes to summer drinks, but lassi and thandai aren’t far behind. Lassi is made by diluting yogurt with water, adding sugar to it, and then churning everything together. It may be plain or flavoured. Making thandai is also an art. Earlier, people used flower extracts to make thandai, but it is now prepared with milk, cream and dried fruits. Thandai boosts energy and also improves digestion. 

Varanasi, a city that’s known for its street food, is also home to popular hole-in-the-wall places selling tasty lassi and thandai. We recommend some of the best places to visit:

Blue Lassi

Located at Manikarna Ghat, Blue Lassi Shop has over 90 varieties of lassi on offer. The lassis are hand-churned and served in earthen tumblers. From strawberry and pomegranate to chocolate and saffron, every flavour of lassi imaginable is available at the shop. Every tumbler of lassi is served topped with chopped nuts. 

Location: CK 12/1 Kunj Gali, Kachaudi Gali, Near Rajbandhu, Govindpura, Varanasi.

Timings: Daily, 9.30am-9pm.

Cost for two: ₹300

Pahalwan Lassi

While most people believe that Blue Lassi serves the best lassi in Varanasi, some argue that Pahalwan Lassi is even better. Panna Sardar, who was a wrestler (pahalwan) pre-Independence, took over the shop from his father in 1950. He added ingredients like malai, rabdi and almonds to make the lassis more tasty, and they became an instant hit as people believed that he was serving what he consumed for strength himself. 

Location: Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Road, Ravidas Gate, Saket Nagar Colony, Lanka, Varanasi.

Timings: Daily, 6am-10pm.

Cost for two: ₹200

Badal Thandai

Badal Thandai is known for its badam-pista thandai that has bits of malai floating in it. The place even serves versions of the thandai with bhang in them and also has bhang lassi on the menu. Flavours include Banarasi thandai, pista-malai-badam and keshriya-badam. Badal thandai also serves rose and khus sharbat, along with nimbu soda. 

Location: Sonapura Road, next to SBI ATM, Luxmanpura, Godowlia, Varanasi. 

Timings: Daily, 8am-midnight.

Cost for two: ₹100

Kashi Vishwanath Thandai Ghar

Named after the Vishwanath Temple, Kashi Vishwanath Thandai Ghar also serves a version of thandai that’s spiked with bhang. Besides that, there are also flavours like cream, kesar and fruit. Thandai enthusiasts from around the country flock to the stall for multiple glasses of the beverage, especially during Holi. 

Location: CK 27/4, Godowlia Road, Bans Phatak, Chowk Godowlia, Harha, Varanasi.

Timings: Daily, 4-11.30pm.

Cost for two: ₹200