Khaike Paan Benaras Waala!

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There is a tradition in India of chewing paan.  In Benaras, it becomes integral part of everyone’s life! Benaras always brings forth in mind the “Benarasi Paan”. And every Benarasi gets very emotional when it comes to their Paan. For them anyone can wait but not the Benarasi Paan.

There are interesting stories related to Paan here at Benaras. It’s said once there was a very devoted Benarasi. Every morning he would pray to Kashi Vishwanath with full faith then start with work. One day the Lord, pleased with his devotion, came to him with “Amrit” when he was sitting on the banks of Ganga. He asked the Benarasi to have some of this amrit. But the Benarasi refused saying, “Sorry but how can I have it now?” Lord was surprised; he enquired what the problem was! Benarasi replied calmly, “Maharaj, O Ka Hain Na Ki, abhi eigo benarasi paan ghole hain”.

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For me too, a meethi paan, YES that’s perfect! After a meal, after breakfast, after a chai, after 10 o clock, after a nice walk, well, any time of the day it’s perfect! In Benaras, Paan is for all and for anytime of the day. Paan doesn’t discriminate between rich & poor, stupid & intelligent, young & old, hindu & muslim. And the best place to have Pa9764023643_f29446473a_oan in Benaras – none other than Keshav Tambul Bhandar!

After adding all the ingredients, the paan is finally folded into a triangle, as neatly as possible, and nailed together with a clove. This in itself is an art. It could then be coated with a ‘chandi ka varak’ (edible beaten silver). Once you start chewing the paan, you’ll instantly feel the sweet juices burst into your mouth. It’s a tantalizing mix of flavors and textures. The first taste is of the rose paste-very sweet. The ingredients are crunchy. It’s like twigs and gooey gel wrapped in a leaf. Once the sweetness subsides one can begin to taste the refreshing cardamom, the peppery betel leaf, the biting clove, the tangy flavor of fennel, & the mint. You keep chewing to release the juices. After about 10 mins, all that remains is the leafy core. The experience is beyond words!!

And yes, never ever ask a Benarasi why they have so many Paan throughout the day. The answer could be:

Koi tu log se poochhe ki saans kaahe lete ho to jawaab ka deba?

It’s bhery sensitive question!

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6 thoughts on “Khaike Paan Benaras Waala!

  1. Banarasi paan always bring the song khaike paan banarasi waala. Banarasi paans are iconic. And they genuinely have a diff taste than any other paan.

    Lovely ode to Paan. 😀

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  2. I have had paan, as I love having one after food. Kolkata too have some good paan shops. But yeh one I had at Benaras was far better and different than anywhere else.

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  3. Nice one. It’s so true that paan always makes you think of Benaras. The best mouth freshner!

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