I had planned a week’s stay at Varanasi, and had decided on Ali Baba Guest House, after reading the positive reviews on TripAdvisor. Had also read that for a first timer in Varanasi the p[lace could be a bit difficult to find, and hence rang up Vishal at the front office from the Bangalore airport to see how I could reach there without much hassle. Vishal rang me back after a while and messaged me a cabbie’s number who would pick me up from the airport, and when I landed at Varanasi a few hours later, was greeted with a warm smile by Amit, my cabbie for the week. 🙂
This was the month of Shravan, and Dasashwameth Ghat where the entire action takes place is warded off by the traffic police, and Amit who had to leave his taxi a couple of kilometers away, accompanied me on a rickshaw and then walked with me for the last few hundred meters with my luggage, and saw to it that I was there at Ali Baba, all safe and sound.
The place is hidden away inside the innumerable galis near Dasaswametha Ghat, and Abhishek, who runs place, personally ventured out with me to show me around. He is one really helpful soul, and so is Vishal, and with them around its very unlikely that you will go wrong. In a day or two, one gets accustomed to the numerous bi-lanes and learn to find your way out of this jigsaw puzzle with ease. I shouldn’t forget to mention that the place is perhaps less than a ten minutes walk away from the most happening place at Varanasi – the Dasahwameth Ghat.
Talking of accessibility, Ali Baba cannot be reached upto the door step by a rickshaw, and you need to walk the last bit to reach the hotel. But that’s the case with every hotel in the area, irrespective of where you stay. With so many lanes and bylanes flying all round, you need to be on your foot for at least five minutes to reach that room of yours.
The rooms are minimal, though neat and well maintained, and they have no windows. I thought of this more as an advantage, since I would come back after walking around the entire morning to my room, close the door, switch off the lights, and take a peaceful nap for a couple of hours without the daylight streaming in, before venturing out for another bout of walking in the evening. They have room service as well, and Shankar, the very helpful room boy gets you pretty much anything that you might want.
At a very affordable price, Ali Baba lets you have a peaceful stay at Varanasi. I’m sure I will be back at the place pretty soon, as several of their other guests do.