Top choice guesthouse in Varanasi

This homestay in a 1936 colonial home in a residential neighbourhood 1.5km from the old town is a true catch. Good-hearted host Harish, a 37-year veteran of the textile industry – the reputable shop, Paraslakshmi Exports, is on the premises – has six well-maintained rooms that come with antique furniture and are shielded from light, noise and mosquitoes. You'll appreciate the rest.

Harish can arrange reasonably priced local transport and walking tours, and his wife, Malika, whips up home-cooked meals in the communal dining room. If you don't mind being a bit away from the heart of the ghats action, it's a delightful choice full of family charm. It's also signed 'Malika's Guest House'. It's hard to find the first time, so ring ahead.