Vishnu Tea Emporium: A Fake Restaurant at Maan Mandir Dashashwamedh Ghat Varanasi

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I went to Maan Mandir (near Dashashwamedh Ghat) in Varanasi looking for Vishnu Tea Emporium (D.15/51, Maan Mandir, Dashashwamedh Ghat, Varanasi-221001), which was supposed to be a restaurant or at least a place where one could have a nice cup of tea. That was the impression I had got after reading about Vishnu Tea Emporium on Tripadvisor. My mistake of course, but Vishnu Tea Emporium turned out to be a sad little shop selling loose CTC tea leaves out of large tin containers. The almost confused boy sitting in the shop told me that they never serve any food or tea. That was strange because in Tripadvisor, Vishnu Tea Emporium is listed as a restaurant ranking at number 6 among the 130 restaurants in Varanasi. A restaurant in the top ten list? What a fraud. I have read quite a few fake hotel and restaurant reviews on Tripadvisor but have never seen a whole listing to be fake. I guess most of the "Excellent" reviews of Vishnu on Tripadvisor are also fake. It is a tourist trap unknowingly or perhaps even willingly aided by Tripadvisor. See the picture of Vishnu Tea Emporium and read more below...

Vishnu Tea Emporium Maan Mandir Dashashwamedh Ghat Varanasi

To make matters worse, Tripadvisor has given a Certificate of Excellence-2014 to this fraud shop. Take a look at the tea leaf shop in the above picture and consider that this is the 6th Highest Ranking Restaurant according to Tripadvisor and has earned a Certificate of Excellence for the year 2014. I wonder if Vishnu Tea Emporium is a fraud or Tripadvisor is a fraud? Now should Tripadvisor readers trust the other Certificates of Excellence awarded by Tripadvisor?

From some of the Tripadvisor reviews of this "restaurant", I learn that the owner of this place is a very nice guy who likes to make friends with foreign tourists coming to Varanasi, brings them tea and snacks from a neighbourhood cafe and then manages to sell them some tea leaves & spices, etc. I totally respect a businessman's right to do his business. And may be Vishnu Tea Emporium sells the best tea leaves in Varanasi, thus earning a certificate of excellence from Tripadvisor. But then, Tripadvisor should list this business under "Varanasi Shopping" or "What to Buy" sort of category, not as a restaurant.

How a Tea Shop should look like - Meet Golden Tips Tea Shop, Gangtok

Golden Tips Tea Shop Gangtok Sikkim

For any foreign tourists coming to India and looking to buy some tea, I would suggest for them to look for a shop like Golden Tips Tea Shop in Gangtok, Sikkim. That is how a good tea shop is supposed to look like. But not according to Tripadvisor. I saw Golden Tips Tea Shop Gangtok listing in Tripadvisor. There is no certificate of excellence for them. Obviously for Tripadvisor, Vishnu Tea Emporium is better than Golden Tips. Keep it up Tripadvisor! Maan Mandir has two really good restaurants: Dosa Cafe and Niyati Cafe.

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Posted by Narinder Singh


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I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh.


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