A few have good business ideas, less follow through on them, but when someone does be guaranteed people will try to rip it off. Starting in 1999, that’s exactly what happened in Bundi, India; a sleepy northwestern town that doesn’t see many, if any, tourists throughout the year. Mainly a day trip for visitors with a bit of time moving to Jaipur or Udaipur, the single road leading through the town’s heart has a handful of shops that must work hard to entice the occasional tourist.
Krishna’s Chai Shop found a way to be the must-visit experience in Bundi, with help from a few creative visitors and it’s now an idea many are trying to replicate. You can watch the entire story in the video above or read on.
One Man Operation
Krishna is middle-aged, thin, and speaks little English but his smile can be universally understood. His cheerful demeanor is amplified by the bright yellow walls of Krishna’s Chai Shop. Until 1999 Krishna’s was merely a stall serving chai, the common spiced tea enjoyed all over India. Chai is hardly unique although Krishna’s smile caught the attention of travelers getting off the beaten path in Bundi.
Some helped him paint the small shop and others later used the vibrant walls as canvas to share messages from around the world.
The Right Spice
Aside from chai, Krishna serves a blend of various teas including honey lemon ginger and other special blends for a variety of tastes. He’s an artisan, crafting each cup with ingredients ground by stone at his feet. Sitting for hours a day cross-legged Krishna’s smile never waivers for his customers. Over the years, visitors have helped Krishna craft a Facebook page plus added him on Tripadvisor, with a banner above the shop to advertise.
Especially in a town as small as Bundi, this relative popularity has gotten local attention – both for tea drinkers and opportunistic tea shops. Across Krishna’s now you’ll find a handful of chai shops with brightly painted walls, banners advertising social media accounts, and a small kettle outside with tea.
Those shops will often try to get you to leave or avoid Krishna’s altogether, often bad mouthing him in the process. It works on a lot of visitors who don’t know any better but Krishna’s is still most popular with Bundi locals as well as anybody who’s been already.
What the other shops can’t replicate is Krishna’s smile, joy of working his craft, and his honesty. (Prices are the same for locals as for tourists but I’ll add, tipping is appreciated.) The tea and Krishna’s unique stock of spice blends helps but Krishan’s Chai Shop is infused with his personality.
These days Krishna’s bright yellow walls might catch the attention of a visiting passerby but the experience will have you coming back during your visit in Bundi. Don’t be fooled by the bland copy-paste competition all around, Krishna’s is the best place for chai in Bundi.