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293 Kms from Chunar
Lucknow or the City of Nawabs sitting on the banks of the Gomti river, is regarded as North India’s cultural capital. ...
From Agra, leave for the capital of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow. A foodie's paradise, Lucknow is known for the world-renowned tunday kebabs. But there's much more to explore in this underrated city. Buildings reminiscent of the British Raj, mausoleums, and a bhool bhulaiya (maze) to get lost in this city, make it a fun place to visit.
The journey from Bhairahawa to Lucknow marked the final leg of TON 2017. After crossing the border (which happened surprisingly quick), we traversed 360 km of Indian highways through Gorakhpur and Faizabad to arrive at Lucknow. There was celebratory ceremony marking the conclusion of this epic journey. Receiving certificates of completion made the riders ecstatic and emotional which was evident in farewell addresses by fellow mates and crew members.
The Nepal journey began from Lucknow at the Golden Tulip Hotel. It felt like déjà vu entering the hotel lobby, seeing the riders wait with their riding gear and luggage with curiousity and high hopes in their eyes. Some of the people from the Bhutan team were back again for this one and I could completely understand the excitement in their hearts as we caught up and discussed old episodes.The highlight of the team this time were the 4 female riders who had joined us from Bangalore and Aurangabad. They seemed confident, experienced and ready for the challenging ride with all their charm.Day zero was First aid training by Tarun (Rashtriya Life Saving Society) followed by tour brief by Shawn Dsouza and Rohan Pimpley (RE team) with a thorough Q&A session breaking the ice and setting the tone right for the team to kickstart the journey next day.
We started from Lucknow, aka The City of Nawabs & reached Gaya Junction, the nearest railway station to Bodhgaya after a twelve-hour journey by train. Without any delay, we took an auto-rickshaw to Bodhgaya that is around 17 km away. You can find a number of transport facilities to go Bodhgaya from Gaya Junction.Where to Stay –
Lucknow, also known as the city of Nawabs has developed over the years but hasn't lost its rich cultural heritage. The city is divided into two parts the old city and the new city . The old city primarily consists of the Imambaras (shrines), the monuments, the very famous tundey kababs. The new city has the malls and the parks. There is a startling difference between the two, the new city is cleaner , better roads and it's easier to get a mode of transportation, whereas the old city is dusty and the main mode of transportation is cycle rickshaw, electric rickshaw and shared autos, however, it has most of the places that are worth seeing.
The flight reached Lucknow at 8:25 a.m. At the airport we took the taxi for 250 rs. At the prepaid counter it was told 300 rs. You can bargain for around 200. We reached the railway station to pick up our bikes by 9:30 a.m. but the counter at the railway station opens only by 10-10:30.We paid 550 to the guy as a bribe though the actual amount is 350 for 24 hours. Checklist: A swiss knife to remove packing from bikes else you will have to pay someone to remove the packing. 5 liter empty can as bikes won't have petrol while packed and transported and in case the petrol pump is far A good cloth actually multiple number of clothes to clean bikes. A right turn from the railway station and around 3-4 km you can find a petrol pump. Our route of 324 km which we planned for this day was Lucknow -> Faizabad -> Basti-> Bhairwah->Saunali Here we took the diversion to Naugarh instead of going to Gorakhpur. Unfortunately, this route was very deserted and roads were pretty bad. We kept riding till evening and late in the night at 12 a.m. #Stay Some people suggested us Sanju lodge but we were so tired that we took the first lodge we found named Niranjana.
258 Kms from Chunar
I reached Patna around 1:00 pm and got down at the Mithapur bus stand. From there I took an auto to the railway station ...
I reached Patna around 1:00 pm and got down at the Mithapur bus stand. From there I took an auto to the railway station and from there another auto to Patna Sahib. By the way, if you want to know how I found out about the right autos and buses, I did what every clueless person would do; ASK. I asked my fellow bus travelers, auto drivers, locals as well as the supreme ‘Google’ and they were all happy to guide me.I had to rush as my train, although expected to be late, was set to arrive at 6:00 pm on the Patna Junction and I was yet to retrieve my suitcase from my friend’s house. It was simply a race against time. From Patna Sahib, one can either walk to the gurdwara or take another auto. The final road resembles any crowded old city such as Sadar bazar in my home town of Meerut or Chawri Bazaar in Delhi. There are all kind of shops and a great many tea stalls.Takht Shree Harmandir Sahib ji is one of the five holiest sites in Sikhism, as it is here that the tenth sikh guru Gobind Singh was born. It isn’t as majestic as Golden temple in Amritsar but is worth visiting once. It is undergoing a major makeover and once that is finished, it will be able to match upto the golden temple in its grandeur. Still, the white main building is beautifully constructed and the inside sanctum was open to devotees to pray.
The plan was to reach Patna on the afternoon of Dec 8 and attend my friend’s wedding on Dec 9. This was supposed to be followed by a one day exploration of Patna on Dec 10. After Patna, I had planned a tour of Buddhist towns of Bodhgaya, Rajgir and Nalanda till Dec 13, when I had to be back to catch the same notorious Magadh Express from Patna Junction in the evening. As happens in most travel journeys, not everything went according to the plan. I entered Patna not on the afternoon but on the midnight of Dec 8 and made my way to the venue where my friend was set to be married next day.Anyone’s first impressions of Patna are mostly similar. It is a crowded city, full of traffic jams and chaos. The city has no inner public transportation system and shared autos is the only medium to commute. While autos do a decent job of connecting different parts of the city, the autorickshaw pilots (sarcasm intended) cram as many humans as possible to make an extra buck. So, until and unless one is okay to squeeze himself/herself in a corner of a crowded open auto, it’s better to take a cab. I took the auto.Bihar, however, has a dignified resilience behind all the decadence and one can feel it while traveling around. The people are hospitable and can laugh away all their troubles with a nice sense of humor. I had a great time at my friend’s wedding and as she departed with her husband next morning, it seemed strange that my arrival in Patna should coincide with someone’s departure.I was too tired from the wedding to venture outside on the Dec 10, the day after wedding. The whole day was spent resting at my friend’s house and feasting on some delicious home cooked food.
My base camp for most part. Interestingly more chaotic that any other part of Bihar I'd been to
122 Kms from Chunar
Best time to visit - January,February,March,December
Allahabad enjoys the prestige of being one of the four holiest spots of India and thus host Maha Kumbh in every 12 years...
As I commence this blog I tend to wonder how am I going to put an end to it. The experience of this Excursion is so vast and Mystical that it gives complex to our minuscule lives. I'd never seen such an ebullient environment in my life and it is officially stated as the largest human gathering in the world. People perform bizarre acts in the name of Religion, which they certify as Religious devotion, which to me is amusing and absurd. But then- my thoughts are of an individual! Although it does seem that my tasks to accomplish are in process. My Reincarnation in this lifetime as a Hindu has led me to this festival called the Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 at Allahabad! I felt blessed because to Hindus this event is imperative. I mentioned about my lecturer from "Delhi School of Photography" Mr. Jotirmoy Das in my First blog and his persuasive nature. After the two trips I took with him I was sure of him to baffle everyone, so much that it has evolved into a talent from his nature and somehow I'm enthralled by it now. But when he spoke to me about this Photography Jaunt the tone was different. It was so genuine as if the Head of a Religious Community defined Proclivity for Religion. And when you are at a start of your creative career every prospect seems enticing even if you have to click pictures or write an article amidst a Dunghill. With his sincere coaxing I agreed and when he told me that I have to board the train from Old Delhi Railway Station, the thought of going there was repugnant to me. But being a natural traveller that I'm there's always adrenaline that gets me going and I love to challenge comfort sometimes. When I reached the Rusty Red most crucial Station of the country I wonder where People come from, there are so many of them that anyone will think of it as a whole universe instead of a railway station. At the station I met Mr. Das along with Mr. Deepak Virmani , the owner of Delhi School Of Photography and 3 American Educators teaching at The American School, New-Delhi and Mr.Vijay. All of us being Travel & Photography enthusiasts out to explore an overwhelming event seemed nonetheless than National Geographic employees. The moment I heard that my ticket is unconfirmed I was infuriated and couldn't help with an outburst of profanity. I agree that I have a habit to condemn my country because of poor Infrastructure, Government and much more. But I have decided that this habit shall soon stop. Mr. Das told me to just board the train with no doubt assuring me that he would take care of it and I must say with his glib talking to the Ticket Checker I was stunned. It took no time to settle the adverse situation. The train Journey was marvelous probably because of the company that I had, The Americans with us were engrossed in playing board games such as chess and some mathematical game which was out my league but I did try my best to play and compete despite being a mathematical illiterate. The mobile network was atrocious in the train hence I couldn't speak with my girlfriend who now happens to be an ex-girlfriend, she had to mail me a goodnight message hoping I will get it by the time I reach Allahabad and I was a young man who was in love and just a message could put me to sleep and so it did indeed a tranquil sleep. I opened my eyes to the beautiful light of Allahabad's dawn and saw millions of people scattered throughout the city with a firm belief to take a dip in the living goddesses river called The Ganga or Ganges to wash away their sins or rather as they say 'It's a direct entry to heaven sir'. The campsite, our abode for the next couple of days was about an hour and half away from the railway station. For the next five days we lived like Gypsies in tents, there were people from all over the Globe. It was a land of hash, everyone just smoked joints & chillums, from sadhus to tourists. I hardly inhaled any fresh air instead it was so much hash that I myself felt like a passive charras smoking sadhu. The sadhus have a quaint way of expressing their devotion towards religion. Some of them have sacrificed their arms by keeping it in air and not cutting their nails, some sadhus tie a rope to their testicles and lift up seventy kilos of bricks; one particular sadhu applied the same procedure but tied it to pull a car with people in it. They call these acts 'Yoga' to suppress their sexual desire. Some haven't slept in a decade and just been standing. Men who aspire to become sadhus have to give up all contact with their families and become a devotee to a Guru and get their heads shaved. I was unaware that there is even a criterion for the path to spirituality. The methodology for God's creation of the Universe should be un- equivocal, God has sent each of us on earth as per our karmic deeds from our past lives. Although I don't hold any special rights to say this or to impart the limited knowledge I have but I just say what God has made me feel. We all our God's children, in-fact God is our only parent, we live our lives according to how they want us to live. To me sacrificing things to the extent sadhus do is not necessary, we could just practice the art of simplicity and be good human beings, love each other and do what we love and that's how God will be with us constantly. I'm not saying that these sadhus are wrong; after all it is their personal belief and maybe God wants them to be this way. But just looking at them was an adventure. Their dedication was inspiring that I could stay there for some more days and just contemplate them, but even they would have left. We all depart for our cocooned shelters eventually. I want to share some important information. The Maha- Kumbh Mela happens every 12 years, specifically when the planets Sun, Moon and Jupiter are in a particular alignment. The entire set up of Mela was constructed before the event, so it was a temporary arrangement, but it was so large that it could be seen from space. And the Legend says it that the rivers Ganga and Yamuna met they together met the river Saraswati and that is when the battle between gods and demons occurred and hence the drop of immortality nectar was spilled. I don't know if I learnt something from this trip, but being there made me feel as if God told me that people listen to him because God hears us all when we talk to them, And we all shall appreciate and have gratitude for the beautiful life we have.
3. PrayagTHEN: Lord Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman crossed the river Ganga from here to go beyond their kingdom. The trio spent some time at the Ashram of Sage Bharadwaj here, before travelling ahead.
331 Kms from Chunar
Best time to visit - November- March
This is a town in the Chhattarpur District of Madhya Pradesh. Mainly known for the ancient Khajuraho Temple Complex, thi...
In Khajuraho, learn the art of Kama Sutra through the delicate but intricate carvings on the temples. The stunning sculptures are living proof of the advanced thinking and ideologies of our ancestors. Don't be put off by guides or kids giggling at the erotic carvings. Khajuraho is standing proud, showing off to the world how us Indians mastered the art of lovemaking.
Looking for a blend of antiquity, beauty, and marvelous art? Planning a short and crisp tour to take a break from your tiring work?Make it immensely worthy. Here is a place which perfectly makes your trip antique yet memorable. The place Khajuraho reminds you of beautiful, artistic temples in the marvelous city of Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the most visited historical sites and one of the best tourist places in Madhya Pradesh occupying a spot on every foreign traveler's list. Let's explore more of this heavenly historic beauty...
KhajurahoThe third day was the show-stopper. If I had to describe Khajuraho in one word, it would be - Breathtaking. The temple architecture was nothing less than awe-inspiring. It breathed of the aura of grandeur. The statues with their intricate carvings seemed to dance & talk of the bygone era of the Chandellas.
1. Travel to the heart of India in KhajurahoA convenient place near Delhi for weekend, Khajuraho remains a trending destination to visit during winters. Travellers can board a direct overnight train to Khajuraho from Nizamuddin Railway Station, Delhi. The 22 temples constructed by the rulers of Chandela dynasty between 950 AD and 1050 AD still survive and can be your window to learning the cultural nuances that are part of India's rich history.
This article is about my most memorable trip Khajuraho, one of the most popular tourist places in Madhya Pradesh. Famous for its erotic sculptures, this place is best example of ancient architectures in the world.The temples built by the Chandela Rajputs are depicting various concepts of art, meditation, lifestyle etc. The unparalleled beauty of its sculpture make it one of the famous World Heritage Sites in India.
At Jhansi station just at the border of Madhya Pradesh, a bit worried about how I would reach in time, I frantically looked for something that would take me to Orchha. Two minutes later, a voice entered my ears. "Orchha, sir Orchha chalenge?" - just got lucky! I rushed towards the shared auto where people were actually flowing and hanging out. I somehow managed to 'adjust' myself onboard, finishing a 5 minute ride to the Jhansi bus stop. Here, I bumped into the backseat of another auto. This one was rather too comfortable. Me and my backpack were chilling like two bottles of beer on a banana beach. The ride to Orchha for merely Rs 20 completed in around 30 minutes. Discovering the perfect route, the journey was fun and now here I was at my destination - Backpacking is indeed a learning and accomplishing process.This time, I decided to explore the northern and eastern part of Madhya Pradesh which are not at all far from Delhi, starting my journey from quite-a-city Gwalior to the Kingdom-miniature Orchha(via Jhansi) to the R-rated Khajuraho and finally ending safely in the safari of Tala(also known as Bandhavgarh). Here's the recollection of all my memories from the invaded roads, transitioning between cities, talking about how I found the best food & my journey around the bunch of people I met on my way. Gwalior
A tryst with history is what your holiday in Khajuraho and Orchha will be. Those who are very fond of historical details will specifically enjoy travelling to these two destinations, because they are home to the most sensual architecture ever created in this world. Khajuraho is 172km away from Orchha and on your way you will come across countless magnificent waterfalls and other beautiful sights.How To Reach: Khajuraho has its own airport and the nearest railway head is in Mahoba, which is 63km away. Khajuraho is also well-connected by roads.
Points to look out for: the grand structure, use of symbolism, spatial organization, North Indian Nagada style of architecture, sculptures, intricate detailing.4. HampiThe medieval Islam ruled capital of Vijayanagara Kingdom from 1360-1565 A.D was one of the richest cities of its time. History speaks about its glory even now in every nook and corner of the village. Once the largest city of India has become a tiny archaeological village situated on the bank of river Tungabhadra in the Bellary district of Northern Karnataka. Temples, ruins, archaeological remains all made it a place worth the UNESCO World Heritage Site tag. Hampi is 12 km away from the nearest railway station in Hospet. Bellary is 74 km and state Capital Bengaluru is about 353 km away.
Khajuraho!! which literally means ‘Carrier of date palms’, is the land of the plethora of Hindu and Jain temples. The glory of Chandela’s, are known for their intricacy of carvings are also referred as the Kamasutra temples. But yes hold on, they neither have connection nor were inspired by Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra. These erotic temples which are now a UNESCO World Heritage site is located in a small town of the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh were build between 950 and 1150 were once forbidden and completely infamous.These 10th-11th century temples have a very interesting legend behind them. According to popular beliefs, Hemvati, the daughter of Hemraj was bathing and this attracted the attention of the Moon God, who then descended to earth and seduced and ravaged her. Their union gave birth to Chandravarman, founder the Chandela dynasty, and from then Chandravarman went on to rule Khajuraho.The sculptures around each of these temples depict not only erotica but also sees couples in courtship, royal scenes, battles, marriage, meditation and more. In mythology and also in Kamasutra erotic depiction has been considered auspicious.The fine finish of these carving leave you spellbound and one of the most famous sculptures is a man, pleasuring three women at the same time. This is a combination of Yoga, Tantric Sex and the Karma Sutra. The sensual world got a lot from India.With the sense of beautiful aesthetics these artists created magic. Each female figure carved pretty voluptuous and strong shows that even then women were quite powerful. Not in many places in the world one can see such both craftsmanship of sculptors.
240 Kms from Chunar
However, next day I packed my backpack and leaving my suitcase and comfort behind, boarded the bus to Bodhgaya from the ...
However, next day I packed my backpack and leaving my suitcase and comfort behind, boarded the bus to Bodhgaya from the Mithapur bus stand in Patna at 8:15 in the morning. I enjoy bus rides as it gives a chance to look at the inner cities and towns of new states and absorb the land as a whole instead of looking at some isolated sites.
3 Bodh GayaSet amidst verdant lawns is the magnificent fifty two meter tall Mahabodhi Temple. A chamber on top houses a figure of Mayadevi, the Buddha’s mother. Outside in the sunken courtyard stands the fifth generation Bodhi Tree. Seven spots within the temple are sacred because it was at each of these spots the Buddha stayed a week meditating after attaining Enlightenment. Bodh Gaya is quite an international town with monasteries, guesthouses, meditation centers and Buddhist temples from different countries. The Archaeological Survey of India has a small museum located nearby which houses antiquities evacuated in and around Bodh Gaya. The Tibetan, Thai Japanese, Korean and Chinese built temples in recent times.
2 Varanasi – Bodh Gaya (7 hours)Leave this morning for Bodh Gaya and on arrival check-in to the Hotel. Bodh Gaya is the most important place of pilgrimage of Buddhism. Bodh Gaya lies in fertile lands watered by the Nairanjana (Phalgu) river. Across the river more than 2500 years ago, the young ascetic Siddhartha, gazed at the serene landscape of the Uruvela village (modern Bodh Gaya). The tree under which Buddha attained wisdom is called the Bodhi Tree.
Scientists and saints have bickered over centuries. Given existentialist spectrums (the bondage by cause and effect (karma) or astrology (your life designed by you from the cave of creation or your karma or both or whatever); to freedom (through ascended masters and the law of attraction, etc. etc.), why a pilgrimage?The reason is Dharma, the nature, of what the mind contains. Buddha’s greatest gift to humanity is the re-discovery and teaching of the practice of Vipassana. Vipassana, purifies the mind and keeps it pure through practice.Purity is the absence of contamination. The truth is to be known, to be lived, to be given your own form and expression. And the truth is, the nature, of what the mind contains.
The city of Gaya is home to four major religions of India; Buddhism, Jain, Hinduism and Islam. Gaya's origins date back several thousand years when the epic of Ramayana was written. The Buddhist relevance of the city is for being the place where Siddhartha achieved enlightenment and became Buddha, the Enlightened One. Just 11km from the city is the exact tree under which enlightenment was attained. Travellers, especially Buddhists, from all over the world visit this particular place to pay respect to the place that gave birth to the religion of Buddhism.Where to eat: Hari Om International Café on the Bodh Gaya Road is known to serve the best ginger tea and coffee in Gaya. For European offerings and Italian dishes, head to Be Happy Café.Where to stay: Check out Hotel Buddha and Maha Bodhi Resort, which are both at a convenient distance to the Bodh Gaya Temple.How to reach: It is very easy to reach Gaya from the major cities of India. The Gaya Junction railway station is the main station for Gaya. The nearest airport is Gaya Airport, situated between Gaya and Bodh Gaya. Buses from Patna, Varanasi, Bhagalpur and Nalanda go to Gaya several times in a day.
While Bodh Gaya is infamously known for the birth of Buddhism, what remains relatively unknown is that the place to Hindus is almost nearly what Mecca is to Muslims. The story goes that, Gaya (from whom, the place derives its name), was a demon whose body was pious after immense penance and blessings from Lord Vishnu. Gaya- the asura was so pious, that he could absolve others of their sins by merely touching them or looking at them.No wonder, that Hindus all over the world today, come to perform “shraddha” or last rites of their progeny in order to absolve them of their sins. While the place itself is serene and offers picturesque landscapes, it is this faith that people around you walk with, wants to make you believe – “Bodh Gaya is the doorway to heaven.”
241 Kms from Chunar
Best time to visit - N/A
As the name suggests, the history and significance of this place revolves around the Bodhi tree which is actually a peep...
Attain Nirvana at Bodhgaya.The hallowed town of Buddhism in India, this quaint place in the South of Bihar attracts many tourists every year who come here to study, pray and meditate. The amazing fact about the Mahabodhi temple is that included as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. There are 35 such locations around India.
Sit under the Mahabodhi (tree of enlightenment) and feel the breeze tell you its story