193 Kms from Saltora
Kolkata, or Calcutta (also Cal), is a kaleidoscopic melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. There's quite possibly no Indian festival that the city doesn't celebrate with glorious hoopla. Each month sees small festive marquees popping up at every corner of the street and come October, throngs of women enwrapped in silk sarees and red bindis convene around the city, undeterred by the ever-present rains. This celebration alone is reason enough to travel to Kolkata. From the glut of vibrant attractions, the city also holds a rich vehicular heritage ranging from the big yellow taxi that floods both parts of the city (Calcutta and Howrah) divided by the reticent river Hoogly, to the hand-pulled rickshaws and rickety trams meandering the roads. Tourists will hardly ever run out of things to do in Kolkata. Starting from Kumartuli, a traditional potters’ quarter, famed for its sculpted idols of gods and demons, to the architectural spectacle, that is the Howrah Bridge, Kolkata city will engulf you with its sights, sounds and scents. Calcutta’s biggest, most prismatic wholesale flower market on Mullick Ghat, Victoria Memorial, the old Chinatown Tiretta Bazaar, the magnificent Nakhoda Masjid and Jorasankho (Rabindranath Tagore’s ancestral home) are few of the most picturesque places to visit in Kolkata.
309 Kms from Saltora
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.
258 Kms from Saltora
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.
317 Kms from Saltora
Best time to visit - January,February,June,July,August,September,November,December
Home to the world famous World Heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora, Aurangabad is on every traveller's list. The city is located on the banks of the Kham River and is known as one of the most historically significant cities in Maharashtra. The Ajanta caves represent stories of Buddhism spanning from the period of 200 B.C. to 650 A.D. The Ellora caves were carved during 350 A.D. to 700 A.D. and represent the three different faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Aurangabad sees a lot of tourists from across the world and it is a great place for like-minded tourists to meet. A history lover's delight, the museums here will keep you super busy. Some of the more popular ones are Sunehri Mahal Museum, University Museum and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum. You must also visit Lonar – it is said to be the site where a meteor crashed on earth some 50,000 years ago and formed a large crater in the ground. The cafes and restaurants here are warm, welcoming and offer world class cuisines. Colourful, intriguing and vibrant, Aurangabad is a traveller's delight so if it's not on your list yet, add it.
253 Kms from Saltora
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 peepal tree. The original name of the place is Gaya and the Bodhgaya is the combination of the two words Bodhi and Gaya. This is the tree under which Gautama Buddha had attained enlightenment and became Buddha- The Enlightened one. The main attraction of this place apart from the history of the Mauryan Empire is the Mahabodhi Temple. This is the oldest seat of Buddhist worship and dates back to the 2nd or 3rd Century. The initial temple structure was built by Emperor Ashika when he visited this place after he had left violence and adopted the path of peace and love. What we see at present is not at all the temple the Chinese Ambassador Fa Hien had mentioned in his account. This is a beautiful ornate temple and monastery with a beautiful spire and a large complex. What Fa Hien had mentioned was just the Bodhi Tree surrounded by brick walls. No doubt this was the forst brick Buddhist temple in the country, but presently it is much more beautiful and the magical sense of inner peace you recieve on visiting this place cannot be explained in words.
180 Kms from Saltora
Best time to visit - January,February,March,July,August,September,October,November,December
Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, is known for its gushing waterfalls and umpteen temples. Another place that attracts tourists is the unique Muta Crocodile Breeding Farm – a rare existence in India. Perfect for a leisurely holiday, this rapidly growing city overlooks the Chhota Nagpur plateau. If you are interested in learning about the various tribes here and their culture, the Tribal Research Institute and Museum will help you understand and explore their rituals, customs and way of life while also offering intriguing souvenirs to take back home! The mighty Hundru Falls, Jonha Falls, Panchghagh Falls and Dassam Falls must definitely be on your list for an adventurous, action packed holiday. For the spiritually inclined, the Jagannath Temple, Angrabari and Pahari Mandir are worth exploring for their architectural brilliance and faith.
166 Kms from Saltora
Best time to visit - January,February,October,November,December
One of the most important cities of North Bengal, Murshidabad comes with a rich history. Once a stunning example of grandeur, power, culture and beauty, the erstwhile centre of the nawabs was from where the revenue of the whole state of West Bengal went to the king in Delhi. Till date, Murshidabad and its historical monuments are a tourists' delight and the local communities welcome everyone with warmth. This place is also one of the most important Jain pilgrimages with the four most important jain temples of Bengal situated here. These are the Sri Chintamoni Parshwanath Bhagwan Temple in Azimganj, Shri Shambavnath Bhagwan Temple in Jiyaganj, Sree Adinath Bhagwan Temple in Katgola and other one is in Murshidabad itself. You can also visit Hazar Duari Palace, a palace with over 100 doors. Now a museum, the palace is definitely worth visiting. The intricate art work in the museum is a delight for art enthusiasts. Another lovely spot is Katra Masjid. Go during visiting hours for a memorable experience.
238 Kms from Saltora
Best time to visit - N/A
Once the capital of the Magadha Empire which later evolved to become the Mayryan Empire, Rajgir is a valley surrounded by hills. This is a very important seat of Buddhist worship in Nalanda, Bihar. Hinduism and Jainism are also practised by many out here. Rajgir, earlier known as Rajagriha or the King's home is also known to be a winter health retreat. This is because of the number of pools and natural springs here filled with warm water which have therapeutic values and goo for healing many bone and skin diseases too. The Buddha Temple here is also encompassed with a monastery and is a popular place for meditation. The white colour is a symbol of peace and the gold colour used for the spire of the temple is to show eternity and good taste. The Buddha idol inside has some magic in it that you want to keep on looking at it. The typical peaceful atmosphere of a Buddhist Temple is also found here and this is the prime attraction of this town.