Kolkata to Delhi drive : Part 1

Journey from Kolkata to Delhi through the awesome Durgapur Expressway, was something I had dreamt of since the time I went to Kolkata back in August 2007. I had my plans sorted out that I will be working in Kolkata not more than 2-3 years and then when I return back to Delhi, I will do that by road. It went a bit long though and Kolkata duration went up to around 3 and half years.
It was January 1st week, when I got an offer in hand for a job back in Delhi, and I immediately had in mind, it’s now or never. The next thing to do was to convince the other members specifically mom, dad and my mesho. Luckily since we had done a lot of travel by road around Kolkata, it was not hard to convince and we were all set to start on the 4th of February 2011 for Delhi from Kolkata by road in my most loveable Santro.

Immediately we started planning, how are we going to divide the journey, which are places we shall be visiting enroute and where we shall be staying for how long. Further due to a lot of luggage we carried with us, the sitting was a bit tight. And final list came as something like this:

Day 1: Journey till Varanasi (Around 690 KM)
Day 2: Stay in Varanasi and tour the city
Day 3: Start for Allahabad, complete Allahabad Sangam by night (around 125KM)
Day 4: Start for Sultanpur to visit my college (KNIT) (around 99 KM). Sultanpur to Lucknow (around 139 KM) the same day, tour Lucknow for the remaining day.
Day 5: Lucknow to Delhi via Kanpur (502 KM)

1)Varanasi (Day 1 and Day 2 NH2)

Kolkata to Varanasi took around 10 hours of drive a distance of around 690 KM and as planned we were entering Varanasi by 4:00 PM. We found that BHU was in route towards our guest house, and so decided not to directly check in to the guest house/hotel, but to cover BHU and the” Vishwanath mandir” first. It was awesome. We covered it in almost an hour. Both the BHU campus and the awesome Vishwanath mandir are worth looking. Get around the BHU campus in your vehicle.

Around the BHU



Institute of Medical Science, BHU, Varanasi

 

Vishwanath Mandir

Then moved to the guest house. Did not face much difficulty in locating it. But the roads in Varanasi are very congested. It’s a really difficulty driving out there. It was almost evening, we thought of having some evening tea and snacks, and then dinner with off-course lots of gossiping. Government guest houses are quite descent, so had a sound sleep too.
Next morning we woke up a bit relaxed around 9 AM. And immediately got ready for breakfast. Had a good breakfast, and then hired an auto for guiding to the most visited places of Varanasi (did not take my car that day). Covered that in almost 3 hours including Bharat Mata Mandir, Sankat Mochan mandir and few other places across the city including the
famous Varanasi galiyas, gadauli.

Bharat Mata Mandir

Sankat mochan mandir, you will find an incredible large number of monkeys. Be careful of them. We do have plans of visiting sarnath, but we were out of time. If you do get time, you should visit that. It’s hardly 35 KM from Varanasi.

Once done, it was time to get to the Ghats. Oh it was awesome. Varanasi has got two incredible things I could say. The Kashi Vishwanath temple and the Ghats.The Kashi Vishwanath temple is almost having a huge crowd almost all the time in the year. You have to be in a queue to actually make a darshan to the main idol. It took almost an hour to wait, before we got our chance.
After covering the temple, we hired a boat and the boatman covered all the Ghats one by one. It’s really incredible. Around 400 Ghats, each with its own history and significance.
The Siberian birds are just awesome in the amazing waters of the Ganges. They just run over your head in flocks. It feels really good.

Siberian birds

After covering the Ghats, we got back to the guest house, had a couple of hours of rest and then in the evening, it was time to visit the Ghats again. Yes, for the famous Aarti. We took a rickshaw and through the amazing lightened galis of Varanasi reached the ghat. Again hired a boat for around an hour and saw the amazing aarti. It would be better if you could watch the aarti from the front. It’s awesome.

A view of the aarti at Varanasi as seen from the boat

So many foreigners visit Varanasi that almost every alternate boat is covered by a bunch of foreigners. After couple of hours, we came out of the Ghats, watch the Varanasi market and then made a way back to the guest house. Had dinner and went immediately for sleep.

Ghats of Varanasi

 

Another click of the Varanasi Ghat

Ghats again

2)Allahabad (Day 3 NH2)
It was an early morning wake-up call on day 3, as we had to start for Allahabad, a distance of almost 125 KM. We started around 6AM and took the NH2 right away. Always make sure, you do not take the bypasses, when you are visiting the cities. Allahabad also has a bypass. Avoid that. Took around 2 and half hours and we were in Allahabad by around 7:30 AM.
Entering into Allahabad and crossing the bridge over Ganga is altogether a different feeling. It’s so beautiful. The challenge was to find out the Bharat Sewa Ashram there, and after some difficulty, we were into the Ashram by around 9AM.
Roads in Allahabad are much wider compared to Varanasi and driving much easier. While checking in into the Bharat Sewa Ashram only we booked tickets for all the visiting places through a tanga. The ashram had the arrangements. Later however the tangas were not available, so we decided to took our car only. Reached the prayag ghat around 11 AM, had to park the car at a distance took a boat (all was arranged only) and reached the actual sangam.

Sangam-Allahabad

 

Sangam

Each one of us took turns to dip in the holy Ganges (and remove all our sins one by one :-), ofcourse we do so many sins in a life, it’s not possible to wash them away in one go). The sangam is at a distance from where the boat actually starts. It’s a huge rush and almost meal time all around. You will find the same Siberian birds as in Varanasi again here in Allahabad. Its and incredible feeling to dive in the Ganges.
The rivers Yamuna and Ganga look so good and the place where they meet, you could clearly see the difference in colour. After that we went for the Sankat mochan. Oh, it’s another wonderful temple, sleeping hanumanji inside. We parked the car in the parking and through a queue visited the temple inside.

We took our way back directly to the ashram by around 2 PM. Had our lunch in the ashram only and then took rest for around few hours. In the evening my mausaji had a mission of searching a house where he used to stay in rent around 45 years ago. To my surprise, he spotted the house in just one go. Not only that, even the Landlady (he calls her mashi), could recognize him at one go too (at an age of 90 years). Then there were lot of historian pages being turned, nice time for around 2-3 hours and we went back to the ashram. In the evening again, they came to the ashram and again 2 hours of gossiping. After that we had a lovely dinner in the evening and went for sound sleep.

Continued in Part 2…

18 Comments

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    Anupam ji

    Welcome to Ghumakkar.Com

    Nice Post & Pictures too….

  • Dear Anupam,

    Warm Welcome To ghumakkar………….

    As on debut its a very good post with good pics and description…………….

    Also Varanasi city is close to my heart . Thanks for giving me darshan of great Kashi and Sangam……….

    keep Travelling and posting……………………..

  • Rituparna says:

    A very nice description of the journey. The details will be helpful for many who are planning such trips. Nice pictures as well. Cheers ….

  • injamaven says:

    Brown-headed gulls at Prayaga

  • very well organised tour . nice description. welcome anupam ji .keep writing

  • ????? ?????? 6 ??? ???? ???? ?? ????? ??? ?? ??? ?? ???, ??? ????? ?? ???? ???? ??? ???? ?? ????? ???? ???? ??? ??? ???? ???? ???? ????? ???? ?? ??? ???? ???? ????? ??? ??????? ???? ???? ???? ?? ?? ?????? ??, ????? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?????? ???? ?? ???? ????? ???? ??? ?? ??? ?? ?????? ??? ?? ?????-????? ??????? ?? ???? ??????

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Welcome to the ghumakkar family, Anupam. Enjoyed revisiting Kashi with you. Looking forward to your next post.

  • Nandan says:

    Welcome aboard Anupam. Good start and I hope to see more detailed and juicy stories on your future endeavors. :-). The tip about not taking the bypass is useful.

    Regarding the migratory birds, I do not think they are Siberian. The last spotting of Siberian was many years back, there are more birding enthusiasts and they can probably comment more.

    Also, I would recommend you to read Sandeep’s story on the ‘Ghats of Banarasi’, if you haven’t read them already. There are 84 Ghats.
    http://www.ghumakkar.com/2012/02/20/????-????????-??????-???/

    Finally, we look forward to hear from you on the comments. Please respond as you find time and hope to read Part 2 very soon.

    Good luck and Best wishes.

  • Anupam Mazumdar says:

    Hi Nandan

    Its all your comments that will make me posting better comments.

    Regards
    Anupam Mazumdar

  • Your writing skill is very much good.The pictures represents your taste of your eye.Just keep it up.dont stop writing.

  • Amrita says:

    An excellent write up to sum up a great tour. I wish someday I can too follow the path with your directions in my pocket. Hope you have many such trips ahead and find time to write up your experience all throught out. Lots of love and wishes :) :).

  • anupam.mazumdar says:

    Thanks for the lovely comments mam

  • Anindita Paul says:

    Description of your way of journey is really good…and the way u describe it that’s also very nice..
    More over it will help me to guide to travel to Varanashi which i have planned to go this year. The pictures are very good.

  • Vibhu G says:

    I have been a collegue of Anupam, but was never aware of his hidden talents in photography and tour planning.
    As a Debut story, its quite well descripted.
    Some critique follows as well.
    Later, He might like to add a line or two ( or enhance them with some web links, if possible) about the place as well, e.g bharat sewa ashram etc.
    Secondly, Why are by passes to be avoided?
    You might also like to add pics of your charriot.
    Your profile pic needs to be more of a close up snap.

  • anupam.mazumdar says:

    Hi Vibhu,

    Thanks for your comments. Regarding the bypasses, as i mentioned if you are planning to enter a city, you have to avoid the bypasses, otherwise you will bypass the city :-). So u plan to visit Allahabad and you take allahabad bypass, you will bypassing allahabad without entering allahabad.

    Yes rest of the comments i need to improve upon that’s true.

    Regards
    Anupam Mazumdar

  • Soumitra Dey says:

    Hi! Am planning to do DELHI- KOLKATA again with family! Starting 20 Oct 2012…

    ….anybody intrested pl mail convoy to kolkata will be a great adventure!

    Thanks

  • Lucky you! those siberian birds are a real visual treat indeed. Are those Eurasian Wigeon? I’m not very sure.

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