Uttar Pradesh

Road Review : Delhi-Kanpur-Lucknow

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Having completed the big road drive (Delhi – Jaisalmer- Jodhpur – Delhi in 4 days) on previous weekend, we were high on driving!

The distance from Delhi to Lucknow is approximately 500 km by road. The standard route is Delhi – Hapur – Moradabad – Rampur- Bareilly – Shahjahanpur- Sitapur – Lucknow. Another new route that is becoming popular is the Delhi – Kanpur – Lucknow route. Some of my friends tried this route few months back and said that it is fast as it’s a 4 lane road but longer than the standard route by about 50 km. We decided to take the longer and the faster one.

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Delhi Nainital Road Review

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NH 24 – Delhi, Ghazibad, Hapur, Garh Mukteshwar (NHAI)
NH 24 – Simbhavli, Gajraula, Moradabad, Rampur (NHAI)
NH 87 – Rampur, Bilaspur, Rudrapur (mostly UP)
NH 87 – Rudrapur, Haldwani, Nainital/Bhimtal (Uttrakhand)

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Hotel Gomti in Lucknow

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We just checked out the restaurant and it was quite an old-world dark and dingy place. Somehow most of the state run hotels have this dingy darkness probably because of ill-designed interiors or just plain apathy…Room Service is quite dismal and it took them as much as 1 hour to get you a cup of tea and much more to get breakfast. To top it all, the flask was broken and the waiter was in bathroom slippers…

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Sardhana – A piece of Vatican in a dusty UP town

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Move to the right where the front of the building is and you get the imposing view of the church. Magnificent Doric columns adorn the verandah; the Roman domes – large one in the middle over the main altar and the smaller ones over the wings – are similar to the domes of St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. The massive steeples on both sides pierces the sky; the one on the left holds two bells whereas the other used to have a clock.

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The magic of Kashi Vishwanath, Varanasi

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We were back to Varanasi around 2 PM. Our driver dropped us near Thatheri Bazar as we wanted to explore the area on foot ourselves. Bronze and brass products especially ornaments are sold here. Another purpose for coming to this market to enjoy the “Ram Bhandar” which is quite famous for amazing Poori, Sabzi and kachori.

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Varanasi

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I do not care for the ‘truths’ they have faith in or the ‘lies’ they spread. This is not the first cremation that I am descrying nor shall it be the last, but in this moment, I’ve understood the human endeavor of fighting death with life. The answer to the fears of our faith is in welcoming it with our arms wide open and embracing it like a long lost brother. It’ll be perhaps in this gesture that the faithful shall be granted nirvana.

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Around a 1000 strong crowd has gathered to see what is a daily ritual but is as powerful and enchanting as it must have been a 1000 years ago. The spiritual seekers have loaded the boats – some to get a better view, some for better pictures and some for their beliefs – an adventure of a lifetime. The head priest is crying hoarse asking people to sit down calmly – all the skills of a masterful showman.

So much for the lonely moksha… (sigh)

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अयोध्या नगरी – प्रथम भाग

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शायद उस नन्हे से टीले को वे कोई बड़ा पर्वत ही समझ रहीं थीं और बड़ी खुश हुईं. टीले के ऊपर भी एक मंदिर है, जिसमें सीता-राम का नयनाभिराम विग्रह है. मणि पर्वत के बारे में जनश्रुति है कि हिमालय से संजीवनी बूटी ले कर लंका जाते हुए हनुमान जी ने पर्वत-खंड को रख कर यहाँ विश्राम किया था. अन्य लोकोक्ति यह कहती है कि राम विवाह में राजा जनक जी ने इतने आभूषण इत्यादि दिए थे कि अयोध्या लाने पर उनका एक पर्वत बन गया, जिसे मणि पर्वत कहते हैं. मणि पर्वत से नीचे उतर कर मैंने महसूस किया कि माताजी के मन में पर्वत चढ़ने से थोड़ी थकान छाई हुई है. शायद जिसे मैं नन्हा-सा टीला समझ रहा था, वह उनके लिए किसी पर्वत से कम नहीं था.

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