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Excursion Varanasi

Allahabad - Varanasi

Allahabad is situated at the confluence of the 3 sacred rivers - Ganga, Yamuna & the invisible Saraswati. It is here at the sangam that hindus Converage for a holy dip especially during the Kumbha Mela, held here every 12 years after.

Air: The nearest airport Varanashi (135 kms) is connected by Indian Airlines flights with Agra, Bhubaneshwar, Bombay, Delhi, Khajuraho, Lucknow.

Rail: Allahabad is an important rail terminus connected by rail with all the major cities in India.

Road: Allahabad is connected by road with the major cities in India. Important road distances from Allahabad are:- Agra 483 kms, Delhi 612 kms, Lucknow 227 kms, Lumbini 406 kms, Khajuraho 294 kms, Varanashi 127 kms, Bombay 1,502 kms, Chitrakoot 128 kms.

Bus Service: Direct buses are available from Allahabad to Chitrakoot, Ayodhya, Varanashi, Lucknow and Kanpur.

What to see

Anand Bhawan (Home of the Nehru family)
Allahabad Fort
Bhardwaj Ashram
Khusro's Tomb
Patlipuri Temple
Swaraj Bhawan
Botanica Gardens
Allahabad Museum

Sarnath - Varanasi

In the Deer Park of Sarnath, Gautama Buddha delivered the first sermon after he gained enlightenment. Sarnath derives its name from Saranganatha (Lord of the Deer). Sarnath is famed for the Ashoka Pillar made of sandstone. It has the lion-capital (with the heads of four lions) that is the State Emblem of the Republic of India. The chakra or the wheel of law adorns the Indian tri-color flag. The inscribed decree read: "No one shall cause division in the order of monks." The pillar enshrines a lion, an elephant, a horse and a bull.

A museum houses exquisite species of Buddhist art, including the Ashoka's lion-capital, Bodhisattva (red stone), Buddha's life panels. Mahabodhi Library possesses several rare manuscripts and excellent Buddhist literature.

Buddha Purnima is a big fair on the day of the new moon (September-October), a day of offering to the manes, both in Sarnath and nearby Varanasi.

Visiting The Attractions Of Sarnath

Half-Day City Tour
Includes visits to the numerous temples, which dot the banks of the river. You will be able to walk through the narrow lanes and stop by at the bazaars to have a look at the world famous Banaras silks.

Early morning boat cruise on the river Ganges
The best time to visit the Ghats is dawn when pilgrims take their morning dip. The most famous Ghat is the Dasadwamedh Ghat from where we begin this tour. Enjoy the boat ride while looking out for the people on the ghats – the women bathing discreetly in their saris, the young men displaying prowess in yogic postures & the Brahmin priests offering prayers for one and all.  

Half-day excursion to Sarnath
Visit the buried city of Sarnath, north east of Varanasi – it is as holy to Buddhists as Varanasi is to Hindus. Having achieved enlightenment at Bodhgaya, Buddha came to Sarnath to preach his message of the way to Nirvana. Later, Ashoka, the great Buddhist emperor erected magnificent Stupas and monasteries at Sarnath. What is visible today are the ruins of a once flourishing Buddhist monastery and a fine museum which houses an excellent collection of Buddhist art and sculptures.

Kushinagar - Varanasi

Grooming the pastoral landscape, the small hamlet of Kushinagar, 53 km in west of  city Gorakhpur, is revered as the site of  Buddha's Mahaparinirvana. On his birth he stepped seven steps in every direction and declared it as his last birth.It was known as the place of death and cremation, that marked his final liberation from the cycles of death and rebirth  which will be a holy site for the followers of Lord Buddha.

Kushinara, Buddha's Nirvana site  then called, was a small town in the kingdom of the Mallas, surrounded by a thick forest cover of Sal trees. It remained hidden & unknown, until the late nineteenth century, when archaeologists rediscovered the site, and began excavating the facts to rediscover the site as the holy Buddha-recognition.

The Buddha's living nirvana, achieved during enlightenment, as death transforms to nirvana without human residue. Self possessed, without psychological pain, untroubled by the thoughts of death,  Buddha identified four places of future pilgrimage: the sites of his birth, enlightenment, first sermon, and death. "But don't hinder yourself by honouring my remains," he added.

On reaching the village of Kushinagar of  Mallas, on the further side of the Hiranyavati River,  Buddha realised that his end was fast approaching. He told Ananda to prepare a bed for him with its head turned towards the north between two sal trees. Ananda who served him for 20 years was deeply upset. "Don't grieve, Ananda!"  Buddha consoled him. "The nature of things dictates that we must leave those dear to us. Everything born contains its own cessation. I too, Ananda, am grown old, and full of years, my journey is drawing to its close, I am turning 80 years of age, and just as a worn-out cart can only with much additional care be made to move along, so too the body of  Buddha can only be kept going with much additional care".

As desired by  Buddha, the Mallas of Kushinagar were informed of his impending death, and they came to pay respect to him. Among them was a mendicant named Subhadra, a 120-year-old Brahmin. Ananda had earlier turned him away but when  Buddha overheard this he called the Brahmin to his side. He was admitted to the Sangha (Buddhist order) and immediately after his conversion he passed away.

When the third quarter of the night approached,  Buddha asked his disciples three times if there were any doubts about the teachings or the disciplines. The Bhikkhus stood silent. "Not one, Ananda, has misgivings. All will eventually reach enlightenment.  Buddha then uttered his final words, "Listen, Bhikkhus, I say this: all conditioned things are subject to decay. Strive with diligence". He passed into meditation absorptions and entered mahaparinirvana (the great passing away). It was the full moon of the month of Vaisakha (April-May) and the year was probably between 487 and 488 B.C. However, according to the Sri Lankan tradition and other southeastern countries, it is believed that the Buddha entered Parinirvana in 544-543 B.C.

For the next six days the body of the Great Master was laid in state. Preparations were made for his funeral under the direction of Anirudha a cousin and follower of the Buddha. On the seventh day, after honouring the body with perfumes and garlands, it was taken to the Mukutbandhana Chaitya, the sacred shrine of the Mallas. The last ceremony was performed by Maha Kashyapa and the body of the Great Master was cremated with due honour. When the cremation was complete, the Mallas collected the ash as relics, which consisted of a skull, bone, teeth and inner and outer shrouds. The relics were then distributed into eight shares amongst the representatives of the other eight Kingdoms, which constituted ancient northern India. These relics were again subdivided after King Ashoka decided to build 84,000 stupas.

Jaunpur - Varanasi

In 1360 Feroz Shah built this town to guard the eastern side of his Delhi sultanate. Jaunpur is located 65 kms from Varanasi. Jaunpur is bisected by the river Gomti and the two sides are connected by the massive Akbari Bridge. This bridge was designed by an Afghan and was built in the 16th century. The fifteen stone arches of the bridge have withstood earthquakes and floods. On the southern end of the bridge is the sculptures of a lion tussling with an elephant. This marked the provincial milestone. Other places to visit in Jaunpur are Sheetla Chowkia Dham, Yamdagni Ashram, Atla Mosque and Char Anguli ki Masjid. 

Kaushambi - Varanasi

The mention of this town can be seen in the Mahabharata. It is said that the Pandav brothers lived here. Budhha visited this place many times and the gave sermons after his enlightenment in 6th and 9th century. Kaushambi developed as a major center for Buddhism. The ruins of an old fort tells the saga of the towns antiquity. Kaushambi is 185 kms from Varanasi.

Kaushambi - Varanasi

The mention of this town can be seen in the Mahabharata. It is said that the Pandav brothers lived here. Budhha visited this place many times and the gave sermons after his enlightenment in 6th and 9th century. Kaushambi developed as a major center for Buddhism. The ruins of an old fort tells the saga of the towns antiquity. Kaushambi is 185 kms from Varanasi.

Kaimoor Wildlife Sanctuary - Varanasi

130 km. from Varanasi. Spread over an area of 500 sq. km., the Sanctuary has a veriety of wildlife. The Mukha waterfall is a tourist attraction.

Vindhyachal - Varanasi

There are many Shaktipeeths in India. These are the places where the Goddess of power is said to be residing and people worship her viz- Goddess Durga. Vindhyachal is one of such peeths or abode of Shakti. The place is 90 kms from Varanasi. The temples of Vindhyavasini Devi, Asthbhuja and Kalikhoh are a must visit here.

Chunar Fort - Varanasi

The Chunar fort is situated 40 km. from Varanasi. Saint Bhartrihari took live Samadhi inside the fort. The historical fort at Chunar is ascribed to one of the greatest warrior – rulers, sher shah suri. Sonwa Mandap, Sun clock and a huge well are some of the attractions inside the fort. The fort offers a splendid view of the river Ganga. There is a PWD Rest House for overnight stay.

Hotel in Varanasi

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