Rishikesh is a scenic town located on the banks of river Ganga and is an important access point to the famous pilgrim spots of the Himalayas. The various spiritual centers, yogic ashrams located here have earned this town the sobriquet “world capital of yoga”.



The history of Rishikesh goes back several centuries. There are several mythical stories associated with this place. It is this place where Raibhya Rishi, a noted saint, performed stern penance while sitting on the banks of the holy River Ganga. He got his reward when the lord appeared in front of him and gave the name of this place as Rishikesh. There is also a famous landmark called Bharat Temple and legend states that the brother of Rama, Bharat also did severe penance at this place. One of the most well-known religious leaders of contemporary times, Adi Shankaracharya, visited Rishikesh in the 9th century AD and this place thus got catapulted to the status of one of the major religious spots of north India. Rishikesh is also popular for Kailas Ashram Brahmavidyapeetham that happens to be a 120 years old institute offering courses for the traditional Vedantic Studies.


Air: Nearest airport is Jollygrant which is 18 km away from Rishikesh and is situated in Dehradun. Jollygrant airport, Dehradun is connected to Delhi airport. Taxi services are available from airport to Rishikesh and it costs about Rs 300. Delhi is the nearest international airport which is 224 km away. Delhi is well connected to all major cities in India and many cities abroad.

Rail: Rishikesh railway station is linked to all cities in India. There are regular train facilities from Rishikesh to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Dehradun and Kotdwar.

Road: Rishikesh is well connected to many cities in the region by buses. Private and public buses offer services from Rishikesh to Pauri (117 km), Haridwar, Dehradun and Kotdwar.


Of course, Rishikesh is a mainly a pilgrimage centre, but it offers plenty of opportunities for shopping as well. You can buy handicraft items made of shells, pearls and beads. In addition, you can buy sarees, kurtas, sheets, rugs and several other items. All these items are available in the Government Approved Handloom Shop, Khadi Bhandar and Garhwal Wool and Craft Shop.

Shopping in Rishikesh is a happy and rejoicing activity. One can get many items which are useful for day to day life from the small shops nearby the temple town of Rishikesh. Evenings are very busy with local people come out for shopping. Many religious and temple related articles like Rudraksha, Ganesha idols, Nataraja statues, religious books and mythological sculptures are available here in moderate rates.

Winter clothes, Kurtaz and Salwar kumeez beautifully knit are specialty of this location. Handicraft items made of shells, pearls and beads are other attractions in the shops of Rishikesh.

Rishikesh is part of the Shekhawati region, which is known across the world as the "Open Air Art Gallery". Being a part of Shekhawati, Rishikesh too therefore, basks in the glorious tradition of painting. The murals and paintings that once embellished the interiors of the havelis here are now recreated in miniature form on cloth and paper. These paintings are marvelous show pieces and are capable of making your interiors, your neighbor’s envy.

The carved wood furniture available in Rishikesh is also good buy, if you have the means to carry them back home in one piece. The local fabric and tie and die are also quite popular

The Govt. owned emporia, state handloom emporia, Khadi stores offers the best quality for the best price when it comes to shopping in Rishikesh. However, plenty more shops line the streets in Rishikesh and you are welcome to take your pick.

Rishikesh is a small town lying at the confluence of rivers Ganga and Chandrabhaga. Rishikesh see visitors of all kinds - pilgrims, people visiting for the purpose of Yoga and Ayurveda or adventure sports.

Since people visiting are for diverse purposes, Rishikesh has a market place which stocked well enough to meet all your needs. Whether it is puja essentials, ayurvedic medicines or rafting equipment, you get it all here.

Rishikesh, being en route famous pilgrimage destinations like Badrinath, Gangotri, Yamunotri and Kedranath, proves to be a good stopover destination. On the Ghats of river Ganga, you will find small shops selling containers which people generally buy to carry back home Ganga Jal.

Also, in the markets here, you will find shops selling gems, precious and semi-precious stones, cloths, puja items and CDs of bhajans.


The Garhwal Vikas Manda Nigam's Guest House is the best place in the town and has dormitory as well as single and double rooms for the tourists. Rishikesh is a city of dharamsalas and most of the people prefer to stay in the dharamsalas. But, if you do not like to stay in dharamsalas, there are a number of good hotels for you.

Most of the hotels are situated at the centre of the town, providing good accommodation facilities. Some of the famous hotels of the town include Ananda-In the Himalayas, Explore Himalayas on the Ganges, The Glasshouse on the Ganges, Ganga Beach Resort, Hotel Ganga Kinare, Hotel Ganga View and The Camp 5 Elements.

Although Rishikesh is a tiny place, there are a good number of hotels in Rishikesh. Some hotels in Rishikesh offer world-class luxury in the lap of Himalayas.


Ananda In The Himalayas
Himalayan Hideaway


Hotel Ganga Kinare
Hotel Ganga View


Yoga and Meditation in Rishikesh
If you are interested in Yoga and Meditation, Rishikesh is the perfect place for you. Rishikesh has a number of ashrams and yoga centres where you can take lessons on these two ancient Indian disciplines. You may contact Swami Shivananda's Divine Society Ashram, which is an authentic place. It is situated on the Tourist Bungalow side of the river. You may stay here for short term study or for longer three month courses. Other popular yoga and meditation centres in Rishikesh are Ved Niketan, Yoga Study Centre, Maharshi Mahesh Yogi's Transcendental Meditation Centre and Yoga Niketan - Rishikesh. These centre offer a variety of courses including food and lodging.

Things to do

Yoga & Meditation
Rishikesh has been serving as an important center for yoga and meditation in India, since a long time. There are a large number of ashrams in the city, where qualified gurus teach this ancient practice, at the basic as well as professional level. Yoga Study Centre, Yoga Niketan Ashram, Swami Dayananda Ashram, Sri Ved Niketan Ashram, Sivananda Ashram, Ananda Prakash Ashram, and Rishikesh Yog Peeth are the most popular yoga ashrams in Rishikesh.

Ayurveda & Spa
When in Rishikesh, do make sure to pay a visit to the world-famous, super-luxury Ananda Spa. It is located Narendranagar, approximately 16 km from Rishikesh, in the erstwhile palace of the Maharaja of Tehri-Garhwal. One visit to this spa resort and you will find yourself completely refreshed and rejuvenated. In fact, it is best place to get back your old energy levels.

River Rafting
Adventure seeks, not only from the corners of India, but the whole world, come to Rishikesh, to exploit the river rafting opportunities that it offers. The best time for rafting in Rishikesh is September to November and March to May. The most popular stretches here are Brahmpuri to Rishikesh, Rishikesh to Shivpuri, Devprayag to Rishikesh, Kudiyala to Rishikesh, Kaliasaur to Rishikesh, and Marine to Rishikesh.

If you like to play in water, but do not want to indulge in something as adventurous as white water rafting, don’t be disappointed. Rishikesh offers you the option of boating in the holy waters of the Ganges. You will love the experience of floating on river Ganga, while exploring the exquisite natural beauty all around.

For the trekking enthusiasts, Rishikesh offers some of the most scenic trails, which help them explore the natural beauty of the place from up close. Kauri Pass Trek, Roop Kund Trek, Devi National Park Trek, KalindiKhal Trek, and Kankul Khal Trek are the best treks in the area. Best explored between the months of February and October, these treks take you through dense forests, maundering rivers and wild mountain ranges.

Jungle Safari
Though many people are unaware of the fact, Rishikesh also provides its visitors the option of going on a jungle safari. This particular activity owes its origin to the Rajaji National Park situated nearby. The rich and varied wildlife of the parks, combined with their diverse fauna, will woo you no end.

Rock-Climbing / Mountaineering
Since Rishikesh is situated at the foothills of the Himalayas, it offers the visitors opportunities of rock-climbing and mountaineering as well. These activities are usually organized at George Everest House, in Phool Chatti (situated near Rishikesh). Apart from mountaineering and rock climbing equipment, you will also get trained instructors here.

One of the best ways to commune with nature is to spend sometime in its lap. What better way to do this than by staying in camps for a day or two. In Rishikesh, you will find numerous organizations offering camping facilities along the Ganges. Then, there are many camps that start just after Rishikesh and go up to Kaudiyala and Shivpuri, along the white sand beaches of Ganga River.

Rishikesh is counted amongst the holy cities of India. Apart from situated on the banks of river Ganga, its sanctity arises from the fact that it serves as the gateway to four most revered pilgrim destinations in India, also known as the ‘Char Dhams’. Then, there is Bharat Mandir and Neelkanth Mahadev, two famous temples in Rishikesh that are worth visiting.

White Water Rafting: The main sporting activity in Rishikesh is White Water Rafting. It has grown to a popular and adventurous spot for white water rafting enthusiasts as the place offers a spectacular experience of medium to very tough and rough rapids in the regions of River Ganges. Many adventurous tourists both from India and abroad visit this place to experience the real challenges of white water rafting.

All facilities for white water rafting is available here, and there are training guides for rafting from whom a tourist can take help in this sport. September-November and March-May are ideal for rafting.

STD Code
Summer 21-30°C, Winter 5-22°C
Best time to visit
March to November



Haridwar, literally means "Gateway to the Gods", is a pilgrim center of Hindus, situated on the banks of river Ganga at the point where the river descends from the hills to the plains. It is considered to be blessed by the trio of lords Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (Shiva). According to Hindu mythology, Haridwar is one among the four sites (Ujjain, Haridwar, Nasik, and Allahabad )where drops of the elixir of immortality, Amrita, accidentally spilled over from the pitcher, in which it was being carried away by the celestial bird Garuda, after the Samudra manthan.


The city of Haridwar is an ancient city of India, mentioned in several Upanishads and Puranas with different names such as Gangadwara, Mayapuri and Kapilasthana. The city’s name literally meaning the ‘Doorway of / to Gods’, is equally important to both Shaivites (Shiva followers) and Vaishnavites (Vishnu followers). Hence it is known as both Hardwar and Haridwar. Every six years the Ardh Kumbh Mela is celebrated here with great fervor here.

In Ancient Literature
Haridwar has been mentioned in the Mahabharata, in the Vanaparva chapter, where Sage Dhaumya tells Yudhisthira about the ‘Tirthas’ (pilgrimages) of India, including Haridwar. The next mention is in the fable of famed King Bhagiratha, who brought Ganga down to purify the souls of his 60,000 ancestors in the Satya Yuga. After this, the first dates in regular history come to 322-185 BC, when Haridwar came under Maurya Empire and then Kushana Empire continuously.

In Middle Ages
Well-known Chinese traveler Huan Tsang mentions Haridwar as ‘Mo Yu Lo’ in his travel chronicles dated 629 AD. Next came Timur Lang, the Turkish invader, on 13th January 1399 and invaded the city. Haridwar is also talked about in the 16th century ‘Ain-e-Akbari’ (written during Akbar’s reign) as Mayapuri. The first written evidence of the name Haridwara comes by Thomas Coryant, during Jahangir’s reign.

In Modern Times
After the Britishers arrival in the 1800s, two major dams were created, notably the Bhimgoda Dam in 1840. In 1868, the 'Haridwar Union Municipality' was constituted including the then villages of Mayapur and Kankhal. The first railway track in Haridwar was laid down in 1886, which extended to Dehradun by 1900. The first example of contemporary civilization is the industrial unit of BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited), also know as a ‘Navratna PSU’. Earlier in the state of Uttar Pradesh, it is now the pride of the newly formed Uttarakhand since November 2000 onwards.


By Air: Nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, which is a domestic airport located at about just 20 km away from city center. Nearest International airport is Delhi, which is about 200 km away.

By Rail: Haridwar railway station is a major station well connected to all major cities in India.

By Road: Haridwar is well connected by tourist bus services and state owned bus services. All cities in and around Haridwar are connected by state buses.


Shopping in Haridwar is also a delightful experience. The main market place is a long, winding street free of all vehicular traffic. The tiny but attractive shops on both sides of the road are full of religious items like bead necklaces, clay images of gods and goddesses, Shiva lingams, sacred texts and ritual designs. Other items include shells, pearls, bangles, chains, ear and nose rings.

Haridwar, being primarily a pilgrimage destination, has numerous shops along its streets selling all essentials that a pilgrim would need. The streets between the railway station and famous Har Ki Pauri are filled with such shops.

Haridwar, the holy city is one of the most renowned pilgrimage centers in India. Pilgrims form all over the world flock to this sacred city to take a dip in the holy waters of River Ganga.
Being a destination for pilgrimage tourism, shopping in Haridwar is not on the itinerary of the tourist.

However shops in Haridwar have some interesting things to offer to the tourist. The main shopping centers are Moti bazaar, Upper Road, Jwalapur and Kankhal. You can also check out the Government Handloom and Handicrafts Emporiums and the Gandhi Ashram. Here you will find a range of handicraft decorative pieces. If you are interested in jewellery, then you can choose from a variety of imitation ones which make good fashion accessory.

In Haridwar, you will find neatly and intricately carved stone idols, which make unique souvenirs. It is fascinating that these stones have traversed with Ganga all along and they are eventually deposited in Rishikesh as the river enters the plains. This gives the stones amazing shapes and a natural polish. Besides idols, there are kitchen set toys made from stone, which are interesting buys.

Moti Bazaar: One of the best and busiest shopping areas in Haridwar, Moti Bazaar is situated between the Har-ki-Pauri and the Upper Road. To make your trip to Haridwar worthwhile, make sure you visit Moti Bazaar and shop for religious items such as Rudraksha or sacred beads, Gangajal or water of the holy Ganges stored in a container, precious stones for prosperity, and vermillion to name a few.

Images of deities, food offerings, sacred threads, pickles, and ayurvedic medicines are among the other items that can be purchased. The numbers of tiny shops lined along the streets are best explored on foot.


Haridwar has a range of hotels to meet the demands of various kinds of tourists. The hotels in Haridwar offer packages with the best of facilites. Most of the Haridwar hotels are conveniently located near the main tourist attractions. Hotels in Haridwar provide excellent views of the picturesque and serene landscape around which infuses peace in you, making your pilgrimage to Haridwar a great spiritual experience.

Some of the prominent hotels in Haridwar are:

Three Star Hotels

Classic Residency Hotel

Government Approved Hotels

Sagar Ganga Resort


Haridwar is a holy city of India, where people come from all across the globe, to take a dip in the holy waters of the Ganges (at Har ki Paudi) and get rid of their sins. Apart from that, the city is also home to the famous Mansa Devi Temple, situated atop the Bilwa Parvat, which is dedicated to Goddess Mansa, the wife of Nag Vasuki and the brainchild of Saint Kashyap. Then, there is the Chandi Devi Temple, considered to be one of the Shaktipeeths of North India. In Haridwar, pilgrims also make sure to pay obeisance at Daksha Mahadev Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Kumbh Mela
The temple city of Haridwar has been the reason for people of all faiths to kowtow since ages. Travel to Haridwar, one of the most important pilgrim destinations in India. You should visit Haridwar during the famous festival of Kumbh Mela, when a unique sense of religiosity plunges the whole town. Held once in twelve years, the town is throng with thousand of devotees coming from all over the world to participate in this mega event. During Maha Kumbh Mela special facilities are provided by the Uttaranchal Tourism, watch the crowd who gather during this time to sanctify themselves by taking holy dips in the Ganges. This is one of the largest congregations of mankind in the world. Take up pilgrimage tours of Haridwar to enjoy your festive holidays in this holy town of Uttaranchal.

Udan Khatola
Udan Khatola, or ropeway, is a mode of transport to reach the hill top temples of Haridwar. Also known as the ropeway to Gods, this facility came into effect more than a decade back. You can reach the abode of God in approximately five minutes by Udan Khatola, as against the one hour steep climb/trek. The Udan Khatola is operational in the area where Chandi Devi temple is located. As you rise in the air once atop the Udan Khatola, you can enjoy the marvelous view from greater heights. The Udan Khatola ride is for the strong hearted and not for those who fear heights.

Things to do

Yoga & Meditation
Apart from pilgrimage purposes, there is one another reason why people flock to Haridwar and that is yoga and meditation. There are a number of ashrams in the city, where qualified gurus take classes in yoga and meditation. People come here from the various parts of the world, to learn yoga and lead a healthy and spiritual life. Many of them move towards Rishikesh as well, after staying in Haridwar, to deepen their knowledge of yoga and meditation, by staying in the renowned ashrams located at the Himalayan foothills.

STD Code
Summer 20-40°C, Winter 0-24°C
Best time to visit
Oct - Mar
Famous For
Kumbh Ka Mela


Govardhan, located on a narrow sandstone hill known as ‘Giriraj’, is of immense importance to the devout as lord krishna is believed to have held the hill by the same name on the tip of his little finger in order to protect the inhabitants of Braj, from the wrath of Indra.


Legend has it that Lord Krishna held the Govardhan or Giriraj hills on his finger tip for 7 days and 7 nights in a stretch to save the people from the being drown in rainwater.


Air: Nearest airport is Kheria(Agra), 62 kms. Delhi International airport is also one of the nearest airport, which is 165 km away from Govardhan. Delhi airport is well connected with major cities within the country and abroad. Taxis are available from Delhi and it takes about 9 hours to reach Govardhan and fare is about Rs 2,500.

Rail: Nearest railhead is at Mathura, which is 26 km away from Govardhan. Taxi cabs are available from Mathura and it charges about Rs 350. Mathura Railway junction is an important rail head in the Mumbai – Delhi, Chennai – Delhi rail route. Pre-paid taxi services are available from Mathura to near by destinations. Regular train services are available from Mathura to Delhi and also to other cities in India.

Road: Govardhan is well connected with nearby cities like Agra, Faizabad and Allahabad by state owned road transport corporation buses via Mathura. Tourist Deluxe bus services are available from Delhi to Mathura, costing about Rs 500 per head.


In Govardhan there are not as many hotels available as there are in Vrindavan. Instead there are dharmasalas and simple guest houses, where you can stay at low cost.

Narisi Guest House Govardhan
Opposite Bharatiya State Bank, Dig Atta, Govardhan
Phone:+91 92.1942.8298
Manager: Manu Agerwal
Non AC: 2 beds, Rs. 300 per day + Rs. 100 for extra person above 10yrs.
AC rooms are also available with 2, 3 or 4 beds.
This hotel is brand new, clean, all rooms have Western toilet, about 20 min. walk from Sri Giridhari Gaudiya Math – 10 min by car through Manasi Ganga road.

Hotel Gaurav Govardhan
Mathura Govardhan Road, Govardhan
Ph: 0565-6450.445 or Mr Gaurav (director) Mob: 921.953.3650 / +91 9997641888 / 98.97056.777 / 989.707.7220
Manager: Mr. Sharma
Website: www.gauravhotels. Com
E-mail: gauravhotels@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
AC: Rs. 950 (1 double bed)
non AC: Rs. 650
Pure vegetarian Indian and Chinese cuisine
About 15 min. by rickshaw to Sri Giridhari Gaudiya Math

Teerth Vikash Bhavan
Anyur Road, Govardhan (Distr. Mathura)
Ph. +91 565-281.5716
Manager: Krsna Murari. Mob. +91 98.1120.2205
Non-AC rooms: Rs. 300 - Rs. 400 (1 double bed)
Opposite Sri Govardhan, about 20 min. by rickshaw to Sri Giridhari Gaudiya Math

Modi Bhavan
Danghati, Anyor Parikrama Marg, Govardhan
Ph. +91 565-281.5678
Manager: Raj Kumar Singh. Mob. + 91 94.1251.4299
Non-AC rooms: Rs. 200 - Rs. 300 (1 double bed), some rooms have Western toilet.
Opposite Sri Govardhan, about 15 min. by rickshaw to Sri Giridhari Gaudiya Math

Best time to visit
October to March


Ayodhya, situated on the south bank of river Saryu, is described as the birth place of Hindu god Rama, and the capital of the ancient Kosala Kingdom (the old capital of Awadh). This Hindu holy city is described as early as in the Hindu Epics. The remnants of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Jainism can also be found in Ayodhya. As per Hindu mythology, the city was known by the name of ‘KaushalDesh’ in ancient times.



Ayodhya city was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Ayodhya, where Lord Ram was born. It is also mentioned in Hindu mythology and the Ramayana. The ancient scripture of Atharvaveda describes Ayodhya as 'a city built by gods' and compares its prosperity with the glory and splendor of the paradise.

History of Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India is a fascinating one. According to the ancient history, Ayodhya was one of the holiest cities where the religious faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Jainism united together to build a place of enormous sacred importance.

Ayodhya History is a chequered one. In the Atharvaveda, this place was described as a city that was made by gods and was as prosperous as heaven itself. The powerful kingdom of ancient Kosala had Ayodhya as its capital. This city was also a significant trade centre in 600 BC. Historians have identified this place to be Saketa, a key Buddhist centre during the 5th century BC (it is a widely held belief that Buddha visited Ayodhya on several occasions) which it remained till the 5th century AD. In fact, Fa-hien, the Chinese monk, kept record of several Buddhist monasteries that he saw here.

Ayodhya has a historical significance for the Jain community too. This is the birth place of two important Jain tirthankaras who were born in the early centuries AD. Jain texts also stand testimony to the visit of Mahavira, Jainism's founder to this city.
In the 7th century AD, Xuan Zhang (Hiuen Tsang), the Chinese monk, recorded spotting many Hindu temples in Ayodhya. In the epic Ramayana, the city of Ayodhya is cited as the birthplace of Lord Sri Rama, a Hindu deity who was worshipped as Lord Vishnu's seventh incarnation. Ayodhya became a famous pilgrimage destination in the 1400's when Ramananda, the Hindu mystic, established a devotional sect of Rama.

The 16th century witnessed a shift in power with Ayodhya coming under the rule of the Mughal Empire. Ayodhya was annexed in 1856 by the British rulers. Between 1857 and 1859, this place was one of the main centers where the sparks of the first war of Indian Independence originated. These sparks later led to a nationwide revolt of the Indian soldiers in opposition to the British East India Company that began in Calcutta.


Air: The nearest airport is at a distance of 140 km away from city heart and is at Lucknow. Lucknow airport is well connected by domestic flights to all major airports in India. Regular flights are available from Lucknow to Delhi. One can hire taxis from Lucknow to reach Ayodhya. Taxi charges about Rs 1,750.

Rail: Ayodhya railhead is well connected to the nearby railheads. Other option is Faizabad station, which is well connected to all major cities in India including New Delhi, Varanasi, Agra, Lucknow, and Mumbai.

Road: Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation buses connect Ayodhya with all other important towns in the state. Private deluxe buses are also available from important cities to Ayodhya.


The Bazaars in Ayodhya have their own charm with narrow winding lanes, rows of dimlit shops, vegetable markets, all under the same roof. The shops in the Bazaars in Ayodhya keep a good stock of souvenirs that makes for interesting gift packages back home. Photos of temples, shirts with religious prints, devotional objects, idols of Ram and Sita, key chains are some of the items available here. Shopping in Ayodhya is a fun filled experience and you could spend some quality times venturing the Bazaars in Ayodhya.

The shops in the Bazaars in Ayodhya keep a good stock of souvenirs that makes for interesting gift packages back home. Photos of temples, shirts with religious prints, devotional objects, idols of Ram and Sita, key chains are some of the items available here. Photos of temples, shirts with religious prints, devotional objects, idols of Ram and Sita, key chains are some of the items available here.

Stroll along leisurely in the many narrow laned markets in Ayodhya where a row of shops selling brassware, textiles, and zari products are showcased. These narrow lanes and Bazaars emit an old world charm which is characteristic of places like Mathura, Vrindavan, Agra and Ayodhya. . All these factors culminate to make your Shopping in Ayodhya worthwhile.


There are pretty decent and resonable accommodations available in Ayodhya. Being a religious centre Dharamshalas are available for pilgrims and tourists can opt for tourist lodges.


Dussehra of Ayodhya

The place is popular for mandali Ramlilas. The performance is dialogue - based and presented on a platform stage. High standard of performance is complemented by songs and kathak dances and eye catching décor.

STD Code
Best time to visit
October to March
Famous For
Birth Place Of Lord Rama


Allahabad, also known as Prayag, is situated on an inland peninsula, surrounded by the rivers Ganga and Yamuna on three sides, with only one side connected to the mainland. This is significant in Hindu scriptures for it is situated at the confluence, known as Triveni Sangam, of the holy rivers. It is one of four sites of the Kumbh Mela, held once every 12 years.


Allahabad is an ancient town, a fact illustrated by references in the Vedas (circa 1500 b.c.) to Prayag, where Brahma, the Hindu Creator of the Universe, supposedly attended a sacrificial ritual. Excavations have revealed Northern Black Polished Ware objects in Allahabad, further corroborating the conjecture that Allahabad existed as a town as early as 1100 b.c. Other objects unearthed in Allahabad indicate that the area was part of the Kushana Empire in the 1st century a.d.

In addition to the mythological past, Allahabad's history has a Mughal influence in recent times. In 1583, the Mughal emperor, Akbar, gave it the name ‘Illahabad’ meaning ‘the place of god’ in Arabic and that became Allahabad in the English language. The city of "Allah" became the provincial capital of the Moghuls. Briefly, Allahabad was captured by the Marathas. In the last century, Allahabad became a hot bed for India’s independence movement from the British.

The British made Allahabad the headquarters of the Northwest Provinces and Avadh (Lucknow). In 1858, a year after the Sepoy Mutiny, Lord Canning announced the transfer of power from the East India Company to the British Crown, in Allahabad.


Air: Allahabad has its own domestic airport named Bamrauli airport which is 15 km away from the heart of the city. Airport is connected to metros like Delhi, Kolkata and Lucknow. Airport to city taxi charge is about Rs 400. Abroad travelers need to get connection flights from Delhi or Kolkata.

Rail: Allahabad has a major railway station in the heart of the city and is well connected to all the important cities in India

Road: Very good road services are available in Allahabad. UPSRTC buses give service to most of the cities in Uttar Pradesh. From Allahabad bus services are available to Delhi (650 km) and Kolkata (800 km).


Allahabad is a religious town therefore the best things you can buy here is religious paraphernalia. The city has number of shops offering items used for rituals such as sandalwood, incense, incense stick, vermilion and camphor among others. The city is also famous for its bookshops. What Eton and Oxford is to English language, Allahabad is to Hindi. The city has hundreds of publishers who publish books on the range of subject. Books based on religious hymns and philosophies are must buys here. The city is also famous for aprons used during rituals.

Traditionally, the main market areas of the city are Civil Lines, Chowk and Katra. However, newer market places have developed in recent years, Allahpur being the prime example.

The major shopping areas in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh in India are the Katra, Chowk and the Civil Lines. The display of the things in its own special way in the shops has attracted tourists to indulge more in shopping at Allahabad.

The best thing to buy while shopping at Allahabad comprises of the things used for religious purposes. Incense stick, sandalwood, camphor and vermilion should be bought while shopping in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh in India. Shopping in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh in India while on a Tour to Allahabad can also center on buying books. The book publishers of Allahabad are the most famous ones. Most of literary pieces in Hindi languages are published by the Allahabad publishers. Books of Philosophies and rituals can also be on the shopper’s list while shopping in Allahabad.


There are various categories of Hotels in Allahabad - ranging from luxurious star category First Class Hotels to medium-priced Economy Hotels and cheap Budget Hotels in Allahabad. Known for providing professional services and homely comfort, these hotels serve as the perfect retreats to unwind and relax amid a calm and peaceful setting.

Most of the hotels in Allahabad India are conveniently located, at close proximity to major business areas, shopping centers and tourist places in the city. These Allahabad Hotels are favored for providing a perfect blend of Luxury and Comfort, Sightseeing and Recreation. These hotels offer you an ambience of grand splendor and luxury.


Maha Kumbh Mela

Allahabad is also the site for the mammoth Maha Kumbh Mela that is held every 12 years, and draws over 2 million people, both from India and abroad. During the Ardh Kumbh Mela that takes place once in six years, thousands of devotees come to Allahabad to bathe in the holy waters of the Ganga and Yamuna.

The Magh Mela is held annually, in January and February, and lasts for 15 days. These melas (fairs) commemorate the struggle between gods and demons over a kumbh (pot) of amrit, the elixir of life. When the amrit surfaced from the bottom of the ocean, Lord Vishnu, the Hindu Preserver of the Universe ran away with the pot of amrit. While he was running, four drops of the elixir fell on the sites that are now the holy towns of Allahabad, Haridwar, Nasik and Ujjain.

Dussehra of Allahabad

Dussehra of Allahabad is unique in the entire northern India. During Dussehra period, in the evening and at night beautifully decorated "Chowkis" (tableau) are taken out from different localities, depicting various scenes from Indian mythology. Every 'Chowki' is decorated so tastefully that it is a sight to behold. There is a sense of pride and spirit of competition in bringing out the most beautiful 'Chowki'.

STD Code
Best time to visit
October to March
Famous For
Kumbh Mela is one of the biggest festivals and attractions in Allahabad. Held once every twelve years


Varanasi , also commonly known as Benares or Banaras and Kashi, is a city situated on the banks of the River Ganges and is regarded as a holy city by Buddhists and Jains, and is the holiest place in the world in Hinduism. The city hosts one of the Shakti Peethas and one of the twelve Jyotir Lingas. It is a place of unlimited attractions having Temples, Ashrams & Muths and Ghats of Holy Ganges. It is also famous for its fine-quality silks, 'paan' and Benares Hindu University.



Rivaled only by Damascus (Syria), Benares is arguably the oldest continually inhabited city in the world. The city has references in the great Hindu scriptures including the Rigveda, Ramayana and Mahabharata and in the Buddhist Jataka tales. According to mythology, it is believed that Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati came to reside in Varanasi after their marriage and that Lord Shiva never left the city thereafter. Thus Varanasi is an important pilgrimage destination for Shaivites.

The city has been an important centre for religion and learning for over 2,500 years as well as a thriving trade center given its location. Other religions too find importance in Varanasi. Buddha gave his first sermon here (in the suburb of Sarnath) in 567 BC. Three of the Tirthankaras (disciples of Mahavira, the founder of Jainism) were born in Varanasi.

Varanasi was repeatedly raided by Muslim rulers starting with Mahmud of Ghazni in 1033 AD through to Emperor Aurangzeb in the 17th century. Aurangazeb in particular played a significant role in destroying most of the ancient temples in Benares. Sadly, even though Varanasi has 2,500+ year old history, much of what is seen today in the city is only about 250 years old (i.e. rebuilt since the earlier destruction).


By Air: Varanasi airport is connected to some cities in India including Delhi, Mumbai and Agra. There are daily domestic flights from Varanasi to these cities. International travelers can get connecting flights from Delhi, which is 810 km away. Delhi is well linked with all major cities in India and many cities abroad.

By Rail: Varanasi is well connected with all major railway stations in India. There are two railheads nearby, namely Varanasi junction and the Kashi junction. Many express trains connect Varanasi with Delhi and Kolkata.

By Road: State owned public bus services connect Varanasi with other holy cities in Uttar Pradesh and neighboring states. Frequent and regular private bus services are available from nearby cities to Varanasi.


Varanasi is famous for its silk weaving industry. Popularly known as the Benarasi saree, the silk sari or shawl is traditionally a single coloured textile. Motifs and patterns are woven in gold or silver threads. Apart from these popular silk fabrics, those interested in religion may also pick up books on religion and other religious items like beads, incense sticks and small statues of gods and goddesses.

The city has a tremendously rich tradition of handicrafts, which makes for a wonderful shopping in Varanasi.

Varanasi is not only the cultural capital of India. The place has a special importance also when it comes to commerce. The city is a flourishing commercial center and has a lion share in the trade volume in the regions east of Delhi. The city from ages has been a center of handicraft especially silk weaving. Nowhere in the world would you find this fine embroidery not even in China.

Other items that are worth buying include brassware, ivory ware, gold jewelry, woodcraft, wall hangings, lampshades, carpets and busts of various deities. Pick up a few for mementoes. The main shopping areas are Chowk, Godowilia, Vishwanath Lane and Thatheri Bazaar though modern shopping malls are also popping up. The city dominates the silk weaving arena in the world. It has become the part and parcel of any ceremony so much so that finely weaved Banarasi silks are a part of every girl's wedding trousseau. Banaras Brocades has no competition whatsoever. Do buy a few to gift your dear ones. They are costly and might burn holes in your pockets but as said, "Good Things Costs Money".

Banaras is also famous for its ' Langda' or 'Malda mangoes', a variety of juicy mangoes that have a craze all over India. Betel leaf is also a specialty in Banaras. If you have an ear for music then Benaras is a place to be. The city that has likes of Ravi Shankar and Ustad Bismillah Khan as its patron boasts of skillfully designed musical instruments that are famous throughout the world. These include among others Sitars, Tabla, Pakhawaj and Shehnai.

Since long, Varanasi has earned global acclaim for exquisite silk saris with intricate floral patterns and elaborate zari (golden thread) works. Strikingly smooth and vibrant colors almost epitomize the feminine grace. These are hugely adored by the Indian women of all corners and are considered precious possessions through out their lives. Do not forget to pick up one or two 'Varanasi' saris while shopping in Varanasi.

Stone carved items of Varanasi are also quite famous. The ace craftsmen of the city chisel out beautiful utility items and objets d'art from stone. Candle stands, ashtrays, jewelry boxes not to mention replicas of Taj Mahal serve as fantastic souvenirs of a Varanasi tour.

Apart from the above, you can also find usual assortment of specialty crafts other from other parts of the state, like: Zardozi from Agra, embroidered fabric from Lucknow, leather works of Kanpur which are also popular items for shopping in Varanasi.

Banarasi Saree
Banarasi Saree is an Indian woman's coveted possession. For a long time Banarasi Saree has been an important part of the Indian bride wardrobe and rarely fails to flatter a woman, making her feel delicate and feminine. The Banarasi sari speaks volumes of the genius of the traditional weaver. The Banarasi saris became more popular during the Mughal era and the sari weaving art reached its zenith. It was during this period when Sari weaving saw the amalgamation of Indian designs and Persian motifs.

The Banarasi sari comes mainly in four different varieties. They are pure silk (katan); organza (kora) with zari and silk; georgette, and shattir. Sari weaving is kind of a cottage industry for millions of people around Varanasi. Most of the silk for the Banarasi saris comes from south India, mainly Bangalore. The Sari weavers weave the basic texture of the sari on the power loom. In weaving the warp, the weavers create the base, which runs into 24 to 26 meters. In an ideal Banarasi Sari there are around 5600 thread wires with 45-inch width.

The weaving of Banarasi sari involves teamwork. Ideally three people are engaged in making the Sari. One weaves, the other works at the revolving ring to create bundles. At this point, another important process begins. This is related to designing the motifs. There are several traditional artists in Varanasi who, create wonderful designs for Saris. To create design boards, the artist first sketches on graph paper with color concepts. Selection of the final design follows creation of punch cards.

For one design of Banarasi sari, one requires hundreds of perforated cards to execute the idea. The prepared perforated cards are knitted with different threads and colors on the loom and then they are paddled in a systematic manner so that the main weaving picks up the right colors and pattern. The normal Banarasi Sari takes around 15 days to one month and sometimes more time to finish. However, this is not a hard and fast rule as all depends on the complexity of designs and patterns to be produced on the sari.

Banarasi Carpets
Varanasi and its neighboring areas are well known for carpet making. The Varanasi-Bhadohi-Mirzapur belt in Uttar Pradesh produces maximum number of carpets in the country. The carpets produced in Varanasi region are famous for the excellence in quality and design. Every carpet that is woven here has a distinctive grace and unmatched style that speak volumes about the carpet weaving tradition of Varanasi and its surrounding areas. The stylish and quality of the carpets also proves the genius of the traditional carpet weavers of Varanasi region.

A majority of carpets exported from India come from Varanasi and its neighboring areas. This carpet belt specializes in traditional Indian woolen carpets and Durries. The Bhadohi carpets match the gracefulness of carpet weaving in any part of the world and are distinguished for their beauty and elegance and are worth buying. For carpet lovers the Varanasi-Bhadohi-Mirzapur belt offers great shopping opportunities as the carpets are not only cheaper yet stylish and fashion oriented. The Varanasi-Bhadohi-Mirzapur belt also produces hand tufted, Indo-Tibetan and low, medium and high Knotted Carpets.

Handicrafts of Varanasi
Varanasi has, since times immemorial, been hailed as a leading center for some of the finest Indian handicrafts. The most renowned craft of Varanasi city is silk weaving. 'Banarasi Sarees', produced by local craftsman are among the most preferred, not only in India but also all over the world. Besides the famous Benarasi Sari, brassware, copperware, ivory work, glass bangles, wood, stone and clay toys and exquisite gold jewellery are some of the other crafts Varanasi city is famous for. Among the other shopping attractions of Varanasi and surrounding areas are the Bhadohi Carpets and musical instruments.


The city being a prime tourist destination in India, it is not difficult to find hotels in Varanasi. In fact there are a huge number hotels in Varanasi.

Starting from high-end luxury hotels to budget category ones, the hotels in Varanasi offer a wide range of choice. Reputed Indian and international chains are present with their hotels in Varanasi. At the same time you also find a number of individual hotels, which offer decent arrangement at a modest price.

Most in Varanasi of the hotels are located in the city, while a few are located close to the river Ganges and offer good view too. It is easy to approach the tourist attractions in Varanasi from the hotels in Varanasi.


Taj Ganges
Radisson Hotel
Hotel Clarks


Hotel Pradeep
Palace On Ganges
Hindustan International


Bharat Milap at Varanasi
Varanasi is a city of fairs and festivals. Almost every month, a fair or festival is celebrated at Varanasi. Celebration all round the year is another interesting facet of the holy city, Varanasi. Bharat Milap, held in October/November is an important festival of Kashi or Varanasi. Bharat Milap is celebrated to commemorate Lord Ram's return to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and his reunion with his brother, Bharat. The essence of this festival is victory of truth over evil. Lord Ram returned back to Ayodhya after spending 14 years in exile. The story of Lord Ram is the main theme of Valmiki's Ramayana and Tulsidas' Ramcharitamanas.

The Bharat Milap festival is held the day following Dussehra. The Bharat Milap festival is held at Nati Imli, Varanasi. The annual Dussehra festival and the Bharat Milap festival is one of the greatest attractions of Varanasi city. The people of Varanasi celebrate Bharat Milap with great fanfare and devotion. Thousands gather in the streets to see the procession of Lord Ram and his reunion with younger brother, Bharat. People pay their respect by putting Tilak on forehead and garlanding Lord Ram and his brothers. Another interesting part of the Bharat Milap celebration is the presence of Kashi Naresh (former king of Varanasi) with all his royal paraphernalia and regal finery.

Ganga Mahotsav
Ganga Mahotsav is a cultural festival that is specific to Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh). The festival celebrates the various facets of this holy river. The Ganges is a symbol of religious purity and is one of the five important rivers of India. Ganga Mahotsav is celebrated over a 5 day period on the banks of the river Ganga and also promotes the city of Varanasi as the cultural capital of India.

The festival is a platform to promote the culture and tradition of Varanasi which is known for its dance and music, arts, silk, carpet industries and handicrafts. The festival is like a cultural program promoting all forms of Indian dance and music.

The festival celebrates tha rich cultural heritage of Varanasi with excellent cultural programmes, and local martial arts. Celebrated every year from Prabodhini Ekadashi to Kartik Purnima in the month of Oct. / Nov. it concludes with the festivals of lights, "Deo Deepavali" when more than a million earthen lamps are lit on the ghats of Ganga and one can se festivity all over the place.

Hanuman Jayanti

Hanuman Jayanti is an important festival of Hindus (at Varanasi) and is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Hanuman. Hanuman Jayanti falls on Chaitra Shukla Purnima (the March-April full moon day). In Hinduism, Lord Hanuman is seen as the symbol of strength and energy. Hanuman was a zealous devotee of Rama, and is worshipped for his unwavering devotion to Lord Rama. Like all other Hindu Gods, Lord Hanuman is also very popular among Hindus.

The Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated with great fanfare and feast at Varanasi. The main Janmotsava or bithday celebration of Lord Hanuman is held at Sankat Mochan Temple (Varanasi) for five days with cultural and musical programmes by reputed artistes from all over India. The devotees flock the Hanuman temples all over Varanasi and apply Sindhoor Tilak on their foreheads from statues of Hanuman. Laddoos (sweets) are also offered to Lord Hanuman and distributed among poor people and other devotees.

Nag Nathaiya of Varanasi
Nag Nathaiya is yet another important festival of Varanasi. Nag Nathaiya festival is a part of the Krishna Leela ceremony, a mythological tradition involving depiction of a famous episode in the life of lord Krishna. The Nag Nathaiya festival of Varanasi is held at the Tulsi Ghat. Lord Krishna jumps into River Ganga for Nag Nathan. The Nag Nathaiya festival is famous as Nag Nathaiya Leela. The Nag Nathaiya festival is held during the month of Nov-Dec and a large number of people gather to see the re-enactment.

The origin of Nag Nathaiya is traced back to the Mahabharata. According to the Mahabharata, while playing, the young Krishna lost his ball in the river. When the little Krishna dived into the river to get his ball back, he was confronted by King Cobra, Kalia. Recognizing the strength and power of Lord Krishna, King Cobra withdrew and lifted the little Krishna to the surface instead. Much to the delight of his friends, sitting on the hood of Kalia, Lord Krishna surfaced above the water.

Nakkatayya of Varanasi

Nakkatayya (slitting of nose) is an episode from the Ramayana, the great Indian epic. Nakkatayya Leela is re-enactment of that episode. At Varanasi, the Nakkatayya Leela is held at Chetganj and is attended by large number of people from all parts of Varanasi city and nearby towns. Exile of Lord Ram forms the backdrop of this story. Nakkatayya re-enacts a story from Ramayana in which Surpanakha (sister of Ravana, the devil King), comes to entice Ram and then Lakshman. Lakshman, the younger brother of Ram, gets angry and slits Suparnakha's nose and she goes back crying. This act of nose slitting is enacted at stage during mid October in Chetganj locality of Varanasi. On the occasion of Nakkatayya, numerous processions and tableaux are carried out in the streets of Varanasi, symbolizing the victory of truth over evil.

Ram Leela of Varanasi
Ram Leela is a popular enactment of the mythological epic, Ramayana. Ram Leela celebration forms an integral part of the cultural life of the Hindi-speaking belt of North India. It is believed that the great saint Tulsidas started the tradition of Ram Lila, the enactment of the story of Lord Ram. The Ramcharitamanas, written by him, forms the basis of Ram Lila performances till today. The Ramnagar Ram Leela (at Varanasi) is enacted in the most traditional style. This special Ram Leela of Ramnagar lasts for almost one month. Ram Leela of Ramnagar was started in the first quarter of the nineteenth century by the then Maharaja of Benaras, Udit Narayan Singh. Hundreds of Sadhus called the 'Ramayanis' come to watch and recite the Ramayana.

Generally, the Ram Leela is enacted on a single stage but the Ramnagar Ram stands out alone in this regard. Here, almost the whole town is transformed into a vast Ram Leela ground as permanent structures are built and spaces designated to represent the main locations of the story. Thus, we have Ashok Vatika, Lanka etc at different locations in the town. The audience moves along with the performers with every episode, to the next location. The most amazing thing about the Ram Leela of Ramnagar is its sober character. It is incredible to see that electric lights, mikes and loudspeakers are hardly used in the performances, even when the audience number in thousands.

Things to do

Boat trip down the ghats. When you sit in a boat in the middle of the Ganges looking at the ghats, it is not the eclectic architectural diversity of the view that strikes you first. Instead, it's the enormous walls supporting the various temples, shrines and palaces that are awe-inspiring. Man-made cliff faces towering above the ghats that dwarf the people on the steps below. Some walls are vast expanses of unadorned, smooth sandstone blocks. Others are carved into classical columns not unlike those supporting the vault in an English cathedral - only bigger. Varanasi is on the outside bank of a huge meander in the river. During the monsoon when the waters flood over the ghats into some of the smaller alleys close to the river, these walls prevent the river eroding into the city. Varanasi is home to one of the world's most impressive and decorative flood defense systems. The whole riverfront is a remarkable feat of engineering particularly when you consider that there was no unified plan or design in the construction.

STD Code
Summer 30 to 45°C, Winter 5 to 15°C
Best time to visit
October to March
Famous For
Greatest 'Tirth' or crossing place between the earth and heaven


Vrindavan, also known as Vraj (as it lies in the Braj region), is the site of an ancient forest, which is the region where Lord Krishna spent his childhood days. The town hosts hundreds of temples dedicated to the worship of Radha and Krishna and is considered sacred by a number of religious traditions such as Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Vaishnavism, and Hinduism in general. It is nicknamed "City of Widows" after the large population of abandoned widows who seek refuge here. The name 'Vrindaban' is derived from 'Vrinda', another name for the sacred tulsi (basil) plant.


Vrindavan has an ancient past, associated with Hindu history, and is an important Hindu pilgrimage site. One of its oldest surviving temples is the Govinda Deo temple, built in 1590, with the town founded earlier in the same century.

It is believed that the essence of Vrindavan was lost over time until the 16th century, when it was rediscovered by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In the year 1515, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited Vrindavana, with purpose of locating the lost holy places associated with Lord Sri Krishna's transcendent pastimes. Lord Chaitanya wandered through the different sacred forests of Vrindavana in a spiritual trance of divine love. By His divine spiritual power, He was able locate all the important places of Lord Krishna's pastimes in and around Vrindavana.

In the last 250 years, the extensive forests of Vrindavan have been subjected to urbanization, first by local Rajas and in recent decades by apartment developers. The forest cover has been whittled away to only a few remaining spots, and the local wildlife, including peacocks, cows, monkeys and a variety of bird species has been eliminated or are close to it. A few peacocks and monkeys can be seen found but cows are now only found in the gosalas of the Major Ashrams of Vrindavan.


By Air: The nearest airport to Vrindavan is the Indira Gandhi International Airport at Delhi and is at a distance of 150 km from Vrindavan.

By Rail: Vrindavan has a small railway station in which passenger train stops. Closest major railway station to Vrindavan is at Mathura. It is about 14 km from Vrindavan.

By Road: State road transport corporation buses connect Vrindavan with neighboring cities including Mathura, Agra and Haridwar. There are few bus services from Delhi also.


Stroll along leisurely in the many narrow laned markets in Vrindavan where a row of shops selling silver ornaments, textiles, and handicraft products are showcased. These narrow lanes and Bazaars emit an old world charm which is characteristic of places like Mathura, Vrindavan, Agra and Haridwar.

Loi Bazaar is another place where you should visit while Shopping in Vrindavan. This is a treasure trove for those wanting to drool at antiques and wooden works from this region. Devotional items like the dresses of the idol or incense stick are also sold here. Brass items are reasonably cheap in both Mathura and Vrindavan.

Shopping in Vridavan is a cheerful experience. One would get a wide array of shops in an around the city. What ever be the purpose of the journey, shopping get a top priority in the itinerary of each visitor.

If you are in search of devotional items you can opt Ganga Prasada Rasbihari Lal & Sons or the Hare Krishna shop in Loi Bazar. Loi Bazar also houses other shops that sell handicrafts, fruits, incenses, good quality clothes, and so on. Most of the shops in Loi Bazaar are not so cheap, but seem to be reasonable.

From exclusive devotionals artifacts to gorgeous clothing, from silver to diamonds the shops in Vrindavan serves all type of goods according to the needs of the customers. If you are not particular in buying anything just roam in through the various shops and it is definite that you would get some thing that commemorates a trip in the blue god’s abode.

Marble Work: Vrindavan is famous for marble and alabaster products. Some objects are embossed with semi-precious stones or synthetic gems.

Glass Bangles: Heading through the network of narrow streets that start from Vishram Ghat leads to a row of bangle shops in the Radha Dhiraj Bazaar. Mathura is noted for lovely glass beads, stringing glass and wooden beads in necklaces together with Rudraksha (sacred seeds associated with Lord Shiva) and Tulsi (basil) in a variety of interesting combinations.

Milk Based-Sweets: Mathura, the land of cows, is famed for its milk-based sweetmeats. A variety of mouth-watering savouries, especially ‘peda’ are a well-known specialty of the town.


There are not many options for accommodation in Vrindavan barring some hotels and rest houses. The place does have around 200 dharamshalas where one can stay, but the services are very simple or nonexistent. There are many ashrams also that provide accommodation to the devotees.

Vrindavan does not have high quality hotels. However, it has nearly 200 dharamsalas (simple accommodation for pilgrims) that are clean and affordable. ISKCON Guesthouse and MVT are the main and best accommodation places provided by ISKCON and there are appearing new accommodations of hotel type all over Vrindavan every year.

Sri Vrinda Dham
Gandhi Marga, Vrindavan
Ph: 0565-244.2975
12 AC rooms Rs. 500 each (1 double bed)
12 Non-AC rooms Rs. 250-300 each (1double bed), incl. hot water
1 big hall for 15 people with mattresses, 2 toilets and 1 bathroom: Rs. 1500.
Location: near Hari Nikunja, about 15 min. by rickshaw from Gopinath Bhavan
For assistance you can contact Sukananda prabhu: Mob. 92.5804.7460/ 98.3711.5227

Hotel Shubham Holidays (New Hotel)
Gandhi Marg, Vrindavan.
Ph: +91-565-2456501, 2456502 645.3299
Manager: Mr. Iswariji
AC rooms Rs. 1000 (1 double bed) / AC rooms with 3 + 4 beds are also available
Pure vegetarian restaurant (no eggs, onion, garlic)
Location: near Hari Nikunja, about 15 min. by rickshaw in Gopinath Bhavan

Hotel the Shubham (Old building)
Vidyapeeth Crossing Gandhi Nagar, Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh 281121
Ph: +91-565-2456025, 2443011 / 245.6025 / 645.3288 Website: http://www.shubhamhotels.in
Manager: Ashok and Ravi Kumar
AC rooms: Rs. 1000 (1 double bed) / non-AC rooms also available
Pure vegetarian restaurant (no eggs, onion, garlic)
Location: near Hari Nikunja, about 15 min. by rickshaw in Gopinath Bhavan

Thakur ji Ashram
Tel. +91 0565 244.2935 / +91 565 329.8844
2 Rooms with 4 beds: Rs.700 + AC & hot water
8 Rooms with 3 beds: Rs. 600 + AC hot water
Location: near Hari Nikunja, about 15 min. by rickshaw from Gopinath Bhavan

Giriraj Kripa Atithi Bhavan
Raman-reti Road, Vrindavan
98.37050036 / 0565-2443301
Manager: Murari Sharma
AC rooms: Rs. 400 (1 double bed) / AC rooms: Rs. 700 (2 double beds)
Location: near Hari Nikunja, about 15 min. by rickshaw from Gopinath Bhavan
For assistance you can contact Sukananda prabhu: Mob. 92.5804.7460/ 98.3711.5227

Radhe Syam Asram, Parikrama Marg, near ISKCON
Ph: 0565-254.0283 / 0565/254.0197
Manager: Ajay
AC rooms, 4 beds, kitchen and fridge + balcony Rs. 600 / AC rooms, 2 beds + fridge – Rs. 400
There is an underground parking lot and a pure vegetarian restaurant.
Location: Parikrama Road front side ISKCON, next to Lalita Asrama

Savitri Sewa Sadan
Madhuban Colony, Sunrakh Road, Vrindavan
Ph: 0565-254.0880 / Mob: 931.908.7338
Manager Dharmapal Singh & Manoj Jain
AC rooms: Rs. 400 (1 double bed) / AC rooms Rs. 700 (2 double beds)
Pure vegetarian meals available
Location: behind ISKCON Krsna Balaram Mandir, about 20 min. by rickshaw

Maheshwari Kunj Dharmashala
(Near Rangji Temple) Vrindavan
Ph: 0565-244.3516 / Mob: 931.9537.645
Manager: K.C. Biyani
3 AC rooms Rs. 400 for 4 people
10 Rooms non-AC + attached bathroom + 2 beds Rs 150
7 Common rooms, non-attached + beds Rs. 75
Location: 12-15 min. walking from Gopinath Bhavan.


Boating through the sparkling waters of Yamuna is an inevitable part of one’s pilgrimage in Vrindavan. The popular belief is that who ever utters the word Radha in the holy premises of Yamuna, would be absolved from all his sins. Perhaps this might be the reason for the gatherings near the holy banks of Yamuna. How ever a ride in the Yamuna River is full of awesome visions enriched with a devout feeling, which is sure to satisfy the picnicker and the pious alike.

The entire surroundings of Yamuna offer a divine appeal where one can feel the holiness of this legendary river. It is definite that when you venture your ride on the tranquil waters of Yamuna, you might have heard so many popular songs about the divine love of Radha and Krishna. Boating through Yamuna would be a unique experience to all which proffers some in depth feeling that could not be explained.

STD Code
Summer 32 to 45°C, Winter 15 to 28°C
Best time to visit
October to March


Mathura , the famous ‘Janambhoomi’ of Lord Krishna, is an important pilgrim place for Hindus and Krishna followers, located on the western bank of river Yamuna. The beauty of the city lies in its beautiful ghats, archways and temples stretching along the right bank of the River Yamuna. As the legend goes, Mathura was founded in the Treta era by Shatrughna, the younger brother of Lord Rama and later was under the royalty of King Kamsa, the maternal uncle of Lord Krishna.


According to the mythological history of Mathura or Brajbhoomi is famous as a birthplace of Lord Krishna. Vasudeva had carried Krishna, the eigth child of Devaki, to Vrindavan or Mathura to save him from being killed by Kansa. Historical city of Mathura and its surroundings carry interesting stories and childhood exploits of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna grew up here only to kill Kansa later.

According to the history of Mathura, it became a part of the Mauryan empire under the reign of King Ashoka. The benevolent king was an ardent follower of Buddhism. During this period, in the 3rd century BC he build beautiful Buddhist monuments and monasteries in and around Mathura. The city was an important center of art and culture between first century BC and first century AD. The wonderful carvings and sculpture of this period are referred to as the Mathura School of Art. After the decline of the Mauryan empire, Hinduism establish its stronghold in this region. Mahmud Ghazni ransacked the city in 11 th century AD destroying Buddhist and Hindu shrines. Finally, it came under the British rule in 1804.

Under the British rule the city was gifted with a cantonment. The Bhakti cult inspired the resurgence of Hindu movement. The Hindu rulers were instrumental in building up temples, river front ghats and finally revived the legend of Lord Krishna.

History of Mathura has undergone different phases, and has seen the fall and rise of many empires. Mathura has a long and fascinating history associated with mythology and tradition.


Air: Delhi International airport is the nearest one, which is 147 km away from Mathura. Delhi airport is well connected with major cities within the country and abroad. Taxis are available from Delhi and it takes about 9 hours to reach Mathura and fare is about Rs 2500.

Rail: Mathura Railway junction is an important rail head in the Mumbai – Delhi, Chennai – Delhi rail route. Pre-paid taxi services are available from Mathura to near by destinations. Regular train services are available from Mathura to Delhi and also to other cities in India.

Road: Mathura is well connected with nearby cities like Agra, Faizabad and Allahabad by state owned road transport corporation buses. Tourist Deluxe bus services are available from Delhi to Mathura, costing about Rs 500 per head.


Mathura is a religious town and has a very little or no commercial activity besides religious tourism. Even most of the shops sell items that are primarily used either to perform rituals or as offerings. The city though offers a few items to shop for.

Mathura is famed as the city of cowherds and it stands true to its reputation. Milk products are something that can be brought from here. A sweetmeat called 'Peda' made of overly boiled milk is a must. Varieties of Peda are available in Mathura, we suggest, go for 'Kesharia Peda' that have generous dose of saffron in them. Another milk product called 'Khurchan' has a craze in Mathura. These are a semi-liquid variety of 'Peda' but are not made out of synthesized milk as 'Pedas' are.

Nowhere in India will you find 'Ghee' as pure and aromatic as Mathura. Buy a small can if you want to have the 'taste of India'. Other items such as sweetmeats, cheese and cheese-spreads can also be bought.

Mathura is basically a pilgrimage town; therefore it offers lots of ritual and religious paraphernalia to the visitors. Small 'Astadhatu' busts of Hindu deities are a must buy. They are costly but a treasure worth keeping. Other items such as Rosary beads, Brass statues and utensils for worship are available at Bengali Ghats, Chatta Bazaar and Chowk.


Hotel Brij bihari (0565-250.1090)
Hotel Shyam Inn (0565-250.2097)
Mayur Lodge
Shakti Guest house


Janmashtami in Mathura
Janmashtmi is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in India as well as Uttar Pradesh. Although the festival is celebrated all over the Uttar Pradesh but it is the celebrations in the Mathura zone that has a special significance in this festival. The twin cities of Mathura and Vrindavan celebrate the festival of Janmashtmi with great pomp and show. Mathura being the birthplace of Lord Krishna and Vrindavan being his residence has a special place in the hearts of Krishna devout.

The festival of Janmashtmi Temples is celebrated in Mathura with great enthusiasm. The main celebrations are performed at the Dwarkadhish temple in the form of Jhulanotsava and the Ghatas during the entire month of Monsoon called 'Shravan' in Hindi. The Ghatas are the most spectacular feature of the month long celebrations. During the Ghata of a particular color the whole temple including the clothes of deities are covered with decoration in the same color.

Vrindavan has a distinct style of its own. The processions heavily decorated with 'Jhankis' or tableaus, depicting various episodes of Lord Krishna's life, are brought out in the city. The most spectacular displays during the period are the gold and silver 'Jhulas' or swings that are taken out on display only during the occasion. The Raslila enactments further add to the festive spirit. Apart from that Earthen-pots of curd and butter are hung up over the streets. Young men enacting an episode from Krishna's childhood form human pyramids by climbing on each other's shoulders and try to break these up.

STD Code
Best time to visit
October to March
Famous For
birth place of Lord Krishna



Sabarimala (Malayalam: ശബരിമല, Tamil: சபரிமலை) is a Hindu pilgrimage centre located in the Western Ghat mountain ranges of Pathanamthitta District in Kerala. Sabarimala is believed to be the place where Ayyappan meditated after killing the powerful demoness, Mahishi. Lord Ayyappan's temple is situated here amidst 18 hills. The temple is situated on a hilltop at an altitude of 914 m above mean sea level, and is surrounded by mountains and dense forests. Temples exist in each of the hills surrounding Sabarimala. While functional and intact temples exist at many places in the surrounding areas like Nilackal, Kalaketi, and Karimala, remnants of old temples survive to this day on remaining hills.


Air: The nearest airports are at Kochi and Trivandrum. Trivandrum International Airport is located at a distance of 175 km from Sabarimala. Nedumbassery International Airport at Kochi is at a distance of about 190 km from Sabarimala. Pre-paid taxi services are available from both airports to Pampa, 4 km away from Sabarimala Temple. Taxi charges about Rs 2500 for one way. The airports are well connected to all major airports in India and also are connected to many foreign cities.

Rail: Nearest railhead is at Chengannur, which is located at a distance of about 93 km from Pamba. Chengannur is located in the main rail route between Trivandrum and Kottayam and is connected by rail to all other railway stations in India. Taxi and other SUV services are available from Chengannur to Pamba. One-way taxi charge is about Rs 1300 to Pamaba.

Road: One can get KSRTC buses frequently to Pamba. 4 km trekking from Pamba is required to reach Sabarimala. Pmaba is well connected by KSRTC buses to all cities in Kerala. Frequent services are available from Trivandum (175 km), Kochi (180 km), Kottayam (109 km), Chengannur (93 km)and Chnganacherry (98 km).

Pathanamthitta District
STD Code
Summer 23-37°C, Winter 17-30°C
Best time to visit
Nov - Mar
Famous For
Being the largest annual pilgrimage destination in India and the 2nd largest in the world following the annual Haj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.



Guruvayur (also written Guruvayoor and sometimes referred to as Guruvayunkere) is a bustling pilgrim town and a municipality in Thrissur district of the Indian state of Kerala. It lies 25 km to the northwest of Thrissur city.

Guruvayur is a beautiful town near Thrissur in Kerala. While also known for its scenic beauty, the town is synoymous with its temples and is therfore called as "Dwarka of the South". Guruvayur is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in South India along with Tirupati and Sabarimala.


Little is known about the history of Guruvayur prior to the 1700's although legend suggests that the idol of Lord Krishna at the temple is over 5,000 years old. Since the 1700's several attempts were made to loot the town and destroy its temples.

In 1716, the Dutch attacked the town and set the Guruvayur Temple on fire. It was reconstructed by 1747. In 1766 Haider Ali raided the town but chose to spare the temple. However, his son Tipu Sultan, who was a fervent Muslim, took to aggressively convert Hindus to Islam. He stormed the Guruvayur Temple with the intent of destroying it. Luckily, a fortituous downpour stopped the fire from causing significant damage. Thereafter, Tipu Sultan chose to leave the temple alone claiming that he had a dream where he was told to not destroy it.

From when the British defeated Tipu Sultan and took control of the region, Guruvayur, and its temples, were allowed to flourish. It wasn't till 1946 that "Untouchables" were allowed into the temples.


Air: The nearest airport to Guruvayur is Nedumbassery International Airport at Kochi, at a distance of 65 km. Taxi services are available from Kochi to Guruvayur costing about Rs 800. Kochi airport is well connected to all major airports in India and also connected to many foreign cities. Direct flights are available to Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

Rail: Guruvayur Railhead connects to Thrissur. Thrissur is the major railhead nearest to Guruvayur and is located at a distance of about 27 km. Taxi services are available from Thrissur to Guruvayur for a charge of Rs 400. Thrisuur is well connected by trains to all major stations in India.

Road: State owned transport bus services are available from all cities in Kerala to Guruvayur. Private bus services are available from Kochi, Thrissur and North Paravur. Super deluxe buses connect Guruvayur with other important cities like Kochi, Kozhikode, Trivandrum, Palaghat, Chennai, Salem, Coimbatore and Bangalore.


All surrounding Guruvayur temple, there are many shops. Shops selling traditional Puja materials to high end electronic items are available in plenty here. The east gate of the Guruvaur temple is clustered by numerous hotels, lodges and shops. Shops are open all through 24 hours here.

One can get devotional materials, dress materials, antiques, toys, electronic items and eatables from the shops. There are many shops selling photographs, mural paintings, embroidery items, handicrafts and fancy items. Kerala style clothes and Jewelries are also available from the shops around the Guruvayur temple. There are big competitions among the shop owners and hence the customers get items at moderate prices.

A variety of handicrafts of Kerala are available in Guruvayur.


Guruvayur offers a host of accommodation options to suit the different budgets and tastes of various tourists. From luxurious to budget hotels, all are available here.


Sreeveli (Religious Procession)
The important 'uchcha' pooja takes place at midday. During the 'diparadhana' the well decorated idol glows in the warm light of the temple lamps. The deity is highly regarded for its healing powers. An important offering here is the 'Thulabharam'- In which a devotee is weighed against bananas, sugar, jaggery, coconuts among others, and these are donated to the temple.

Pooram Festival
The famous Pooram Festival (April/May) is celebrated at the Vaddakkunnath Temple. There are nightlong fireworks and a magnificent elephant procession. Shivratri (in March/April) is also celebrated with great fanfare. During Onam, the harvest festival (August/September), the entire state wears a festive look.

Trissur district
STD Code
Summer 23-37°C, Winter 17-25°C
Best time to visit
October to March