Popular Religious Sites



Puri, one of the oldest cities in eastern part of India, is a popular beach resort of Orissa that is positioned in a unique place that provides a visitor view of both sunrise and sunset from the beach. Puri is also famous for its annual Rath Yatra (Festival of Chariots), when the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra, are brought out of the temple, and placed in a chariot procession. It has dual identities of a relaxed seaside resort and of an important pilgrimage centre.


Puri is the site of the Govardhana matha, one of the four cardinal institutions established by Sri Adi Shankara Charya, the others being those at Sringeri, Dwaraka and Jyotirmath.

Puri is also famous for its annual Ratha Yatra, or "Festival of Chariots", when the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra, are brought out of the temple, and placed in a chariot procession. This festival occurs on various dates of the Gregorian calendar, typically in the month of July.

The town is famous for its many Mathas (monasteries of the various Hindu sects). It also houses the relics of many Hindu Saints as traditionally it is seen as a holy place to die in or to be cremated. As a result, it has had a disproportionate number of widows. Like other old Hindu religious towns it has a lot of character that is difficult to be glimpsed or picked up on easily by a casual visitor.

In 1903, Sri Yukteswar established an ashram in the sea-side town of Puri, naming it "Kararashram". From two ashrams, Sri Yukteswar taught students, and began an organization named "Sadhu Sabha."

Sri Yukteswar and his disciple, Paramahansa YoganandaLocation: Puri, Orissa State, East India.

Puri is a holy city in the State Of Orissa. It is well connected by National Highway No.203 starting from Rasulgarh of "BHUBANEHSWAR" (State Capital) mail and express trains by Indian Railways and airport, at about 57 km. from Bhubanehswar.


Air: Biju Patnaik airport at Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport to Puri, which is nearly 56 km away from the heart of the Puri city. It costs about Rs 900 by taxi cab. The airport is connected to Delhi and Mumbai. International travelers need to get connections through Delhi or Kolkata.

Rail: Puri is a major railway junction. Regular direct train services are available from Puri to many cities in India, including Bhubaneshwar, New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata.

Road: Orissa road transport corporation buses connect Puri to many cities in Orissa. Frequent bus services are available from Bhuvaneshwar (56 km), Cuttack (32 km) and Konark. Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) offer deluxe buses for sight seeing tours in Puri, which costs about Rs 250 per person.


Puri is a wonderful place for shopaholics. In fact, it is one of the most common activities that travelers indulge in. You can check out numerous shops in the streets of Puri, which display fabulous Indian handicraft items, stone crafts and silver works. Apart from this, you can get the best deal for shoes, designer clothes, bags and other accessories as well. Beach-side shops often sell products made from shells, at reasonable prices. Sarees of Puri are famous, so it would be a delight for female travelers to move around shopping, in Puri.

Puri is a very popular destination in Orissa. For the discerning shopper, shopping in Puri may turn out to be a true delight. The state of Orissa has a rich tradition of handicrafts.

Being a beachside destination, shells and oyster are available in abundance in Puri. Over the years the ace craftsmen have perfected the art of making artifacts out of shells and oysters. A variety of utilities, decorative showpieces are definitely a feast to eyes and may leave you spoilt for choice. Do pick up a few items while shopping in Puri.

Weaving saris is a traditional craft of Orissa. Even in Puri you would find many outlets dealing in textiles where shoppers flock in large numbers. Do check out the exquisite Passapali, Bomkai and Ikat saris while shopping in Puri.

Palm leaf painting, Patta Chitra is also a popular craft in Orissa. The craft has earned worldwide renown. The item serves well to decorate the interior of your home. An item or two must feature in your shopping cart in Puri.

At the same time, stone crafts and silver works are also favorite items for shopping in Puri.


Puri, being the abode of Lord Jagannatha, is one of the most celebrated pilgrimage centers for Hindus in India. The land of many temples attracts huge number of tourists every year.

Alongside the temples, Puri is famous for its beaches too. Although Puri is not a typical beach resort, but the lure of sun, sand and surf is also an enduring lure for many.

Since Puri is a popular destination, there are a large number of hotels in Puri. Some hotels in Puri offer you high-end luxury and comfort. Some hotels are located close to the beach whereas others are in the city.

In the luxury hotels in Puri, you would find state of the art amenities like: well-furnished room, multi-cuisine restaurants conference halls, shopping arcade, swimming pool, well equipped gym, children parks, tennis courts and other indoor and outdoor games. They offer different categories of rooms too. From elegant suites to ethnic villas - choice is yours as per your taste and budget.

But it is not that all the hotels in Puri are expensive ones. In fact there are several other economy hotels in Puri to suit your budget if you wish to spend less on accommodation. There are lots of options that offer decent arrangement at a modest price.

Some hotels in Puri have great dining facilities too. A number of good restaurants and bars are available in Puri. The cuisine is definitely a gourmet's delight.

Toshali Sands
Mayfair Beach Resort
Hans Coco Palms
Hotel Arya Palace, Puri


Jagannath Rath Yatra: Rath Yatra, which is also known as the Chariot Festival, is one of the most prominent festivals of Orissa, which is celebrated in the holy city of Puri. ‘Rath Yatra’ has derived its name from the words ‘Rath’, meaning ‘Chariot’, and ‘Yatra’, meaning ‘Procession’. This festival is celebrated with gusto in almost every part of the country. However, it was initiated in Jagannath Temple and it still attracts devotees from different parts of India. Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra is a very colorful festivity, in which people participate enthusiastically.

In the yatra, the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, enshrined in the Sri Mandira, are brought out and placed on their respective chariots. These chariots are then pulled by the devotees and the idols are taken to Gundicha Temple. The deities stay at this temple for seven days and then, return to Sri Mandira, in a similar procession. Before the procession starts, Gajapati (the ceremonial King of Puri) comes and cleans the chariots with a golden broom and then, sprinkles holy water on them.

Originally, the local king used to sweep the road on which procession was to take place with a golden broom, proclaiming to be the Lord’s first servant. Rath yatra has been gaining popularity and drawing more and more devotees year after year. It is believed that it is very auspicious if one manages to catch even a glimpse of Lord Jagannath on the chariot. People also hold a belief that the one who manages to touch the chariot, or even the ropes with which it is pulled, is bestowed with the results of several pious deeds for ages.

Puri Beach Festival

One of the most popular festivals of Orissa is the Puri Beach Festival. Fun lovers look forward to celebrating this festival every year at one of the holiest cities of India. The credit for conducting the wonderful Puri Beach Festival goes to the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Orissa (HRAO). It is co-sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India; the Department of Tourism, Government of Orissa; Development Commissioner of Handicrafts and the Eastern Zonal Cultural Center; Calcutta.

A variety of cultural events take place at the festival, ranging from fashion shows to various music shows. Puri Beach Festival, held at the beautiful beach of the holy city, is a delight not just for locals, but also for the tourists. It is a four-day long annual festivity that is hosted in the month of November. This festive occasion has been attracting more and more visitors every year. So, if you are planning a tour of Puri, the abode of Lord Jagannath, make sure you don’t miss being a part of the fabulous Puri Beach Festival.

Things to do

Since Puri is famous for its Lord Jagannath Temple, you should not miss to pay visit this religious site. Dedicated to Lord Jagannath (Lord Krishna), the temple exemplifies the magnificence of ancient Indian architecture. The best time to visit the temple is during the Rath Yatra in July, because that is when the air is filled with festivity.

Nature Walk
Puri beaches are the best places to catch a glimpse of the blazing sun rising in the east. For the same, you may head towards the sea shore in the morning, whenever the time of sunrise is predicted. After witnessing the beautiful scene, you can enjoy taking a stroll along the shore and catch a breath of fresh air!

Cruising in the sparkling water of the sea can be a fun-filled experience for travelers coming to Puri. You can take a boat ride in the sea and catch a glimpse of the picturesque beauty of the town, while on board.

Apart from fishermen, amateurs are also seen thronging the beaches of Puri, to catch fishes. So, fishing is also a wonderful thing to do in Puri. In fact, it would serve as a nice pastime during a weekend getaway trip to Puri.

Other Beach Activities
You can indulge in a number of beach activities, while staying in Puri. There, you can have the pleasure of playing a number of adventurous water sports such as scuba diving, surfing, swimming etc. Sun bathing is yet another activity popular in the beaches of Puri.

STD Code
Best time to visit
October to March
Famous For
One of the four holiest points of pilgrimage for Hindus



Kanchipuram is one of the most sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites in India and the seat of the Shankaracharya.


Kanchipuram or the Golden City of Temples is one of the most important centers of Hindu religion and also one of the most picturesque. The place is one of India's seven sacred cities and the second holiest after Varanasi.

The city was once the capital of the Pallavas, Cholas, and the Vijayanagar rulers. It was under the Pallavas from 6th to 8th century AD but, during that period, was also briefly occupied by the Chalukyas, and the Rashtrakutas. Many of the temples situated here are the work of the Pallavas and later Cholas.

The remains of a few Buddhist stupas are indication that Buddhism also prevailed here for a little while. One of the four seats of Sri Adi Shankaracharya (a great Hindu sage), the Kanchi Kamakotti Peetham is situated here. It has been a center for Tamil learning and culture for centuries and presents the glorious Dravidian heritage of the Vaishnavites (worshippers of Vishnu) and Shaivites (worshippers of Shiva).


Air: Nearest airport is Chennai International airport, which is 75 km away from Kanchipuram. Prepaid taxi fare is about Rs 1100 from airport to Kanchipuram.

Rail: Kanchipuram rail line is connected to Chennai, Pondicherry, Nagaercoil and Madurai. Only few trains run through Kanchipuram.

Road: Many buses are available between Kanchipuram and Chennai. State owned public transport system connects Kanchipuram to many cities in and around Chennai. Private tourist bus services are also available from Kancheepuram to Chennai and also to Bangalore. It costs about Rs 3 per kilometer.


Kanchipuram is synonymous with silks and silks! The Kanjeevaram saris of Kanchipuram are the finest and the most beautiful in the world. In India they are usually passed on as heirloom from mother to daughter.

Kanchipuram has a history of weaving dating back to about 400 years with silk weavers settling in this temple town. Even today there are more than 500 families engaged in the exquisite art of weaving silk. Kanchipuram silks are woven from silk worms bred purely on mulberry. Kanchipuram silks saris are woven using a dazzling array of colorful threads and fine golden thread or zari into alluring patterns depicting traditional temple motifs.

Shopping in Kanchipuram for silk saris and fabrics can be done at handloom co-operatives who run their retail outlets. Besides silks, you can buy artifacts like fruit baskets, candle stands, and jewelry boxes and idols of gods and goddesses. These made of stone, bronze, brass, copper and jute make good gifts and souvenirs to carry home from Kanchipuram.


There are good hotel accommodations in Kanchipuram from deluxe hotels to the budget hotels. Hotels in Kanchipuram are known for their traditional warmth and hospitality. For those who enjoy south Indian cuisine, you can savor the range of delicious cuisine at the hotels in Kanchipuram.

Some of the prominent hotels in Kanchipuram are:

Jayabala International
T M Hotels
Babloo Soorya Hotels
M M Hotels


Kanchipuram Silk Sarees
The temple city of Kanchipuram is also the silk city of India. It has a thriving handloom industry with an enviable reputation as the producer of the best silk sarees in India. The silk weavers of Kanchi settled more than 400 years ago and kept up an unflinching tradition of producing impeccable silk sarees.
Each of the Kanchipuram silk saree is unique in itself since it is entirely hand woven with dyed silk yarn with interleaved designs made with 'Zari' - a Silk thread twisted with thin Silver wire and then gilded with pure Gold.

STD Code
Summer 21-36°C, Winter 19-28°C
Best time to visit
Throughout the year
Famous For
Kanchipuram is one of the most sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites in India and the seat of the Shankaracharya.



Ajmer is a historical region in central Rajasthan, a central part of a big Chauhan empire in 11-12th centuries. It is famous as a pilgrim place and houses the Dargah or tomb of the popular 13th-century, Sufi Saint Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chisti. Millions of pilgrims from all over the world throng Ajmer to attend the death anniversary of the great saint every year. The city also boasts of a number of monuments belonging to the Mughal era. The city is also known for its traditional handicrafts.


Historically, Ajmer always had great strategic importance and was sacked by Mahumud of Ghazni on one of his periodic forays from Afghanistan. Later it became a favorite residence of the great Moghula. One of the first contacts between the Moghula and the British occurred in Ajmer when Sir Thomas Roe met with Jahangir here in 1616. The city was subsequently taken by the Scindias and, in 1818, it was handed over to the British, becoming one of the few places in Rajasthan controlled directly by British rather than being part of a princely state.


By Air: The nearest airport to Ajmer is the Sanganer Airport located at Jaipur, which is about 132 km from Ajmer.

By Rail: Ajmer junction railway station lies on the Delhi-Mumbai railway line and is well connected to several cities in India.

By Road: Ajmer has a good network of roads connecting all the main cities of Rajasthan, including Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bharatpur. Ajmer is connected to Delhi also by road.


Shopping in Ajmer is an enjoyable experience. Ajmer is known for antiques, curios, fascinating gold and silver jewelry in contemporary designs, bandhini (colorful tie-and-dye sarees) and embroidered jodhpuri 'Jutis' (shoes). Ittar, a special form of local perfume is sold in small and large packs all over Ajmer and is a specialty that one can carry home form Ajmer.

The annual Urs Fair is the time one can buy the colorful creations of traditional folk artisans of Ajmer.Colorful clothes and products from Tilonia village and miniature paintings from Kishangarh and a range of wood crafted products are available during the festival The annual Ajaymeru Udyog Crafts Mela in Ajmer is another time when you can buy typical and popular items of Rajasthan like brass utensils, bangles, woodcrafts, silver souvenirs, leather belts, hand embroidered cloth bags and unlimited home décor items.


Hotels in Ajmer offer various packages with modern facilities. Ajmer is a prominent pilgrimage spiritual tourist attraction in the state of Rajasthan . Ajmer serves as the base for most of the long-distance journeys to Pushkar, which holds an annual Hindu religious festival. Ajmer is also a pilgrimage destination of Muslims, thus bringing in an amalgamation of cultures to this small town in Western India. Apart from this Ajmer also hosts a popular camel festival every year.

Ajmer offers various hotel packages with modern facilities. In Ajmer you will find both luxury and budget hotels.

Some of the prominent hotels in Ajmer are:
Bijay Niwas, Palace Resort
Mansigh Palace Hotel
Roopangarh Fort


Urs Fair
The Urs Fair is dedicated to Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti, the Sufi saint. It is organized on the death anniversary of the great Sufi Saint, during the first six days of Rajab (seventh month of the Islamic calendar). The venue of the Rajasthan Urs Fair is the memorial of the holy saint, situated in the lakeside city of Ajmer. The mortal remains of the saint lie buried in the Dargah Sharif (memorial of the saint) known as Chishti ki Dargah. Devotees of the Saint hold so much respect him, that the city of Ajmer is at times called Ajmer Sharif (Holy Ajmer).

The saint came from Persia and founded the Chishtia order of fakirs in India. Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti is also known by the name of Gharib Nawaz, the protector of the poor. This is so because the entire life he remained committed to the service of mankind. He lived a simple and austere life and graced this world by his presence for almost a hundred years. In the last days of his life, he retired to his cell and died in complete peace and solitude.

Lakhs of devotees from different communities assemble at the shrine of the saint at the time of the Urs Fair of Ajmer, Rajasthan. The devotees come not only from the various cities of Rajasthan, rather from all parts of the country. They visit the dargah to pay tribute to the Khwaja on his Urs (death anniversary). People coming to pray to the Khwaja and seek his blessings make offerings (nazrana) at the place where the remains of the Saint now rest. The offerings include rose and jasmine flowers, sandalwood paste, perfumes, incense, etc. Those who get their wishes fulfilled, along with those who come to pray, offer chadar, ghilaph and neema at the Dargah. Outside the sanctum sanctorum of the dargah, professional singers called qawwals can be seen singing the praises of the saint.

Things to do

Camel and Horse Safari
One of the best amusements in Rajasthan is a camel ride. At Pushkar a number of locals provide this unique opportunity, to explore the sand stretches on ship of the deserts. Apart from that one can also get to ride a horse, as horse safari are also frequently conducted from here.

STD Code
Summer 26-41°C, Winter 8-20°C
Best time to visit
Famous For
Ajmer Sharief Dargah



Amritsar, means "the tank of nectar or the tank of immortality", is the Home of world famous Har Mandar Sahib (Golden Temple) founded by Guru Ramdas the 4th Guru. It is the most important seat of sikh history and culture, trade centre & also the gateway for travellers coming to india on the overland route through Pakistan. The place lies amidst River Beas (to the east) separating Amritsar from Kapurthala and River Ravi (to the west).


The History of Amritsar can be traced back to the days of the Indus Valley Civilization. A number of archaeological sites have been found in Amritsar and other parts of Punjab. The history of Amritsar in the Vedic period was marked by the existence of a number of Sages and Saints and the legend of Ramayana, which considers the area to be the venue of Rishi Balmikis ashram and the birth place of Lavh and Kush.

The history of Amritsar points out at Greek influence on the region around 326 B.C. when the area came under the control of Alexander. With the defeat of the Greeks, the Mauryas annexed Amritsar, making it a part of their Empire. From the 4th century to the 6th century the history of Amritsar came to be linked with the history of the Gupta Empire. After a short period of rule by the Shahi Dynasty, the area came under the control of Sultan Mahmood of Ghazni.

It was from the 16th Century that the history of Amritsar came to be linked with the Sikh Gurus and their teachings. Sikh Guru Ram Das and his successor Guru Arjan Dev went on to create a temple around a small pool, that had healing powers and thus the name Amritsar. Slowly with people settling around the temple a town grew up. Over the years Amritsar underwent various historical developments and went on to fortified by Guru Govind Singh. The history of Amritsar during India's Freedom Movement is a story of bloody struggles.


Air: Raja Sansi International Airport in Amritsar provides regular service to major cities like Mumbai and Chennai. Airport to the heart of the city, it costs only about Rs 100/- by taxi. Foreign cities can be connected through Mumbai and Chennai.

Rail: Amritsar Railway Station is well linked to other rail heads in the state and also connected to most of the cities in India. It has a connection railway line to Pakistan.

Road: State run public buses and private buses are available to move in and out from Amritsar. Grand Trunk Road connects Delhi to Amritsar. Luxury buses are available from Delhi.


For the avid shoppers, Amristar is a paradise. Punjab is famous for rich tradition of handicrafts and handlooms, you will find these items in markets of Amritsar. You may check out beautiful handicraft items like phulkari (traditional embroidery), lacquered woodwork, jewelry and much more. While shopping in Amritsar do not forget to buy the typical Punjabi shoes, Patiala salwar, hand-woven carpets, blankets and woolen garments. You should also buy famous jams, jellies and pickles of Punjab. Amritsar has a number of shopping centres, but the old city markets are best places for traditional Indian. You will also find several shopping malls having top brand shops. Cooper Road, Mochi Bazaar, Guru Bazaar and Shastri Market for some of popular markets in Amritsar.

Punjab is a land rich with the unique collection of handicrafts and handlooms. If you wish to go for a shopping spree in the state, no place other than Amritsar will be the best option for you. A number of shopping joints line the city, offering a variety of materials to shop for. The eloquently embroidered shawls (phulkari), elegantly designed jootis (shoes), lacquered wood work, traditional jewellery, woolen blankets, parandis (hair worn embellishment) and durries (embroidered carpets and bed-spreads) are the main things you should carry back home from Amritsar. Besides, Amritsar is also well known for delicious Punjabi cuisines. You can taste it in any of the many restaurants in the city. The pickles of the area are very famous and easily available in most of the markets.

Amritsar Shopping Places
There are some prominent shopping centers in Amritsar, where you can get the maximum shopping items in one go. The important among them are discussed below:

Hall Bazaar
Hall Bazaar is one of the most important shopping complexes of Amritsar. You can get a variety of electronic items, jewelry, books, handicraft items like phulkari and ready-made garments available here in plenty. The bazaar is famous for Pakistani jootis and Chinese lights, available in different models. The Gandhi Gate, also known as the Hall gate, is the entrance to the bazaar and boats of a typical royal look, with a clock.

Guru Bazaar
Guru Bazaar is the oldest market in the city, widely known for the collection of gold and silver ornaments. Located between Guru Ka Mahal and Golden Temple, the bazaar is most visited for the traditional Indian jewelry 'jadau’ and ornaments made of precious stones. You also get earthen lamp, glittering silver diyas, hatli and idols of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi here.

Katra Jaimal Singh Market
This market is situated close to Hall Bazaar and has profuse collection of textiles, like saris, pashminas, marvelous beaded dresses, men's wedding dresses and attractive boxed shirt and tie sets with quasi designer names. The price is reasonable and there is a wide choice available here. Handicraft items can also be found here in plenty.

Kapda Bazaar
This is an exclusive market for ladies, where they can get both textile items and ornaments, at a cheap price. Dupattas, earrings, gorgeous salwar kameez, bangles, bindis etc are available in wide range here.


Amritsar is dotted with a good number of hotels ranging from luxurious to budget hotels. Equipped with the modern amenities and well-appointed rooms, the luxurious hotels of Amritsar provide a pleasant stay to guests. Budget and economic hotels of the city also offer comfortable stay alongwith warm hospitality. Some of the famous hotels of Amritsar are :

Luxury Hotels : Hotel Ritz Plaza, Mohan International Hotel, Hotel Swarn House and M K Hotel

Heritage Hotels : Ranjit's Svaasa

Economic Hotels : Hotel Royal Castle, Hotel Grand Legacy and Hotel Kumar International

Budget Hotels : Hotel Astoria, Grand Hotel, Hotel Suncity Towers and C J International Hotel

STD Code
Summer 24-45°C, Winter 4-27°C
Best time to visit
October to March
Famous For
Home of world famous Har Mandar Sahib (Golden Temple)



Dwarka, also known as the kingdom of Lord Krishna, is located on the western most tip of Saurastra and is one of four most holy pilgrimage sites (Chardham) of Hindu faith and is associated with Lord Krishna’s life. The place is close to the edge of the Kutch peninsula near the shores of the Arabian sea, the city of Dwarka is built on the right bank of the Gamut creek. The city is regarded as one of the seven oldest cities in India.


Dwarka called as Dwarawati or Kushasthali in Puranic times, is deeply associated with Lord Krishna, who developed his kingdom here, after he left Mathura with his followers. During Lord Krishna's time, Dwarka was called as Swarnadwarka. There are many legends connected with Dwarka. It is said that original Dwarka, that is believed to be built by Vishwakarma, where Lord Krishna spent 100 years, was destructed by the sea when the Lord Krishna finally abandoned his body and the city in due course was submerged by the sea, devastating the entire Yadava clan.

Present Dwarka, the gateway to western India, is the 7th city built with stone and brick on the edge of the Kutchh peninsula, facing the Arabian Sea. Dwarka extended up to Bet Dwaraka (Sankhodhara) in the north, Okhamadhi in the south and Pindara in the East. The earlier cities were buried under the sea and have been revealed by marine archaeological excavations.

Along with Joshimath (Uttarakhand), Sringeri (Karnataka), and Puri (Orissa), Dwarka is one of the four Mathas or Sharada peethas (centres for the practice of an ascetic form of Hinduism) established by the great Indian Saint and Philosopher Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century AD.


By Air: The closest domestic airport to Dwarka is located at Jamnagar, which is about 137 km away.

By Rail:
Dwarka railway station in the Ahmedabad - Okha rail route is connected to other major railway stations.

By Road: Gujrat state road transport buses connect Dwarka with all major cities in the state. Luxury coach tourist buses are also available from nearby cities to Dwarka. A superb state highway joins Dwarka.


Shopping is an inevitable pastime in this historic city. A variety of shops that supplies excellent Gujarati artifacts on a comparatively good price would be the sweet remainders of your trip.

Beautiful Patola sarees are a must among the buys while Shopping in Dwarka. Exuding the essence of rich Gujarati folk culture, the Bandhni form of embroidery is a treat to the eye. Bandhni works in sarees, Ghagra cholis, dress materials, handicraft items, showpieces and accessories in a rich demonstration of life and liveliness. The mirror works coupled with a dazzle of sequins shells and beads in fabrics, footwear and home accessories like bed covers and home linen, add a new dimensions to the shoppers' list. Ornaments or any showpieces made out of silver is another interesting buy in Dwarka.

The narrow street leading to the temples is lined on both the sides by vendors selling seashells, local crafts, photos of deities, cassettes, coconuts and other refreshments. The pilgrims engage in bargains after paying obeisance to the deities in an atmosphere of tranquility on this windy island.


Hotels in Dwarka can be classified into lower, middle and upper class budget hotels. They provide you with comfortable rooms and a fine dining experience. Moreover the other facilities and customer centric behavior of the hotel staff goes a long way in making your stay memorable and worthwhile.

Most of these hotels are located in close proximity to the airport and near the tourist spots so that it becomes easily accessible to the tourists. Hotels in Dwarka offers you good dining facilities too. Most of the hotels here has an onsite restaurant and the very few that doesn’t have an in house restaurant have nearby eating access and restaurants. The restaurant provides you both vegetarian and non vegetarian items. However special vegetarian foods are prepared for the many pilgrims who throng this holy site.

There are many dharamshalas and guest houses in the outskirts of the hotel which provides you with clean rooms and wholesome dining facilities at a reasonable rate.

Hotel Damji

Shivrajsinh Road,
Near Dwarkadhish Temple
Dwarka: 361335
Tel/Fax: [02892] 235777, 234700, 234000

Hotel Dwarkesh

Opposite Swaminarayan Mandir
Dwarka - 361 335

Toran Tourist Bungalow

Close to Circuit House
Hospital Road, Dwarka

Darshan Hotel

Jawahar Road
Near Old Bus Stand, Dwarka

Hotel Dwarka Residency

Near ISKCON Gate, Dwarka
Tel.: 235032/33, 9426208910

Guruprerna Hotel

Near The Temple
Ravel Talao, Dwarka
Gujarat - 361335

Hotel City Palace

Jawahar Road, Teen Batti Chowk,
Dwarka - 361335
Tel: + 91 - 2892 234312

STD Code
Summer 23-44°C, Winter 10-36°C
Best time to visit
October to March



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



Kedarnath, located in the Himalayan mountain ranges, is part of the 'Char Dham", or one of the four holy places a devout Hindu visits during his lifetime. The Kedar shrine is among the 12 jyotirlingas dedicated to Lord Shiva.



Kedar is another name of Lord Shiva the protector and the destroyer. Shiva, is considered the embodiment of all passions-love, hatred, fear, death and mysticism which are expressed through his various forms.

According to legend, the place came into being during the period when the five Pandavas brothers were asked to seek Shiva's blessings purging them of the sin of killing their cousins. Lord Shiva unwilling to give darshans to the Pandavas frled Kashi to live incognito in Guptkashi, where eventually he was detected by the Pandavas. While fleeing Shiva took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull and started to plunge underground when he was spotted by the Pandavas. He dived into the ground, leaving behind his hump on the surface. No wonder the natural rock formation that is worshipped here resembles the hump of a bull. Thus Shiva pleased with the determination of the Pandavas, exonerated them from their sin, gave them darshan & bestowed upon them the opportunity to worship his hump.

The other four places where Shiva is worshipped take their appearance from different parts of his body -the naval at Madmaheshwar, the arms at Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, and the matted hair at Kalpeshwar. The latter four along with Kedarnath are known as the Panch Kedars.


Air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, which is about 239 km from Kedarnath. Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is a domestic airport located at about 20 km away from city center of Dehradun. Taxi cabs are available from Dehradun airport to Kedarnath, which cost about Rs 3,500. The airport operates daily flights to Delhi. Nearest International airport is Delhi.

Rail: Nearest railhead at Rishikesh, 221 km away from Kedarnath. Prepaid taxi services are available in the railway station which charge about Rs 3,000. One has to travel 207 km by road and the rest 14 km by foot to reach Kedarnath.

Road: Kedarnath is well connected through road. The National Highway from Delhi to Mana (538 km) is accessible throughout the year. Kedarnath can be accessed by foot from GauriKund. Gaurikund is connected by state buses to Rishikesh, Dehradun, Kotdwara, Haridwar and other hill stations of Kumaon and Garhwal Hills. The bus charges are not fixed. It will vary depending on season.


Kedarnath is the abode of Lord Shiva according to Hindu mythology. From decades sages and mystics have traveled to Kedarnath in search of salvation. One of the major pilgrimage sites for Hindus, it is a town which has temples all over and there are shops beside and around these temples. If you are planning for Shopping in Kedarnath, then drop into these shops in Kedarnath.

There are not too many items for shopping in Kedarnath. For souvenirs you can visit the small shops in Kedarnath which sell portraits and photographs of the Kedarnath and Badrinath Temple or of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Besides these photographs or framed pictures of temples you can also get Rudraksh Malas made from Rudraksh, an essential fruit which is quite important to the Hindus. Besides these, the shops in Kedarnath also sell crystals, saligrams, herbs, Shilajit, natural vitalizers, precious stones and tulsi beads.

Moreover if you are going for shopping in Kedarnath do not miss the ornamental brass work. Beautifully embellished these brass items can be excellent souvenirs. The shops of Kedarnath in Uttaranchal also sell woolens and beautiful and intricately designed local handicrafts.


Kedarnath is one of the holiest places of worship for the Hindus and also a chief destination of pilgrimage. There are various options for travelers to accommodate themselves on their way to Kedarnath.

STD Code
Summer 15 to 30°C, Winter 0 to 24°C
Best time to visit
May to October



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


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


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