Journey Two / Chapter 2

Uttar Pradesh

July 2016

Indian Adventure starts in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India. Join me in the journey through history of one of most important Indian states, with Hindu pilgirmage center Varanasi, Buddhist Sarnath and Muslim Mughal capital Agra, site of Taj Mahal.

The long and difficult travels through India after crossing the land border from Nepal near Sonauli start in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous of all indian states with population over Two Hundred Million people.

After passing with roads and trains though Gorakhpur we arrive to the city of Varanasi, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, a cultural centre of North India for several thousand years. Hindus believe that death in the city will bring salvation, making it a major centre for pilgrimage. The city is known worldwide for its many ghats, embankments made in steps of stone slabs along the river bank where pilgrims perform ritual ablutions. Varanasi also grew as an important industrial centre, famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture.

Just few miles off north Varanasi is the site of Sarnath, where Lord Buddha is believed to have founded Buddhism around 528 BC when he gave his first sermon, "The Setting in Motion of the Wheel of Dharma". Only ruins of the historical city remain here, through it still remains as one of 4 holy pilgrimage sites of buddhism, and various countries set up modern monasteries in the proximity of the area.

Later we continue through Allahabad, a industrial centre of Uttar Pradesh to the city of Agra, most famous as a seat of Mughal India for hundred of years. It is here that Taj Mahal, a palace believed to be the greatest architectural heritage piece in the world, is located. It is also here that red fort-city of Agra, or its neighbour Mughal city of Fathepur Sikri - both seats of Mughal Empeors in its time are found.