Varanasi is considered the holiest of India’s seven holy cities. It is the capital of Uttar Pradesh. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the oldest ion India. Varanasi is referred by many sobriquets including, “the city of light” and “the city of learning”. Gautama Buddha is believed to have delivered his first sermon in Varanasi. It is sometimes called Benaras or Kashi.
Places to Stay
Many hotels in Varanasi are suitable for budget travellers which include the City Inn (Rs 900), Hotel River Place (Rs 700) and Hotel Padmini International (Rs 1200)
Dhrupad Mela, celebrated every year in February-March is one of the major events in Varanasi. Mahashivrathri held in February is one of the major festivals celebrated here.
Hindi is the local language spoken in Varanasi. English and Urdu are commonly used languages.
Places to Visit
The interesting places to visit in Varanasi are Ramnagar Dashashwamedh Ghat, Annapurna Temple all located within 15 kms.
How to Get There
Varanasi is served by Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, which is approximately 26 km from the city centre in Babatpur. Domestic flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and other cities are available here.
Varanasi Junction, commonly known as Varanasi Cantt Railway Station, is the city's largest train station. It is one of the busiest train stations with over 200 hundred passing through each day.
NH2, NH7 and NH56 run through Varanasi connecting it to major centers such Delhi, Kanpur, Kolkata and Agra as well as Lucknow. The best bus operators that offer quality service include UPSTRC, Online bus ticket booking facility can save you a lot of time and energy.
Bilaspur is a city in the central Indian state of Chattisgarh and also happens to be the administrative headquarters of a district with the same name. The state capital, Raipur, is at a distance of 113 km. The vast Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a part of the district, is located at a distance of 78 km.
Places to Stay
There are a couple of good budget hotels in the city. Some of the options which are worth a try are Hotel Anand (Tariff – Rs. 500), Hotel Shivnari (Tariff – Rs. 600), Hotel Deep (Tariff – Rs. 700), Hotel Raja (Tariff – Rs. 900) and others.
The official language of the area is Hindi.
The important festivals celebrated are Holi in March, Hanuman Jayanti and Dusshera in September-October and Diwali in November.
Places of Interest
Bilaspur as a city, however, will always keep you on your toes as a tourist. Some of the places which are worth a visit are Mahamaya Mandit in Ratanpur, Kanan Pendari Zoo, Mungeli Maa Mahamaya Mandir, Rani Sati Mandir, Amarkantak (a beautiful place from where the rivers Narmada and Son originate) and others. The Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve, popularly known as ATR, located within the district’s limits at a distance of 78 km is a must-visit.
How to Get There
The nearest airport is the Raipur Airport at a distance of 128 km.
The city has its own railway station, the Bilaspur Junction Railway Station, which is one of the major stations in the area.
Mostly state transport buses cater to the needs of passengers in the region. A few smaller private operators are active too. You can book bus online from various bus booking websites