Mid-2007, I went on a trip, well not just a trip but a holy trail of sorts starting from Varanasi (Kasi) – the holiest of holy places for a Hindu -> Ayodhya – the birthplace of Lord Rama -> Naimisharanya – a small hamlet on the banks of Gomathi river where Srimad Bhagavatam was spoken by Sage Suta to several other rishis and the abode of many sages -> Allahabad – land of triveni sangamam -> Chitrakoot – the land o the banks of River Mandakini where Lord Rama is said to have spent the majority of his vanavas (the 14 years of forest exile) and back to Varanasi (Kasi).
Our first stop from Varanasi was Ayodhya; en route we made a quick halt at Nandigram, the village from where Bharata ruled Ayodhya when Rama was in exile:
Hanuman-gadhi @ Ayodhya:
Near Sage Vyasa’s ashram @ Naimisharanya:
Festival @ Chitrakoot during the evening Ganga Aarti:
Can a trip to trip to be complete without an elephant sighting?
Sarnath – the place of Gautama Buddha’s first sermon is a few kilometers away from Varanasi, where King Ashoka installed his famous Lion Capital that now serves as the National Emblem of India. The base pillar of this emblem:
This Bodhi tree was apparently planted by Sanghamitra, daughter of Ashoka, taking a branch from the Bodhi tree under which Buddha attained enlightment.
There are several Buddhist temples in this small town, catering to the different schools of Buddhism.
Paintings from the life of Buddha
Finally, a candid picture of me, posting in response to Apar’s tag. This picture is just over a year old, but I am posting this as I don’t have any pictures with me currently that is more than 10 years old 🙂 What started as a hunt for candid picture ended up as a long photo-essay – I have been meaning to do this for a while, but never got around to it. Thanks Apar!