Eastern UP and Bihar Trip Details
Hotel India Awadh, Lucknow We stayed here for one night in November 2017.
1) The rooms and bathrooms were clean
2) The staff was courteous and the front desk helped us with all our travel needs.
3) The breakfast spread and the quality of food was very good. We also had dinner here and the food was served on time and the quality and taste were pretty good.
4) The tariff was quite cheap.
5) The location is central and close to the shopping centre of Hazratganj. It is a short (~10-15 min) auto ride to Hussainabad and the Ambedkar Park.
6) The rooms are isolated from the traffic noise and it was very quite at nights.
7) The wi-fi speed and connectivity was good.
1) The rooms and bathrooms were small.
2) It is not very easy to find autos right outside. We had to walk about half a kilometer to the main road to catch them.
Taraji Resort, Faizabad Stayed here for two nights in Nov 2017
1) Faizabad and Ayodhya are very congested towns and it is under permanent traffic jams. Given this, Taraji is a decent choice as it is located on the highway between Faizabad and Ayodhya. If you have your own transport, this is a good base to visit both the towns.
2) The rooms and bathrooms were reasonably clean and spacious.
3) The staff is very courteous.
4) Front desk was very helpful and helped us with all our travel needs.
5) The tariff was quite reasonable.
6) Check-in process was smooth and fast.
7) The wi-fi speed and connectivity was good.
1) It is not possible to find any auto-rickshaw at the hotel. You have to walk a km or two to the Faizabad junction to find one. There are no shops next to the hotel. So you are stuck with the hotel for all your needs.
2) The food was very average. Just stick with dal, rice and rotis. All the other side dishes were too oily and spicy.
3) The breakfast spread was very limited. It is either Parathas or Puris.
4) The hotel is a bit noisy. We were disturbed quite frequently by the housekeeping as they kept knocking at our door by mistake. It happened on both the nights.
5) The check-out was too slow in the morning.
Kanchan Villa, Allahabad It is a homestay. So you are treated like a guest in a private home rather than a client in a hotel. The hosts are a very welcoming couple and we felt right at home. Since it is a homestay, if you are going to arrive on time for a meal, please let them know in advance.
1) The food is excellent. It is home cooked food. It cannot get any better.
2) They helped us book local sightseeing and arrange for vehicle to drop us at the next destination. They don't take the usual "hotel-cut" and hence we got the best rates.
3) We got the Bengal Room and it and its attached bathroom were clean and spacious.
4) We had an early check-out and the hosts were quite happy to accommodate our request.
5) The wifi connectivity and speed were good.
1) The location is not great if you are here for sightseeing. Only Khusrau Bagh is close by. Everything else is bit of a long haul. But the hosts do arrange for a e-rickshaw at short notices. If you are coming from outside, please use Google maps to find your way. This is in a residential area and the usual "ask the people on the street corner" will not get you here easily.
Hotel Heritage Inn, Varanasi We stayed here for one night in Nov 2017.
1) The hotel restaurant food is quite good and they serve food on time.
2) The rooms and bathrooms were reasonably clean.
3) The location is close to the Ghats, by the Assi Ghat area. It is a very short walk down to the river.
4) The hotel runs a good one day trip of Varanasi that includes morning & evening boat rides, visiting all the main temples and BHU. The trip was reasonably priced and was very efficiently run. We highly recommend it if you are looking for such a trip.
5) The hotel is one street away from the main street and hence the street noise is bearable at nights.
6) The wifi connectivity and speed were good.
7) We used the laundry facility and it was good.
8) The tariff was reasonable.
1) The hotel does not have a lift. So it is a long haul up to the restaurant. I was told that they are constructing one shortly.
2) We had some sort of renovation going on in the lobby and all of a sudden they decided to work on it at 11 in the night! The loud hammering at 11 pm was just awful and went on for a good 15 minutes.
3) The breakfast spread was a bit disappointing. The quality of food was ok.
4) We were most unhappy with the travel arrangements to drop at our next destination. We had requested a car to drop us at Bodhgaya. They charged us a premium (7500 as opposed to usual 5500). But the vehicle they arranged was a beaten up one and one of the worst we have travelled in. Also, they had informed me that driver would pay the toll and failed to inform the driver. It was just providence that we sorted this out before the trip. Else, we would have to shell out extra on the trip. The driver hardly had any money on him. I hope this was an honest mistake and not a trick to make more money out of us.
- Hotel Bodh Vilas, Bodh Gaya We stayed here for one night in Nov 2017
1) The rooms and bathrooms were spacious and clean
2) The staff was courteous and the front desk helped us will all travel needs
3) The tariff was cheap.
4) The hotel had a good wifi
5) The breakfast is served early (7 am) and on time. The spread was ok.
6) As the hotel is far away from the city, this is extremely quiet here at nights.
1) The biggest drawback is the location. It is far away from the main road and is located in the middle of paddy fields. There are no shops next to the hotel. So you are stuck to the hotel for all your needs. The hotel does offer a free drop off and pick up service.
2) The food at the restaurant was quite average.
- Hotel Gargee Grand, PatnaWe stayed here for 3 nights in Nov 2017
1) The rooms and bathrooms were very clean.
2) The staff was courteous.
3) Front desk is quite efficient and helped us with all our travel needs. The driver they arranged for the local trips was also excellent.
4) The hotel wifi was good in speed and connectivity
5) The hotel has a good and quick laundry facility
6) The tariff is cheap
7) The breakfast spread and quality is excellent
8) The food at the restaurant is quite good as well.
9) The location is good. It is a short walk to the Gandhi Maidan and is in the middle of the shopping district.
1) The rooms and bathrooms were quite small
2) The transportation costs for hotel vehicles is quite expensive.
3) The main road in front of the hotel is very congested and dirty and is not a pleasant walk to even the nearby places.
- Ambedkar Park - Should See; 1-2 hrs: It is the closest you can come to witness communist style propaganda architecture in India. It is not a traditional "park" - don't expect to see trees and such. Come here in the evenings when the weather is cool and the place looks better under artificial lighting.
- Bada Imambara - Must See; 1-2 hrs: You need a guide to go to the roof via the Bhul Bhulaiyya (ie if you not part of a group already). It is 30 to 45 min guided tour. Don't miss the step well. The place closes down for a few hours on Fridays around 11 am.
- Chotta Imambara - Must See; 30 mins: A guide is not needed here. The other sites like Rumi Darwaza, Clock Tower and Satkhanda are just by or on the road between the two Imambaras.
- Residency - Must See; 1 hr: This is mostly in ruins. The museum is closed on Fridays.
- Bahu Begam ka Maqbara - Must See: This is a fantastic mausoleum although there is no vantage point to photograph it. Do take a look inside. You have to find the old man with the keys and pay him Rs. 10 each to gain entry.
- Gulab Bari - Must See: It is an impressive mausoleum set in a pretty garden. In about 2 hrs you can visit both mausoleum including the commute and time spent at the sites.
- Parinirvana Temple - Must See; 20 mins: This is the one that houses the 6.1 m long reclining Buddha.
- Ramabhar Stupa - Must See; 20 mins: This is located about couple of kilometers down the road from the temple. Here is where Buddha was cremated.
- Anand Bhavan- Must See; 30 mins: The building has just two floors of period furnishing that you can peep from the outside. Don't miss the nearby Swaraj Bhavan which was the earlier residence of the Nehrus. This is closed on Mondays.
- Allahabad Museum - Must See; 2 hrs: It has good sculpture section and section displaying the gifts that Nehru collected. This is located inside the Chandrasekar Azad park. The park itself will take an additional hour to cover completely. The highlights are the martyrdom point of Azad and the empty Victoria Memorial and that can be covered in 20 to 30 mins. The directions/map is quite poor and it takes a bit of searching to find these sites. Museum is closed on Mondays.
- Sangam - Must See; 1 hr: One hour is what it takes to get to the Sangam and back without doing any religious ceremonies. If you go outside of the monsoons and when the day is bright, the difference in colours of the two rivers is quite discernible.
- Khusrau Bagh - Must See; 1 hr: Early morning light is good for photography. Look for the watchman with the keys and for a small tip, he can show you inside the mausoleums.
- Morning/Evening Boat Ride - Must See; 2 hrs: It is best to book this via the hotel to avoid the hassle. If you want to directly negotiate with the boatman, book it the previous evening for best rates.
- Kashi Vishwanath Temple - Must See: If it is not a festival day, then head here early in the morning (~7 am to 8 am) to avoid the crowd. Avoid Mondays, if you want to avoid the crowd.
- Kala Bhavan Museum, BHU - Must See; 1-2 hrs: The miniature painting and the sculpture collection are quite impressive.
- Sarnath - Must See; 2 hrs: The site museum has the famous Ashoka Lion sculpture. The archaeological site has the Dhamek Stupa. On the road leading to Sarnath (on the left as you drive in) is the Choukhandi Stupa. These are the three main sites apart from the modern temples built be various countries. Guides are not needed.
- Patna Museum - Must See; 1 hr: Don't miss the Buddha Relic room. That is an additional Rs. 100 (for Indians) or 500 (for the foreigners).
- Patna Sahib - Should See; 30 mins: This is the birth place of Guru Gobind Singh.
- Pataliputra - Ok to miss; 30 mins: There is hardly anything there and most people don'y know where it is. It is on your left when you enter Patna via the Kumhrar road from the highway.
- Golghar - May See; 20 mins: It is just a big granary that looks like a stupa. But there is nothing like it elsewhere on the planet.
- Buddha Smriti Park - Should See; 30 mins: The museum is interesting and gives you an introduction to Buddha's life history. There stupa is worth a dekko.
- Khusa Bhaksh Library - OK to miss; 10 mins: It is quite a hassle to get there. The only thing worth seeing is the sword of Nadir Shah which is kept in quite appalling condition.
- Maner Dargah - Must See: It is located about an hour from Patna centre. There are two dargahs here. The Chotti Dargah is the one for the tourists. Pond behind the Badi Dargah has good reflections of the Chotti Dargah.
- Vaishali - Must See: This is located ~60 kms from Patna. There are two parts to it. One has the Relic Stupa, adjacent museum and a Japanese Peace Stupa. The other has the Ashoka Pillar and Stupa. The two sites are about 3 to 5 kms apart.
- Kesariya - Must See: This is further 50 kms from Vaishali. It has a solitary, but a large stupa. The stupa still has Buddha statues from 500 AD in its niches. If you leave by 8 am you should be able to cover both Vaishali and Kesariya and be back in Patna comfortably by 5 pm.
- Nalanda - Must See; 2 hrs (including the museum): Guide is highly recommended here. This is about 2 hours from Patna.
- Lucknow to Faizabad: 125 km 2.5 hrs: It is a four lane NH and is in great condition.
- Faizabad to Kushinagar: 190 km 3 to 3.5 hrs: It is the same NH that continues onto Kushinagar. Quite a pleasant drive.
- Faizabad to Allahabad: 170 km; 4.5 hrs: The road is just one lane each way and is bad beyond Pratapgarh.
- Allahabad to Varanasi: 125 km; 3 hrs: The road is about half two-lane and half four lane. But this 3 hrs is only to the Varanasi Railway Station. From there to the Ghats can be complete nightmare. You are better off taking a local e-rickshaw to negotiate the final bit.
- Varanasi to Bodhgaya: 260 km; 6 hrs: The road is a NH, but it is being converted fro, 4 to 6 lane. So there are lots of detours on the way. Sher Shah Suri Tomb is about 5 kms from the road at Sasaram.
- Bodhgaya to Patna via Rajgir, Pavapuri and Nalanda: This is all two laned road. Road is decent, but the traffic can set you back as it is just one lane each way. With sightseeing, this will take you all day. If you leave by 8 am, you should reach Patna by 5 to 6 pm.