If you’re in the Middle East and would want to go on a holiday someplace that mixes the spiritual with the physical, the cultural with the gustatory, maybe you’d want to consider heading off to mystical India. And if we’re talking about India, then why not make it Uttar Pradesh? The state is a heady mix of the holy and the storied, a special place where Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, and the Buddha were said to have walked the earth. It’s also a great jump-off point for the different sights and attractions that draw visitors, pilgrims and tourists alike, from all over the world. And with affordable, inexpensive prices for a Dubai to Lucknow flight ticket, the proposition to visit becomes even more enticing and attractive indeed.
Staying in Lucknow? You’re in luck
Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, is right smack at the center of the busy state and the middle of the hubbub. It’s already an attraction in itself, whether we speak from a cultural, architectural, or gustatory perspective.
The Kathak, a classic Indian dance form, was born right here in Lucknow. If food is your main reason for traveling, you’d love its version of delectable kebabs and nawabs. Visitors keen on culture would find it interesting to note that Lucknow is renowned for its ghararas, the traditional wear for women, as well as intricate embroidery work such as Chikan. In terms of architecture, there’s a wealth of sights to ogle here as quite a lot of the old buildings that harken back to the Mughai and British eras are still standing, especially in the older sections of the city.
A factoid: a survey done some years ago revealed Lucknow as India’s second-happiest city, coming In second only to Chandigarh and ahead of New Delhi and Chennai. That’s something worth looking into, don’t you think?
As the seat of Shia Islam in India, Lucknow also holds an important place in the hearts of Shia Muslims who observe Muharram as well as Ashura in memory of Imam Husain, grandson of the prophet, Muhammad. If you happen to visit during the annual Mahotsav, you’ll certainly be treated to festivities showcasing the city’s manifold arts and culture.
Travel outside Lucknow and visit Agra
Without a doubt, the most popular place to visit and not miss in Uttar Pradesh is the iconic Taj Mahal by the riverbanks of Yamuna. Built between the years of 1631 and 1648, the years have not diminished the romance of this place one bit, a symbol of the undying love of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his favorite wife.
Venture to Varanasi
Another not-to-be-missed place is the oldest living city in the world – Varanasi (also known as Kashi/Benaras). Counted among the seven holy places for Hinduism, Varanasi is affectionately labeled by some as India’s spiritual capital where there’s a temple at nearly every corner and some 80 ghats line the banks for the holy Ganges river.
Explore the twin cities
Then, there are the so-called twin cities of Mathura and Vrindavan. The former is acknowledged as the birthplace of Lord Krishna while the latter is where the Indian god spent his childhood years. The two are not surprisingly among the seven holy cities of Hinduism in the whole of India, drawing pilgrims and visitors the world over especially during the two most important festivals of Holi and Janmashtami.
If architecture is your cup of tea, you simply must explore the red sandstone city of Fatephur Sikri. Located about 40 kilometers away from Agra, the city was founded by the Mughal Emperor Akbar and was the empire’s capital sometime in its historic past.
Go to where the three rivers meet
As a place of confluence and enlightenment, Allahabahad is where the Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati meet – certainly a cosmic meeting place of holy energies. No surprise that the Maha Kumbh Mela, easily the largest gathering of Hindus, is held here every 12 years, attracting pilgrims from all over the world.
Retrace the footsteps of the deities in Samarath and Ayodha
For Buddhists wanting to follow the footsteps of the Buddha, a visit to Samath some 10 km away from Varanasi is a must. After all, Samarath is where the Buddha gave his first sermon.
Visitors, both Hindus and Jains, flock to Ayodha, the birthplace of Lord Rama as well as that of four of the 24 Thithankaras of Jainism. Also counted as one of the seven sacred cities, it is located along the banks of river Sarayu.
Explore the wild side of Uttar Pradesh
Apart from its arts and culture, Uttar Pradesh also offers something for the traveler keen on observing the natural world. The Dudhwa National Park located in the Lakhimpur-Kheri District gives the visitor a wonderful glimpse of India’s amazing biodiversity and wildlife. Birders could easily spend weeks here, trying to spot some of the over 400 migratory and exotic bird species that either pass through or make their home here. Terrestrial naturalists on the other hand will have a grand time searching for rarities such as leopard, swamp deer, Bengal Florican, and Hispid hare, among other wildlife that call the park home.
Just a plane flight away from cosmopolitan Dubai
Remember, if you’re in Dubai, the mystical and wonderful place that is Uttar Pradesh is just one plane trip away. And with the availability of a really affordable Dubai to Lucknow flight ticket, this is one trip you may not want to miss whether you’re traveling for culture, food, the arts, or nature sightseeing.
Yogi wanderer. Solitude searcher. Book worm and chill out music tripper.