Grand Trunk Road: Highway into the Past

 

Travel along the ancient highway, the Grand Trunk Road. Also called the Northern Road or the Northern Highway, this path represents the entire body of ancient Indian trade and runs from the heart of Bengal, along the Gangetic Plains, through the Punjab, into the homeland of the Pathans, Pakhtunkhwa and ending in the city of Kabul in modern Afghanistan. This path passes some of the oldest habitations in the world; cities – large and small, sacred and grand, regional and national capitals. It traverses some of the most culturally exuberant regions in the world.

This route traverses some of the most significant places along a holy river, including the most sacred among cities. It begins in the spiritual throne of the Sikh faith, Amritsar then heading to the nation’s capital, Delhi. It then proceeds to the City of the Taj, Agra from where it winds its way into the heart of the plains to the city of Nawabs, Lucknow via the perfume capital of India, Kannauj. From these towns, it will meander along the River Ganga to the town of the most sacred confluence of rivers, Allahabad and then follows the river to the holiest town of Varanasi. From Varanasi, the route will head the first colonial capital of India and the largest city on the banks of the Ganga, Kolkata, where it will end.

 

Highlights:

  • Watch the flag-down ceremony at the Indo-Pakistan border in Wagah, where the security forces engage in a ceremonial show of strength at sunset
  • In Delhi, walk through the historic markets of Chandni Chowk and Kinari Bazaar.
  • Let your palate rejoice at a restaurant that serves food from across the border at Wagah, near Amritsar
  • Witness the sun set on the glorious Taj Mahal from the Mehtab Bagh or ‘Moon Garden’ in Agra
  • Meet with a family that runs a traditional perfumery business in the perfume capital of India, Kannauj
  • Meet and interact with artisans working on an ancient embroidery technique called Chikankari unique to Lucknow
  • Paddle along the Ganga at sunrise as India’s holiest city, Varanasi wake up to a brand new day
  • Take a walk through the potters’ village, Kumortuli in Kolkata and interact with the workers bringing the images of Goddess Durga to life

Best Time to Travel

August – April

Places Covered

Delhi, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal: Amritsar, Agra, Lucknow, Kannauj, Allahabad, Varanasi, Kolkata

Price Range

USD 2,000 and above (per person)

Brochure

Brochure coming soon

One thought

  1. India is known as the land of spirituality and even more i would say, the cradle of religion as it is the birthplace of some religions which even exist today in this world.
    To understand how religion weaves itself so seamlessly into lives of millions, one has to be there to understand it.
    Having travelled with Kamalan as my travel planner before, I was rest assured that the travel craftsman would tailor my spiritual sojourn to India to my satisfaction. Kolkata, Gaya, Varanasi, Agra, New Delhi and Amritsar – The itinerary offered me the complete package of Indian Culture, Indian History and historical places.
    Starting my journey on a spiritual high note, I was fortunate to have witnessed the fervour with which Bengalis celebrate ‘Durga Pooja’ at Dakshineshwar Kali Temple; food and cloth offerings, chants and pujas, the colors and smells; it’s a festival for your senses.
    A yellow taxi ride from Sudder street to Howrah the next day and I was off visiting the tourist places in Kolkata: Eden Gardens, Fort Williams, Victoria Memorial and ended the day at chowringhee market place for some shopping and dinner. Continuing my historical and religious immersion of India, I found myself in Gaya, a slight detour from the ‘grand trunk road pathway’ offered by Kamalan, but I needed to visit Gaya and be in the same physical surrounding as Lord Buddha and Lord Vishnu once were. As a practicing buddhist, to visit Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, the holiest place for Buddhists from all over the world, was a childhood dream come true. Also, seeing Lord Vishnu’s footprints in Vishnu Paada Temple was a surreal experience unlike any other.
    A cultural and spiritual passage through India would not be complete without visiting Ashok Pillar, Bharat Kala Bhawan, Bharat Mata Temple, Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Sankat Mochan, in the Holy City of Varanasi. To understand hindu practices better, I participated in the morning prayer at Dashashwamedh Ghat for the sun-rise rituals and Manikarnika Ghat for late evening prayers and Diya Aarti, that truly proved to be a humbling experience and a great way to move onward to New Delhi via Agra, where my short stay of half a day in the latter was spent at Taj Mahal and Agra Fort.
    I spent the next three days visiting the tourist places in Delhi with my tour guide provided by Kamalan. A highly knowledgeable middle aged gentleman named Kapil, guided me through Iskcon Temple (Temple and faith dedicated to Lord Krishna) and the Lotus Temple (a beautiful lotus shaped monument and house of worship for the baha’i faith) on my first day sightseeing.
    The next day, being a thursday, Kapil suggested we go and experience a soul-stirring qawwali session at the Dargah of Nizamuddin Auliya.
    The last stop on my Journey was Amritsar and visiting the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara on my last day in Delhi was an apt precursor to what was next on my itinerary.
    We culminated our religious and historical journey on the ancient Grand Trunk Road in Amritsar. I visited the magnificent Golden Temple, also known as Harmandir Sahib,
    The holiest house of worship for Sikhs. A symbolic ending to my spiritual and cultural sojourn of India was visiting Wagah border, that separates India and Pakistan,each country putting up an elaborate ceremony at the border gate, two hours before sunset each day.

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