Backpacking Uttar Pradesh
Thanks to the Taj Mahal, nobody can leave India without paying homage to this white marble wonder. Though Taj Mahal is beyond belief stunning, it is likely to be just a two day trip. Luckily, there is a lot more to do in UP (Uttar Pradesh). However, if you are a woman travelling alone, I would strongly recommend against backpacking Uttar Pradesh.
Solo Women Travellers in UP
The reason for this is quite explicitly covered in my personal blog (North India: Backpacking through Hell). If you read Part 1 though, do read Part 2, which will offer you a holistic perspective. And then make up your mind. However, in a nutshell, UP, Bihar and Delhi together comprise the highest ratio of crimes against women in India. If, like me, you aren’t the too-wild, want-to-party-everywhere, every-night-types, chances are that you will get away with nothing but a little unpleasantness, here. But, I’ve backpacked UP, and wouldn’t go back.
From the transcendent ghats of serene Varanasi (Benaras), the oldest city in the world, to Kumbh Mela and Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Ram, India’s most populated state is a tantalising mix of ancient religion, vividly coloured bazaars, curious kids swarming the streets and a beautiful moment at sunset, where everyone quietens down for the evening aarti (prayer).
Places to visit
Agra & Taj Mahal
Varanasi: This is where spirituality took birth, by the shores of Holy River Ganga, in the oldest city in the world. Every little part of Varanasi echoes with a deep sense of peace. Whether you are at the quiet ghats or temples, or the busy markets, an unbroken calm vibe flows though the very fabric of this city.
Kushinagar & Sarnath: If you want a bit of quiet from the crazy rush of Uttar Pradesh, the quiet Buddhist pilgrimages of Kushinagar & Sarnath are perfect for you.
Chitrakut: Chitrakut is a more chilled out version of Varanasi.
Ayodhya: Birthplace of the revered Lord Rama, Ayodhya is a traffic free city, dotted with various temples of old.
Agreed, UP is a beautiful place with so many historical spots that deserve to be explored. It is sad here, the situation for women. But, for all you couples, men and those in groups, (unfair as it seems), I would definitely recommend a visit.