I recently got an opportunity to travel to a few places of religious interest in India and I jumped at the chance because a) traveling always intrigues me and b) being indifferent about religion and its various aspects I wanted to understand it a little better by experiencing some places and rituals in all their magnificence. What I hadn’t expected was a sort of spiritual awakening that these places would have on me.
In a week, I traveled from Kushinagar, a pilgrimage town in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, to Varanasi that is regarded as the spiritual capital of India. The city sees a lot of Hindu devotees who come to bathe in the sacred Ganges river as well as perform funeral rites of their departed family members. Even for someone who’s not very religious, the overall effect these places had on me was extremely soothing. It felt like none of the worldly things that stress you out on a daily basis mattered. You were at peace.
I traveled mostly by road except for the initial leg of the trip for which I took a flight to Bhairahawa (Siddharthanagar) from Kathmandu. From there to Kushinagar is a six-hour bus journey and, from Kushinagar, it takes around eight to 10 hours to reach Bodh Gaya, where Buddha attained enlightenment. And from Bodh Gaya to Varanasi is another six hours by road. The trip didn’t feel tiring because I had enough stoppage points and every destination rejuvenated and recharged me. This short trip has made me want to explore my spiritual side further and occasionally travel to places that make me connect with my inner myself.