Famed for its forest region that traverses through Nashik, the entire tale of Aranya Kanda of Ramayana is set in this region. “If you are familiar with instances of the tale, it is the destination where Lord Rama spent some years of his 14-year-long Vanvasa and the incident of ‘Sita’s Haran’ took place here as well. Today, you can visit the Ramkund, Sita Gumpha (believed to be Sita’s hideout), take long walks in Tapovan and photograph the picturesque ghats of Ganga,” says host and spiritual travel expert Akul Tripathi.
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How to reach: Ojhar Nashik International Airport is a prime choice among travellers, just 24 kilometres from the city centre. By rail, you can travel to the Nashik Road station or take a bus directly to the Nashik Central Bus Stand which is approximately 10 km and 3 km respectively from the centre.
Best time to visit: December to March
Prayagraj (Allahabad), Uttar Pradesh
Formerly known as Allahabad, Prayagraj is a place where multiple events are claimed from Ramayana. “Prayagraj is where Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshman spent time before heading to Chitrakoot for their exile. Today, people from across the country come here to visit the Triveni Sangam—the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Sarawati, Anand Bhavan, New Yamuna Bridge and more,” says Rohit Kumar Singh, a filmer famed for walking over 10,000 kilometres from Ayodhya to Sri Lanka on an 11-month-journey, walking on the footsteps of Lord Rama. “Another key draw is the Kumbh Mela which is held once every 12 years and the Ramlilas of Pattharchatti and Pajawa which draw an overwhelming footfall,” he adds.
How to reach: Prayagraj airport, located in Bamrauli is the closest to the city centre just 12 km away and if air travel is not an option, you can end your journey at Prayagraj Station, Allahabad Junction, City station at Rambagh, and Daraganj Railway station by rail and take a taxi to the city. Prayagraj is also well connected by road with buses by Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) available from Lucknow and Delhi.