If you want to experience India in its rawest form, you must visit Uttar Pradesh once in your life. It is one state in India that has long been rooted in religious and social traditions & at the same time cultural taboos.
Being liberal Indians, we so wanted the stereotypes to prove wrong and our beliefs to be not validated. But in all honesty, no one can never get accustomed to the fact that women are still stigmatised in society & never considered at par with men. Cue this: you are looked down upon in your own country for being a woman & more importantly, for being a liberal one!
Errr, we don’t take kindly to regressive ideologies and that is why our visit to Uttar Pradesh was more of a cultural shock. Perhaps, in retrospect, we must admit that we were prepared to experience the different flavors that Uttar Pradesh had in store for us. So despite all the social taboos, we have so many reasons to still love our visit to this culturally rich state.
It was a conscious decision to take a road trip from Delhi to Varanasi primarily because we both had a desire to explore Varanasi since a long time. We broke our journey in such a way that we got enough time to explore Vrindavan, Lucknow, and Varanasi – all three Uttar Pradesh cities on our road trip. Also, this was done in order to ensure that the drive wasn’t strenuous for either of us.
Here’s the route map we followed in Uttar Pradesh:
We wanted to start our journey late in the evening but due to safety reasons, we started early the next morning.
Technically you can easily drive the entire stretch from Delhi to Vrindavan along Yamuna Expressway in mere 3 hours, & then you would have the entire day to explore the chaotic lanes of the land of Lord Krishna.
Traveling time from Delhi to Vrindavan & further Agra has been considerably reduced ever since the development of the Yamuna Expressway. This 6-lane highway is one of the super finest ones in India where you can speed up to 100km/hr in your car.
Tire bursts & accidents are quite common on this route so it is important to ensure that you don’t over speed. Also, the best piece of advice we can give here is to always start early.
Once in Vrindavan, spend your days walking around the busy township, exploring alleyways dripped with history, and don’t forget to savor all those scrumptious local delicacies it is famous for.
Thankfully there are a lot of experiential accommodation options available for visitors. A budget-friendly B & B is also recommended if you are staying for a short period of time.
Once we had explored Vrindavan to our heart’s content, it was time to move towards the next stop – Lucknow. We had heard a lot about Lucknow & the famous chikankari work, and the city being the capital of Uttar Pradesh was always on our list.
We left for Lucknow early morning and took the Agra-Lucknow Expressway route.
We decided to take the Agra-Lucknow Expressway which is a superbly built tarmac road but is relatively new. That means, it not many people are aware about the route & hence you won’t find too many vehicles passing by.
As we did not have much idea about the Agra-Lucknow Expressway, it was quite a shock to find out that there were no amenities or eateries on the entire 4-hour stretch.
If you are preparing to drive on this route, make sure your car is well serviced and tanked up. There are no garages, no petrol pumps, and not even toll plazas on this route.
Make sure you’re carrying your snacks and enough water when traveling on this highway.
We’d advise you to strictly avoid driving on this highway post sunset.
On reaching Lucknow, you can stay in any rated hotel and explore the ‘Nawabo ka Shehar’ in 2-3 days. Food is an intrinsic part of Lucknow’s culture & the best part is you don’t have to spend too much money on sampling those delectable cuisines. Try out the tunday kebabs, mouth-watering biryani, and a variety of Awadhi delicacies.
We stayed in Golden Tulip that is centrally located and close to all major tourist attractions of Lucknow.
There’s something extremely mysterious about the character of Varanasi that makes you feel intoxicatingly alive.
It is unlike any other tourist attraction in Uttar Pradesh, India & a visit here can be more than enough to satisfy the curiosities of a traveler.
Again, leave as early as possible for Varanasi and take the NH30 and NH19. Be warned, this route is not as swift & comfortable as the other two we took from Delhi to Vrindavan & further to Lucknow.
The road gets bumpy as you take the highway to Varanasi but on the plus side, it also exposes you to lush green fields. If you are not in the mood for adventure, we will highly suggest you to take a train to journey from Lucknow to Delhi.
Varanasi is a veritable haven of peace and divinity. Whether you wish to experience it all by giving on the ghats or keep a safe distance from all the chaos & indulge in celebratory experiences just in the evening, there are numerous accommodation options to suit your taste.
The narrow streets of the township are filled with interesting sights on each and every turn. Make sure you soak up the environment, talk to brightly-clad yogis imparting spiritual knowledge, take part in a free yoga class, and gorge on exotic treats on offer almost everywhere.
Tips to Stay Safe in Uttar Pradesh
When planning a trip to Uttar Pradesh, you need to prepare yourself well for unbearable annoyances like beggars, scam artists, & over-demanding rickshaw drivers.
Barring the safety concerns, Uttar Pradesh has more than enough to entice travelers from different parts of the world. Remember not everyone is out there to scam you! It would take some time to get accustomed to the way of life of people here.
Planning a road trip from Delhi to Varanasi and exploring all the tourist attractions of Uttar Pradesh India & reading the best India travel blog will make you a better traveler. You’d learn so much culturally and become a stronger person for sure!
Thanks, Wrangler Denims for making this trip possible, and all opinions expressed are our own!
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Varanasi – one of the few cities where you will hear people speaking Sanskrit on the street.
You two look like you stepped out of a Bollywood blockbuster, and I always enjoy your travel stories and photographs. But that shot of sunrise over the Ganga is sublime. Well done!
Delhi to Varanasi Road Trip is nice trip
This sounds like the ultimate road trip. I love your honesty about your country. I visited Varanasi a few years ago and it was my favorite city on the trip (I am liberal as well). I found the culture to be something I’ve never experienced before, thanks for sharing and bringing me happy memories.
Wow, what a gorgeous road trip! I would love to do this when I finally visit India! Thanks for the tips.
Thanks! This is rather informative. We’ve been planning a trip for a while now, perhaps it is time to do it!
I have not been to India as of yet, but hopefully one day. I learned a lot from this post. The road trip you took sounded full of adventure and experiencing a good amount of culture. Thank you for sharing your road trip.
India is among our must-visit countries if we have a chance to travel abroad. The country is so full of history and culture, especially when you travel beyond Delhi and other metropolitan areas. That round street-food thingy looks really delicious!
What a good road trip! 3-4 hours travel time between destinations is just about how we like to plan road trips, too. Getting an early start gives you plenty of time to sightsee!
Reading Pete’s comments above, I can’t help observing that foreigners know more about India than we do. Isn’t it? ))
Love your blog! I will definitely follow your route and suggestions on my next trip there! Thanks for the great information!
Very Nice article! I really like this post!
Thanks Chitra! Varanasi is beautiful. 🙂
Info is in detail and thanks for all your efforts. But if you had given info on places where one can get free stay and food i.e. such as ashrams and dharmashalas all through the route from delhi to Varanasi, it would haven been a great service to all kinds of people. However, I am much interested in your article. Thank you.
This is really helpful. Thanks for sharing this list…
Really wish to visit Lucknow, Allahabad, and some famous places in Uttar Pradesh one day… thanks for sharing your experiences with us…
Really great blog. I have loved reading it.
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Great informative content. Thanks for sharing!!
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Nice article. Thanks for sharing this helpful information about your trip. Looking for more good articles from you.
really like the way you present the whole article.
radha radha wandershub such a nice information this information help me lots thanku sir again