Where is Ballia?
Ballia is situated in eastern part of Uttarpradesh (UP).It is around 150 km from Varanasi in north east direction towards Bihar.Ghaghara the tributary of holy river Ganges separates Ballia from Bihar.Ghaghara meets river Ganges here in Ballia itself.Ghazipur is another big city situated near Ballia.
How to reach Ballia?
Ballia is well connected with rest of the country.
Ballia does not have an airport.The nearest airport is in Babatpur area of Varanasi.It is known as Lal Bahadur Shastri airport.After reaching Babatpur you can hire taxi for rest of the journey.It takes around 4 hours to reach Ballia from Babatpur.
Trains are major transport connecting Ballia with rest of the country.Flight is not preferred choice by most due to distance between Babatpur and Ballia.The station code of Ballia is BUI.You need to use this station code at IRCTC site to book tickets.All major metropolitan cities like Kolkata,Delhi,Chennai and Mumbai are directly connected with Ballia.
You can download list of trains connecting Ballia with other major cities from this download link.The document contains arrival time as well as departure time.
Other major railway stations near Ballia are Varanasi,Mirzapur and Allahabad.These railway stations are also connected with major railway stations of country.After reaching Varanasi or Mirzapur or Allahabad you can take road route to reach Ballia.
Varanasi and Mirzapur are directly connected with Ballia via daily locally running trains.Allahabad is situated far from Ballia.You will first need to reach Varanasi or Mirzapur from Allahabad if taking road route.There are daily buses plying from Varanasi and Mirzapur to Ballia at regular intervals.
Ballia Bhrigu Mandir
Below is the picture of Bhrigu ashram taken from the steps of Vishal Mega mart shop situated on the opposite side of the road ( this shop is one of the major mall in the area)
Ballia is also known as Bhrigu pradesh.Bhrigu baba was famous saint (as mentioned in Hindu Mythology).Bhrigu Ashram is one of the most important temples in Ballia.Ballia region is famous for this mandir itself. and perhaps this is one and only mandir of him in India.Bhrigu baba is major deity worshiped in Ballia region.
The temple of Bhrigu baba is present near the Ballia railway station (approx 1 to 1.5 KM distance). The best way to reach the temple is ricksaw (a human pulled vehicle). The fare from Ballia railway station to the mandir is only 15 INR.
The temple entrance gate is very simple and feels hearts of each visitor with purity and joy.On each side of the entrance gate you can find puja stalls with puja items.The rates are very reasonable and you can buy puja items with 20 INR (pretty cheap indeed)
Local people of Ballia has great regards in baba and this fact is reflected by the amount of devotees visiting this mandir all around the year. Couples visit this mandir after marriage. Ladki Dekhai (a ceremony in which girl and boy family meet each other and boy family member see the girl) is commonly performed here it is believed that the girl will be selected by the boy family if the ceremony is performed here.
Bhrigu ashram has the main temple of Bhrigu baba.Apart from the main temple there are many sub temples.The major sub temples are of Mahadev and Devi mata.There is also one Amla tree on backside of the temple.In the months of karthik (a month according to Hindu Calendar October middle usually corresponds to this month) people use to worship the Amla tree. The place near Amla tree is used to perform worships and other activities like (Katha etc).
The Devi mata mandir is on the right hand side of the main temple.There is red colored idol of the goddess.The idol is wrapped into Red colored Sari and looks great.
Ballia Baleswar temple
Baleswar Mandir is one of the most famous temples in Ballia.It is situated near to Ballia railway station (distance is 1 KM approx).You can hire a ricksaw ( a vehicle pulled by Human) from Ballia railway station to reach the temple.The fare is 15 INR.It is the main transport in Ballia and is the most convenient one.
Below picture is taken from the corridor of the Baleswar temple
The temple is very beautiful and you can see lots of devotees all around the year and day in the temple.Big Ghantas are major attraction of the temple.The ghantas are hanging in corridor of mandir.
You can buy puja items and prasad from outside temple stalls (items are relatively cheap and you can find Prasad and puja items in 5 INR yes believe me it is 5 INR).After taking the puja items and prasad you need to take Puja thali (5 INR only) .
Ballia Dadri Mela
Dadri mela of Ballia is one of the most famous cattle fair in India takes place every year in month of October-November. It is second largest cattle fair in World.The cattle fair of Sonpur is on first place.The fair duration is of one month.During first few days of Dadri Mela normal fair is held.
Food stalls,shops,Circus,Riding and other entertainments are part of the fair as well.People turn up in huge numbers every day.The most famous eatable is Khaza.They are huge in size and you will see lots of stall selling them.
Below is the picture taken during the one month long fair was organized on the same place (yet there were horses in one corner of the fair).I will request all of you to spread this post so as to boost tourism in this region and make people aware of Dadri Mela.
Animals like Cow and Horse are major attractions of the cattle fair.You can find cows of costs ranging from lakhs of INR to thousands of INR.The Jarsi cows are among the most costly breed of cows. After cattle fair a one month long fair is organized on same place.People from all over Ballia and surrounding regions visit this mela with great enthusiasm.
To reach Dadri mela you can hire a Ricksaw (a vehicle pulled by Human) from Ballia railway station or any other place. The fare is 20 INR and can be negotiated to 15 INR.It is the most common transport to reach the fair.
Best Ballia Restaurant
There are many restaurants in Ballia (including sweet shops and small hotels). So it is tough to choose the best Ballia restaurant.However from my experience Pepsi restaurant is the best restaurant in Ballia.The reasons are
- It is situated very near to Ballia Railway Station
- The food quality is good.You can order Paneer items or Dosa (both of them are of good quality)
- Naans are also good
- Lot of space (around 30 people can sit)
- Service is quick and very good
- It also has rooms available for night stay
There are few drawbacks as well
- The restaurant does not offer drinks other than Coffee,Tea and Cold drinks (no lassi or fruit juices)
Below the Pepsi restaurant is Haldirams outlet.You can find sweets and chats there.The quality is good but there is no place to sit in the restaurant.You have to stand and eat the food.This is particularly disliked by the couples and people who want places to sit and gossip with their friends or partners.
Apart from these restaurant there is Ashoka hotel but the hotel is far from railway station.I have not tried services of this hotel so I am not in position to make comment about it.If you have idea about the hotel then please share your view.
Where to stay in Ballia?
You will not find great deal of hotels in Ballia.This is somewhat disappointing that Ballia is not much developed in tourism.Most of the people visiting here have relatives.They are not pure tourists.Having such rich history and attractions tourism should be promoted.
There are few hotels in Ballia.Pepsi hotel is situated near railway station.Vaishali hotel is also situated near the railway station.Ashoka hotel is the largest hotel in Ballia.But it is situated bit away from railway station.It is situated in Midhhi.
Ballia famous food Litti Chokha
Litti Chokha is famous food item of Ballia.You can see food stalls and shops just outside Ballia station selling Litti Chokha.I would recommend you to try this food item while your Ballia tour.Litti Chokha is also said to be dish of Bihar as well.Litti Chokha is vegetarian food item.
In case you need any suggestions while your Ballia tour feel free to share your queries.Consider sharing this post to promote Ballia tourism.