Like everything UP, even the small town of Bareilly spells chaos. The chaos that is beckoning you to be a part of it. The town is locally NathGarh or the town of Shiva because of the many temples that are associated with the deity. The town is also said to be the birthplace of the mythical figure Draupadi. There are many fables and fantasies knitted around this small town. Bareilly can be understood as a place of Hindu-Muslim devotion. The many places of piety beckon the devotee in one. A visit to these places makes us reflect on the age-old teachings of these religions and make us want to emulate the same.
Many festivals and events are organised in the town. During these events, the town is decked up and brimming with joys and happiness. It is advised to plan a visit around these festivals.
1. Jagannath Temple
It is a temple devoted to Lord Shiva the principal deity in the town. Jagannath temple has an exquisite architecture with paintings and sculptures that are about 200 years old. The designs on the walls narrate the story of the lord. The sonority of the temple bells proves to be music to the ears. The daily prayers offered to the lord with the background of the temple bells resonates the temple and even the nearby areas. It seems as if the whole area is coming together to venerate the lord.
2. Alakhnath Temple
Alakhnath temple is an important site for the Anand Akhara order. Many Naga Sanyasi can be found roaming around the temple complex. The naga sadhus are ascetics who have found their world in the great lord Shiva. These monks roam India and find temporary residence here. The naga sadhus are found sitting in the temple where they bless any devotees that visit them. The temple complex is also dotted by the many animals that have made it their homes like cows’ goats and even camels.
3. Dargah-e-Ala Hazrat
It is the dargah of Ahmed Raza Khan who was a scholar and jurist during the British time. The dargah is simplistic in its architecture but what makes it important is the ideals of the man buried here. Born in the British India he was an educated man of righteous beliefs. He was the propagator of the Barelvi movement. The movement put a step towards unifying some practices of the Shia and Sunni sect to lead to the proper veneration of Allah and the Prophet. The movement gave precedence to peace and harmony among different sects. In the past few years, the dargah has given statements against the terrorism perpetrated by Taliban in the name of Islam. For them, the acts of amity and benevolence are the higher virtues that should be emulated by all.
4. Army Service Corps Museum, Bareilly Cantonment
Army Service Corps museum has an array of guns used in the past. It showcases the journey of the development of artillery used. But the museum also showcases the bloodshed caused by them. There are many models of the fights and conflicts that took place in the area. There are many manuscripts that present a gory account of the war. The museum shows us that we may have developed a lot, but we have learnt very little.
5. Tulsi Math
Tulsi Math temple is dedicated to Tulsidas, the author of Ramcharitramanas. He made the ideas of Ramayan accessible, by translating the text into the language of the masses. The temple venerates him as an important religious figure, and is said to be a reincarnation of Valmiki.
The city with its many temples has more to offer than religious observance. The UP town has a lot of small kiosks serving exceptionally good street food. A visit to UP would be incomplete without tasting some mouthwatering puchkas.