India’s spirituality is a very important element of the locals’ everyday life. This secular country gives equal yet, powerful importance to divinity, karma, forgiveness, purity and humanity. The pious culture of this land attracts tourists of various religion to take up a full-fledged pilgrimage destinations tourism.
India holds numerous ancient and modern religious spots and there are many cities dotted with numerous religious buildings. Many travel enthusiasts, pilgrims and photographers visit these destinations to learn more about the culture and appreciate it.
Spiritual India, rich in holy places, traditions and rituals, offers much for those seeking knowledge and awareness. Visit these popular sacred destinations of various faiths to maximize your spiritual experience in India.
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India: Varanasi, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, is one of the seven sacred Hindu cities with a very old history. Known as the city of Lord Shiva, the god of creation and destruction, it’s believed that anyone who dies here will be liberated from the cycle of reincarnation. The fascinating thing about this mystical city is that its rituals are revealed openly along the many riverside ghats. It’s an intense city that attracts Hindu pilgrims and foreigners alike. Consider staying at a riverside hotel for a more immersive experience.
Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India: Ancient Haridwar (the “Gateway to God”) is another of the holiest places in India, and one of the oldest living cities. Located at the foothills of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, it’s particularly popular with Hindu pilgrims who come to take a dip in the holy waters of the fast-flowing Ganges River and wash away their sins. Unlike Varanasi, the water is clean and fresh in Haridwar. The evening Ganga Aarti holds a special appeal. Another popular attraction is the Mansa Devi Temple.
Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India: Rishikesh, the birthplace of yoga, is a popular place to come and meditate, do yoga, and learn about other aspects of Hinduism. It’s situated on the banks of the Ganges River, surrounded by hills on three sides, not far from Haridwar in Uttarakhand. Rishikesh lures those seeking knowledge and peace with its numerous ashrams and yoga institutes. It’s particularly popular with spiritual seeking foreigners, while Haridwar holds more significance for Hindu pilgrims. Because of their close proximity, many people come to Rishikesh and Haridwar in the same visit. There are Rishikesh hotels Dharmshala and guesthouses for all budgets so you can find a great place to stay.
Golden Temple, Amritsar: In the state of Punjab, was founded in 1577 by Guru Ram Das, the fourth guru of Sikhs. It’s the spiritual capital of the Sikhs and gained its name, meaning “Holy Pool of Nectar”, from the body of water around the Golden Temple. The exquisite Golden Temple attracts pilgrims from all over the world. It looks particularly arresting at night when it’s beautifully lit up, with its imposing pure gold dome illuminated. The Wagah Border is a popular side trip from Amritsar.
05 Gaya and Bodhgaya
Gaya: Gaya has its mention in the great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Sita, the companion of Lord Rama is deemed to have scourged the Phalgu River of which is a huge stretch of sand dunes. According to the legends, Sita had performed Pind Daan for Rama’s father Dasharatha. The story begins with Rama arriving to Gaya along with his brother and consort Sita to carry out the holy rituals for his father, Dasharatha. While the Lord Rama and Lord Lakshman were taking a bath in the sacred water, Goddess Sita was having fun with the sand. Swiftly, Dasharatha emerged of the sand and asked her to perform the Pinda herself. She was asked to make balls of sand instead of waiting for their arrivals for grains. Eventually she offered the Pinda with five bystanders including the Falguni River, a Brahmin, a cow, the Akshaya Vatam and a Tulsi plant. When Rama came back with the ingredients, Goddess Sita narrated a whole story.
A soil of enlightenment, Gaya is a significant pilgrimage place that is steeped in great history. Equally important for Hindus as well as Buddhist, oodles of folks wish to understand, pursue and gather more information of Buddhism to bring harmony and peacefulness in their lives. This charming site is nestled on the banks of holy River Phalgu in the beautiful state of Bihar. It is a ritual site and renowned for Pind Daan. Hindu devotees from all across the world pay a visit to this consecrated place to carry out Pind Daan pooja for the liberation of the souls of their relatives. Gotten its name from the demon Gayasur, it is certainly a striking city enveloped by temple-crowned mountains. Its great inviolability, magnificent history and splendid appeal make it a must visit destination for any nature lover.
Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India: Bodhgaya is the most important Buddhist pilgrimage place in the world. Located in the state of Bihar, it’s here that Lord Buddha became enlightened during intense meditation under a Bodhi tree. The exact spot is now marked by the sprawling Mahabodhi Temple complex. The town is also home to dozens of Buddhist monasteries. Those who are interested will find plenty of meditation and Buddhism courses and retreats on offer. You can visit Bodhgaya on the Mahaparinirvan Express Buddhist Train.
Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India: Located around four hours from Chennai in Tamil Nadu, Tiruvannamalai attracts spiritual seekers to its Sri Ramana Ashram and Hindu pilgrims who walk around holy Mount Arunachala and pray at Arunachaleswar Temple, where Lord Shiva is worshiped as the element of fire. Mount Arunachala is called the “most silent place on earth” as its powerful energy has the astonishing ability to quieten the mind. Meditate in a cave up the mountain and discover it for yourself. If you would like to connect with a remarkable guide and healer, Ashok from Bougainvillea Tours is highly recommended.