India, like no other country is a land of various religious sites. Each state in India has sacred temples and shrines reflecting the wide diversity of religions. A number of travelers seeking spirituality visit India every year. Here is a list of some popular religious places in India.
Places of religious importance-Spiritual tours India -Holy places in India
Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh
Tirupati is a popular pilgrimage town in south India that is most famous for its legendary temple of Sri Venkateswara Swamy, a form of Lord Vishnu. The temple is situated on the top of the seventh peak of the Tirumala hills. The word Tirupati means ‘lord of Lakshmi’. On an average around 60,000 pilgrims visit the temple every day but during the special occasion around 200,000 devotees visit this temple per day.
- How to reach? The main railhead of the place is Tirupati Railway Station. Besides, several state transport buses operated by APSRTC connect Tirupati with major South Indian towns and cities.
- Best time to go? The best time to visit Tirupati is during the onset of winters in the month of September-October. The temperature is soothing and rainfall is quite moderate at this time.
Vaishno Devi Circuit
People have immense faith in Ma Vaishno Devi and so it is dream of every Hindu to visit Vaishno Devi temple at least once in a lifetime. The exact location is near Katra town in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The temple here is dedicated to Goddess Shakti. Mata Vaishno Devi signifies the joint dynamisms of the three main divinities of the Hindu belief: Lakshmi, Kali and Saraswati. Located at an altitude of approximately 5200 feet the temple is visited by about 8 million pilgrims each year.
- How to reach? If you are flying to the region you can take flight to Jammu followed by a road journey to reach Katra. Cabs and buses from Jammu take about 2 hours to reach Katra.
- Best time to go? The best time to undertake the journey is between the months of March and October.
Bodh Gaya, Bihar
Bodhgaya is an important pilgrimage site in history of Buddhism. It is believed to be the place of Buddha’s enlightenment attainment. Bodhgaya is in Gaya district of Bihar. The pilgrim site is associated with Mahabodhi temple complex. This religious land is among the famous attractions of North India tourism which is known for Buddhist monuments, temples and monasteries reflecting the historical as well as religious relevance of this place. Bodhi tree is another pious and most significant part of the pilgrimage. This sacred tree witnessed every bit of the process of Buddha’s enlightenment.
- How to reach? Gaya is the nearest airport which is approximately 17 kilometers from the town of Bodh Gaya. A main road connects the town of Bodh Gaya to the city of Gaya.
- Best time to go? October-March would be perfect owing to the congenial climate.
Kolkata/ Tara Peeth
Tarapith is a temple town in Birbhum. It is a foremost Hindu pilgrimage epicenter and numerous believers visit the shrine every day. The town of Tarapith is a small, crowded rural town near the Dwarka River in Birbhum district and is also called the city of Tantra Mantra or black magic. Tara, another form of Sati, is worshipped in the temple. The main temple in the town is a small temple built of marble and terra cotta, it has a curved roof called the ‘dochala’.
- How to reach? Many people like the bus journey on this route. It takes 5 hours by train to reach Tarapith from Kolkata. If you’re travelling with your family, hiring the car is a better idea.
- Best time to go- Get to the place just after the monsoon! Weather would be enjoyable.
Varanasi formerly known as Banaras and Kashi – the city of light, has a strong spiritual past.It is believed that those people who die in this holy place directly reach to their salvation. A Hindu pilgrim who takes a dive in the river Ganges gets their sins washed away. Kashi Vishwanath temple is among the most famous temples of Varanasi. It is famous for one of the twelve Jyotirlingas that it houses. As the place holds sheer religious importance, it offers people to experience the spirituality. The evening ritual of Aarti is the most splendid sight when innumerable mud lamps (diyas) are freed in the river.
- How to reach? Varanasi airport is well-linked to major cities in India via flights and railway network. There are two rail heads called Varanasi junction and the Kashi junction.
- Best time to go? October-March is ideal if you don’t want to face the overpowering heat of summers.
Golden Temple, Amritsar
Gleaming with 750 kg of pure gold, genuine spiritual atmosphere and the holy Amrit Sarovar – the pool of nectar are some of endearing attributes the Golden Temple – the Sikh’s most sacred shrine in Amritsar – is known for. Over the years, it has been visited by multitudes of people of different religious orientations. Also known as Sri Harmandir Saheb, pilgrimage to golden temple is a must for any Sikh or believer of humanity and God. A beautiful mix of Hindu and Muslim styles of architecture here can leave anyone mesmerized.
- How to reach? You can land at Shri Guru Ram Das International Airport. Then road distance from airport to Golden Temple is 13 kms. Therefore, hiring a taxi becomes the supreme option.
- Best time to go? November-March would be ideal. The temperature is fairly soothing at this time of the year.
Dargah Shareef, Ajmer
Ajmer Sharif Dargah is famous in the world as it is believed that no prayer at this Dargah goes unanswered. The Dargah is finished of marble with a gold gilded roof. The grave of the glorified soul is edged in by silver railing and a marble screen. It is believed that no earnest prayer goes unanswered at this Dargah. The festival of Urs, the death anniversary of the saint, is celebrated with great enthusiasm at the Dargah. It is said that the Mughal Emperor Akbar offered a prayer for an heir at this Dargah in the 16th century and his prayer was answered.
- How to reach? The Sanganer Airport located in Jaipur is the nearest airport from Ajmer. Once you reach at the airport, you can hire a cab to reach Ajmer.
- Best time to go? Visit the place between the periods of October-March.
Badrinath and Kedarnath are the two celebrated blissful places for devotion. Here you can have the vision of Mother Nature and its splendor. Badrinath is dedicated to lord Vishnu, the main temple was built in the 8th century by the Hindu reformist Adi Sankaracharya. Kedarnath is among the twelve Jyotirling of Lord Siva. Lord Shiva demonstrated in the figure of Jyotirlingam or the intergalactic light. Kedarnath temple has a delicate construction 1000 years old with internal walls ornamented with divinity’s figures and earliest mythical sights, and a big figurine of Nandi Bull outside the entrance.
- How to reach? The nearest domestic airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. The nearest railhead is at Rishikesh. Kedarnath is well connected through road via major cities.
- Best time to go? The spiritual yatra for Badrinath and Kedarnath begins from the month of April and drives till the culmination of November. This is the greatest time to stopover these dhams and enjoys the picturesque exquisiteness of the environment and nature.
Ujjain is the holy city of the Hindus, adorned with temples earning it the name, temple city. The city was declared as the most sacred place on earth in Hindu mythology. The people believe that it is from Ujjain that the planet Mars was formed! The city is most revered for having one the 12 ‘Jyotirlings’ in India. The term Ujjain means ‘the city of victory’. Besides, Kumbh mela is celebrated here in every twelve years. Attracting devotees from far and wide, this mela has a great legend attached to it.
- How to reach? Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport at Indore is the nearest airport to Ujjain. In addition, Ujjain railway station connects the city of Ujjian with the neighboring cities.
- Best time to go? During springs or winters, the weather would be wonderful.
Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple is located on a hilltop surrounded by dense forests. East of the central shrine is ‘sannidhanam’is Vavarnada’. This commemorates Vavar, a Muslim associate Lord Ayyappa. It is believed that Lord Ayyappa himself gave specific instructions for the layout of the Ayyappa Temple. According to legends Lord Ayyappa medicated on this sacred place after killing the demon Mahishi. Some legends also say that Parashuram, the creator of Kerala installed the idol of Lord Ayyappa and worshiped him here. As per the strict rules of Sabarimala temple, visitors before embarking to the temple has to lead a life like an ascetic for 41 days.
- How to reach? Nearest railhead is at Chengannur. The Nearby airports are Trivandrum and Kochi.
- Best time to go? Monsoons are the ideal to visit the place.
India is a Holy Land of God and Goddess. India’s diversity is colored by her secular approach towards the religious sanctity.