India. A very diverse, a very vivid, a very colorful: the very place full of life. It’s not an under known fact that India has embraced all the religions of the world with open arms. Neither is the world unaware of the truth that India is the very birthplace of many religions in itself. India: the country of many religions, is as rich in its culture as it is vivid. Splendidly diverse, extraordinarily scenic, fascinatingly marvelous India is a home to many spiritually content places.
In the recent times, spiritual places in India have gained popularity with the younger generation as well. Well, for pretty obvious reasons: perfect photogenic locations, traditions & rituals, festivals, adventure and sometimes just the inner peace.
Here goes the list of ’Top 10 Religious Places in India’:
Varanasi – The Divine City
A mesmerizing place; full of life; the boon of Ganges. Varanasi; or Benaras, located in Uttar Pradesh, is considered as one of the most spiritual places in India. With every nook and corner oozing with spiritual essence, the place is sure to leave you in a spiritual high. Assi Ghat, Manmandir Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Dashaswamedh Ghat are the Ghats where the sight of an international tourist practicing Yoga on the sacred banks of the Ganges is a common sight. The Kashivishwanathan Temple and The Durga Temple are one of the most spiritual places.
Mathura and Vrindavan – The Cities of Lord
Mathura and Vrindavan, located in Uttar Pradesh just cannot be out of the list of the spiritual cities. Mathura, being the birthplace of Lord Krishna is held high among his devotees. The heart-warming temples and ghats of these towns are sure to ferment the devotion from the core. Banke Bihari Temple, Hare Ram Hare Krishna Temple, ISKCON Vrindavan, Prem Mandir and Shyama Shyam Dham are some of the major religious attractions. The towns exceptionally scenic.
Rameshwaram – The Sacred Island
One of the ‘Char Dhams’ Located in the Southern province of Tamil Nadu; Rameshwaram indeed is an unmatchable blend of spirituality and tradition. Situated on the island called Mannar, the sacred destination is believed to be the place where Lord Rama worshipped and repented after killing Ravana. With spirituality set deep within it, the Ramanathaswamy Temple is renowned for its splendid architecture and mesmerizing culture.
Leh – The Nirvana Paradise
Not only the heaven for the adventure seekers, Leh, is also the paradise for those seeking inner peace. With large number of Tibetan monasteries spread across Leh, it soaks you, from within in the imbibe of sanctity. Monasteries in Leh, house a large number of stupas, wall paintings, Thangkas, swords and large pillars engraved with Buddha’s teachings. Shey, Hemis, Lamayuru, Alchi and Thiksey are some of the most popular monasteries in Leh.
Ajmer – The Holy City of Khwaja
Khwaja Moinuddin Chisthi lay in peace here, listening to people’s wishes and fulfilling them. Once in the Dargah complex, sheer peace takes over you. There certainly is something magical, something beyond comprehension which makes this place equally popular among the devotees of all religions.
Puri – The City of Jagannath
One of the ‘Char Dhams’ the Jagannath temple is located in Puri. The place gets a living form during the annual ‘Rath Yathra’ procession, with the devotees and the Lord both soaked deep in devotion. The major deities of the shrine include Lord Jagannath, Lord Balbhadra and Goddesses Subhadra.
Konark – The House to Mystic Architecure
The splendid masterpiece of Indian architecture: The Sun temple of Konark, Orrisa, is epitome of unmatched spirituality. The Sun God sitting on a majestic chariot depicts the victory of King Narsimhadeva I (who defeated a number of Muslim invaders). The incredible architecture that includes 12 pairs of carved wheels, hall of offering, imposing pyramidal roof and erotic scenes have been the key driving force for art lovers and travel enthusiast who visit here.
Dwarka – The Kingdom of Lord
Situated on the western tip of Gujarat, Dwarka is one of the ‘Char Dhams’. One experiences unparalleled spirituality in the bounds of the city. Splendid architecture and a wave of devotion, if that won’t drench you in the rains of spirituality, I don’t know what will. The pure, white attire of people add to the sanctity of the place.
Amritsar – The Land of Ambrosial Nectar
The splendid view of the reflection of golden structure in the ambrosial nectar (lake) is an out of the world kind of experience. Crowd of pilgrims in search of inner self and peace emerge into the temple complex. The site, built by the fourth Sikh Guru: Ramdass Sahib ji, is the most important Sikh shrine in India. A bookmark of peace, the Golden temple is nonetheless a splendid landmark when it comes to spiritual sanctity.
Goa – The less likely of a Shrine
Goa by no means is a cliché pilgrimage destination in India; however, the number of churches in Goa justifies why it should be in the list of religious tourism places in India. A legacy of the Portuguese civilization that ruled the state for over a very long period, the Churches in Goa are worth exploring. Along with being an epitome of Christian faith, these edifices contribute largely to the architectural collection of India. Amongst the most famous churches in Goa are Basilica of Bom Jesus, Church of the Lady of Immaculate Conception, Church of St. Lawrence and Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assissi.
By: Ashutosh Upadhye