Searching for spiritual India?
Being the birthplace of world religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, India attracts millions of tourists from all across the globe who visit the ancient country in order to seek spirituality and enlightenment. Due to the presence of several religions and beliefs, India is famous for its various pilgrimages and spiritual retreats. Indian religions like Hinduism and spiritual disciplines like Yoga, have been recognized all around the world and ever since the arrival of the Beatles in 1968 in Rishikesh, India became one of the most recognized hippy hotspots in the world which further strengthened its significance as one of the most spiritually and culturally rich countries in the world. If you’re wanting to experience spiritual India, here are a few destinations to add to your itinerary.
1. Gangotri, Haridwar
Gangotri refers to a glacier located in the state of Uttarakhand and also a glacial river, considered to be the source of the holy Ganges River in India. The river begins at an average elevation of 3,415 meters (11,204 feet) above sea level amidst the Greater Himalayan range. Gangotri is also the name of the town that surrounds the glacier and the temple was originally built by a Gurkha leader in the early 19th century. Being the very source of the most holy rivers in India, Gangotri is visited by thousands of Hindu pilgrims during the year and is also a part of the Chota Char Dham pilgrimage of the Hindus. This is a must for any spiritual India itinerary.
2. Bodh Gaya, Bihar
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bodh Gaya is located in the state of Bihar and is famous for being the place where Lord Buddha achieved enlightenment. Thus, Bodh Gaya is one of the most important pilgrim destinations for Buddhists across the world. The Mahabodhi Temple and the Bodhi Tree are few of the prime attractions for visitors. The Bodhi tree was considered to be the exact place where Siddhartha Shakya meditated and received enlightenment. The original temple, now known as the Mahabodhi Temple, was built during the 3rd century BC by King Ashoka.
3. Balaji Temple, Tirupati
Also known as the Tirumala Venkateshwara Temple, the Balaji Temple is located in the state of Andhra Pradesh atop a hill and is an amazing place for those looking for a spiritual India experience. The temple is known to be one of the richest places of worship and is also the most visited temple in the world. Balaji Temple is one of the finest examples of the Dravidian temple architecture, built and expanded during the reign of the various dynasties of southern India such as the Chola, Pallavas and Vijayanagara Empire. Today, the temple is visited by nearly 10,000 pilgrims and tourists each day.
4. Golden Temple, Amritsar
Built in the 16th century AD, the Golden Temple, or Harmandir Sahib, is located in the Indian state of Punjab and is the prime pilgrim spot for the Sikh community of India. The name of the temple literally means the “Abode of God” and is represented through a marvelously designed temple complex in the middle of a man-made lake, beautifully decorated with gold leaf. The water from the lake is considered to be the holy nectar ‘Amrit’ and is fed by the waters of the River Ravi. The temple is best visited during the festival of Baisakhi, which falls around the second week of April every year.
5. Minakshi Temple, Madurai
Dedicated to the Hindu deity, goddess Parvati, who is the consort of Lord Shiva, this temple is located at Madurai in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the richest temples in India alongside the aforementioned Tirupati Balaji temple in Andhra Pradesh. The temple is said to have been constructed by another Hindu deity Lord Indra and has been mentioned in the Tamil literature for more than 2 millennia. The temple is built in a stunning Dravidian architecture with a total of 10 gopurams (towers) decorated with stucco figures and spread across an area of 45 acres (18 hectares).
India is a land of various religions, each with its own set of customs and beliefs. The above-mentioned places are just a few of the several places of worship across the country. Apart from these five, there are several other attractions –such as Varanasi, Kedarnath, Sun Temple, Kanyakumari, Vaishno Devi and Pushkar — also worth visiting to experience spiritual India — unlike no other place in the world.
About The Author
Rohit Agarwal is the blogger at Transindiatravels.com. He is also a blogger for several travel and tourism related websites on the internet. His love for travel and fondness of different cuisines across the world makes him travel the most enchanting destinations.