Think about India and you are reminded of colours, divinity, culture and heritage. Popularly known as the “Land of Faith’’, India is a host to thousands of ancient and contemporary religious entities which are powerful enough to restore the lost soul in you. To give your life a new energy, here are the top 9 religious places in India that you ought to visit this festive season:
- Golden Temple (Swarn Mandir, Sri Darbar Saahib or Harminder Sahib), Amritsar
Sikhism is a religion that was borne out of humanism and a community where everyone is treated equally and with openness. The Mecca of Sikhism is the Golden Temple which has witnessed a number of Sikh historical events. The Gurudwara (or, the gate to god) was constructed by the fourth Sikh Guru, Ramadas Sahib Ji and is known for his architectural magnificence consisting of the main edifice that is laid with gold, Amrit or immortal nectar fed by the River Ravi and the world’s largest free kitchen or the Langar.
- Ajmer Sharif, Ajmer, Rajasthan
Located in Ajmer, Rajasthan, the Ajmer Sharif Dargah is a well celebrated Muslim shrine in India, where it is believed that all the wishes come true. The Dargah has witnessed a rich history of the Mughals, the Delhi Sultans and other Muslim rulers of India.
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- Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu
The Hindu temple is dedicated to Vaishno Devi (Trikuta/Mata Rani/ Vaishnavi) and is located amidst the beautiful mountains near Katra in Jammu. This cave temple is located at a distance of 13.5 km from the base and is reached through trekking, pony rides or helicopter services.
- Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
It is said that once in a lifetime, a person should bathe in the holy river Ganga to wash away all his sins. The pilgrimage hub is a blend of positive vibe, colours and sacredness. The world famous Ganga Aarti is a not to be missed evening routine that lights up the senses of all devotees.
- Haridwar & Rishikesh, Uttarakhan
Haridwar literally means ‘the abode of Lord Vishnu’ who is the upkeeper of the entire universe. The bustling city of Haridwar is loaded with vibrancy of devotees who are here to witness the world famous ‘Kumbh Mela’, the Ghats (Har Ki Pauri’), Ganga Aarti, Temple Hopping (Chanda Devi, Mansa Devi, Maya Devi and others), Ashrams, Adventure tours and more. Rishikesh, which is a short trip from Haridwar is the yoga capital of the world and is known for temples like Trimbakeshwar Temple and Aarti at the Parmath Ghat.
- Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu
The unbelievable creation of mankind, the Rameshwaram is one of the most pious religious places to visit in India. The temple is situated in the Mannar Island and it is believed that it is here where Lord Rama repented after killing Raavana. The Ramanathaswamy temple is known for its fine architecture.
The city of Madurai is a South Indian heritage that is laid with a number of historical perfections like the Meenakshi Temple and the Tirumalai Nayak Palace. The Meenakshi Amman Temple is located on the Vaigai River and is dedicated to Parvati who is the wife of Lord Shiva. The temple is a nominee to the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’.
Amidst its pictographic views, Leh is the hub for some of the most famous Buddhist monasteries like Hemis Monastry, Mathos Monastry, Rangdum Gompa, Lamayuru Monastry and Spituk Gompa. The silence of the valley and the almost inaccessible terrain, makes a visit to Leh- Ladakh a completely grandeur encounter.
- Velankanni Church (or the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health), Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu
The most sacred church in India, the Velankanni lies on the Coromondal Coast of Tamil Nadu. The Church’s establishment is based on miracles like survival of Portuguese sailors, curing of lame buttermilk vendor and apparition of Mary and Jesus. There are about 3 million people visiting the Velankanni Church during the annual festival from 29th – 8th September each year.