As such, there are countless religious places to visit in India, however, a few holds significant importance and a special place in the lives of the people in this country. These places are not just restricted to a single monument or shrine, as the entire region overwhelms with pious environment. One can sense the hint of spirituality in everything present at these locations; the people, the language, the food, the lifestyle, etc.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of these spiritual destinations in India which you must visit on your trip;
Talking about spiritual destinations in India, it is only obvious and imperative to begin the list with the ‘spiritual capital of India’. Varanasi, also known as Banaras, is one place you simply can’t afford to miss when travelling in India. It is not only one of the most revered spiritual destinations in India, but also an important global tourist attraction due to its historical significance (Varanasi is one of the first and oldest inhabited cities on earth).
Fun Fact : It is said that a person who takes their last breath in Varanasi will surely attain moksha(salvation).
When the literal meaning of the name of a city is ‘Gateway to God’, you can understand the importance which the city holds in the religious books of the country. Located on the banks of river Ganga, Haridwar is an ancient religious city in India, dotted with 100s of temples and shrines. You’d cherish the early mornings in this city as much as you’d admire the evenings. Attend the evening prayers (Aarti) at the ghats, indulge in some soulful yoga sessions, take a dip in the pious water of river Ganga, and much more things to do in Haridwar.
Fun Fact : It is the first place down the mountains which welcomes the holy river Ganga.
A very huge benefit of visiting Haridwar is the opportunity which you get to explore not one but two very important and significant religious places in India. Adjoining Haridwar is the adventurous and spiritual city of Rishikesh. Why adventurous?! Well, Rishikesh is not only a very significant spiritual destination in India, but also a very popular location for several adventurous activities; including river rafting, bungee jump, cliff jump, zip lining, trekking, and more. In fact, Rishikesh can easily be termed as the rafting capital of India and has the highest bungee jump platform in the country.
Fun Fact : In 1968, the popular rock band Beatles travelled to Rishikesh to attend an advanced Transcendental Meditation (TM) training course at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The ashram is a very popular location now and is fondly known as the Beatles Ashram.
Not often it is that you’d find a religious architecture being rebuilt time and again; 7 times to be precise. Located in the western state of Gujarat, Somnath Temple holds a very important place in the religious history of India, as it is considered to the be the first of as many as twelve jyotirlingas (shrines of lord Shiva). The temple is said to be made of gold at the very beginning by the moon God Som, and has been destroyed several times by muslim invaders over the period of time. Your spiritual tour in India will not complete without a visit to this place.
Fun Fact : The Somnath temple is believed to have been built in gold by the moon god Soma, in silver by the sun god Ravi, in wood by Krishna and in stone by the Solanki Rajputs in the 11th century.
Located in the western state of Maharashtra, near the city of Pune, Shirdi is a very popular pilgrimage site in India. The location holds an important place in the spiritual books of India mainly due to the fact that it’s the home to one of India’s most revered spiritual leaders; Shri Sai Baba. Though the city itself is a small locale of less than 40 thousands, one can find millions of people gather in the town to visit the shrine of Sai Baba.
Fun Fact : According to an estimate, the temple witness as much as 60,000 visitors every day. The figure certainly goes up during major festivals and other auspicious occasions.
One of the places no hardcore lord Shiva worshipper would want to miss. Located in the pristine Himalayas, Kedarnath is one of the most revered pilgrimage sites in India and is visited by many Shiva worshippers every year. However, due to its extreme location, the place is not accessible from November till April end.
Fun Fact : While, the present day temple architecture is the brain child of Adi guru Shankracharya, it is said to be built in ancient times by the Pandavas of Mahabharata.
Let alone the place itself, the entire journey to Vaishnodevi temple is so enchanting and surreal that you wouldn’t mind the 14kms climb you’ll have to take to reach there. People from all over the country visit this temple, located in the northern region of Jammu. It is said that if one has not visited goddess Vaishnodevi temple in their lifetime, their journey has been incomplete.
Fun Fact : It is believed that Sikh Guru, Guru Govind Singh Ji himself visited Vaishnodevi Temple in his lifetime.
Golden Temple, Amritsar
Sometimes you come across few places which you find really hard to describe in words or expressions; Golden Temple in Amritsar is one such place. Also, known as Shri Harmindar Sahib, the Golden Temple is one of the most revered and visited Sikh pilgrimage, located in the northern state of Punjab. The place got its name from the covering on the top of the main premise done with gold. During some of the major Sikh festivals, such as Gurunanak Jayanti, one can find a plethora of worshippers arriving at this place to get their blessings.
Fun Fact : The temple is considered holy such that 35% of the pilgrims that visit it are from faiths other than Sikh.
As you can figure out from the name itself, Bodh Gaya is the place of sacred importance for the followers of Buddhism. Located in the Gaya district in the state of Bihar, Bodh Gaya village is said to be the place where Lord Buddha attained his enlightenment. Today, the place holds a significant importance in the religious strata of India, and people from across the country make sure to visit at least once in their lifetime.
Fun Fact : The Mahabodhi temple is one of the very few temples declared as UNESCO declared world heritage site.
The southern part of India is considered to be a big hub of spiritual and religious places in India, and the centre point of this hub is the gigantic Venkateswara Temple in Tirumala. Popularly known as Tirupati Balaji, the temple is located in the hill town of Tirumala in the Chitoor district of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Millions of devotees visit the temple throughout the year just to get a glimpse of their deity, lord Vishnu, and the entire ambiance of the place is worth experiencing.
Fun Fact : Tirupati Balaji is the second most richest temples in the world, with an estimate of more than 50,000 crores worth of treasure.
To know a country better, try and understand the things which define the culture and lifestyle of that country. For India, its religions and spiritual beliefs are what define the core of this country’s colourful culture and lifestyle. India is overwhelmed with many such religious places throughout, and each region has its own charm and fascination. However, to start with, you can certainly select a few from this list of spiritual destinations in India and explore the religious lifestyle of the country.