10 Pilgrimages in India worth going at least once.
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Thousands of people come to India from all over the world seeking spiritual enlightenment. Incidentally, most of these pilgrimage sites are tucked away in places blessed with unparalleled natural beauty. In the land of temples and pilgrimages, we pick the top 10 pilgrimages to take in India.
Golden Temple, Amritsar
The Golden Temple is a gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. It is the preeminent spiritual site of Sikhism. The man-made pool on the site of the temple was completed by the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das, in 1577. In 1604, Guru Arjan placed a copy of the Adi Granth in Harmandir Sahib.
Rishikesh is a city in India’s northern state of Uttarakhand, in the Himalayan foothills beside the Ganges River. The river is considered holy, and the city is renowned as a center for studying yoga and meditation. Temples and ashrams (centers for spiritual studies) line the eastern bank around Swarg Ashram, a traffic-free, alcohol-free and vegetarian enclave upstream from Rishikesh town.
Varanasi (Kashi Vishwanath)
Varanasi is a city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh dating to the 11th century B.C. Regarded as the spiritual capital of India, the city draws Hindu pilgrims who bathe in the Ganges River’s sacred waters and perform funeral rites. Along the city’s winding streets are some 2,000 temples, including Kashi Vishwanath, the “Golden Temple,” dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
Ayodhya is a city situated on the banks of holy river Saryu in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is the administrative headquarters of Faizabad district and the Faizabad division of Uttar Pradesh, India. It shares a municipal corporation with its neighboring twin city of Faizabad.
The Char Dham is a set of four pilgrimage sites in India. It is believed that visiting these sites helps achieve moksha. The four Dhams are Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameswaram. It is believed that every Hindu should visit the Char Dhams during one’s lifetime.
Jagannath Puri, Odisha
Puri in Odisha is one of the four must-visit pilgrimage sites for Hindus because of Jagannath Temple that forms the part of Char Dham in India. Puri is a beach city located on the coast of Bay of Bengal which is one of the favorites among people of West Bengal for a short trip.
Somnath Jyotirling, Gujarat
The Somnath temple, also called Somanātha temple or Deo Patan, is a Hindu temple located in Prabhas Patan, Veraval in Gujarat, India. It is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus and is believed to be first among the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva.
Shirdi is a town in the state of Maharashtra, in western India. It’s known as the former home of revered spiritual leader Sai Baba, and as a major pilgrimage site. Devotees gather daily at the Sai Baba Temple complex to honor his legacy. Here, the Samadhi Mandir shrine has an ornate marble statue of Sai Baba, alongside his tomb. Close by are Dwarkamai, a mosque where Sai Baba once lived, and tree-lined Lendi Garden.
The Khajuraho Group of Monuments are a group of Hindu and Jain temples in Chhatarpur district, Madhya Pradesh, India, about 175 kilometers southeast of Jhansi. They are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temples are famous for their nagara-style architectural symbolism and less than 10% of their erotic sculptures.
Haridwar is an ancient city and important Hindu pilgrimage site in North India’s Uttarakhand state, where the River Ganges exits the Himalayan foothills. The largest of several sacred ghats (bathing steps), Har Ki Pauri hosts a nightly Ganga Aarti (river-worshiping ceremony) in which tiny flickering lamps are floated off the steps. Worshipers fill the city during major festivals including the annual Kanwar Mela.
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