INDIAN SPIRITUAL DESTINATIONS
Being caught up in daily responsibilities, work, chores or kids and continuing without a break is a great risk to your physical and mental health. Everyone needs a break to refresh themselves and spend some quiet time alone or with loved ones.
In a huge country like India where there are a multitude of religions, Gods, Goddesses and spiritual Gurus, there is no dearth of religious places and destinations that provide spiritual healing.
If visiting a sacred place or living at a pilgrimage site will give you some much-needed peace of mind, check out these 6 spiritual destinations in India where you can take a vacation and come back rejuvenated.
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Varanasi, a city in the state of Uttar Pradesh, dates back to 11th century B.C. and gets its name from the two tributaries of the Ganges, ‘Varuna’ and ‘Asi’ that flow along its northern and southern borders.
This city of Lord Shiva, also called ‘Benaras’ or ‘Kashi’, is considered as the spiritual capital of India; one of the holiest Hindu cities and attracts pilgrims from all over the country as well as from abroad. It is a beautiful and colourful place with hundreds of temples across town.
The Ganga Aarti, that is performed every evening at the Dashashwamedh Ghat is a grand and mesmerizing event that must be witnessed by one and all.
Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa
A 400-year-old church and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is located in old Goa and houses the mortal remains of patron saint St.Francis Xavier. Public viewing of the body is held every ten years. Christian and non-Christian followers from across the world come to visit this church annually.
The Basilica is a brilliant example of Baroque and Portuguese colonial architecture and is one of the Seven Wonders of Portuguese Origin in the World.
St. Francis Xavier was known to have healing powers, and a visit to this beautiful basilica will surely heal your soul.
Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Rajasthan
This Sufi shrine of revered Saint Moinuddin Chisti, located in Ajmer is a major pilgrimage centre for Muslims in India. It is considered one of the holiest places after Mecca. Millions of pilgrims of all faiths, visit this shrine which also has Chisti’s grave.
The shrine is beautiful and almost magical, making every visitor feel peaceful and one with the Almighty. The Urs festival is the highlight of the year at the Dargah and is a great time to visit the shrine, to be a part of some wonderful music and devotional events.
Golden Temple, Amritsar
‘Majestic’ is the word that comes to mind when you lay eyes on the Harmandir Sahib Temple- the most important pilgrimage site for Sikhs throughout the world. The golden gilded temple and the ambrosial lake- ‘Amrit Sarovar’ that surrounds it, is a reflection of the peace and tranquillity that abounds this place.
The temple lit up at night, is the most magical yet soothing sight that will make you feel at peace and almost in conversation with your God. Volunteering at the ‘langar’ (temple kitchen) that provides free food to pilgrims, is a selfless act that you can perform as a duty towards the Lord and humanity. The peace and satisfaction you will gain are truly indescribable.
Mahabodhi Temple, Bihar
Bodh Gaya in Bihar is famous for the Mahabodhi Temple and monastery; a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important Buddhist pilgrimage centre.
It is believed that Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment at this site under the ‘Bodhi Tree’. Being in the same place where he once meditated provides visitors with a feeling of immense peace and solitude.
The town boasts of numerous monasteries and temples. Many courses on meditation and Buddhism are also conducted in the city for interested pilgrims.
If you wish to visit the Mahabodhi Temple in Bihar, check out this detailed Bodh Gaya temple travel guide first.
Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu
The Ramanathaswamy temple located in the state of Tamil Nadu is an important pilgrimage site and a part of the ‘Char Dham’ pilgrimage. Situated on the Pamban Island, the temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is connected to mainland India via the Pamban bridge- a cantilever bridge that opens to allow ships to pass through.
Apart from the temple, you can also visit the Dhanushkodi beach which lies on the tip of the Pamban island. Hindu mythology states that this was the site from where Lord Ram created a sea-bridge to Sri Lanka.
Peace lies within you but if you have to travel a little to seek it, these beautiful destinations are where you should be heading!