India is often defined as the land of pilgrimages. Heavy rituals and mystical customs. The country has over hundreds of pilgrimage sites. Listed below is a list of top spiritual sites you should visit :
This is one of the most revered pilgrimage tours of India. If you are looking forward to Chota Char Dham Yatra (mini pilgrimage), it takes you to the 4 major Hindu Temples of the Garhwal Himalaya :
Gangotri (Goddess Ganga)
Yamunotri (The first halt)
Kedarnath (Seat of Lord Shiva and one among Panch Kedars)
Badrinath (Lord Vishnu’s abode)
Kailash Mansarovar Yatra
This is known to be one way of having a close encounter with the Supreme Being. Situated on the impressive Mount Kailash mountain peak in the Tibet Himalayan mountain ranges, the entire site is beautified spiritually and showered with magnanimously picturesque views, the religious destination is known to be the abode of Lord Shiva on earth. The heavenly blue and emerald green lake Man Sarovar is believed to have emerged from Brahma’s mind (creator of this world).
A pilgrimage is incomplete without the famous Amarnath Yatra. This is the place where every Hindu would like to visit at least once in a lifetime. Situated in Jammu and Kashmir, the place is dedicated to Lord Shiva and home to an Ice Lingam (naturally occuring) inside a cave. The Yatra starts during the months of July and August, the period coinciding with Hindu month of Shravana.
Vaishno Devi Yatra
This is one of the most sacred and commemorated sites among Hindus across the nation. The pilgrims need to be highly devoted and replete with zeal and dedication towards reaching their goal. The yatra takes you to the revered temple of Mata Rani (Durga). It is situated at the Trikuta Mountains in Jammu and Kashmir. Vaishno Devi is considered as Goddess Durga’s incarnation. The shrine is deemed as one among the 108 Shakti Peethas in the world. So if you book a pilgrimage tour package, include a visit to this divine site.
This is known to be one of the largest and highly crowded religious gatherings across the globe. Celebrated four times every twelve year at 4 different sites by rotation, the fair is one of the greatest across the globe :
Hemkund Sahib Yatra
Devoted Sikhs from all around the world visit this revered pilgrimage site dedicated to the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The yatra is related to a very famous Gurudwara named Hemkund Sahib revered to be the highest Gurudwara across the globe. Situated amidst picturesque Himalayan mountains and a pristine lake, the divine site is open for pilgrims for only four months of the year. It is believed that the tenth Sikh Guru sat on meditation at this spot and left his human form.
Mani Mahesh Lake Yatra
Nestled amidst virgin natural beauty of the mysterious Himalaya, the pilgrimage of Mani Mahesh Yatra is related to spiritual significance of the popular Dal Lake of Chamba in Himachal Pradesh. The pilgrims can experience some of the most scenic Himalayan trails. The literal meaning of the lake is Jewel of Lord Shiva (Mahesh means Lord Shiva and Mani means jewel).
Puri Rath Yatra
Ratha Yatra is a religious ritual involving drawing the chariot of Hindu deities. This pious event becomes a nice gathering of over millions of devotees. Puri in Odisha state is one of the most sought after pilgrimage sites of India. The famous festival is organized in the Hindu month of Ashada (July). This is precisely the time when three deities of the temple are taken out for procession :
The procession is taken out in grand heavily ornate chariot. The priests play many hundreds of musical instruments. According to a belief, one glimpse of Jagannath Prabhu during Ratha Yatra or even touching the rope will gain the fortune of many hundreds of pious deeds. Those lucky enough to get a glimpse of the deities in Gundicha derive can enjoy the benefits of sacred Ashwamedha Yagna.
The Sacred Buddhist Circuit Tour
Buddhism was born in India and gradually spread its wings to all corners of the world. The credit goes to its humble approach, preachings of non-violence, and a lot more. Forming a prominent part of all spiritual sanctuaries of the country, Buddhism is also known for its beautiful soul soothing pilgrimage sites. The Buddhist circuit tour comprises of visits to four major significant pilgrimage sites and a must visit for all :
Lumbini – South Nepal (Birthplace of Lord Buddha)
Bodhgaya – Bihar
Sarnath – Varanasi
Kushinagar – Uttar Pradesh
Jwala Devi Yatra
The land of Jammu and Kashmir is widely renowned for its exquisite hilly and snowy terrains. Celebrated for its natural and deemed as the paradise on earth, the land of Jammu and Kashmir is also a sacred site for religious minded individual. Within the vibrant and picturesque land of Saharanpur, lies the pious abode of Goddess Durga (Mata Rani). A visit to this soul soothing site is a wonderful experience for all those looking forward to a fulfilling pilgrimage. It is believed that a visit to her sanctified abodes makes for a deed equivalent to a hundred righteous activities. Although revered in infinite forms, devotees across the nation Goddess Durga has uncountable forms and incarnations but most of the devotees consider her 9 main forms as prominent identities. A pilgrimage is considered incomplete without seeing her nine forms. A Nau (Nine) Devi Yatra is known to the most sacred. These nine sites for Hindu pilgrimage dedicated to incarnations of Goddess Durga include :
Mata Chamunda Devi
Mata Jwala Ji
Maa Kangra Devi
Maa Chintpurni Devi / Mata Chhinnamastika Dham
Mata Naina Devi
Mata Mansa Devi
Mata Kalika Devi
Mata Shakumbhari Devi
Mata Vaishno Devi