The spiritual air in the country humbly carries the fragrance of Karma, Dharma and most importantly Forgiveness. A secular country under whose shelter dwells multiple religions in utmost peace and harmony, India can rightly be called the ‘Land of Faith’. Trudge through the mighty mountains and you shall experience divine presence or traverse through the meandering alleys, where spirituality combined with history waits to greet your spiritually thirsty souls. The pious soil of the country constantly keeps you in contact with a Supreme Power that dwells in different forms. The existence of a large number of temples, mosques, churches, gurudwaras and monasteries in India beckons the traveler to visit a country that is tolerant, spiritual and most of all diverse yet united. Having an upper hand in the country, spirituality has propelled many ordinary destinations into significant religious places in India. As a result, along with a large number of pilgrims that visit these religious destinations once a year, many travel enthusiasts have started to throng these hubs. Tourism has grown manifold and so has the fame of India. Let us together get acquainted to a different and vital side of the country and learn about these fascinating religious tourism places in India
1. Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu Kashmir
From high up in the mountains Mata Vaishno Devi calls out to her devotees… Situated on the Trikuta Hills in Jammu, the abode of Mata Vaishno is amongst the most popular pilgrimage in India. Experience an indescribable delight in taking an arduous trek that further leads to the caves where the goddess presides over and bestows countless blessings. Beautiful landscape, pervading divinity and thrilling adventure…this is one journey in India that will remain etched in your memories forever.
2.Golden Temple/Swarn Mandir/Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar
The unparalleled reflection of the pious golden edifice onthe ambrosial nectar (lake) and the horde of pilgrims loitering in the shrine complex urge one to visit this popular religious place in India. Built by the fourth Sikh Guru, Ramdass Sahib Ji, Gurudwara Harmandir Sahib is the most important Sikh pilgrimage site to visit in India. The golden gilded temple commemorates a number of Sikh historical events. A bringer of peace, the Golden Temple is nothing short of a legacy in India.
3. Jama Masjid, Delhi
Reckoned to be the largest mosque in India, Jama Masjid is amongst the top must visit places for Muslims in India. The sacred mosque was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan in the year 1650 with the aid of 5000 workers over the period of 6 years. The mosque has been designed by Ustad Khalil, who was known to be the great sculptor of his time and apart from its pious ambiance is also known for its architectural grandeur. The carvings made in the mosque is exceptional and the major highlight here is that none of the domes are of similar height; each dome is different from the other. It is said that it was customary for the emperor and his courtiers to visit the mosque every Friday for attending ‘Jumme ki Namaz’, the congressional prayer. It is indeed one of the most significant holy places of Islam in India.
4. Jagannath Temple (Jagannath Mandir) in Puri
An important pilgrimage in India, Jagannath Temple is the finest monument in Odisha. The main deities presiding over the temple are Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra. Although a popular pilgrimage, Jagannath Temple comes to life during the annual Rath Yatra when a very large number of people throng the temple. The sacred shrine is believed to be the authentic reflection of Indian culture.
Nestled in the pristine Himalaya, Badrinath in Uttarakhand is a door to unmatched spirituality. It is the place where everything is cuddled by divinity. Badrinath is believed to be the home of Lord Vishnu or Badrinathji, who had come here to meditate after being rebuked by Narad for being too indulgent in worldly affairs. Thus, today Badrinath offers confinement from the materialistic world and takes you a step closer to the Supreme Power. It is the vital destination for Chardham yatra in India and Chhota Chardham in Uttarakhand.
6. Sun Temple (Surya Mandir) in Konark:
The masterpiece of Indian architecture, Sun Temple is the epitome of exquisite architecture and unmatched spirituality. Situated in Konark, Odisha, the Sun Temple boasts of a massive size and is an incredible example of genius. The Sun God sitting on a majestic chariot depicts the victory of King Narsimhadeva I (who defeated a number of Muslim invaders). The incredible architecture that includes 12 pairs of carved wheels, hall of offering, imposing pyramidal roof and erotic scenes have been the key driving force for art lovers and travel enthusiast who visit here, thereby making the Sun Temple one of the best places to see on a religious tour in India.
7. Haji Ali, Mumbai
Known for its special location on an islet in Southern Mumbai, Haji Ali is a must visit for all Muslims visiting India. Dedicated to Muslim Saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, the shrine is visited by thousands of pilgrims irrespective of their religions. According to a record, more than 40,000 pilgrims visit this shrine to offer Chaddar and sincere prayers. During URS (Death anniversary of the saint) and Eid-E-Milad-un-Nabi, special Islamic rituals are performed here. Haji Ali Saint is known to have given up all his worldly possessions and went to Mecca. His selfless acts towards the people made him a highly revered personality. It is also believed that he asked his followers to cast his body in a coffin in the Arabian Sea when he dies. Soon after his demise, his followers did as they were asked. However, it is said that the coffin stuck on the piles of rocks, and this is where his Dargah stands today.
8. Lal Mandir, Delhi
The Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir is situated opposite to the great Red Fort near Chandni Chowk of Delhi. Lal Mandir is the oldest Jain temple of the city and dedicated to Lord Parshvanath. Delhi is known for its famous heritage sites and historical magnificent monuments, Naya Mandir is another known Jain temple in the city.
9. Char Minar, Hyderabad
Amongst the most prominent heritage buildings in India is Char-Minar in Hyderabad. However, this monument has significance for Muslims as well, as the structure was created to represent the first four caliphs of Islam. The legend has that the monument was constructed after the prayers of Sultan Mohammad Quli Qutub Shah were fulfilled regarding the suppression of plague.Built from granite, mortar and lime, this sacred structure reflects an unusual mix of mosque and arc architectire together.
10. Christ Church – Shimla India
Christ Church, which is situated in the centre of the town of Shimla is believed to be the second oldest church in North India. This sacred church is the prominent landmark of Shimla that reflects the beauty of British era architecture. Built in the Neo-Gothic style in 1857, the church contains five fine stained glass windows and each window represents different Christian virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Patience and Humility. The pipe-organ in the church is the biggest in the Indian subcontinent and was installed in September 1899.