India is a country where religions and spirituality rule supreme. People of the country attach great importance to religious beliefs, traditions, rituals and to pilgrimage yatras. Thus, it is no wonder that the country is dotted with so many religious places. Here follows the Top 10 list:
Badrinath town of Uttarakhand falls within Chamoli district. The town has the famous Badrinarayan temple that belongs to Lord Vishnu in the form of Badrinarayan. Badrinath dham pilgrimage spot is significant in many ways. Firstly, it is one of the Chardhams of the Chota chardham circuit. Secondly mythological records point out that Great spiritual guru Shankaracharya had set up the original Badrinath temple. Thirdly, Badrinath is one among the holy Divya Deshams numbering to 108. Also, Badrinath dham along with Adi Badri, Bridha Badri, Bhavishya Badri and Yogadhyan Badri constitute the auspicious ‘Panch Badri’
Varanasi with the sacred River Ganges coursing through it meanderingly and with the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple is a holy city to the very core. The famous ghats like Assi ghat, Manikamika ghat, Dashashwamedh ghat of this holy city of Uttar Pradesh are also quite famous in the circuit of pilgrims. Ganga aarti both in morning and evening attracts a huge number of pilgrims.
The holy city of Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh features the famous Tribeni sangam-the meeting point of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. At the sangam, the largest and famous kumbh mela is held at an interval of every 12 years . At the Patalpuri, Mankameshwar and Hanuman temples of Allahabad pilgrims pour in large numbers.
Vaishno Devi Temple
The cave shrine of Vaishno Devi, commonly referred to as Mata Rani or Vaishnavi is perched at an elevation of 5300 ft amid the hill ranges of Trikuta parvat. The shrine, an abode of Adi Shakti can be reached by trekking uphill from Katra. Goddess Durga manifests herself in the form of Mata Vaishnodevi who is enshrined here. This is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations of India.
The Amarnath cave is an abode of Lord Shiva enshrined here as an ice lingam. One has to trek uphill from Pahalgam base camp to reach the shrine or can even avail the shortcut route via Baltal. According to mythology, Lord Shiva divulged to Devi Parvati the ‘secret of immortality’ or Amar katha. The secret was overhead by a pair of pigeons who as a result, became immortal forever. The Amarnath cave shrine also has two other ice stalagmites, one symbolizing Devi Parvati and another symbolizing Lord Ganesh. Amarnath pilgrimage yatra is undertaken by pilgrims in the month of Shravan as per Hindu calendar.
The city of Dwarka in the western state of Gujarat had been the capital of Lord Krishna’s empire after he shifted himself from Mathura to escape the wrath of Jarasandha. Of the temples of Dwarka, the famed Dwarkadish temple, Nageshwar Jyotirlinga, Bhait Dwarka, Swami Narayan temple are the ones most crowded by pilgrims. Dwarka is significant also because it is one among the four chardhams of the all-India Chardham circuit.
Set along the rippling and shimmering Ganges river, the holy town of Rishikesh has spirituality in its air. Temples like Neel kanth Mahadev temple, sacred sites like Tribeni ghat, Ram jhula, Laxam Jhula and the various renowned ashrams preaching and teaching yoga make Rishikesh famous among pilgrims.
The holy city of Haridwar has righty been called ‘Har ki dwar’ or gateway to the abode of Gods. River Ganges flows down from the Himalayas to reach the plains for the first time at Haridwar. Ganga Aarti at Har ki pauri, temples like Mansa Devi temple, Chandi Devi temple, Maya Devi temple, Daksheshwar Mahadev temple etc, the various renowned Ashrams like Saptarshi ashram, Ma Anondomoyi Ashram, Kanvarishi Ashram etc are the chief highlights of this pilgrimage destination. Also, the Haridwar’s Kumbh Mela has reserved a place for Haridwar on the world map.
Rameshwaram, one among the char dhams of the All-India Chardham circuit is famous for the temple of Ramanathswamy. Lodged on an island called Mannar, Rameshwaram of Tamil Nadu attracts pilgrims from far and wide. Legends hold that at this point Lord Rama repented heavily for the sin of destroying Ravana.
The golden temple of Amritsar, also known as Harmandir Sahib is one of the most famed Gurudwaras of the country. The dome of the temple has been crafted out of pure gold of 100kgs and shows marvelous gilded patterns and marble work. The temple stands in the midst of the holy Amrit sarovar or nectarous lake. Holiest religious book of Sikhs, the ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ is housed within the shrine of Golden temple.