The Most Amazing Spiritual Places in India
India is known around the world for its delicious cuisine, fantastic cinema and famous historical sites but traveling in India can be about SO much more. One of the most interesting things about India is that it is home to a diverse range of spiritual and religious beliefs, traditions and places of worship, these are most evident in the many varied spiritual places in India and make India arguably the most unique and captivating country to explore.
In fact, it’s hard to think of any other country in the entire world that is more spiritual than India. India is the birth place of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. Also, many other religions are followed in India, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Zoroastrians. This diversity means India is home to some of the most incredible spiritual locations on the planet so it’s no wonder that India has attracted so many spiritual seekers and pilgrims to her magical shores over the ages, in fact, I was also drawn to India in a kind of ‘to find myself’ cliche!!!
With so many spiritual places in India to visit it can seem overwhelming knowing where to start but luckily India is still one of the cheapest places to travel where spiritual seekers will receive a warm welcome and there are cheap hotels to be found all across the country. So really all you need to do is pick a destinations to start with ( you could begin with some of the destinations I’ve listed below in this post which I’ll keep adding too in time) then search for the best flight deals, apply for an Indian visa and then simply let the adventure begin as you start on your spiritual path!
Traveling to India can seem a little daunting but I’ve written loads of tips on my blog to make it easier for you. Start with my step by step guide to planning your first trip to India and check out these reasons why traveling in India isn’t as difficult as you might think. And to make it even easier to start your spiritual journey sites like Wego.co.in do all the hard work for by searching and comparing all the best travel booking sites in one easy place so you can get started on exploring the spirituality, the food, the colour, music and craziness and everything else that India has to offer!
Here are 7 of the most magical spiritual places in India.….
Varanasi is one of the holiest Hindu and Jain cities in India, Varanasi sits on the banks of the Ganges in the Uttar Pradesh state. It is known as ‘The spiritual capital of India’, as it is said to be founded by the Lord Shiva; the god of creation and destruction. In fact, it is believed that anyone that dies in Varanasi will be released from the cycle of death and rebirth. The Ghats play an important role in Varanasi’s spiritualism, with some being designated for puja ceremony and others being exclusively used as cremation sites. There are also five key Ghats that played an important role in developing the city as a holy one. Not to mention the 23,000 temples that can be found spread across the city. Read more about Varanasi here.
Bodhgaya has been declared by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the country’s ‘spiritual capital’. Bodhgaya is the place where Gautama Buddha became enlightened, which was the beginning of Buddhism. It has since become an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists from all over the world. The Bodhi tree in which he sat is now the site of the Mahabodhi Temple complex, which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2002. Bodhgaya is a small place that sits near the bank of river Neranjana in the state of Bihar. Much of the town was developed around the complex, where there are now many Buddhist temples and monasteries built by Buddhists from other countries. Each of these temples are designed to reflect the country they represent (ie Thailand, Tibet, Bhutan, Japan, Sri Lanka and China). Read more about Bodhgaya here.
Amritsar is home to the most spiritual and cultural centre for the Sikh religion in all of India; the Golden Temple. The second most populous city in Punjab, Amritsar was founded in 1574 by Sikh Guru Ram Das, who was the fourth guru of the Sikhs. Still, it was the fifth Sikh Guru (Guru Arjan Dev Ji) who built the Golden Temple, aka Sri Harmandir Sahib. The temple is a magnificent golden colour that reflects in its surrounding lake. There are four entrances, one facing each direction, with people from all walks of life and all religions being welcome to enter. Over 10,000 people visit the temple each day, some of which are locals and others that travel specifically to spend time here. The minute you walk into the temple complex you will know that you are in one of the most spiritual places in India. I really loved the Golden Temple – see more here.
Mathura is one of the seven holy Hindu cities of India. The city was built around the ancient Kesava Deo Temple, which was built on the site of Lord Krishna’s birthplace. The temple is part of the Shri Krishna Janmbhoomi complex, and the city was then built around it. There are also many other religious and spiritual sites in Mathura, including Naam Yog Sadhna Mandir, Shri Bankey Bihari Mandir and Jama Masjid. The city is also home to the Vishram Ghat, which is apparently where Lord Krishna rested after killing Kansa (his uncle). There is also, not surprisingly, a large International Society for Krishna Consciousness centre in Mathura, which is more widely known as the Hare Krishna movement.
Nicknamed Yoganagari, Rishikesh is known as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’. It is also pegged as ‘Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas’, as it sits in the foothills of the Himalayas. Rishikesh is one of the holiest places in the country for Hindus, as well as being one of India’s most spiritual places. In fact, it has been this way since ancient times when Hindu saints came here to meditate and gain spiritual knowledge. Today, it is popular amongst yogis from all over the world, who come to learn yoga, meditate and take a dip in the holy river that flows through the city. Rishikesh is a strict vegetarian and non-alcohol city due to its religious significance. More about Rishikesh here.
Tiruvannamalai is home to one of the greatest shrines in all of India; Annamalaiyar Temple. It sits at the base of the Annamalai hills in Tamil Nadu on a whopping 10 hectares of land, making it one of India’s largest. The temple is dedicated to the deity Shiva and is important to the Hindu sect of Saivism due to it is associated with the 5 elements; wind, water, fire, earth and space. There are numerous shrines throughout the complex, as well as halls and towers. The tallest tower sits at the very east end, boasting 11 stories and a height of 66 metres. Mount Arunachala is known as a quiet place and locals call it the ‘most silent place on earth’. This is because it apparently gives off powerful energy that helps to quiet the mind. You will often see people here meditating as a result.
This ancient city sits along the River Ganga just 123 kilometres from its source at the edge of the Gangotri Glacier. It is considered to be one of seven of the holiest places for Hindus because drops of Amit (the elixir of immortality) were accidentally spilled here when being carried in a pitcher by the celestial bird Garuda. This is celebrated in Hardiwar every 12 years during the Haridwar Kumbh Mela, which is listed on UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Even when people visit at other times they will take a dip in the waters to wash away their sins. In addition to the river, there are also plenty of other holy sites around the mountainous city, including Mansa Devi Temple, Chandi Devi Temple, the sacred Ghat Har Ki Pauri and Bharat Mata Mandir.
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There are so so many more spiritual places in India! I aim to keep adding more to this list and to help connect more people to the spiritual energy of this amazing country.
I’d also love to hear about your spiritual experiences in India too and which places I should visit next…