Religious tourism is also termed as faith tourism. It is a subtype of tourism where people decide to set foot on either individually or with the cluster for leisure, pilgrimage, missionary motives.
The pilgrims from the modern era (pilgrims of now) are capable of calling in most of the religious hotspots not only which are situated nearby but also those that are far off.
The number is quite huge when I try to take an account of the Globetrotters who can’t resist themselves from visiting India in search of the spirituality, purity and the faith people hold for the religious spots in India.
According to me the actual analysis which had been accomplished on the global religious tourism yet some angles of the tours and travel industry are yet to be scaled. With respect to the World Tourism Organization, the religious places with the highest religious significance are predicted to cater about 300 to 330 million pilgrims every consecutive year.
Most likely visited and frequently chosen Religious Places
There are ample of the religious places which are visited by the religious trippers from all around the world let’s start with
The Golden temple better known as the Sri Harmandir Sahib (House of God) and also Darbar Sahib is a Sikh Gurdwara pinpointed in Amritsar city, Punjab which falls under north India. It holds the highest sacred significance and holiest pilgrimage plat of Sikhism. The Golden Temple is erected around a human constructed pool “Sarovar” which is accomplished in the year 1577 by Guru Ram Das. The Golden Temple no doubt is the holiest plot in the Sikh community and trippers or pilgrims from all around the world do not fail to miss the sight of this shrine
The Harmandir Sahib has its door open for people of all religion, caste, creed irrespective of the gender male, female or whatsoever but holding faith and belief. In short, it welcomes all with open hands to people from various walks of life. Talking of the interior of the temple, it is a square plot with four entrances enabling the worshippers from all four directions hence stating that it is open for everyone no matter from where they are and irrespective of who they have encompassed path all around the pool. The temple yes, of course, is a set of buildings constructed around the chancel. And this includes the above mentioned Akal Takht is the prime center of the religious jurisdiction of Sikhism.
Supplementary structures combine a clock belfry, Gurudwara committee offices, a gallery and a langar (a free of cost kitchen administered by the the Sikh community a simple vegetarian meals to the pilgrims and other visitors with absolutely no discrimination which means that the food is one and the same to all, whether the visitor is a billionaire businessman or a middle-class hawker. One of the major facts is that golden temple kitchen is one of the mega kitchens in India. The number of visitors along with the pilgrims accounts to be a 100000 on a daily basis for worship every single day making it one of the most frequently and liked religious destination and heavily crowded holy destination in the world. The temple structure is nominated as the global heritage site by the UNESCO.
Varanasi a very renowned place for the religious globetrotters also better known as Banaras along with another religious name Kashi is a city located on the river banks of Ganga located in Ganga which falls in the state of Uttar Pradesh at North angle of India which expands up to 320 Kms. It is also said to be one of the oldest populated and settled around the world. Varanasi is said to be the cultural capital of India. This is where Hinduism is having its roots ever since. If ever an individual is having an urge to get in deep knowledge of Hinduism or eager to know about the emergence and birth of Hinduism then I am thinking that this place is going.
The famous American writer Mark Twain said that about Varanasi that it is older than tradition and history even legend fails to compare with its old agedness and just in case if any Hindu individual is cremated in Varanasi then is being liberated from the recycling of birth.
Whereas it is a known fact that it is the most visited tourist place for pilgrims. It is included in one of the 12 religious sites. The place because of this reason holds a high religious significance, hence it is an honour to die and be cremated over there at the very same city Varanasi.
Yes, you are not wrong this is an Islamic place of religious significance still it is very much popular amongst the non-muslims. It is a beautiful religious site located in the Rajasthan state in the southwest side. The most distinguished place to be visited in Ajmer is the Sufi Shrine (Dargah), Dargah Sharif better known as the Ajmer Sharif. The shrine stands with open hands and a warm heart to welcome the visitors no matter of which religion and faith they are. The other very famous places to be visited is the Nasiyan Jain Temple, Adhai din ka Jhonpra (2 and a half day mosque), the Taragarh Fort, the long and beautiful Ana Sagar Lake and the list includes other names such as Daulat Khana and Daulat Bagh.
4. Hemkund Sahib
The Hemkund Sahib also called Hemkunt better known as the Gurdwara Sri Hemkund Sahib Ji which stands as a Sikh corner of worship pilgrimage spot which falls under the district of Chamoli towards Uttarakhand, India. The Hemkund is devoted towards the tenth Sikh guru “Guru Gobind Singh” and is placed in the holy books called Dasam Granth (10th holy book) which was declared by the chief Guruji himself. As far as I am concerned it is located at a height of 4632 meters. It is near the Gobindghat on the highway of Rishikesh-Badrinath highway which is the prime town close to Gobindghat is Joshimath.
The word Hemkund is originated from the Sanskrit name meaning “snow” and kind for “bowl” together meaning Snowbowl. Well according to the Dasam Granth it is the area wherein Yoga was practised by Pandu Raja. Apart from that, the Dasam Granth preaches the God ordered Sikh Guru Gobind Singh to come to take a bath while him being in a deep meditation at the Hemkund mountain. It is very difficult and almost next to impossible to reach out to Hemkund between the month of October to April because of the heavy snowing in the area. The Sikh pilgrims start to arrive in the month of May and start working on the damage the path leading to Hemkund because of the heavy snowing which is known as “Kar Seva” meaning that it is a selfless service a belief which gives birth to the tenet of Sikh faith.
Trotters and pilgrims from Delhi may aboard a train which may bring them first to Haridwar and then get going along with a bus to Govindghat which is roughly around 500 kilometres or 361 miles consuming of a traveller’s almost 18 hours. It was on recent news headlines that an airline organisation initiated the helicopter service which helps the arrivals to fly all their way from Govindghat to Ghangaria and the fun part is that the total time taken to reach the spot is not more than 5 minutes.
5. Haji Ali Dargah
For those who have not heard about the Haji Ali Dargah, much more to add to it as it looks beautiful located almost in some internal part of the Sea Face as at times of high tides and heavy rains the path that leads any individual or the people who come to seek the spiritual sense of ambience and the. The Dargah in a manner of speaking is a Tomb, a final resting place of Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari who was a very wealthy rich businessman who just before he was leaving for mecca on religious mission gave everything that he had to all the people. Estimation is that there is a visitor count of at least 30 thousand to 40 thousand who have been visiting the dargah ever since especially on Thursdays and also Fridays. It is also said that the people visiting the dargah with a pure heart are sure to get what they have been asking for ever since it is also said that the people who ever visit the dargah of Haji Ali are never to return back home with empty hands and upset hearts.
Rishikesh is considered as the Yoga capital of India. The people travelling from the abroad countries and Yoga enthusiasts make it a point to visit the Rishikesh in heavy numbers. This religious place is located approximately 26 km away from Himalayan foothills which falls under the northern direction of Uttarakhand which is better known as the way to Garhwal Himalayas. The spot is rich in a religious ambience which is backed by the faith of 100s and 1000s of pilgrim belief which could be seen every year as the number continues to rise and expected to keep increasing every consecutive year. The place is accompanied with the Bharat Mandir i.e. the oldest temple of Rishikesh. It is said that it is present from a very long time, some say it is there for centuries now. Triveni Ghat is visited by the pilgrims in the faith that bathing in the Ghat will wash away their sins. Even the Rishikesh has accompanied with a pond which holds a great significance better known as Rishikund. Also, there is an ashram of the Beatles if you are fond of the Beatles.
Tirupati temple of lord Venkateshwara which is located in the southern part of Andhra Pradesh is a very famous temple. I believe that the holy temple is being visited by at least 60000 to 70000 pilgrims on each day of the year. Which makes it very simple to understand that it might be very tricky to reach the actual shrine. The very basic reasons to not reach out to the shrine is very long ques and the hot and humid temperature. It is a very strong belief that is commonly found among the people who visit the holy shrine that whatever wish you come with to the Tirupati temple of Lord Venkateshwara is sure to be fulfilled.
8. Bodh Gaya
Buddhists all time favourite place is Bodh Gaya which is located in the state of Bihar. It is so distinguished that an International Airport has been erected but is only operational for the flights that arrive and fly to Sri Lanka. The only reason for it being so well known is that Lord Buddha was said to be meditating just below the tree which is now renamed and popularly known as Bodhi tree. People say that Lord Buddha was seen sitting below that specific tree and entered into deep meditation. The Bodh Gaya’s prime attraction point is Mahabodhi Temple Complex is the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. So particularly speaking he saw something unusual which seemed very usual to the world. He could feel the pain and agony of the common man and discovered how to make a permanent getaway from such issues which create a havoc in the human lives by sticking to the eightfold path. The place is rich is spiritual heritage and it is mandatory to the people who are following Lord Buddha or Buddhists.
9. Hazur Sahib Nanded
The word Hazur Sahib means the presence of the Almighty. The Hazur Sahib is also pronounced as Hazoor Sahib. The Hazoor Sahib is better known as the Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib also Abchal Nagar comes under one of the five takhts which means thrones of temporal command of Sikhism. It is placed on the on the Godavari River banks in Nanded city falling under Maharashtra. The Gurdwara which comes inside the complex is also known as “Sach Khand” i.e. The Realm of Truth.
The framework is constructed at the spot where Guru Gobind Singh Ji got shaheed. The room which is inside the gurdwara is known as the Angitha Sahib and erected right where Guru Gobind Singh was given the last tribute, his cremation back in the year 1708. Maharaja Ranjit Singh is responsible for the construction of the Gurdwara which was constructed between 1832 to 1837 which means it took 5 long years to get the structure completed. Guru Gobind Singh owned a camp at this place in the 17th century.
The Takht holds out the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and Dasam Granth. This follows the layout of Takht Sri Patna Sahib. As Nanded regarded as the holy town where Baba Banda Singh Bahadur owned an ashram also where the Baba Banda Singh initiated the journey of the Khalsa from Nanded itself. Hence it holds a great place of religious, spiritual and cultural heritage towards the Sikh community. The Hazur Sahib Nanded stands different from other ancient places of Sikhism and Sikh worship where still the ancient practices and rituals are carried out by the inhabitants at the time of the Guru of applying sandalwood tilak on the forehead of the local devotees and the priests. The most vital component and aspect of the holy shrine is that there are 2 sanctums here. Whereas the functions and programs are still being practising by the priest in the inner room and talking about the outer room which holds valuable objects, belongings, weapons etc which belonged to the Guru. The other interesting part here is that this room could only be entered by the head priest.
10. Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu Kashmir
The Vaishno Devi Temple is pinpointed in the high altitude mountains of Jammu & Kashmir. It is said that the Goddess Vaishno Devi calls out to her devotees to come and grab the energy in her house. It is also known as the Home of the Goddess Shakti. It is indeed located in the sky kissing high hills of Trikuta in Jammu and Kashmir. The house of Mata Vaishno falls under the category of famous pilgrimage in India. Sense an unexplainable feel in grabbing the hard to explain trek that eventually, in the end, takes you to the mountainous caves where the Goddess lives and showers uncountable blessing onto her devotees. Breathtaking landscapes, uncomparable divinity and mind-blowing adventure. Which will place this trip to the walls of your mind which will take an entire age to fade yet not be erased from your mind
11. Sun Temple (Surya Mandir) Konark:
Surya temple is the best of the Indian architecture that could be seen in the modern era of today’s world. Sun Temple is the crowned piece of the obsolete architecture and unparalleled spirituality. The Surya temple is situated in Konark, in the state of Odisha. The Sun temple is just another word that describes magnificent and adorable beauty coupled with the remarkable intelligence of architecture genius. The temple demonstrates the Sun God who is resting on a King Chariot shows the victory of King Narasimhadeva. The majestic architecture represents 12 pairs of carved wheels, offering hall etc. is the major reason for pulling the art admirers and enthusiasts who drop by hence making Sun Temple one of the most adorable religious spots on the land of India.
12. Temple of Jagannath/Jagannath Mandir (Puri)
A very significant pilgrimage plot in India. The Jagannath Mandir is the finest ancient structure in Odisha. The key personalities in the temple are Lord Jagannath, Goddess Subhadra and Balabhadra. However, a very famous pilgrimage and holy place, the Jagannath Mandir was born in the yearly Rath Yatra wherein people numbering in heavy count through the temple. The holy shrine is considered as the genuine mirror image of Indian culture.
13. Jyotirlinga of Somnath, Gujrat
Entitled to be among the very first Dwadash Jyotirlinga i.e. light of pillar of Shiva the lord. The Somnath Jyotirlinga located in Gujrat is seen as a key location in India. The Somnath Jyotirlinga made its way through numerous attacks and is seen as a house of divinity and spirituality for countless Hindu pilgrims. The Somnath Jyotirlinga is located on the Arabian Sea shores. It is said that the holy shrine calls devotees which are residing very far from and the place to come and take away the shower of blessings numerous times. You could literally sense an energy of spirituality and while seeing yourself lost in the devotion of the sacred place in India.
14. Caves Of Amarnath
The devotees are called and remembered by the priest (baba) Barfani to reach out to him through the adventurous trek and then grab bountiful blessings from him. The Caves of Amarnath is located in the thrilling and blissful location of Jammu & Kashmir. Where the pilgrim/tourist could only set foot when he/she goes through a rough trek all the way along. The Amarnath caves have secured a very significant position as being one of the ancient (centuries old) pilgrimages in India. The yatra of Amarnath is a yearly occasion wherein the pilgrims are asked to trek uphill the cave temple.
The Dwarka is located in the western direction of Gujarat, India. Dwarka is also considered as the land of the unmatched spirituality. Dwarka was the city of Krishna when he left from Mathura. Also, Dwarka falls under the sites of Yatra of Char Dham. The pure white clothes appearing to be white just like milk and beautiful just like moon copes up with the divinity of the place. A mind-blowing town, the sacred city is probably going to take you back in the Mahabharata era.
Mathura located in Uttar Pradesh, also considered as the rich in blessings land as it is the place where Hindu God Krishna took his first breath. And today the town has emerged with numerous temples which also covers the renowned Krishna Janbhoomi Temple which is visited with devotees in a heavy number not yearly but through the entire long year. Yes and not be forgotten the most important festival which flourishes the sacred place with happiness and blissful ambience is Janmashtami which crowds the place a bit too much but also makes it colourful at the very same time and it is a time which should be captured not in mobile, camera etc. but in hearts as the memories of heart last forever and ever.
Vrindavan another sacred and holy land where Lord Krishna spent his childhood is located in Uttar Pradesh. The significance of the place could be sensed in the historical inscriptions and literature. The devotees visit the place at all times during the year and a bit heavy in numbers during the Lord Krishna festival. It is no doubt a very keen to visit pilgrim spot to be visited by the devotees due to the sacred ambience.
I think I am pointing some very important places which are spiritually rich and its heritage jumps off the national and international borders which could be seen as the heavy numbers of the pilgrims seeking spirituality and purity of the Religious places in india. Let me make it very clear that there are even more destinations which I listed in the blog but according to me these were the significant places which are known to me as very majestic and spiritual. Also, the above mentioned religious sites are just a glimpse of what lies ahead in India, as we all are aware of the fact that India is a land of Gods and unbelievable spirituality which has successfully attracted pilgrims from around every nook and corner of India and almost every country from around the world. I will conclude by coming straight to the point I don’t know whether you could find God in the above-listed places but I am very much sure that you are about to get yourself back once you step foot on these Holy grounds.