India is the birthplace of many popular religions. Travellers have always looked up to India for undertaking their spiritual travel and religious journeys. India is home to numerous religious shrines, including temples, mosques, churches, gurudwaras and monasteries. With so many religious destinations, India is the perfect place for anyone to begin their spiritual tour. The article lists some of the top spiritual journey packages you can opt for to begin your journey with thousands of pilgrimage sites in India.
Spiritual Holidays are undertaken by those who wish to visit certain places of religious importance. Spiritual tours can help those with faith in God by making them feel good, positive and happy. Religious travel is done by people worldwide and is especially popular amongst Indians. Spiritual journey trips are soul-soothing and a once in a lifetime journey that people love being a part of.
Main Destinations (Hindu pilgrimage places)
India is the birthplace of Hinduism, the oldest religion in the world. The country is home to thousands of Gods and Goddesses worshipped by people from all over the world. India has numerous Hindu temples and pilgrimage sites, which people visit throughout the year. Every state in India has numerous temples and shrines dedicated to different deities. Some Hindu temple tours are more popular than others owing to their religious significance.
Hindu pilgrimage tourist places
Shirdi: Shirdi is one of the most popular Hindu pilgrim tours in Maharashtra. It is famous amongst people of all religions. It is a place synonymous with Sai Baba - a renowned saint known for performing miracles. People come here during festivals such as Ramnavmi, Vijayadashami and Guru Purnima.
Rameswaram: Rameswaram in the South is one of the popular pilgrimage destinations. It is a part of the 12 jyotirlinga shrines of Lord Shiva and a part of the Char Dham circuit. It is located on Pamban Island and connected to India by a bridge. Even if you are not a religious person, this architectural marvel is a must-visit!
Vaishno Devi: Vaishno Devi is a popular shrine located in Katra in Jammu. It is situated at 5300 feet which people cover on foot after an arduous climb. Dedicated to Goddess Shakti, it is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas.
Varanasi: People from all over the world visit Varanasi, one of the oldest and holiest cities. It has several temples on the bank of the river Ganga which flows through the city. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple and the Sankat Mochan Temple are two of the famous temples of Varanasi.
Mathura: Mathura, known as the birthplace of Lord Krishna and Vrindavan, is home to numerous temples dedicated to Lord Krishna. Holi and Janmashtmi are celebrated with great enthusiasm in Mathura and are the best times to visit.
Puri: The famous seaside town of Puri in Orissa is renowned amongst pilgrims all over India. It is famous for the Lord Jagannath temple and the annual Rath Yatra, from the temple to the ocean waters. The Rath Yatra is a popular festival wherein people visit Puri to celebrate Lord Jagannath.
Apart from these, you can take pilgrim tours to destinations, such as Tirupati, Manikaran, Dwarka, Panchavati, and Rishikesh, that are worth visiting.
Places to visit (Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, and Islamic pilgrimage tours)
Buddhist pilgrimage places: Gautam Buddha was a great spiritual teacher. Based on his preachings, philosophies and the four noble truths, Buddhism was started and is now the 4th most commonly practised religion in the world. India was the birthplace of Buddha and is home to several major Buddhist shrines.
Bodh Gaya: This is one of the most significant Buddhist pilgrimage sites. In Gaya, under the Bodhi tree, Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment. The Mahabodhi temple is a UNESCO world heritage site, and it has the Bodhi tree, the Diamond throne, the Mahabodhi stupa, a meditation garden, lotus ponds, and several monasteries.
Kushinagar: This is where Buddha breathed his last, and attained Parinirvana (nirvana after death). This place is visited by devout Buddhist followers and monks and not as much by tourists. The Parinirvana stupa has the reclining buddha statue called the ‘Dying Buddha.’
Sarnath: This is the place where Buddha delivered his first sermon, taught the Dhamma, and formed the Sangha. In Sarnath, you will find the Dhamek Stupa and other ancient stupas. The Ashoka pillar is also situated here.
Besides these three Buddhist pilgrimage sites, you can visit several other sites, such as Shravasti, Rajgir, Nalanda, Vaishali, Lumbini, Key Monastery, Tawang Monastery, Rumtek Monastery, Ajanta & Ellora caves etc.
Jain pilgrimage places
India is the birthplace of Jainism, founded by Lord Mahavir. Jainism is based on the principles of non-violence, many-sided reality and non-attachment. India is home to several Jain temples, which show the wide acceptance of this religion across the country. Some of the popular Jain religious trip sites are:
- Gomateshwara (Bahubali temple): This temple is situated at Shravanabelagola in Hassan (Karnataka). It consists of a 56 x 26 feet high statue of Gomateshwars, also known as Bahubhali. This black stone structure is one of the world’s largest stone structures. The temple is well-connected to Bengaluru and Mysore.
- Shikharji temple: Shikharji( peak of concentration) is where 20 of the 24 Jain Tirthankaras( deities) are believed to have attained nirvana. It is situated on the Parasnath hills and is located at the height of 4429 feet.
- Sonagiri: This is a sacred Jain pilgrim centre with 103 temples from the 9th and 10th centuries. Most of the temples are built on a hill named Datia, which was once believed to be made of gold, hence the name Sonagiri ( gold hill)
Apart from these three sites, there are several other Jain spiritual places to travel to, such as Dilwara temples, Palitana, Kulpakji temple, Lal Mandir, Ranakpur etc., which are quite popular amongst pilgrims.
Islamic pilgrimage places : Although Mecca, located in Saudi Arabia, is considered the main pilgrimage site for Muslims, India is also home to several famous Islam pilgrimage sites such as Dargah Hazratbal in Jammu & Kashmir, Ajmer Sharif (The Dargah of Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti), and Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai. Pilgrims throng these sites throughout the year.
Sikh pilgrimage places : India is the birthplace of Sikhism. The Sikh Gurus wandered everywhere in India to let people know the meaning of humanity, and these places are now Sikh pilgrim sites. Some of the most popular Sikh pilgrimage sites visited by people from around the world are the Golden temple, Shri Anandpur Sahib, Takht Shri Patna Sahib, Gurudwara Shri Bangla Gurudwara Shri Hemkunt Sahib, and Shri Hazur Sahib.