India is a land of diverse cultures and traditions, where Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism are the major religions followed by the people of India. It is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and other religions. Everyone enthusiastically participates in the cultures and traditions of all religions, as it is their means of forming a bond with the divine power in their own way of expressing it.
You can find a large number of temples, gurudwaras, churches, mosques, monasteries in India and each place has its own story behind it. Let us know some of the most fascinating and famous religious places in India, which is a must-visit place if you in India for a Religious tour.
1. Tirumala Venkateswara
Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh is one of the richest Vaishnavite temples in the world. Venkateswara is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and this temple is also known as Tirumala Temple, Tirupati Temple, Tirupati Balaji Temple, and Lord Venkateswara is also known as Balaji, Govinda, and Srinivasa.
The temple is built on the seventh peak of Seshachalam hills in Tirupati which is at a height of 853 meters above sea level and is also called “Temple of Seven Hills“. Tirupati Balaji temple receives the maximum donation from pilgrims making it the richest temple of India. Brahmotsavam is the annual festival at Tirupati Balaji temple which is celebrated in September every year, which attracts tourists and devotees from all over the country.
2. Vaishno Devi, Katra
The Holy Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Katra is a holy cave located in the folds of the three-peaked mountain named Trikuta (pronounced as Trikoot) and is a major pilgrimage site for Hindus. The Vaishno Devi Temple attracts millions of devotees every year. The devotees have to go inside the holy cave to seek darshan which is in the shape of three natural rock formations called the Pindies. There are no statues or idols inside the cave.
Although the temple is open for devotees throughout the year to have darshan the best time to visit is summers March – September. The cave is situated at an altitude of 5200 ft and the devotees have to trek nearly 12 km from the base camp of Katra. The trek is not easy but devotees don’t deter to walk the scenic route with great enthusiasm to seek the blessing of Goddess. There is a helicopter facility too from Katra to Sanjhhi Chhat, from there its only 1.5-mile trek left. Further, there are palanquins, porters and ponies running in the route for those who need help in covering the trek.
3. Golden Temple, Amritsar
The Golden Temple is also called Harmandir Sahib which means “abode of God” or Darbar Sahib means “exalted court” is located in Amritsar, Punjab. It is regarded as one of the holiest Gurudwara and most important sacred sites in Sikhism, to which the faith of millions of devotees is attached. It is a symbol of brotherhood and equality.
The Golden Temple in Amritsar is known for its amazing artistry and unique craftsmanship and work done on the walls of the Golden Temple is very spectacular. Shri Harminder Sahib has been constructed in an area of about 67 feet square feet, it is built in the middle of a pond, in which the gurudwara is spread over an area of about 40.5 square feet. The four doors of the gurudwara have excellent carvings, which look quite attractive. Darshani Deori (an arch) is located on the edge of the road. The artistry of this Golden Temple reflects the blended form of Mughal and Indian architecture.
The upper garland of this temple is made of 400 kg gold, hence this temple was named Golden Temple. This huge golden temple built in the middle of the pond at night time looks very attractive and captivating. Harmandir Sahib has the largest kitchen in the world in Gurudwara, where more than 1 lakh people are fed free langar every day. Visitation in the temple takes place from 3 am to 10 pm all year long and there is a huge rush on weekends and especially on Guru parvs.
4. Shirdi Sai Temple
Shirdi Sai Temple is another important religious site in Shirdi town, Maharashtra. The temple is dedicated to Sai Baba who believed “God is One“, “Sabka Malik Ek” and who was equally revered by Hindu, Zoroastrian, and Muslim all around the world. Shirdi is a secular place where all religions are treated as one & a belief in the power of Faith & Patience is foremost. A place where all heads bow down in prayer, where faith prevails, where hopes are built, where patience pays, and where infinite joy and everlasting contentment abound.
Despite Sai Baba’s presence as a Muslim fakir, he delivered lectures from Hindu scriptures and enlightened all devotees of all religions, castes and creeds alike. Sai Baba of Shirdi is believed to have performed many miracles during his lifetime, hence his popularity is increasing at the end of almost a century after his death.
The present temple is administered by the Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust in Ahmednagar district. In the long snake-like railing through the temple premises for the devotees, the devotees stand to wait for Baba’s darshan. The temple complex has all the basic facilities, such as drinking water, rest house, to sit and relax.
5. Amarnath Temple
Amarnath is one of the holiest Hindu pilgrimage dedicated to Lord Shiva and set at a height of 3,888 meters in snowy mountains of Jammu & Kashmir. Visiting the Amarnath Cave of Lord Shiva fulfills all the wishes of the devotee, although the darshan is extremely rare and tough. The cave is covered with snow most of the year except for a short period of time in summer when it is open for pilgrims. Hundreds of thousands pilgrims make their trek to Amarnath cave across the challenging mountainous terrain.
The specialty of the holy cave is the formation of beautiful Shivlinga every year by snow which waxes during May to August. In July-August, the Amarnath Yatra takes place which begins from Nunwan and Chandanwari base camps at Pahalgam. The journey to Amarnath is about 45 days throughout the year, mostly between July and August which start from Ashada Purnima to the sacred festival of Rakshabandhan.
Amarnath Temple, Baltal Amarnath Trek, Forest Block, Anantnag, Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir +91 1800 102 1060
6. Jagannath Temple
The Jagannath temple of Puri is one of the major temples of the Vaishnava traditions. It is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Jagannath is seated in this temple with his brother Balarama and sister Subhadra. Unlike the stone and metal symbol found in most Hindu temples, the idol of Jagannath is made of wood and customarily changes by every exact of twelve or nineteen years.
The temple annual Rath Yatra (Car Festival) is famous all over the world and is held on’ AshadhaSukla Dwitiya’ when three grand and furnished chariots carry Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Balabhadra and his sister Subhadra that travel to the city. This festival is popularly known as Ratha Yatra, Gundicha Yatra and also Ghosha Yatra.
Jagannath Temple, Puri, Odisha. +91 6752 222 002
7. Moinuddin Chishti, Ajmer
Moinuddin Chishti shrine in Ajmer is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in India. Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti Rahmatullah Alaih was a very famous Sufi saint. He started the Chishti cult in Ajmer in the 12th century. He spent his whole life in the well being of the people and the worship of God.
It is the burial place of the revered Sufi saint that has been visited by people of all castes, creed, and religion. The shrine contains his tomb which was built by the Mughal emperor Humayun, while subsequent rulers such as Akbar and Shah Jahan also built mosques in the complex. Every year lakhs of people of all religions come to visit the shrine who have venerated the Islamic saint and it is the most popular site of religious visitation for Sunni Muslims.
8. Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa
Basilica of Bom Jesus Church is located at a place called Begininim, about 10 kilometers from Panaji, the capital of the Indian state of Goa. This church is famous throughout the Roman Catholic world as this church contains the tomb and mortal remains of St Francis Xavier the so-called Apostle of the Indies.
It is 400 years old church and is one of the oldest churches in the world. It was discovered that the saint’s body remained intact as the day it was buried. The holy remains of his body is displayed to the public once every 10 years, which is an event visited by a large number of devotees and tourists from across the globe.
The church was built in 1594 and preserved in 1605. The construction of this church coincides with the beginning of Christianity in India. Along with its rich cultural and religious significance, the “Basilica of Bom Jesus” has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa Rd, Bainguinim, Goa 403402, India +91 832 228 5790
9. Sree Ayyappa, Sabarimala, Kerala
Sabarimala Temple is one of the most revered and most popular shrines of Kerala and is the most famous and prominent among all the Sastha temples in Kerala. Located at the village of Sabarimala, Sri Ayyappa Temple falls in the eastern part of Kerala bordered by Tamil Nadu. The temple is situated on a hilltop (about 3000 feet above sea level) named Sabarimala in Pathanamthitta district, which is unique. The temple is open to people belonging to all religions. It is open for worship only during the days of Mandalapooja, Makaravilakku, Vishu and also during the first day of every Malayalam month.
Swamy Ayyappan Rd, Sannidhanam, Sabarimala, Kerala 689662, India +91 4735 202 048
10. God Krishna’s Dwarka
Dwarkadhish temple is a major Hindu temple located at Dwarka, Gujarat and has a history of 2500 years old. The idol of Lord Krishna in black is so charming that devotees can’t take eyes off him. According to legends Dwarka was built on a piece of land reclaimed from the sea by Krishna. The temple is part of Char Dham Yatra of Hinduism.
Janmashtami is the perfect occasion to pay a visit to this place as the Janamashtami celebration here is famous all over in India.
Dwarkadhish temple, Dwarka, Gujarat 361335, India +91 2892 234 080