India, the glorious democratic behemoth of South Asia, is a landmark of spiritualism. As a proud nation, India operates with the noble ideology of ‘Unity in Diversity‘.
India is the home to one of the earliest civilizations of the world, the Indus Valley civilization. India is the cradle of four significant religions – Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and Ayyavazhi. Islam, Hebraism, Mazdaism and Christianity are some of the other important religious beliefs that arrived in the 1st millennium CE.
A distinctive secular nation that houses over 1.2 billion people of multiple religious beliefs, living in absolute peace and harmony, India can well be called as the ‘Land of Faith‘.
With countless religious sites, tourism industry in the country has developed a greater extent and so is the popularity of India. Let’s get familiar with the spiritual face of India and get to know more about the enchanting religious spots in India.
Jammu and Kashmir
The northernmost state of India, Jammu and Kashmir is situated in the Himalayan Mountains for the most part. The stupefying state of Jammu and Kashmir comprises of three regions – Jammu, Ladakh and the Kashmir Valley. Among the three regions, Jammu is dotted with numerous illustrious religious sites that receive hundreds and thousands of pilgrims from all over the world throughout the year. Ladakh, popularly called as ‘Little Tibet‘ is a blessed land that it is celebrated for its innumerable monasteries.
Jammu is the home of the Vaishno Devi Mandir. The goddess Shri Mata Vaishno Devi is acknowledged more all over the world as which can be translated as the ‘mother who fulfills whatsoever her children wishes for’.
A spiritual journey to this holy place, the divine abode of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi is regarded as one of the most sacred pilgrimages in India. The goddess dwells in a sacred cave situated in the folds of the three peaked mountain distinguished as Trikuta. The holy cave is located at an elevation of 1584.96 m above sea level. The devotees have to take on an adventurous trek for almost 12 km from the small town of Katra (foothills of the Trikuta Mountains).
The backbreaking trek guides the devotees to the sacred cave (Sanctum Sanctorum), where Mata Vaishno Devi bestows infinite blessings. Every year, the shrine receives millions of yatris from all over the world and no wonder that Maa Vaishno Devi temple is officially the second most visited temples in the country.
Best Time to Visit: February to March and September to October
Suitable Clothing Options: Summer – Heavy woollen clothing; Winter – Light woollen clothing, Canvas shoes for yatra, Walking stick for elderly devotees
Facilities: Several petty shops all over Katra who cater to the needs of devotees, Free of cost and rented accommodations, Medical units, Cloak rooms, Railway reservation counter, Information kiosk and so onNearest Railway Station: Udhampur Railway Station/UHP – 22.4 km
Nearest Airport: Jammu Airport aka Satwari Airport (IATA: IXJ, ICAO: VIJU) – 39.3 km
Some of the other important religious spots in Jammu and Kashmir include Peer Kho Cave Temple, Kheer Bhawani, Amarnath Cave Shrine, Srinagar Sankaracharya Temple, Peer Baba, Raghunath Temple, Shailaputri, Martand Sun Temple and Sun Tirth, Sharada Mandir, Sharika Chakreshwar Temple, Pandrethan Temple, Srinagar Ganpatyar Temple, Jammu Raghunathji Temple, Jammu Ranbireshwar Temple, Aap Shambhu Temple and so on.
Monasteries in Jammu and Kashmir
Leh, is located at an elevation of 11,50 ft above sea level in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. Basically a spiritual land, Leh is the second largest district in India, next only to Kutch in Gujarat. Leh is not just about adventure, it is an ideal destination for people who are in search of inner peace. The region is the home of several Tibetan monasteries; Leh takes the visitors to a whole new world of spirituality.
Almost all the monasteries in this district feature a lot of statues, stupas (chortens), courtyard, swords, prayer wheels, walls of stones which are engraved with prayers and spiritual patterns, murals and massive columns that are inscribed with holy teachings of Gautama Buddha. Some of the important religious spots in Leh include Shanti Stupa, Choeling Monastery, Alchi Monastery, Thikse Monastery, Basgo Monastery, Chemre Gompa Monastery, Hemis Monastery, Phyang Monastery, Shey Monastery, Likir Monastery, Stakna Monastery, Spituk Monastery and so on.
Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh
Tirupati is one of the most-frequented religious spots located in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. The sacred site is situated at the foothills of the Eastern Ghats mountain ranges. Tirupati is the home of the renowned Venkateswara Swamy temple (20 km from Tirupati in the Tirumala Hills).
Popularly called as ‘Temple of Seven Hills’ or simply ‘Tirupathi Temple’, this ancient religious spot is a far-famed Vedic temple located in the hill town of Tirumala, close to Tirupati, Chittoor district of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. The Tirumala Hill (2,799 ft above sea level) consists of seven summits, symbolizing the seven heads of Sheshanaga. The main temple is situated on Venkatachala which is the seventh summit.
The main deity of the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is Lord Venkateswara, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, who if often referred by many other names that include Govinda, Balaji and Srinivasa. Tirumala temple is regarded as the most-visited house of worship in the globe and the richest temple in the country.
Primary Deity: Lord Venkateswara
Important Festivals: Brahmotsavam, Vaikunta Ekadasi, Ratha Sapthami
Official Website: http://www.tirumala.org/
Nearest Railway Station: Renigunta Junction Railway Station/RU – 10 km
Nearest Airport: Tirupati Airport aka Renigunta Airport (IATA: TIR, ICAO: VOTP) – 13.6 km
Vijayawada to Tirumala Venkateswara Temple: 435 km
Chennai to Tirumala Venkateswara Temple: 138 km
Bengaluru to Tirumala Venkateswara Temple: 291 km
Panaji to Tirumala Venkateswara Temple: 839 km
Puducherry to Tirumala Venkateswara Temple: 317 km
Thiruvananthapuram to Tirumala Venkateswara Temple: 922 km
Delhi to Tirumala Venkateswara Temple: 2062 km
Some of the other popular religious spots of Tirupati include Alamelu Mangapuram Temple, Govindaraja Swamy Temple, Kapila Theertham, ISKCON, Padmavathi Ammavari Temple and so on.
Puri and Konark, Odisha
The eastern state of Odisha (formerly called as Orissa) is known for its rich culture and plethora of ancient temples that receives pilgrims from all over the world, regardless of times of year.
Konark Sun Temple
A magnum opus of the antique Indian architecture, Konark Sun Temple is a perfect example of lavishly elegant architecture and nonpareil spirituality. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sun temple was constructed by Langula Narasimhadeva of Eastern Ganga Empire (1078-1434). The whole temple has been uniquely designed in the shape of a mammoth decorated chariot of Surya, the Hindu Sun God, with intricately carved stone wheels, columns and palisades.
The solar deity riding the royal chariot portrays the triumph of King Langula Narasimhadeva. The staggering temple structure, including Jagamohana (audience hall), Nata mandira (dance hall), Bhoga mandapa (dining hall), monumental pyramidal roof, erotic sculptures of mithunas and twelve pairs of intricately carved stone wheels (3 m wide).
Nearby Railway Station: Ratanpur Railway station/RPUR – 19.1 km
Nearby Airport: Biju Patnaik International Airport aka Bhubaneswar Airport (IATA: BBI, ICAO: VEBS) – 48.9 km
Bhubaneshwar to Sun Temple: 65.9 km
Kolkata to Sun Temple: 497 km
Pune to Sun Temple: 1,632 km
Hyderabad to Sun Temple: 1,060 km
Delhi to Sun Temple: 1,689 km
Chennai to Sun Temple: 1,273 km
Thiruvananthapuram to Sun Temple: 1,985 km
Puri Shri Jagannath Temple
Shri Jagannath Temple in Puri is an illustrious Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath (a form of Vishnu or his incarnation Krishna). The sacred site is a significant pilgrimage site for numerous Hindu customs, especially followers of Lord Vishnu and Lord Kirshna. Furthermore, Shri Jagannath Temple is one among the Char Dham pilgrimages – four pilgrimage locations in India that are exceedingly revered by Hindus.
The temple is singular in its own way that Hindu deities that are revered across the country are made of metal or stone. However, the image of Shri Jagannath in Puri is wooden!
Important festivals: Ratha Yatra, Chandan Yatra, Snana Yatra, Hati Besa, Nabakalevara
Style of Architecture: Kalinga Architecture
Bhubaneshwar to Shri Jagannath Temple: 62.4 km
Cuttack to Shri Jagannath Temple: 83.5 km
Visakhapatnam to Shri Jagannath Temple: 446 km
Chhattisgarh to Shri Jagannath Temple: 594 km
Kolkata to Shri Jagannath Temple: 499 km
Ranchi to Shri Jagannath Temple: 566 km
Some of the other important religious spots of Odisha include Bhubaneswar Lingaraja Temple, Aisanyesvara Siva Temple, Baladevjew Temple, Budha Ganesha Temple, Chakreshvari Siva Temple and so on.
Velankanni, Tamil Nadu
Located 350 km away from the bustling metropolis of Chennai, Velankanni is a small town in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. Velankanni is the home of an important Roman Catholic shrine in South India dedicated to Our Lady of Good Health.
Velankanni shrine is one among the most frequented religious sites in the country. Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health, often called as the Velankanni church is considered as one of the biggest Catholic pilgrimage centres in the country. Regarded as the ‘Lourdes of the East‘, inceptions of this religious site could be followed back to the 16th century. During the year 1962, the Roman Catholic shrine was granted a Special status of a Minor Basilica by Pope Saint John XXIII. The shrine is known for its Gothic architectural style where the principal structure is colored in complete white and the top that is made of roofing tiles of crimson color.
Denomination: Roman Catholic
Status: Minor Basilica
Important Festival: 11-day yearly fete that ends with the festivity of the Feast of the Nativity of Mary on 8 September
Nearest Railway Station: Velankanni Railway Station/VLNK – 1 km
Nearest Airport: Trichy International Airport (IATA: TRZ, ICAO: VOTR) – 165 km
Chennai to Velankanni Church: 325 km
Coimbatore to Velankanni Church: 356 km
Hyderabad to Velankanni Church: 923 km
Trivandrum to Velankanni Church: 521 km
Bengaluru to Velankanni Church: 490 km
Delhi to Velankani Church: 2,488 km
Often called as Ambarsar, Amritsar is an important urban centre of Punjab that is regarded as the spiritual capital for the Sikh religion. Amritsar is the home of the renowned Harmandir Sahib, fondly called as the Golden Temple of Punjab.
The Harmandir Sahib also known as Darbar Sahib is popularly called as the Golden Temple of Punjab. The Harmandir Sahib is one of the most significant Sikh pilgrimage sites (Sikh gurdwara) to visit in India. The unique reflection of the sanctimonious golden building on the Sarovar Lake (immortal nectar) and the dedicated pilgrims thronging the site throughout the year, tempt people to travel to this prominent religious site.
he gurudwara was constructed by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ramdaas Sahib Ji, in the 16th century. The Golden Temple has four doors, which represent the receptiveness of the Sikhs towards all masses of various religious beliefs. A structure of peacefulness, the Golden Temple is truly a legacy in the country.
Location: Amritsar, Punjab
Entry Fee: None
Highlights: The Golden Temple houses one of the biggest kitchens in the globe, serving free meal to over 100,000 people day-after-day
Nearest Railway Station: Amritsar Junction Railway Station/ASR – 2 km
Nearest Airport: Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport/Amritsar International Airport (IATA: ATQ, ICAO: VIAR) – 11.8 km
Chandigarh to Harmandir Sahib: 236 km
Delhi to Harmandir Sahib: 463 km
Mumbai to Harmandir Sahib: 1,734 km
Hyderabad to Harmandir Sahib: 2,062 km
Bangalore to Harmandir Sahib: 2,513 km
Chennai to Harmandir Sahib: 2,696 km
Some of the other important religious spots of Amritsar include Durgiana Temple, Ram Tirath Temple and so on.
Madurai, Tamil Nadu
Located on the banks of the Vaigai River, Madurai district in Tamil Nadu is considered as the one of the greatest temple towns of South India. Madurai is the proud home of the illustrious Sri Meenakshi Sundareshwarar temple.
Popularly known as Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, is a historic Hindu temple consecrated to Goddess Parvati (primary deity) and her consort Lord Shiva (Sundareshwarar). The Madurai temple is nothing short of a significant symbol of ancient Tamil culture.
Furthermore, the Meenakshi Amman Temple is the geographic and spiritual center of the antique urban center of Madurai and one among the most prominent temple complexes in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. On an average, the temple receives 15,000 visitors on a daily basis and around 25,000 visitors on Fridays.
Chennai to Madurai Meenakshi Temple: 456 km
Trichy to Madurai Meenakshi Temple: 135 km
Bengaluru to Madurai Meenakshi Temple: 435 km
Trivandrum to Madurai Meenakshi Temple: 265 km
Hyderabad to Madurai Meenakshi Temple: 1,003 km
Some of the other important religious spots of Madurai include Koodal Azhagar Temple, Kazimar Big Mosque, Goripalayam Mosque and so on.
Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu
The holy town of Rameswaram is located in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu. Rameswaram together with Varanasi is believed to be one of the sacred sites for Hindus in the country. Arulmigu Ramanatha Swami Temple is the most far-famed spiritual landmark of the historic town of Rameswaram.
Arulmigu Ramanatha Swami Temple is a celebrated Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva who offers his blessings in the form of Sri Ramanathaswamy. One among the widely revered Char Dham pilgrimage sites, Rameswaram Temple is an integral part of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, that has been sung by the three most revered Tamil Saivite Saints Thirugnana Sambandhar, Appar and Sundarar.
According to the great Hindu epic of Ramayana, Lord Rama (the seventh incarnation of God Vishnu), is supposed to have worshiped Lord Shiva in this sacred spot to free himself from the sin of terminating the life of a Brahmana, committed unintentionally during the epic war against Ravana (the main opponent in the Hindu epic Ramayana) in Sri Lanka.
It is widely believed that devotees should take holy bath in twenty-two theertha kundams located within the temple complex, before entering the sanctum sanctorum.
Main Deity: Sri Ramanathaswamy (Lord Shiva)
Timings: 5:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM
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Chennai to Ramanatha Swami Temple: 552 km
Trivandrum to Ramanatha Swami Temple: 366 km
Bengaluru to Ramanatha Swami Temple: 603 km
Hyderabad to Ramanatha Swami Temple: 1,110 km
Delhi to Ramanatha Swami Temple: 2,675 km
Some of the other important religious spots of Rameswaram include Gandamadana Parvatham, Sugreevar Temple, Satchi Hanuman Temple, Badrakaliamman Temple, Badrakaliamman Temple and so on.
Uttarakhand – The Land of Gods
The northern state of Uttarakhand (formerly called as Uttaranchal) is often called as ‘Devbhumi‘ which means ‘Land of the Gods‘ for its innumerable Hindu pilgrimage sites and temples that are scattered across the length and breadth of the state.
Badrinarayan Temple, popularly called as Badrinath Temple is one of the four Char Dham and Chota Char Dham yatra sites. Besides, Badrinath Temple is one among the Divya Desams of Lord Vishnu – 108 Vishnu temples that are named in the literary works of the Tamil Azhvars. Lord Vishnu, the presiding deity in this temple is worshipped as Badrinath or Badrinarayan.
The divine site is located in Garhwal hill tracks in Chamoli district (largest district of Uttarakhand) along the banks of the Himalayan river of Alaknanda at an elevation of 10,279 ft above sea level. The far-famed temple is only open for six months each year (between the end of April and the beginning of November), as the atmospheric conditions in the Himalayan region are nothing but extreme!
Timings: 4:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM (all days of the week)
Located on the Garhwal Himalayan range near the Mandakini River, Kedarnath Temple is one among the most sacred Hindu temples consecrated to the Lord Shiva. The fact that Kedarnath is one of the 12 Jyotirlingams and the only one in the state makes the holy abode of Shiva, even more special.
Lord Shiva here is revered as Kedarnath, which literally means the ‘Lord of Kedar Khand’, the historical name of the region. The holy temple can be visited only between the Akshaya Tritriya (end of April) to the autumn full moon, generally November (Kartik Purnima). During the winter times, the holy deities of Kedarnath temple are shifted to Ukhimath (Rudraprayag district) and revered there for about six months.
Timings: 4:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM (all days of the week)
One of the seven holiest pilgrimage sites of Hindus and the proud host of Kumbh Mela, Haridwar is situated in Uttarakhand. The sacred River Ganges, after coursing for 157 mi from its origin, gets into the Indo-Gangetic Plains of North India for the first time at the holy city of Haridwar, which gave the urban center its ancient name, Gangadwara. Furthermore, the city of Haridwar is like an entryway to the Char Dham yatra.
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Thus, the followers of Lord Shiva, Shaivaites and followers of Lord Vishnu, Vaishnavites call this sacred destination as Hardwar and Haridwar respectively, representing to Hara being Shiv and Hari being Vishnu. Some of the important religious sites in Haridwar include Sureshwari Devi Temple, Bilkeshwar Mahabdev Temple, Har Ki Pauri sacred ghat, Chandi Devi Temple, Mansa Devi Temple, Maya Devi Temple, Daksheswara Mahadev Temple and so on.
Some of the other important religious spots of Uttarakhand include Baleshwar Temple, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Moteshwar Mahadev, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Rudreshwar Mahadev Temple, and Maya Devi Temple and so on.
Shirdi is a small town located in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra best known for 19th century guru Sai Baba. On an average, the temple complex receives 25,000 devotees every day which reaches 100,000 during the festival season. The city which is about 296kms from Mumbai is conveniently connected with various cities in Maharashtra and rest of India.
Daily Programme at Shirdi:
4:00 AM: Temple open
4.15 AM: Bhupali
4:30 AM – 05:00 AM: Kakad Aarti (morning)
5:00 AM: Bhajan in Saibaba Mandir
5.05 AM: Holy Bath of Shri Sai Baba (Mangal Snaan) in Samadhi Mandir
5:35 AM: Aarti “Shirdi Majhe Pandharpur”
5:40 AM: Darshan begins in Samadhi Mandir
11:30 AM: Dhuni Pooja with rice and ghee in Dwarkamai
12:00 PM- 12:30PM: Mid day Aarti
4:00 PM: Pothi (Devotional reading/Study) in Samadhi Mandir
At Sunset (20 min.): Dhoop Aarti
8:30 – 10:00 PM: Devotional Songs in Samadhi Mandir and other Cultural Programmes (if any)
9:00 PM: Chavadi and Gurusthan closes
9:30 PM: In Dwarkamai water is offered to Baba, a mosquito net is hung and the hanging lamp is lit
9:4:5 PM Dwarkamai (the upper part) closes
10:30 PM-10:50 PM: Shej (night) Aarti, after this , a shawl is wrapped around the statue in the Samadhi Mandir, a Rudraksha mala is put around baba’s neck, Mosquito net is hung, and a glass of water kept there
11:15 PM: Samadhi Mandir closes after night Arati
Surrounded by Aravalli Mountains, Ajmer is an important urban center in India’s largest state (in terms of area) Rajasthan. A significant pilgrimage destination for Muslims, Ajmer is the home of Dargah Sharif of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti.
Dargah Sharif, popularly called as Ajmer Sharif is a sufi shrine of saint, Moinuddin Chishti – the most far-famed saint of the Chishti Order of Sufism of the Indian subcontinent. A most revered spot for Muslims, Ajmer Sharif is one of the most visited dargahs by people living all over the globe, irrespective of times of year.
The shrine charms the heart of visitors for several reasons, undoubtedly something is so special about this place that masses from multiple religious beliefs visit and offer their prayers. Though Ajmer Sharif is thronged by people throughout the year, the perfect time to visit this sacred spot is during the Urs festival. As a matter of fact, the whole city of Ajmer is virtually lit during the Urs festival that is celebrated every year.
Haryana to Ajmer Sharif: 299 km
Delhi to Ajmer Sharif: 260 km
Gandhinagar to Ajmer sharif: 652 km
Bhopal to Ajmer Sharif: 591 km
Chandigarh to Ajmer Sharif: 495 km
Some of the other popular religious spots in Ajmer include Jagatpita Brahma Mandir, Shri Ranganath Swamy Temple, Soni Ji Ki Nasiyan, Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra and so on.
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Varanasi, widely referred as the spiritual capital of India is located on the banks of the sacred river of Ganga. Often called as Kashi or Banaras, Varanasi is regarded as the most sacred of the Sapta Puri (seven holy pilgrimage centres in India) in Hinduism and Jainism. The holy city of Varanasi also extended a crucial role in the development of Buddhism in the country. Furthermore, according to the Rigveda, Kashi is the city that is close to the heart of Lord Shiva.
Shri Kashi Viswanath Temple
Located on the heart of Varanasi – the cultural capital of India, Shri Kashi Viswanath Temple has been an existing incarnation of India’s dateless ethnic customs and most eminent spiritual values. The Kashi Viswanath Temple is situated on the western bank of the holy river Ganges, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Lord Shiva temples.
The presiding deity in this temple is worshipped as Vishwanatha or Vishweshwara which literally means ‘Ruler of the universe’. A visit to this temple and a holy dip in the river Ganges is one among the most common procedures followed by Hindus to attain Moksha. Therefore, devotees from all over the globe, visit this temple at least once in their lifetime.
Kashi is also a Shakti Peetha, that it houses the far-famed Vishalakshi Gauri Temple at Mir Ghat.
Timings: 4:00 AM to 11:00 PM (all days of the week)
Some of the other important religious spots of Varanasi include 18th century Durga Temple, Tilbhandeshwar Temple, Bharat Mata Temple, Baba Keenaram Sthal, Gyanvapi Mosque, Sankat Mochan Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple, Mrityunjay Mahadev Temple, Chaukhamba Mosque, Annapurna Temple and so on.
Mathura and Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh
The holy city of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh is located about 50 km from Agra and 145 km from Delhi. Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna and can rightly be called as a fortunate land. Furthermore, Mathura is regarded as one among the Sapta Puri – the seven holy pilgrimage centres of Hindus.
The holy city along with its twin-city of Vrindavan, is the proud home of a lot of important temples that include Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi, Keshav Dev Temple, Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir, Prem Mandir, Madan Mohan Temple, Jai Gurudev Temple, Banke Bihari Temple, Sri Radha Raman Mandir, Sri Krishna-Balarama Temple (ISKCON), Shree Radha Ras Bihari Ashta Sakhi Temple, Padmanabaji Temple and so on. Janmashtami is a festival that it to look out for as the whole region comes to life with celebrations.
Bodh Gaya, Bihar
A blesses land and a significant pilgrimage related to the Mahabodhi Temple located in Gaya district in the northern state of Bihar. The land is so fortunate that it is the exact place where Gautama Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree.
For the followers of Buddhism, Bodh Gaya is the most significant of the four main pilgrim sites associated with the life of Buddha, the other three being Lumbini, Kushinagar and Sarnath. During the year 2002, the Mahabodhi Temple became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple that was built using bricks is considered as one of the oldest brick buildings to have lasted in the eastern part of India.
Timings: 5:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Patna to Mahabodhi Temple: 115 km
Ranchi to Mahabodhi Temple: 213 km
Lucknow to Mahabodhi Temple: 563 km
Gangtok to Mahabodhi Temple: 634 km
Kolkata to Mahabodhi Temple: 470 km
Delhi to Mahabodhi Temple: 1,037 km
Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu
Fondly called as ‘Kudanthai’ in the local language of Tamil, Kumbakonam is one of the important temple towns in South India. Located at a distance of just 40 km away from the historic city of Thanjavur, Kumbakonam is the home of several notable temples that receives devotees from all over the globe, throughout the year. It is important to note that Kumbakonam is the host of the illustrious Mahamaham festival.
Some of the important temples of Kumbakona include Adi Kumbeswara Temple, Swamimalai Murugan Temple, Koothanur Saraswathi Temple, Ramaswamy Temple, Kasi Viswanathar Temple, Nageswaran Temple, Sarangapani Temple, Someswar Temple, Pateeswaram Temple, Darasuram Airavatesvara Temple, Navagraha Temples, Thiruvalanjuzhi Vinayakar Temple, Sri SitaRama Bhavani Sankarar Temple and so on.
Chennai to Kumbakonam: 273 km
Trichy to Kumbakonam: 102 km
Bengaluru to Kumbakonam: 407 km
Hyderabad to Kumbakonam: 873 km
Trivandrum to Kumbakonam: 496 km
Delhi to Kumbakonam: 2,438 km
Dwarka, also written as Dwaraka is a holy city that is often recognized with the ancient kingdom of Krishna – Dwaraka Kingdom. Dwarka is one of the important Chardham sites, and also is one of the Sapta Puri cities of India. The sacred city is the home of Dwarakadheesh Temple, one of the oldest temples in the region.
Often called as Jagat Mandir, Dwarkadhish Temple is one of the most sacred Hindu temples in the country that is dedicated to Lord Krishna – an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Lord Krishna is worshipped here as Dwarkadheesh Krishna, the presiding deity of Dwarkadhish Temple. The principal shrine, called as the Jagat Mandir or Nija Mandir is a five-storied building that is well supported by 72 pillars.
Furthermore, archaeological reports indicate that the sacred site is about 2,200 – 2,000 years old. The temple structure was expanded in the 15th- 16th century. It is important to note that Dwarkadhish Temple is a Pushti Marg temple; therefore it complies with the divine principles created by Shri Vallabha Acharya (founder of Pushti sect) and Shri Vitheleshnathji.
Timings: 5:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM (all days of the week)
Gandhinagar to Dwarkadhish Temple: 132 km
Jaipur to Dwarkadhish Temple: 729 km
Bhopal to Dwarkadhish Temple: 532 km
Mumbai to Dwarkadhish Temple: 411 km
Delhi to Dwarkadhish Temple: 989 km
Chennai to Dwarkadhish Temple: 1,728 km
Top 10 Temples in India
India is a land of Temples. The rich cultural inheritance of the country is an important element bestowing to the glory of its historical past. What is more, the land domiciled by the Lords themselves, leaving behind their impressions and the good sense of their divine presence, persevering the atmosphere for timeless existence.
These spiritual locations are dotted with a large number of sacred temples, which were built by the historic dynasties and empires, who dominated India. Indian temples are known for their architectural grandeur, sculptural magnificence, festivals and of course an engaging legend behind every temple. The following list portrays the top 10 temples in India (in no particular order).
Located in Madurai, Meenakshi Temple is a historic and important Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati and her consort Sundareshwar or Lord Shiva.
Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir
Located in Prabhadevi, Mumbai in Maharashtra, Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir is one among the most prominent Hindu temples in Maharashtra.
Popularly known as Peruvudaiyar Kovil, Thanjavur Big Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is dedicated to Lord Shiva is regarded as one of India’s most prized architectural sites.
First and foremost among the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of the Lord Shiva, Somnath Mandir is fondly called as the ‘Shrine Eternal’.
Also known as Swaminarayan Akshardham, the spiritual complex exhibits ten thousand years of Indian culture in all its breathtaking magnificence of ancient architecture, customs and dateless spiritual substances and so on.
World renowned for its erotic carvings, Khajuraho Temple in Madhya Pradesh is a group of monuments remaining firm as substantiations that sensualism was not a forbidden topic in the country.
Located at an altitude of 3,291 meters above sea level, Yamunotri Temple is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna and houses an astonishing black marble statue of the goddess.
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is one of the most important temples for the Hindus in Chitoor iBasilica of Bom Jesus is one among the significant churches of India. The church is well known for the fact that it holds the mortal remains of Saint Francis Xavier, SJ – a Roman Catholic missionary and the co-founder of the Society of Jesus.
Basilica of the Holy Rosary, West Bengal
Popularly known as Bandel Church, the place of worship of Christians is one among the oldest churches in the state of West Bengal. The Christian church is consecrated to Nossa Senhora do Rosario, Our Lady of the Rosary.
Christ Church, Shimla
The second oldest church in all of North India, Christ Church in Shimla was constructed around 1844 and 1857. The beautiful church is nestled against the greenish mountains and a must visit place in the itinerary of Shimla.
Marthoma Pontifical Shrine, Kerala
A major pilgrimage centre situated just 6 km from Kodungalloor. Located on the banks of the Periyar River, Marthoma Pontifical Shrine is popularly referred as the ‘Cradle of Christianity in India’.
Fort Kochi Santa Cruz Basilica, Kerala
One of the eight Basilicas in India and a renowned heritage structure of the southern state of Kerala, Santa Cruz Basilica is a Cathedral church of the Diocese of Cochin (the second oldest Diocese of India).
Basilica of the National Shrine of St.Thomas, Chennai
Popularly called as the San Thome Basilica. A Roman Catholic minor basilica, San Thome Basilica is one of the oldest churches in Tamil Nadu.
St. Mary’s Basilica, Bengaluru
The only church to be granted the status of minor basilica in the southern state of Karnataka. Known for the fete of St. Mary’s Feast (yearly festival) that attracts devotees from all over the state.
Sacred Heart Cathedral, New Delhi
A heritage edifice and an important Roman Catholic cathedral, Sacred Heart Cathedral in New Delhi is one of the significant places of worship for the Christians living in the vicinity.
Top 10 Mosques in India
The second largest religion of India, Islamism first got introduced to India by Arab traders who visited Malabar region (area of southern India lying between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea) during the 7th century AD.
Find below the top 10 mosques in India (in no particular order).
Jama Masjid, Delhi
Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shahabuddin Muhammad Shah Jahan, Jama Masjid in Delhi is one of the most important places of worship for Muslims in India. The beautifully designed masjid features three gates, four pillars and two grandiloquent minarets made of strips of white marble and red sandstone. The massive courtyard of the Jama Masjid can accommodate up to 25,000 devotees at a time.
Cheraman Juma Masjid, Kerala
Regarded as the very first mosque of India, Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kerala was constructed s early as 629 AD by Malik Deenar – first Islamist to visit India.
Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai
Located on a small island off the coast of Worli in Mumbai, Haji Ali Dargah is a mosque and tomb (dargah) and is a popular landmark of Mumbai.
Jama Masjid, Agra
One of the largest mosques in India, Jama Masjid in Agra is located just opposite to the famous Agra Fort. Yet another architectural brilliance of Mughal emperor, Shahabuddin Muhammad Shah Jahan.
Taj-ul-Masjid, regarded as the largest place of worship of Muslims in India. The mosque features a singular structure of pink frontage crowned by two high octangular minarets with marble domes makes it a landmark to the city of lakes, Bhopal.
Makkah Masjid, Hyderabad
A global icon of city of pearls, Hyderabad, Makkah Masjid is one of the oldest mosques in the region and is one of the largest mosques in the country.
Jamia Masjid, Srinagar
Regarded as an important mosque of Jammu and Kashmir, Jamia Masjid in Srinagar is known for its architectural grandeur. The massive mosque can accommodate more than 30,000 people at a time.
Nagore Hazrat Syed Shahul Hameed Dargah, Tamil Nadu
Popularly called as Nagore Dargah, the celebrated place of worship for muslims was actually constructed over the tomb of the Sufi saint Hazrath Nagore Shahul Hamid. The 14-day Kanduri festival of this dargah receiv es people from all over the world.
Tipu Sultan Shahi Mosque, Kolkata
Popularly known as Tipu Sultan Masjid is one of the renowned mosques of Kolkata. The mosque is regarded as a souvenir of architectural magnificence and cultural heritage of the region.
Old Jumma Masjid of Kilakarai, Tamil Nadu
Fondly called as the Palaiya Jumma Palli in the local language of Tamil, the Kilakarai Jumma Masjid is considered as the fourth-oldest mosque in the world. Besides, the mosque is one of the most distinguished illustrations of Islamic architecture in the southern part of India.
Important Pilgrimage Yatras in India
One of the most important aspect of Indian tourism is religious yatra or journey. Every year thousands of devotees of various religions undertake the holy yatras. Braving extreme weather conditions and other hazards, pilgrims travel hundreds of miles many a times on foot to reach the places of worship and seek blessings.
Vaishno Devi Tour
Vaishno Devi Tour is the most important Hindu pilgrimage tour for Hindus. Hundreds and thousands of pilgrims, from all over India and even abroad reach Jammu to catch a glimpse of Mata Vaishno Devi and seek blessings.