Here is a guest post from someone living and traveling in India. This is not a tour group, but the information he describes can be useful if you are adventurous and want to see these paces on your own. I like the fact that he has chosen holy places from all religions.
Sacred and religious places are doorways for spiritual attainment. While spirituality is awakening of the soul, religions and religious dwellings make the process easy. If you too were looking for an awakening, India would be the best place to start with. India is a cornucopia of cultural richness. Not only does the nation boast of varied cultures and religions co-existing but also of the magnificent structures that these religions have fashioned.
Spiritual places in India cannot be confined to a number; every monument, every place has a significance of its own. Here are five spiritual places in India that should be a part of your itinerary.
While the name literally means “Gateway of God”, Haridwar translates as the mecca of Hindus. With holy river Ganga adorning the city, it is considered to be one of the holiest and oldest city in India. The temple is nestled amidst the foothills of enormous Himalayas in Uttarkhand. The pious Ganga enters North India from this very place. Go here to join the evening ritual of lighting lamps and floating them in Ganges. Kumbha Mela is the most happening festival in Haridwar that attracts over millions to the city. It happens only once in twelve years and is a rare sight of divinity and worship.
2. Bodh Gaya
Bodh Gaya is the place where the revered Buddha attained enlightenment could also be the one where you achieved yours. Buddhists across the world flock this place to witness Mahabodhi temple and the Bodhi tree. It is also celebrated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The two flight of stairs, considered as stairs to heaven will take you to the platform and from there to the inner sanctum of the temple. The best sight is to rest by the Bodhi tree and to gaze at the wondrous vajrasana – diamond throne or navel of the earth.
Amritsar or ‘pool of nectar‘ is the spiritual capital of Sikhs. The city itself was founded by Guru Ram Das, the fourth guru of Sikhs. The city’s name was given by the waterbody that surrounds the exquisite Golden Temple. The golden dome sparkling in dim light at night is a sight to witness. Harmandir Sahib (the true name of golden temple) has four doors that invites people from all walks of life and over one lakh people visit the temple daily.
Goa being the capital of churches in India is definitely a hot spot for spiritual awakening. The most famous church here is Basilica of Bom Jesus i.e. Infant Jesus. It carries the mortal remains of blessed St. Francis Xavier. The body of the saint who died in 1552 is still preserved here in a well decorated casket and is open to public only once in ten years. While the preserved body itself is a miracle, the architecture completes the beauty and spirituality of this place.
The city of Ajmer is a very important place to both Muslims and the Hindus. It is a prominent pilgrimage centre after Mecca for Muslims all over the world. Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti’s Dargah receives people from all over the world answering to their wishes and prayers. The shrine is visited by Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs as a sign of communal peace. It holds some magic that people across all faiths come here seeking Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti’s blessings. The entire place lights up during the festival of Urs. During this festival there are qawwali programmes, where singers sing praises of the saint. The music is so mesmerizing and enthralling that it leaves its audience spell bound.
These cities hold magic, they carry peace and enlightenment that washes over you while you visit them and will leave you coming back for more. These places are also examples of how religion is not the only factor for spiritual awakening. They call out to people from all walks of life, from all around the world to come and experience energy, peace and love. They are like a reflection of “God is present everywhere and in everyone”
Rohit is an avid traveler and blogger at http://transindiatravels.com. His passion for exploring has taken him to places all around the world. Accounts of his travel experiences often act as a guide to other travel enthusiasts.