India is popular for its vibrant, age old and well preserved culture along with its ethnic authenticity. Each state in India is a glorious melting pot of different traditions and represents a mosaic of religions which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. India is also famed for being the spiritual capital of the world where you will be greeted with ancient yet majestic temples which are extremely highly revered and radiates unparalleled spirituality.
People from all over the world visit India with an aim of gaining some enlightenment and getting their dose of spiritual awakening. According to the 2001 census the entire Indian subcontinent is adorned with more than 2 million temples and has earned itself a status of being a pristine pilgrimage destination. From the mighty Himalayan ranges in the north and the WesternGhats in the west to the southern tip of Kanyakumari and the grand temples of the East, there is no dearth of holy sites in this wonderland. If you are looking for an ultimate religious experience then visiting India and taking up one of its pilgrimage Yatra will definitely fulfill your wishes.
Here are 5 of the most popular Hindu pilgrimages of India which will fill your mind, body and soul with eternal divinity:
One of the most popular pilgrimage destinations of India, Amarnath Yatra is attended by lakhs of pilgrims each year. The holy journey of 3 to 5 days concludes at the Amarnath cave which is located at a whopping height of 12,756 feet (3,888 metres) above sea level. Situated in Jammu and Kashmir the significance of the cave lies in the fact that this was the exact place where Lord Shiva is believed to have conveyed the secrets of life to Goddess Parvati. Considered to be one of the holiest Yatras the pilgrims visit here to worship the presiding deity here which is in the form of an ice lingum and is known to grow and shrink as per the phases of the moon.
Yatra Route – Pahalgam – Chandanwari – Sheshnag –Mahagun Top – Sangam – Amarnath cave
Dedicated to a manifestation of Goddess Durga or also known as Mata Rani, the pilgrimage Yatra of Vaishno Devi ranks among one of the most highly revered journeys among the Hindu population. Nestled atop the TrikutaMountains ranges and surrounded by snowcapped yet picturesque vistas a journey to Vaishno Devi will definitely evoke a sense of deep spirituality within you. This holy cave is situated at an elevation of 5,118 feet (1,560 metres) above sea level and it requires you to cover a trekking journey of 13 kms to reach the final destination. The cave is known to be the place where Goddess Durga is believed to have hidden from BhairoNath.
Yatra Route – Banganga – Charan Paduka – Ardhkuwari – Sanjichhat- Bhawan – Vaishno Devi
Translating into ‘chariot festival’, this Hindu festival is dedicated to Lord Jagannath and takes place in the holy site of Puri in Odisha. The mention for this holy yatra can be found in ancient holy Hindu scriptures like Brahma Purana, Padma Purana as well as SkandaPurana and even KapilaSamhita. The Yatra of the chariot finishes off at one of the holiest temples of India, Jagannath Puri where the pilgrims are repeatedly chanting the name of the lord and singing hymns in their praise. It is a popular belief that Lord Jagannath makes his annual visit to Gundicha temple during this time. The chariots are richly adorned with vibrantly colored decorations that replicate the holy shrines and are pulled by a group of enthusiastic devotees.
Yatra route – Grand Road – GajapatiMaharaja Palace – MausiMaaTemple – GundichaTemple
All India Char DhamYatra
Deemed as one of the most important and vital pilgrimages of India, this Yatra holds a special place in the hearts of devout Hindus. The four abodes of gods is spread across the four corners of the Indian subcontinent and was established by the great saint and philosopher Adi Shankaracharya in the 7th century. During this Yatra you will be covering the holy sites at Puri, Rameswaram, Dwarka and Badrinath. The location of these sites was decided with an aim of bringing people together from all over the subcontinent in the name of religion. All these sites are dedicated to Lord Vishnu and it is believed that taking this journey will grant the person with moksha or salvation.
Yatra route – Badrinath Temple – Jagannath Temple – RamanathaswamyTemple – Dwarkadheesh Temple
Chota Char Dham Yatra
Literally meaning ‘the small four abodes of gods’, these holy Hindu pilgrimage sites are extremely highly revered and held at a high regard by Hindu pilgrims. A complete Char Dham Yatra package will take you to all these sites that are situated comfortably on the Garhwal Himalayan regions which are Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Taking up this holy journey, which is considered to be a smaller version of the all India Char Dham Yatra, is also believed to grant you with moksha or salvation. The temples are opened during the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya and it remains suspended during the monsoon months (keeping in mind the safety of the pilgrims) and ends by the end of November.
Yatra route – Dehradun – Tehri – Barkot – Janki Chatti – Yamunotri – Uttarkashi – Harsil – Gangotri – Rudraprayag – Guptkashi – Phata – Sonprayag – Gaurikund – Kedarnath – Gopeshwar – Joshimath – Govindghat – Badrinath – Devprayag – Rishikesh – Haridwar.