Since time immemorial, India has been the Spiritual light house to the whole world, with its profound knowledge about the true meaning of life. It has been the torch bearer in a world where people are confused and divided over numerous issues.
Sanatan Dharma, the teachings of Vedanta and the Bhagwad Gita, which state that God is one and we human beings are the reflection of the Almighty, originated in India. Even if we are divided by paste, creed and gender, we are one when it comes to being human, which again gives rise to the concept of love and tolerance for other religions. As a result, India is a home to the largest number of religions, a record which no other country can boast of.
Once in a lifetime at least,certain specific questions cross an individual’s mind. Such as
- Who am I?
- Where did I come from?
- What is my destination?
- What is the purpose of my life?
Discovering the answer to these questions is a life time journey. A journey about realizing one's own self, discovering the almighty within. A journey wherein one ceases to believe that he or she is merely a body, and realizes that an individual is a soul which has a body. The existence of the body and other worldly affairs fade away, and the soul ‘ Atma' yearns for its union with the ‘ Parmatma' or the Supreme being.
The eyes remain the same but the vision changes. Freed from the shackles of emotions, feelings and expectations , the whole world seems to reverberate with the love of the Almighty. Well being of the world becomes the motto of life.
Having such experiences can be be termed as spirituality. Keeping in mind these facts , we can conclude that spirituality is different from religion which is a set of beliefs , practices, norms or regulations observed by a particular group of people or a sect , generally revolving around a particular deity or a group of deities. Spirituality on the other hand, does not cater to external criteria, rather it is a way of being to be attained internally.
But the two are intertwined. And one often leads to the other.Religious practices if carried out with utmost devotion and sincerity can lead to a calm mind and soul which in turn paves the way for beginning the journey of self realization. So what better way could be there achieve such a state other than visiting the Spiritual places????
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
To start off we have Varanasi or Benaras, located on the banks of river Ganges. Benaras is famous for its temples and alleys, its ganga arati on the Kashi Dashwamedh ghat, its educational and cultural heritage.
The Kashi Vishwanath temple which has 108 shiv lingas is said to have emerged from the ground within the time span of a single night.The primary holy site of the Sapta Puris, the city is visited by a huge number of pilgrims and tourists round the year. Spending the last days of your life and finally dying here is believed to be the harbinger of Mokhsha.
Bodh Gaya, Bihar
This place is famous for its Mahabodhi Temple which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Bodhi free under which prince Sidharth attained enlightenment and became Budhha.
The Bodi tree, a large fig tree is also the place where he discovered the Right Fold Path or the Middle Path which demonstrates a balanced way of life . This monastic town is visited by many tourists every year specially on Budhha Purnima in search of peace.
Golden Temple , Amritsar
Founded by the sixth Sikh Guru , the temple with its architecture of gold and marble stands out in matchless beauty. Being the Most sacred gurudwara in the whole world , this temple is visited by numerous pilgrims from all walks of life.
The temple is also known as Harmandir Sahib or Darbari Sahib. The Amrit Sarovar , is the most attractive section. Its holy waters are said to have healing powers. It also house the World's largest free kitchen which said to feed 10,000 people on a daily basis.
The main temple is located at the end of causeway of the tank. The atmosphere here is one of extreme serenity.
Lotus Temple , New Delhi
The Baha’ I Temple of Worship , popularly known as the Lotus Temple for its flowers like shape attracts many tourists. The temple is open to all irrespective of the religious beliefs that one harbours. The temple had 27 petals like structures standing out which gives it the shape of Lotus in groups of three.
Also, it has nine pools around it, giving the appearance of the Lotus standing in lake. The busy and jostling atmosphere of the city can be avoided once you enter the temple premises.
Ajmer Sharif , Rajasthan
A sufi shrine of the Islamic Imam and philosopher, Moinuddin Chisti, the shrine houses the brave of the saint. Being one of the important Muslim pilgrimage, the dargah received thousands of visitors on the 6th and 7th of Rajab ( 7th month of the Islamic calender), which is also the death anniversary of the saint.
It is also famous for the three gates to the shrine built by three different rulers. The Nizam Hate was built by Hyderabad's last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, Emperor Shahjahan built the Shahjahani Hate and the Buland Darwaza by Sultan Mahmood Khilji. The atmosphere echoes the bygone era of Sufiism.
Kedarnath Temple Uttarakhand
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple has the most important of the twelve jyotirlingas. Before entering the temple , take the blessings of Nandi, a bull, the lord’s familiar, whose statue is located at the main entrance. The surroundings are very peaceful and chilling as it is located on the banks of river Mandakini in Kedarnath and stands amongst snowy mountain peaks and glaciers.
It can be reached by a 14 km trek from Gaurikund and can be visited from April to November toll Kartik Purnima. Its establishment can be dated back to the age of Mahabharata as it is said to it been built by the pandavas and was rebuilt by Adi Shankracharya in the 8th century C.E.
Sacred Heart Cathedral, New Delhi
One of the oldest Roman Catholic Churches of the city, the Sacred Heart was built in 1929 and designed by Henry Alexander Medd, a British architect. The church with its Italian architecture, bright red and hues, marble altar, white pillared façade, arcaded turrets, a large arc with a fresco painting of the Last Supper , make the cathedral a site worth of visit.
Located at the foothills of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, the city is one of the revered Spiritual centre of India. Rishikesh or the Lord of the senses is another name of Lord Vishnu. People visit and settle in this chilly Himalayan atmosphere for learning meditation and Yoga.
The river Ganga flowing in the vicinity is famous for river rafting and the city serves as a hay for trekkers. The Triveni Ghat is another famous site for its Ganga arati at the evening.
Hemkund Sahib , Uttarakhand
Surrounded by a breath-taking picturesqueness , Hemkund stands in the middle of seven mountains, located at a height of 4700 metres in the Himalayas in Uttarakhand. It is dedicated to Guru Govind Singh , the tenth Sikh Guru.
Hemkund can be reached after a 13 km trekkers from the villages of Gobind ghat , which is also a halt from where people turn to visit the famous Valley of Flowers. May to September is the time when you can visit the temple with a friendly weather.
Dilwara Jain Temples, Rajasthan
The Dilwara Jain temples has been declared the finest of the Jain temples in the world, because of its unparalleled beauty. The marble structures with its exquisite carvings on marble can easily make you swoon over them. The temple is famous for its architectural perfection and spectacular panorama. Situated on the hill station of Mount Abu, the complex has five temples dedicated to different Jain tirthankars- Parshwanath , Luna vasahi, Mahavir swami, Vimal vasahi and Pithalhar. Plan your trip to Rajasthan by Palace on Wheels and explore the temples of Rajasthan.
Embark on a Spiritual journey and book the Palace in Wheels luxury train for these ten places from different religious background and awaken your soul.