Every corner of India is dedicated to God, with each of India’s Big Five laying claim to Unique Pilgrimage Sites across the Subcontinent. The Marigold Garlanded Shrines, Candle-Lit Temples and Elephant -Headed Effigies extend the length and breadth of the country. There’s plenty to Worship here, from 33 Million Divinities that make up the Hindu Assemblage to Allah, the Buddha, Sikh Gurus and Jain Tirthankaras. Here we discuss 10 Cities in India that reinforce the statement “worship is a Lifestyle”.
Ajmer is one of Rajasthan’s oldest cities, it is an important Muslim pilgrimage site well-known for its Shariff Dargah. This white marble shrine is knotted around the magnificent Akbari Mosque, which hosts the tomb of the Mughal emperor Akbar and commissioned by the renowned Shah Jahan.
Rishikesh is known to be a reputed place, for the holy Yogi’s ashram has been there for many centuries. Many monks holy men pilgrimage to the banks of the river Ganges in search of wisdom. Rishikesh rose to fame back during the time of the Beatles, who settled at the Maharishi Yogi’s ashram during the 1960s.
This village of Bodh Gaya records the enlightenment achieved by the Buddha beneath a bodhi tree around 2,500 years ago. Bodh Gaya is located in the hills of rhe north-eastern Himalayas, where lies an immense seated stone Buddha.
Mcleod Ganj is home to Tibetan leader-in-exile, the Dalai Lama. This onymous temple is a serene retreat of prayer wheels, spirited Buddhist shrines, quiet meditation halls and beautiful gardens to enhance the tranquility of the place. It is located in the cedar forested slopes above Dharamshala.
Varanasi is considered as the holiest city in India by the Hindus. Death in Varanasi, upon the banks of the Holy River Ganga, is like attaining Nirvana, or liberation from the infinite cycle of reincarnation. While the act of witnessing this subliminal oscillation between life and death is one of the most arresting experiences on a holiday in East India, it also gives extreme peace of mind.
Amritsar is a glistening city wherein lies the holy temple of the sikhs, the Golden Temple. The shrine is surrounded by a vast tank of holy water, a dip in which is supposed to enlighten your soul. Located amidst a very busy city this place of worship is supposed to be known for its tranquility in North India. Thousands of visitors walk into the inner sanctum to have a glimpse of the holy book of the sikhs,’Guru Granth Sahib’ before enjoying a meal en masse in the Langar.
Pushkar is more importantly known for pilgrims who come in large numbers just to step down into the holy waters of the serene Pushkar Lake. It rose to popularity because of its colourful camel fairs every autumn. A place one must visit when you are on a holiday in Rajasthan, and enjoy the moments soaking up the lake’s atmosphere, before you discover the red-domed Brahma Temple, a site of Hindu worship for over six centuries.
Haridwar marks the spot where the sacred river Ganga leaves the mountain for the plains in India. It is here that she is worshipped ardently with plumes of incense, devotional hymns, candles and flowers. Every evening at sundown, pilgrims flock in huge numbers and assemble at Har Ki Pauri ghat to witness the Ganga Aarti.
Located at a stone’s throw from Varanasi, the deer park at Sarnath is where The Buddha first shared his four noble truths, thus offering the road to liberation from suffering. Thousands of Buddhists travel from all over the world to have a glimpse of that place.
Palitana in Gujarat is well known for the fact that the first Jain tirthankara, meditated upon the hills present here, about 2500 years ago. This fact inspired Jains to construct more than 900 marble and stone temples here, thus making it the largest complex in the world.