Religious Sites in India That You Should Visit
Pay a visit to the abodes of the gods
Being a hot mixing bowl of culture and heritage, India is also blessed with an aura of spirituality. As a secular country, India is one of the few countries in the world which shelters a number of religions. From the Himalayas in the north to the Indian Ocean in the south, and the Arabian Sea in the west to the Bay of Bengal in the east, several religions dwell in harmony and peace. The basic concept of Spirituality - Forgiveness, Karma, and Dharma are engraved deeply in the country's soil. Whether it is a Gurudwara or a Mosque, a Temple or a Monastery, a church or a Synagogue, they all exist in the country. Some of them are so beautiful, they attract millions of worshippers every year. Following are the top-most religious sites in India that everyone, regardless of caste or religion, should visit:
1. Basilica of Bom Jesus -
Located in the coastal state of Goa, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is over 400 years old and is one of the oldest churches in the region. It is one of the very few monuments in this part of the world which displays the stunning Baroque Architecture. It is also listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It the church has the remains of St. Francis Xavier, and it is said that the body appears to be as fresh as it was at the time of cremation. The public viewing of the body is held once in every ten years, and it brings people from all over the country to this exquisite religious site.
The best time to visit Basilica of Bom Jesus is during Christmas.
2. Harmandir Sahib -
Popularly known as the Golden Temple, Harmandir Sahib was built by the fourth Sikh Guru Ramdas Sahib Ji and is the holiest Sikh shrine on the planet. Such is the beauty of the Golden Temple in Amritsar that on a full moon night, when the moon showers its grace on the temple, all the structures - including but not limited to the Golden Temple - share their reflections on the water body, and together they cast a spell that makes the aura of that place sublime and can introduce an atheist with the deity. The Golden temple is synonymous with Inner peace. Every single day, langar is served in the dining hall where thousands of people are served delicious food for free.
The best time to visit the Golden Temple is from November to February.
3. Tirumala Venkateswara Temple -
Dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, popularly called Tirupati Balaji Temple, is situated in the Seshachalam Range of Andhra Pradesh. It is, by far, the most popular religious site in the southern part of India, and attracts more than 50,000 devotees every single day, making it the holiest site in the world with the most number of attendance on a daily basis. It is also the richest temple across the globe in terms of donations received by the devotees.
September to March is the best time to visit Tirumala Venkateswara Temple.
4. Vaishno Devi Temple-
Nestled at the top of a mountain in the Trikuta Mountains in Katra, Jammu and Kashmir, Vaishno Devi Temple is believed to be the abode of Hindu Goddess, Mahalakshmi. The holy shrine was discovered about 700 years ago, however, it the cave is said to be nearly a million years old. Although the path leading to the temple is quite difficult, hundreds of thousands of devotees pay their homage to their God, every year. Thanks to the advancement in science and technology, one can now visit the temple through cable cars or helicopter services.
The best time to visit Vaishno Devi Temple is from October to December when the weather is pleasant and not too cold.
5. Ramanathaswamy Temple -
Nestled on the island of Mannar, Tamil Nadu, Ramanathaswamy Temple draws thousands of pilgrims to the beautiful town of Rameshwaram (also the hometown of Late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam). The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has the longest corridor amongst all the Hindu Temples in the world. Legend has it that after defeating Ravan, Lord Ram, along with his followers, returned to India through Rameshwaram. Inside the temple, it is believed that he repented for his sins during the course of the battle in Lanka. Showcasing Dravidian Architecture, the mighty temple is a must visit.
The best time to visit Ramanathaswamy Temple is between October and March.
6. Jama Masjid -
Situated in the capital of the country, Jama Masjid is the largest Mosque in India. It was built in the 17th century under the watchful eyes of Shah Jahan's Prime Minister. The prayer hall or the courtyard can host up to 25,000 people at once. The Masjid displays Mughal Architecture and is made of white marble and red sandstone. Parts of the Masjid has been destroyed due to revolts and a couple of terrorist attacks, but the historical religious site continues to stand strong and is a pride for the entire country.
November to March is the best time to visit Jama Masjid.
7. Amarnath Cave -
Imagine a holy site which asks its devotees to do an enthralling trek before the enchanting meet up. Nestled in the heavenly state of Jammu and Kashmir, devotees can reach the Amarnath Cave after doing a difficult, but surreal trek called the Amarnath Yatra. An expedition is an annual event where a lot of people from around the country enroll themselves to. As per the Hindu Mythology, it was inside this cave where Lord Shiva explained to his wife, Goddess Parvati, the secret of life and eternity. This year, a filthy terrorist attack halted the expedition, but it started soon against all odds.
The only time to visit the Amarnath Cave is during the months of July and August. One must register well in advance to do the expedition.
8. Meenakshi Amman Temple -
In the south Indian city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu is a magnificent Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati (also called Meenakshi). Displaying the elite class of Dravidian Architecture, the complex of the Temple is the oldest and the largest in the country. According to Hindu Mythology, a former king of Madurai, in his dream, saw honey dropping from Lord Shiva's hair, hence the name of the city. The sculpture of various deities inside the Temple is highly admirable pieces of art.
December to February is the best time to visit Meenakshi Amman Temple.
9. Mahabodhi Temple -
Situated in the heart of Gaya, Bihar, Mahabodhi Temple is the site where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment. Although when Gautam Buddha was there, there was no temple. The temple was founded by King Ashoka, who was a follower of Gautam Buddha. The temple is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The architectural style is Indian Brickwork, and it is one of the oldest sites in Eastern India to have to stand for so long. There are carvings of various deities on the railing pillars inside the compound. The upper portion of the temple has been covered with gold recently, which was a gift from the King of Thailand.
The best time to visit the Mahabodhi Temple is during the time of Buddha Purnima.
10. Dwarkadhish Temple -
Also known as Jagat Mandir, Dwarkadhish Temple is located in Dwarka, Gujarat. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, who migrated to Dwarka from Mathura, this temple is more than 2000 years old. Being a Pushtimarg temple, the temple follows the guidelines created by Vallabhacharya and Vitheleshnath. It is said that the temple was built by a great-grandson of Lord Krishna. The temple is given high importance by Hindus and is also a part of the Char Dham Pilgrimage.
The ideal time to visit Dwarkadhish Temple is on Krishna Janmashtami (Lord Krishna's birthday).
PIC CREDITS- saints@postcrossing, sandeepchetan.com, temple connect, bharatdarshan tourism, Jayanth m, gajendra pal chowdhary, matthew Wilson, florent jmz, deodg_2004
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