Hinduism is the oldest known religious and to many people it’s not a religious at all but a philosophy cut to a size that consequently fits all. Follow any God or Goddess and as many as you want or don’t follow at all; chant prayers, bhajans and Sanskrit hymns or not utter a single word; perform every ritual as directed or be a mere spectator, Hinduism stops no one from doing whatever is his way to lead a life as he deem fit and neither forces anyone to be a part of it in a strict scripture-way. Still, Hindu pilgrimage destinations continue to attract people from every corner of world and they come to believe of their salvation guided by instincts.Though you might be going for a Hindu pilgrimage tour in India be certain not to miss out on visiting top ten Popular Hindu religious places.
Religious Places In India
Haridwar is one of the most important Hindu pilgrim places of India. Haridwar has very rich religious and cultural heritage. In the Hindu scriptures, Haridwar is known by the name of Mayapur. Haridwar is considered as the gateway to the four pilgrimages in the Uttrakhand region, The Ganga leaves the mountains and enters the plains with Hardwar being the first major town on the plains. Though the Ganges does not lose its rapids completely nevertheless it becomes very quite and calm here. The water is clean and people prefer taking bath on the numerous ghats built on the river shores. It is said that taking bath here purifies the soul and opens the way for the ultimate freedom, Nirvana.
The Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, West Bengal
It is among top hindu religious place in india. This much-revered pilgrimage for the destroyer and preserver Goddess Kali was actually also the epicentre of the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 between patriotic Indian rebels and the British Raj.Dakshineshwar village became the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple on 31st May 1855, founded by the patroness Rani Rashmoni, who famously had an instructive premonition for building the temple and worshipping Goddess Kali. Hindus, Muslims and Christians flock to this historical site to get a taste of spiritual
and philosophical bliss.
Allahabad, sacred city of Hinduism was formerly called ‘Prayag’ in commemoration of a sacrifice done by Lord Brahma. It is best known as host to the mind-boggling number of Kumbh pilgrims who visit this endearing city every 12 years. According to Hindu mythology for the ‘Prakrishta Yagna’ Lord Brahma chose a piece of land on the earth on the confluence of the three rivers – the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the mytical Sarswati. would merge into a confluence. The land being surrounded by these 3 rivers would serve as the prime and central altar and came to be known as ‘Prayag’ today known as Allahabad.
Amarnath is 145 km east of Srinagar in Kashmir. There is an ice Silva-linga here that changes size with the seasons, and also as the moon waxes and wanes it becomes bigger and smaller. On the full moon day the linga is about 6 ft high. Each year on the full moon day of July-August (Sravana) when the Siva-linga attains its maximum height there is a festival at this cave temple. It is said that Lord Siva first appeared on this day.
Ayodhya, a very holy city and is an important pilgrimage site. Lord Rama was born and had many of His pastimes here. It is said to have once had a perimeter of 96 miles and was the capital of Koshala. It is on the banks of the Gogra (Ghaghara or Saryu) River, bathing in which is supposed to destory even the sin of killing a Brahmin.On the right bank of the river Ghagra or Saryu, as it is called within sacred precincts, stands the holy city of Ayodhya, believed to be the birth place of lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of lord Vishnu. Ayodhya during ancient times was known as Kosaldesa. The Atharvaveda describes it as “a city built by gods and being as prosperous as paradise itself”. The illustrious Ikshvaku of the solar clan (suryavamsa) was the ruling dynasty of this region.
The ancient capital of the Kalinga empire, and now the capital of Orissa, Bhubaneswar’s history goes back over 2000 years. “Bhubaneshwar” means the “abode of God” or “master of the universe” and it was also, once known as the ‘Cathedral of the East’, on account of the large number of shrines. At one time, the Bindu Sagar tank was bordered by over 7000 temples. Of these, 500 still survive, all built in the extravagant Oriya style. It is of these temples, that the great poet, Rabindranath Tagore had once said – ‘At all places where the eye rests, and also at places where the eye does not rest, the busy chisel of the artist has worked incessantly.
Be it man’s urge to placate the Gods above or to quench his desire for adventure, Gangotri is an ideal location. Gangotri, the origin of the sacred river Ganges, attracts tourists in large numbers every year. The confrontation with the daunting rivers and attempts to unravel the mysteries of the supernatural world are ubiquitous sights here. Along with the thrill of conquering nature, what one experiences here is the mystical aura that India is so famous for.
Kedarnath is a majestic sight, standing in the middle of a wide plateau surrounded by lofty snow covered peaks. The present temple, built in the 8th century by Adi Shankaracharya, stands adjacent to the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandavas. The inner walls of the assembly hall are decorated with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. Outside the temple door a large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as guard.