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Top 10 Holy Pilgrimages in India

Thousands of people from all over the world travel to India in search of spiritual enlightenment. Surprisingly, the majority of these pilgrimage sites are nestled away in regions of breathtaking natural beauty. We've compiled a list of the top 10 famous Holy places to take in India, the nation of temples and pilgrimages.

1. Shirdi

Shirdi, the birthplace of the great saint Sai Baba, is a religious location near Nasik featuring a number of temples, including the famed Sai Baba shrine, as well as a few historical landmarks. Shirdi, which is located in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district, is revered by Sai Baba followers as a sacred and pilgrimage site. The Sai Baba who was adored by people of all faiths and is believed to have performed several miracles. Sai Baba is said to have arrived in Shirdi in 1858 and spent the next 60 years of his life there till his redemption in 1918. Sai Baba is renowned as the "Child of God" because he preached international brotherhood throughout his life. Devotees go to his temple all year, with the primary festivals of Ramnavami, Guru Purnima, and Vijayadashami being the most popular. There are numerous tiny temples in the compound, including Chavadi, Samadhi Mandir, and Dwarkamai, in addition to his mausoleum.

How to Reach Shirdi

Shirdi is well connected by road to all of India's major towns. Trains may also be taken to Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, and Manmad, from whence a private vehicle or a bus can be hired to get to Shirdi. Another option is to fly to the cities of Pune and Mumbai, then travel by road to Shirdi.The Aurangabad airport is the nearest airport to Shirdi and is connected with all major cities.

2. Tirupati

Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh's Chittoor district is notable for Lord Venkateshwara Temple, one of the country's most frequented pilgrimage centers. Tirumala is one of Tirupati's seven hills, where the major temple may be found. Lord Venkateshwara is said to have taken the shape of an idol at this temple, which is dedicated to the deity Govinda. Lord Venkateswara's temple at Tirupati Balaji is one of the richest in the world. He is regarded as Lord Vishnu's 'Kaliyug Avatar' among the Hindu trinity Gods and is said to guide his followers till the end of time.  Together with the Goddesses Lakshmi and Padmavati, the Lord accomplishes this for the liberation of mankind's afflictions. Padmavati is on the right side of his chest, while Lakshmi is on the left. Tirupati is one of India's oldest towns, with references to it in the ancient Vedas and Puranas. Everything at the Sri Venkateswara Temple is spectacular, from the incessant singing of 'Om Namo Venkatesaya' to the crazy pilgrim rush and the 8-foot tall idol of Lord Venkateshwara. Constructed in the Dravidian style, it was dedicated to Sri Venkateswara, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, and most of South India's leading kingdoms graciously donated to its building over the years. Daily approximately 50,000 pilgrims visit the site, which is spread out across 26 kilometers.

How to Reach Tirupati

The Tirupati airport is located in the Renigunta area. The distance between the centre of the city and you is only 15 kilometers. There are regular flights from other major Indian cities such as Chennai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore to this location. Chennai International Airport is nearby, and the city offers excellent access to other parts of the country and overseas. Tirupati has flights to Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and other important cities.

3. Varanasi

Varanasi, also known as Kashi (City of Life) and Benaras, is India's spiritual center and the world's oldest living city. It is known as the city of the Hindu Lord Shiva and for being home to the most revered, Kashi Vishwanath Temple. It is one of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism. Varanasi's historic city is stretched across a maze of narrow lanes along the Ganges' western bank.  Varanasi is surrounded by temples on every corner, but Kashi Vishwanath is the most frequented of all. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of Lord Shiva's 12 Jyotirlingas. Lord Shiva is the presiding deity and is also known as Vishwanatha meaning "ruler of the cosmos and is the principal deity of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The prominence of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is further enhanced by the fact that it is mentioned in various Hindu sacred books. The temple's exterior is embellished with beautiful sculptures that give the structure a celestial aspect. Aside from it, the temple has a number of smaller temples, including those dedicated to Kaal Bhairav, Vishnu, Virupaksh Gauri, Vinayaka, and Avimukteshwara. Varanasi is seen as a place that provides moksha, an escape from the cycle of life and death. The heart of the city, which is spiritually enlightening, buzzes around the ghats, roughly 80 of which line the Ganges. All of the turmoil and clamor on the ghats comes to a halt just before sunset, when the Ganga Aarti, a magnificent ceremonial, begins. Varanasi's Ganga Aarti is a brilliant spark of devotion and happiness that is what devotees flock to attend from all over the country.

How to Reach Varanasi 

Varanasi Airport, also known as Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport or Babatpur Airport, is located 18.9 kilometers north-west of the city core of Varanasi. is well-connected to several of India's main cities, including Delhi and Mumbai.

4. Rameshwaram

Rameshwaram is a picturesque island in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. A little Pamban channel separates it from Sri Lanka. As per the   Hindu legend, Lord Rama built a bridge over the sea to Sri Lanka here. Rameshwaram is home to the world's first sea bridge, which connects Mandapam with Pamban Island and Rameswaram. Hindu Vishnu Avatar, Lord Rama built a bridge over the sea to save his wife Sita from the evil king Ravana, at this place. This is also the location where Rama prayed to Shiva to atone for his sin of slaying Ravana. A journey to Benaras is regarded as incomplete without a visit to Rameshwaram, hence the city holds a unique religious prominence. The main deity of the site is Sri Ranganatha's Linga which is also among the country's twelve Jyotirlingas. Lord Rama held thanksgiving rites here after defeating the evil king Ravana, according to Hindu legend.
Rameshwaram’s special highlight is the Ramanathaswamy Temple and Agnitheertham. The Ramanathaswamy Temple is known for its spectacular prakaras with large intricately carved pillars on either side, as well as the world's longest corridor. Pilgrims perform poojas to pay homage to their forefathers at the coastline of Agniteertham, which is known for its hallowed waters. Agneeteerath is one of the most significant and is the only one located on the seashore side of the temple. The Sanskrit words Agni and theertham refer to fire and holy water, respectively. Agnitheertham has been described multiple times in ancient writings and legendary traditions as a Hindu pilgrimage of great significance. Devotees who come to the theertham worship the deity and repent for their sins by bathing in the holy waters.

How to Reach Rameshwaram

The nearest airport to Rameshwaram is Madurai (173 km). Rail connections to places like Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy, and Thanjavur are excellent. There are regular bus and taxi services that connect the area to all of the state's main cities. Rameshwaram is also served by the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation.

5. Dwarka and Somnath

Located on the westernmost point of Gujarat's Saurashtra peninsula, Dwarka is a tiny city that has a rich history of devotion as a sacred site in Hindu mythology and faith. Dwarka and Somnath's beautiful beach temples are extremely magnificent. Dwarka is dedicated to the Jagat Mandir, also referred to as Dwarkadheesh Temple, which is devoted to Lord Krishna and is one of the four temples that make up the Char Dham.  The temple is said to have been founded about 2,500 years ago, with portions of it restored in the 16th and 19th centuries. Dwarka is said to be the mythological realm of Lord Krishna, who is said to have reigned over the area for a long time, while Somnath Temple is recognized for the famed Somnath Jyotirlinga temple of Lord Shiva, which has survived the effects of time and still preserves its exquisite brilliance. According to legend, the city was once submerged by the sea, and subsequent findings have revealed that there was once a city here. Dwarka is derived from the words war, which means "door," and ka, which means "moksha," which means "salvation."

How to Reach Dwarka and Somnath

Dwarka and Somnath temple is 1088 kilometers apart. The total distance travelled is 1280.5 kilometers. You can also go from Dwarka to Somnath temple by train, which takes 25 hours and 55 minutes. The closest domestic airport is Jamnagar, which connects Dwarka to all of India's major cities. It is located 137 kilometers away from this holy city. From here, numerous flights to several locations are available.

6. Vaishno Devi

The iconic Vaishno Devi Mandir is located in Vaishno Devi, a religious town. This prominent shrine, which is located in the Trikuta hills, 13 kilometers in Jammu and Kashmir attracts lakhs of worshippers from across the globe. Vaishno Devi is an incarnation of the Hindu Goddess Durga. She is also known as Mata Rani, Vaishnavi, and Trikuta.  It is strongly believed that all Goddesses come to pay respect to Mata Rani in the holy cave at the time of aarti being performed. The temple stands at an altitude of 5300 feet and is accessible only via a difficult hike. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas and is devoted to the goddess Shakti. The most important celebration here is Navratri. It is a popular belief that only those who are summoned by the goddess herself are able to reach here with the help of her blessings. She is the mother who grants her children's requests. The sacred cave's darshan of Maa Vaishno Devi comes in the shape of three naturally formed rocks known as pindies. Maha Kali, Maha Saraswati, and Maha Lakshmi are the goddess's three manifestations depicted in these pindies. Every year, almost one crore people visit the Vaishno Devi shrine.

How to Reach Vaishno Devi

The closest railway station to the pilgrimage is Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra, which is around 20 kilometers away from the Holy Shrine.  The closest airport is in Jammu Tawi, which is 46 kilometers away from Katra. Frequent bus services run between Katra and other Indian cities, especially from Jammu Tawi, New Delhi, Amritsar, and other places.

7. Puri

Jagannath Temple is located in the holy beach town of Puri, Odisha. The temple's Rath Yatra (or chariot festival), dedicated to Lord Jagannath, attracts worshippers in large numbers from various parts of the world to participate in the journey of the deities from the temple to the ocean waves. Jagannatha is considered the ultimate god and the absolute king of Odisha. Puri Jagannath Temple is a Hindu temple in Puri, India. Odisha is recognised as Lord Jagannath's country, which means "Lord of the Universe." For centuries, the Hindus have revered the Jagannath Puri temple. According to legend, as the Pandavas set out on their path to salvation to meet Yamraj, the Saptarishis urged them to stop at the 'Char Dham,' one of which is Jagannath Temple. The Nila Chakra distinguishes the main temple from the other 120 temples. A flag is flown above the 64.3-kilometer temple by the Nila Chakra. The chakra is made up of many flags called Patita Pavana that are flown atop the highest pot or chakra. The chakra is made up of eight metals called Ashtadhatu and has eight spokes called Navagunjaras. The emblem of 'Parambramha' appears on the primary flag. Every evening, the priest rises to the top of the temple cupola to change the flags.

How to Reach Puri

Puri is connected to other cities in the nation by the Bhubaneswar Airport, which is 53 kilometers away. Flights to and from all major cities are available, and visitors to Puri can take a taxi or take a local bus from the airport. From the airport, a cab can be booked to Puri.
Puri is also easily accessible by train from all of the country's main cities.

8. Amritsar

Amritsar is the capital of the State of and the spiritual abode of Sikhism. Located in the heart of the city is the ethereal Golden Temple. There is so much history, spirituality, peace and power attached to this place that lakhs of devotees come flocking different parts of the country and tourists from all across the world to offer heartfelt prayers and witness the spectacular marvel that it is. It is also famous by the name of Harimandir Sahib which means the temple of Hari (God). This is the most sacred shrine for those who follow Sikhism and even Hindus who worship the place with complete reverence, as this is the place where the first Guru and founder of Sikhism Sri Guru Nanak Sahib, lived and meditated. As per the records, even Lord Buddha Visited this place 2000 years ago and meditated by the peaceful lake that surrounds the Golden Temple. The manmade Lake is a sacred pool known as the Amrit Sarovar meaning, ‘Pool of Nectar. Therefore the water is considered pious and great religious significance is attached to it. In The Gurudwara rests the holy scripture of the Sikhs named The Guru Granth Sahib, which contains poems, prayers, and soul-stirring hymns that are chanted day and night to the melodious tunes of flutes and sounds of drums. As the music echoes across the tranquil lake, it is enough to send the people in a spiritual trance enjoying the aura of the place.

How to Reach Amritsar

The closest international airport is located in Raja Sansi around 11 km away from

Amritsar and there are regular flights from major cities in the country. Cabs run from there to the city center and it takes only 20 minutes to reach. You can hire buses or cabs from states like Delhi, Chandigarh and others. It would take a little more than 7 hours to reach Amritsar from Delhi.

9. Mathura

Mathura is well-known as the birthplace of Lord Krishna, where he spent his infancy, adolescence, and manhood. Mathura also referred to as Brij Bhoomi, is one of India's most holy cities, with a plethora of Hindu temples. It is one of the Sapta Puris, a group of seven Hindu sacred cities. The Kesava Deo Temple was erected on the spot of Krishna's birthplace in olden times. Shri Dauji Maharaj Mandir is one of Mathura's and India's most respected temples. Since 1535 AD, the temple has endured for almost 5000 years and is one of the city's most ancient temples. Lord Balarama, Lord Krishna's elder brother, serves as the temple's main deity. In Mallapura, Mathura, the Krishna Janmasthan Temple Complex is a collection of Hindu temples. These temples are erected on the site where the Hindu god Krishna is said to have been born. Among the notable temples here are Keshav Dev Temple and Banke Bihari Temple. Mathura's primary festivals are Janmashtami and Holi which are celebrated with great fervor.

How to Reach Mathura

The closest international airport to Mathura is Delhi, which is 147 kilometers away, while the nearest domestic airport is Kheria, Agra, which is 49 kilometers away.

10. Ajmer

The Ajmer Sharif Dargah is the shrine of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti, a devout Persian Sufi saint. Many Muslims believe Moinuddin Chishti was a descendant of Prophet Muhammad. The Dargah Sharif Ajmer is an architectural masterpiece that brings tranquillity to everybody, regardless of caste or faith. The Dargah was created in the 13th century and is revered by people of all religions because of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti's preaching. It is one among India's holiest Muslim sanctuaries. At his tomb, Moinuddin Chishti is said to grant the wishes of the faithful. Many sultans and emperors have visited the Dargah throughout the years, including Akbar, Muhammad bin Tughlaq, and the Nizams of Hyderabad. Singers recite melodious qawwalis glorifying Allah inside the Dargah after the Namaz is offered. In 1192, the Sufi saint arrived in Ajmer from Persia, where he died in 1236. In Sufism, his grave is one of the most prominent sacred locations. In the Ajmer District, there are several religious sites like Savitri Temple and Brahma Temple in Pushkar.

How to Reach Ajmer

Ajmer is served by the Jaipur airport, which is the nearest to the city at about 135 km. To go to the Ajmer Sharif Dargah, you can either rent a cab or take a bus from the airport. You can board a train to Ajmer Railway Junction, which is the closest railway station since the city is well connected by trains.

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