Must Have Spiritual Destinations to Visit in India
Historically rich in customs and traditions, monuments & architectural wonders all over the country, rare wildlife & bird species, numerous pilgrimage sites, and deep spirituality – Which part of the world has all these include? It is surely Incredible India. India is a land with healing traditional medicine including the popular therapies like Ayurveda & Yoga.
There are also many adventure activities like trekking up to temple places, climbing up several steps to reach spiritual shrines, etc. While some people do it for physical fitness, others take part in such activities for the thrilling experience. Some treks allow you to go through jungles & spot wild animals there!
Many people from all over India and around the world visit these spiritual sites for peace of mind and soul. There are several diverse religious places & shrines spread across different parts of the country offering spiritual experiences.
The top places in India along with the activities are given below. Here is the list of spiritual places of unique religious rituals in India.
Witness Ganga Aarti at Varanasi
There is a choreography that takes place at sunset in the Dasaswamedh Ghat. First, the conch shell blows and as the flame lamps turn, and then the fragrance of sandalwood fills the air. This ceremony takes place as the pundits in saffron robes move the plates to perform the Aarti.
One of the interesting things to do is to view the entire ceremony by boat or from one of the shop balconies that are rented out for a great view from top. One of the must – see ceremonies is the ‘Maha Aarti’ meaning great aarti. As the name suggests it is performed on a large scale on Kartik Purnima in Varanasi at the end of the year.
Take Part in Durga Puja Celebrations at Kolkata
This 10 – day long festival starting with a cultural tour is the best time to witness the spirit of Kolkata. West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation holds Durga Puja Tour where you get a chance to be part of the entire festival celebration. Even the finishing touches done to the goddess’ idol is another way to enjoy in this festival.
See the Majestic Puri Rath Yatra at Puri
This is a Yatra (tour) that happens in the month of July. The Puri Rath Yatra is organized in Odisha and gives a sneak peak into the spirituality and faith in the country. Apart from the Badrinath, Dwarka & Rameshwaram Temples that are considered as holy pilgrimage sites in India, the Puri Jagannath Temple located in Puri, Odisha is another such auspicious Char Dham Pilgrimage site.
In this procession, the deities of the brother and sister along with Puri Jagannath deity are taken to the Gundicha Temple to stay for nine days after which they return to the main temple. The significance of this procession is to mark the once- in- a- year visit to the Mausi Ma & Gundicha Temples.
While the visiting trip is known as Puri Rath Jagannath Yatra the return trip is known as Bahuda Jatra. Huge idols & chariots that are 45 feet high and 7 feet in diameter are pulled by crowds that come from all parts of the world to witness this Jatra.
Witness Ganga Aarti at Haridwar
There are three famous Ganga Aartis in India out of which the one that is organized a the Hari-ka-Pauri Ghat is the most interactive of them all. Staunch devotees come in numbers to the pilgrimage site even to view the Aarti ceremony.
You may want to sit on the steps and see the Pundits perform Aarti or you may want to pay for accommodation in a hotel like Haveli Hari Ganga where a guide will assist in taking you for the Aarti.
Qawwali at Nizamuddin Dargah, New Delhi
This spiritual and musical experience is a must – see for all. Devotees enjoy an invisible presence while some of them can be seen smiling and some weeping. The spiritual music and heavenly songs will stir your soul as you lose yourself and transcend into another world.
There is one evening Qawwali session @ 9pm held in Nizamuddin Dargah, New Delhi in winter. On all other Thursdays, you can listen to the spiritual songs from 6.00 pm to 7.30 pm and once again from 9.00 pm to 10.30 pm at night. The resonating voices melt your heart, so do not miss it.
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Volunteer for Sewa in Golden Temple, Amritsar
In religious places and traditional sites, serving ‘Seva’ is given importance next to God. Taking part in Seva in the Golden Temple in Amritsar is a spiritual experience all by itself even though you are not doing a Puja there, or listening to a sermon. The spiritual and holistic experience of ‘Seva’ is a very important participation. It may vary from cleaning, organizing the footwear, serving water or any job you are good at doing. This is one of the must -do spiritual experiences as a new peace of mind enters you.
Stay and Volunteer in Auroville, Pondicherry
Auroville has a ‘Dream’ which is to have a place where people from anywhere in the world are welcome to obey the ‘Supreme Truth’. The dream is to have a place where all could live free like world citizens instead of a nation claiming it. There is peace and harmony and the human fighter instincts are only used to surmount ignorance and human weakness; to overcome incapabilities and climb over limitations, and spiritual needs are given priority to human desires and passions.
It is the ‘Dream of Auroville’ to “be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity.” being a part of this big dream will give you spiritual joy and it is definitely a holistic and spiritual experience hat you must see.
Auroville is set amidst peaceful surroundings including Gardens, farms, resorts, ashrams, and also has a Matri Mandir. This spiritual experience will help you leave the thoughts of diverse colors, regions, language and culture boundaries and helps you all to live as one. Only Advance Bookings are availabe for meditating at Auroville.
Study, Meditate and Pray @ Bodh Gaya
This site is the most significant place for Buddhists from around the world. The temple village is situated in Bihar. It was here that Buddha who was once a prince, first got ‘Enlightenment’ and got to be known as ‘Awakened One’ or Buddha. This spiritual experience happened under the ‘Bodhi Tree’ in the Mahabodhi Temple surrounded by fresh gardens. Several devotees from all over the world throng this small temple town that has endless devotion to meditate and pray. Be a part of this spiritual experience and take a look at the tree that has roots in the same soil 2600 years ago where Buddha had the spiritual experience.
Experience the ‘Silence’ of Mt. Arunachala at Tiruvannamalai
The spiritual seekers and those who travel the world interested in religion and culture have to see this mountain. You may have seen unique customs & rituals, celebrated festivals and watched ceremonies. However, there is a ‘jamming signal’ that people talk about as energies make you feel light and in this Hindu pilgrimage site dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva.
5 Lakh tourists visit this pilgrimage site to take a tour around/ near the mt. Arunachala at full moon which is considered auspicious. Witness the towering fire lit at top of the mountain at the fall of night. This annual ritual takes place during late November or early December.
Once, you visit any of the rituals, festivals or spiritual places in India mentioned above, it would surely be a Holistic and Spiritual Experience to soothe your mind, body and soul.
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