Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Holy places to visit in India

Did you know that India is also known as Bharat Ganrajya and that four of the world’s greatest religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism have sprouted from this land? When a country that has a history that goes back to the Stone Age, is home to an extraordinary existence of numerous faiths within close quarters of each other, there is one thing that cannot be in shortage – Holy Places to visit. Thanks to the melting pot that India was (and probably will continue to be), it embraced every religion, sect and creed, letting them gain believers and finding roots in this populous land.

Hinduism is the most widely practiced religion in India and temples of various Gods can be found all over the country. The hills of Himachal and Uttarakhand are dotted with holy sites and temples. The most popular God in the Hindu pantheon is Shiva and he perhaps has the maximum number of temples dedicated to him. From Srinagar to Tripura and Palakkad to Mewar, you’re bound to find a temple of his on your religious travel in India. This does not mean that the other Gods and Goddesses are relegated to the margins. Badrinath, Tirupati, Puri and many other places have huge temples dedicated to Vishnu. One of the most famous temples of Brahma is in Pushkar and draws a huge crowd each year. The list is exhaustive and this is just a tiny peek into the religious bent of mind of Indians.

A talk about religious places to visit in India does not limit itself to Hindu sites but encompasses all the myriad creeds prevalent here. India has some of the biggest mosques and most revered Sufi dargahs in the world and exhibit secular character in welcoming people of all faiths. The Jama Masjid has inspired one too many a photographer to capture the essence of religion within its holy walls.

One of the most pious places in Sikhism is the Golden Temple in Amritsar. A walk in its premises makes one feel elevated and captivated with the spirituality of the place. It is an exhilarating experience being there. Holy places in India are found in abundance in the hills and many a faithful undertake arduous journey just to bow to the Almighty in his stratospheric abode. The temples of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Amarnath and Kailash Mansarovar, Gurudwara of Hemkund Sahib, Monastries of Hemis and Likir are testimonies to the magnetic powers of holy places and the extent to which man can go in order to seek an audience with the Divine.

India is a land of copious creeds, abundant Gods, bountiful places of worship and measureless men and women traveling to great lengths in order to pray devote and donate. It makes for a heady mix of religion, spirituality, history and holiness; and where there are so many flourishing religions there will be a profusion of followers.

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