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    Morning at holy ghats of Varanasi in India

    A country of many religions, India is a land rich in culture and history. Religious places in India are plenty as an extensive number of religions have originated in the homeland itself. These popular and sacred destinations of various faiths not only help maximize the spiritual experience in India but also foster state tourism.

    Off late, spiritual places in India have become popular with the younger generation as well. The attractions are many. – from the beautiful locations, with perfect frames for photography and intriguing history, to those that sing tales of adventure, festivals, culture, traditions & rituals, and sometimes just the peace.

    Most Religious Places In India: The Best Of Landscapes, Spirituality, Culture & Adventure

    For those seeking transcendence, pilgrimage places in India are umpteen. Given below are 12 famous religious places in India that must feature on your travel bucket list for the next few years.

    1. Ladakh and Leh – An oyster for those seeking nirvana

    The Stakna monastery in Leh, Ladakh with the Himalayas in the backdrop

    Among the offbeat religious places in India, Leh – Ladakh is an uncharted territory. It is a haven for those on the lookout for peace. Beautiful landscapes, hilly terrain, soothing ambience, and friendly people are sure to leave you bewitched.

    Key religious attractions: Predominantly a Buddhist area, Ladakh is home to umpteen ancient monasteries. People travel all the way to learn about Buddhism in these religious and educational centres. The Phugtal Monastery, The Hemis Monastery, Lamayuru Gompa, Thiksey Gompa, Likir Gompa, and Alchi Gompa are some of the popular Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh.

    How to reach

    • By Air: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (IXL) in Leh is the nearest airport.
    • By Rail: Udhampur (640 km) is the nearest railway station. However, it is more convenient to get down at Jammu Tawi railway station. Buses and private cabs can be hired from Jammu city.
    • By Road: Road trips from Srinagar (434 km) and Manali (473 km) are extremely popular.

    Where to stay: Both midrange and luxury hotels in Ladakh are easily available for tourists. However, we recommend that you make the most of your spiritual trip and seek shelter in a monastery. Thiksey Monastery, Lamayuru Gompa, Hemis Monastery, and Rangdum Gompa are a few monasteries offering accommodation.

    What else to do: Adventure activities such as trekking, rafting, mountain biking, and mountaineering.

    Must Read: 11 Best Things To Do In Ladakh That You Can’t Afford To Miss!


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    2. Spiti – A place where God lives

    Buddhist prayer flags in Spiti Valley

    Distant and remote, Spiti is the answer to your wish to stay aloof for introspection. It is an important Buddhist pilgrimage in India. Barren lands, surrounding mountains & glaciers, and prayer flags sputtering all across make the valley unique and alluring.

    Key religious attractions: Literally meaning ‘The Middle Land’, Spiti is a Buddhist research and cultural centre. Key Monastery, Tabo Monastery, Tangyud Monastery, Dhankar Gompa, Gandhola Monastery, and Trilokinath Temple are shrines visited by people for contentment and tranquility.

    Best time to visit: Thus, the best time to visit this remote place is May to October.

    How to reach

    • By Air: Kullu Airport (250 km) is the nearest airport.
    • By Rail: Shimla (428 km) is the nearest railway station. Buses and cabs from Shimla are available.
    • By Road: Road trips can be taken from Shimla and Manali.

    Where to stay: Hotel Dewachen Retreat, Hotel Gyespa, and the Nomads Cottage. Homestays are recommended if you want to explore the culture in one of the most famed spiritual places in India.

    What else to do: Stargazing, hiking, trekking, mountain biking, jeep safaris, and yak safaris.

    Suggested Read: Test Your Grit, Take The Spiti Valley Trek

    3. Dharamshala and Mcleodganj – A home away from home

    Milky white water cutting through the rocks at Bhagsunag Waterfall - one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dharamshala

    A popular tourist destination nestled in Himachal Pradesh, Mcleodganj is the seat of the Dalai Lama. The duo of Dharamshala and Mcleodganj is a home away from home for the vast Tibetan population and a rage among the Indian tourists who also consider it to be among the popular Hindu religious places in India. The appetizing Tibetan cuisine coupled with the solitude of the hills makes this small city a favourite spiritual getaway.

    Key religious attractions: Primarily Buddhist in their essence, Dharamshala and Mcleodganj is among important pilgrimage places in India and people normally flock here for cultural enlightening. Tsuglagkhang Complex, Namgyal Monastery, Gyuto Monastery, and Tse-Chok Ling Gompa are a few places to visit. Bhagsunath Temple and Kalachakra Temple are also famed and revered by the Hindus and Gorkhas alike.

    How to reach

    • By Air: Dharamshala-Kangra Airport in Gaggal is the nearest airport.
    • By Rail: Pathankot (88 km) is the nearest railway station. Taxis and buses are available from Pathankot.
    • By Road: Dharamshala is well connected and the drive via Chandigarh should take around 6 hours.

    Where to stay: Considered to be among prime religious places in India, Dharamshala offers plenty of stay options. From standard hotels to high-end resorts, Dharamshala boasts of comfortable accommodation. The Tse Chok Ling Monastery and Namgyal Monastery are recommended.

    What else to do: Trekking to Triund hill, camping, and city shopping are some of the other things to do in Mcleodganj.

    Suggested Read: 10 Fascinating Places To Visit In Dharamshala

    4. Haridwar and Rishikesh – The mystic twin cities

    Holy Ganges river that flows through Rishikesh

    Haridwar and Rishikesh, two of the holiest religious places in India, have an old world charm that illuminates the soul. Crowds surge into these neighboring towns to take a dip in the Ganges and purify themselves. In addition to the religious significance, the cities have a rich history and mythology associated with them.

    Key religious attractions: Millions flock every year to these pilgrimage places in India to take a dip in the sacred river Ganges. Har ki Pauri Ghat, Mansa Devi Temple, Maya Devi Temple, and Chandi Devi Temple are the popular ones among other Hindu religious places in India. Besides, both Haridwar and Rishikesh are centres for learning ancient Hindu arts and culture.

    How to reach 

    • By Air: Jolly Grant Airport (in Dehradun) is the nearest airport to Haridwar (38 km away) and Rishikesh (21 km away).
    • By Rail: Haridwar Junction railway station is the nearest railway station. You can then take a bus or private taxi to Rishikesh.
    • By Road: Luxury and normal buses are easily available to Haridwar and Rishikesh from Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla and Lucknow.

    Where to stay: Haridwar and Rishikesh – two of the most prominent pilgrimage places in India – have over 300 dharamsalas and ashrams that offer accommodation to the pilgrims.

    What else to do: River rafting and camping in Rishikesh. You can also visit the Rajaji National Park (18 km from Rishikesh).

    Suggested Read: Places to visit in Rishikesh | Things to do in Rishikesh

    5. Varanasi – The sacred city of life

    Morning at holy ghats of Varanasi in India

    Considered to be one of the most spiritual places in India, Varanasi is a sight to behold. It is an exhilarating and an exhausting experience. Yet, one that forces you into the folds of its chaos and in turn liberates you. A magical place, Varanasi is bound to give you a spiritual high.

    Key religious attractions: Every nook and corner of the city has a spiritual essence. Assi Ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat, Manmandir Ghat, and Manikarnika Ghat are popular river banks where tourists throng from all over the world. Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Durga Temple are among the most spiritual places to visit in India.

    How to reach

    • By Air: Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport in Varanasi is well connected to other Indian cities.
    • By Rail: The Varanasi Junction railway station is connected to all major cities in India.
    • By Road: Buses are available from Delhi and adjoining cities in Uttar Pradesh.

    Where to stay: Like Haridwar and Rishikesh, plenty of ashrams offering accommodation to the tourists are available. You can also choose to stay in budget and luxury hotels.

    What else to do: A day trip to Sarnath and a boat ride in the Ganges river.


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    6. Mathura and Vrindavan – The cities of mythological legends

    The ancient holy place of Kusum Sarovara

    Mathura and Vrindavan are bound to be in any list of popular Hindu religious places in India. Famous for being the birthplace of the Hindu God Krishna, Mathura is held in sanctity by the Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains alike. The colossal temples and ghats that fill up the towns of Mathura and Vrindavan foster a complacent feeling of devotion.

    Key religious attractions: Banke Bihari Temple, Hare Rama Hare Krishna Temple, ISKCON Vrindavan, Prem Mandir, and Shyama Shyam Dham are some of the revered temples in the Brijbhoomi.

    How to reach

    • By Air: The nearest airport is Kheria Airport in Agra (60 km). You can also fly till the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi (170 km) and then take a bus/private taxi.
    • By Rail: Mathura railway station is connected to all the major cities in India.
    • By Road: The Yamuna Expressway ensures swift connectivity. Buses and private taxis can be taken from Delhi NCR.

    Where to stay: Budget and luxury hotels and guest houses are available. Homestays are also an option.

    What else to do: Visit Mathura and Vrindavan during the month of March and get a chance to experience the graphic Hindu festival of Holi. You can also plan a trip during the Janmashtami festival.

    Suggested Read: The Epic Lathmar Holi In Mathura & Vrindavan: Up For It?

    7. Uttarkashi – In the heart of the Char Dham Yatra

    A view of the Himalayas at Yamunotri

    Image Source

    A six-hour drive from Rishikesh, Uttarkashi is among the important pilgrimage places in India. It is also a test of your devotion and patience. Extreme climate, poor road conditions, and unexpected landslides make the journey to this holy region both challenging and thrilling at the same time. Also known as the gateway to Gangotri, Uttarkashi is a devout getaway for those looking for a saintly abode.

    Key religious attractions: Gangotri and Yamunotri are located in the Uttarkashi region. Kashi Vishwanath Temple on the banks of river Bhagirathi, Yamunotri Temple, Saptrishi Kund, Surya Kund, Divya Shila, Gangotri Temple, Bhagirath Shila, submerged shiva lingam, and Pandava Gufa are some of the religious attractions. Extend your trip to Rudraprayag and Chamoli to complete the Char Dham Yatra, the most revered pilgrimage destinations in India.

    How to reach

    • By Air: Jolly Grant Airport (160 km away) is the nearest airport to Uttarkashi.
    • By Rail: The nearest railway station is in Rishikesh (143 km away). Buses and private taxis ply from Rishikesh to Uttarkashi.
    • By Road: Uttarkashi is well connected with major destinations in Uttarakhand state. Buses and taxis are available from Rishikesh, Dehradun, Tehri, and Chamba.

    Where to stay: Every second building in Uttarkashi is either a shrine or an ashram as it is amidst formidable pilgrimage places in India. You can also book resorts and hotels based on your preference.

    What else to do: Trekking in the Himalayas and walking through charming old villages

    8. Ajmer – In the heart of the Aravallis

    The holy Ajmer Sharif Dargah in Ajmer region of Rajasthan

    Image Source

    A fine example of secularism, Ajmer is a famous religious place in India visited by Muslims and Hindus alike. It serves as the resting place of Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, who was held in great esteem by the Muslim community.

    Ajmer is also the base for visiting Pushkar, the abode of Lord Brahma which is 14 km away. This place is a must visit for those having a penchant for old ramparts and gateways.

    Key religious attractions: Ajmer Sharif Dargah (the biggest and oldest dargah in South Asia), Nasiyan Ji Mandir, and Adhai-din-ka-Jhonpra are among the famous religious places in India.

    How to reach

    • By Air: The nearest airport is Jaipur International Airport, which is roughly 135 km from Ajmer. You can take a bus or private taxi from the airport.
    • By Rail: Ajmer Junction railway station is the nearest railway station.
    • By Road: Regular buses ply to Ajmer from Delhi and most cities in Rajasthan.

    Where to stay: Budget and luxury hotels are easily available.

    What else to do: Visit the Taragarh Fort and Magazine Museum. Anasagar Lake and Daulat Bagh are also thronged by tourists visiting this city. You can also shop for antiques and silver jewellery.

    9. Pushkar – Spirited hues for the soul

    Hindu devotees pilgrims bathing in sacred Puskhar lake on ghats of Pushkar

    With 52 bathing ghats and over 300 temples, Pushkar is among significant pilgrimage places in India. A small town in the palatial state of Rajasthan, a trip to Pushkar is ideal for a weekend getaway from nearby towns and cities. The narrow alleys, blazing with colour and intertwining histories, not only make a trip to this holy town apprising but also ensure an overall highly rated travel experience.

    Key religious attractions: Brahma Temple, Savitri Temple, Old Rangji Temple, Paap Mochini Temple, Raghunath Temple, Atmeshwar Temple, and Mahadeva Temple are thronged by both Indians and foreigners.

    How to reach

    • By Air: The nearest airport is Jaipur International Airport, which is roughly 150 km from Pushkar. You can take a bus or private taxi from the airport.
    • By Rail: Ajmer Junction railway station (11 km from Pushkar) is the nearest railway station.
    • By Road: Regular buses ply to Pushkar from Delhi and all cities in Rajasthan.

    Where to stay:

    • For luxury stays: Aaram Bagh and Pushkar Resort
    • For budget stays: Hotel Lake View and Hotel Lake Palace

    Suggested Read: 15 Royal Resorts In Pushkar, Perfect For A Memorable Stay

    What else to do: Attend the Pushkar camel fair in October – November.

    Suggested Read: 9 Scintillating Places To Visit In Pushkar

    10. Bodhgaya – In the quest to attain enlightenment

    The Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment

    Situated in the Gaya district of Bihar, Bodhgaya has been developed as an international place of pilgrimage. Attracting spiritualists from all over the world, Bodhgaya is among the most religious places in India. Today, it has monasteries and temples established by Tibetans, Sri Lankans, Bhutanese, Japanese, and Thai.

    Key religious attractions: One of the four most sacred Buddhist centres in the world, Bodhgaya is where Gautama Buddha became the Enlightened One. Lakhs of pilgrims visit Bodhgaya every year in the quest to meditate and study. The Bodhi tree, Mahabodhi temple, Great Buddha Statue, Vishnupada Mandir, and Animesh Lochan Chaitya are popular spiritual places. You can also visit the Chinese temple and monastery, the Buddhist monastery of Bhutan, and the Thai & Tibetan monastery.

    How to reach

    • By Air: Gaya Airport, which is 5 km away from the temple city, is the nearest airport. Patna Airport (115 km away) is well connected to major Indian cities.
    • By Rail: Gaya Junction is the nearest railway station.
    • By Road: Bodhgaya is well connected by road to other cities in Bihar such as Patna, Gaya, and Nalanda.

    Where to stay: Bodhgaya is among the famous religious places in India. Thus, the Bihar State Tourism runs hotels in the city offering cheap accommodation. Budget and luxury hotels can also be booked easily.

    What else to do: Cultural enthusiasts can also visit the archaeological museum.

    11. Rameshwaram – Temple hopping in the land of Rama

    Hindu pilgrims at the Corridors of Ramanathaswamy temple in Rameswaram

    Among the famous pilgrimage places in South India, this enigmatic island city is laden with history and culture. Ancient shrines, temples, quaint villages, and scintillating view of the Bay of Bengal make a trip to Rameshwaram a must for those seeking paradise on earth.

    Key religious attractions: Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple, Kothandaramaswamy Temple, Hanuman Temple, Theerthams, Ram Setu, and Gandhamadana Parvatham are the religious places here. Rameshwaram, along with Badrinath, Puri, and Dwarka, makes up the Char Dhams.

    How to reach

    • By Air: The nearest airport is the Madurai International Airport (175 km away). Buses and private taxis can be hired from Madurai.
    • By Rail: The Rameshwaram railway station is connected to Madurai, Chennai, Trichy, Coimbatore, and Thanjavur.
    • By Road: The city is well connected by road to other cities in Tamil Nadu.

    Where to stay: Budget and luxury hotels are available easily in Rameshwaram. You can also stay in yatri niwas palaces.

    What else to do: A long drive on the Pamban bridge or a visit to Kushi and Dhanuskodi beach. You can also visit other nearby religious places in south India.

    Suggested Read: The 9 Most Elegant Places To Visit In Rameshwaram

    12. Amritsar – The divine land soaked in blood

    A beautiful shot displaying the grandeur of the Golden Temple in Amritsar

    Home to the most famous Gurudwara in the world, Amritsar is a city engulfed in history, religion, and culture. This spiritual getaway not only promises a sacred calm but also takes you deep into the Indian partition history. A trip to this vibrant and colourful land is a must for those looking for gratification along with spiritual bliss.

    Key religious attractions: Sri Darbar Sahib or the Golden Temple, the central religious place of the Sikh community, attracts lakhs of tourists throughout the year. The Mata Lal Devi Temple built on the lines of the Vaishnodevi shrine and the ISKCON Amritsar are also among important religious places in India.

    Don’t forget to eat the Guru ka Langar while in the Golden Temple Complex.

    How to reach

    • By Air:Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport (ATQ) is situated 11 km from the city-centre. There are daily flights from Indian as well as some international cities such as Toronto, Dubai, London, Singapore, and Tashkent.
    • By Rail: Amritsar Railway Station is well connected to other Indian cities.
    • By Road: Buses are available from other cities in Punjab as well as from Delhi, Shimla, and Jammu.

    Where to stay: Accommodation in the Golden Temple Complex is available based on first-come-first-serve basis. Budget rest houses and luxury hotels can also be booked.

    What else to do: Attend the Wagah Border ceremony at the India-Pakistan international border, and visit the Jallianwala Bagh. You can also splurge on local street food and traditional Indian wear.

    Now that you are familiar with the popular religious places in India, go pack your bags and embark on the spiritual quest. Don’t forget to share your sacred experiences with us.


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    Category: India

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