Religious Pilgrimage Tour Destination Guide and Tips in India
Religion is in the blood of mankind. It can drive the masses. The German philosopher Karl Marx had famously said that “religion is the opiate of the masses’. India is high on religion. Hinduism is the largest religion here, but Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism are also widespread. The religious diversity is quite evident here in India. Even Sufism has its root in India, and it is still widely followed by ascetic across the country.
HelpTravelerOnline has worked out and picked the most famous religious tourist destinations of India. These are such destinations where one can combine religion with pleasure and get full value for your religious trip.
Hindu Religious Tours
Being a predominantly Hindu society makes India a widely traveled destination for Hindu pilgrims. Every nook-corner of India has a temple, and these temples are respected by each and all.
The Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand in north India is amongst the most visited religious destination anywhere in the world. The shrines are Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. All of these temples are situated at high altitude in Himalayas and access to them is possible for only 06-months a year. Out of them Yamunotri and Kedarnath have to negotiate through trekking or on foot, while the other two are the road-head destination.
Amarnath temple in Kashmir has a naturally formed Shiv linga of ice and it has a great religious appeal to Hindus, so it is visited by masses even with the difficult terrain.
Mathura-Vrindavan is the birth place of Lord Krishna. The appeal of Lord Krishna is much revered in India and his birth place is now a shrine.
The Shirdi Sai Baba temple also sees a heavy influx of followers. One has to queue up for hours before getting to visit the main complex of the shrine.
Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu Kashmir is another shrine that finds following on a global scale, but especially auspicious for Hindus.
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati, Somnath Jyotirlinga in Gujarat, Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai and Brahma Temple in Pushkar are also thronged by devotees in large number.
All these shrines have hotels and lodges in close proximity.
Islamic Religious Tours
Islam has deep roots in India. In fact, India is home to the second largest population of Muslims in the world (after Indonesia). For almost 1000 years the impact of Islam has transformed the way societies have worked here.
India homes some famous and highly religious mosques and shrines. True Muslim and even people from other religion want to visit these famous shrines and convey their message to the almighty.
Jama Masjid in Delhi is a very old mosque build by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1658. Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India and has splendid appeal in terms of infrastructure.
The Taj-ul-masjid in Bhopal in central India is also a major religious hub of Islam. It is a must-visit shrine for Islamic community and prayers at Taj-ul-masjid are known to be fulfilled.
The Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad is one the largest and oldest mosques in India. It is also called the Makkah Masjid. It is a major tourist spot in Hyderabad, with Charminar in close proximity.
Sikh Religious Tours
Sikhism has its root in India. Even though it is a separate religion it has several common things with Hinduism.
The Golden Temple in Amritsar is a world renowned temple for Sikhism, with its dome made of gold. Also know as the ‘the Harmandir Sahib’, without argument the GoldenTemple is the most visited Sikh temple in the world.
The Hemkund Sahib temple in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand is a temple out of dreams. It lies at an altitude of 5000 meters in the remote Himalayas. The temple is accessible for only 5 months in a year, and it has a mass following of devotees who takes this arduous pilgrimage to reach.
The Bangla Sahib temple in Delhi is busy throughout the day as it a large number of devotees from near and far. The Rakab Ganj Gurudwara and the Sis Ganj Gurudwara, also in Delhi, are also heavily visited by the devotees and visitors.
Some other prominent Sikh religious shrines are Anandpur Sahib in Punjab, Patna Sahib in Bihar, Hazur Sahib in Maharashtra and Gurudwara Paonta Sahib in Himachal Pradesh.
Christian Religious Tours
Christianity has its roots in India ever since the Europeans (Portuguese first) made India as their business colony. Since then the French, Dutch and finally English rule in India have left the imprints of Christianity in the country.
There were numerous churches and institutes that promoted Christianity in those days. These old churches have stood the test of time and still stand tall. One of the famous churches of India is the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, which is a must in Christian religious tours. The St. Cajetan Church and St. Francis of Assisi churches of Goa also have a high respect amongst Christians. Do visit them on your Christianity religious tour of India.
The Basilica of Santa Cruz in Kerala sees priests and nuns from all over the world. Christ Church & St. Michael’s Cathedral in Shimla was built by the Britishers when they decided to settle there. The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in New Delhi also has a mass following.
Buddhist Religious Tours
The roots of Buddhism flourished in India from 2nd till the 10th century. The impact of this was widespread, as many people admired the non-extremist, philosophic approach of Buddhism. With the passage of time Buddhism gained popularity, and today it’s one of the most popular religions in the world.
Millions of Buddhists and non- Buddhist comes down to India and Nepal to witness the important Buddhist sites. A well planned Buddhist religious tour will help you cover most destinations in minimum time.
In the northern India, Himalayas have a long history of Buddhism. Some famous monasteries are situated in high mountains. The Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala is actually the home of Dalai Lama. The Thikse Monastery in Leh, the Hemis Monastery in Ladakh and the Shashur Monastery in the Spiti valley finds many devotees who plan up to the Buddhist religion tour itinerary. In Uttarakhand, the Mindrolling Monastery in Dehradun is also conveniently accessible.
The Ghum Monastery in Darjeeling is a famous attraction if the town. In Sikkim, the Rumtek Monastery of Gangtok should also be in your itinerary of Buddhist religious tour. Most importantly is the Bodhimanda Vihara Monastery in Bodhgaya, and here you can still sit under the Buddha Tree.
Jainism Religious Tours
Jainism came into existence around the same time as Sikhism. The disciples of Lord Mahavira had a very exclusive approach to life, shunning materialism and simplifying life. Today Jainism is a widely accepted religion and appreciated for its values to society. People from the community often plan Jainism religious tour, so HelpTravelerOnline.com would like to help them plan right.
We will talk about some of the prominent Jain temples here, so you can plan right. The Sonagiri Temples of Madhya Pradesh is renowned and visited by people from all walks of life. Shantinath Temple and Bawangaja Jain Temple, also in Madhya Pradesh must also be visited since you are there. The Dilwara Temple in Rajasthan has been also an important temple for Jains and must be included in your Jainism religious tour of India.
Other important Jain temples are the Gomateshwara Temple in Karnataka and Lal Mandir in Delhi. The DharmanathTemple situated in Kerala is often recommended by travel experts to be included in your Jainism temple tour program.
Religious Tours of Sufism
Sufism is actually Islamic or religious Mysticism. Sufism in itself is not a religion but a cult. Abstainers or those who practiced self-denial as a spiritual discipline are Sufi followers. There have been some great Sufi saints in past who had many influences on society. And they are still remembered and worshiped in India, where they have a following. Plan a religious tour of Sufism. We will help you plan it nicely.
The Dargah of Moinuddin Chisti in Ajmer Sharif is no new name. Everybody in India knows about this revered saint. His grave is now a temple to gain blessings. The sea-bound Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai also see masses of people visiting their everyday. Come down to Delhi and you can pay homage at Nizamuddin Dargah and Chirag-i-Delhi Dargah. You can plan this Sufism tour itinerary for Delhi inside one day. Next day drive down to Haridwar for Piran Kaliyar Sharif, which is a well-visited dargah. The Hazrat Bu-Ali-Shah Qalandar in Haryana can also be adjusted in your Sufism dargah tour trip.