Top 22 Religious Destinations of India

Top Religious Destinations of India

Indian is a den of gorgeous locations, majestic sightseeing spots, amazing architecture and rich heritage monuments. Amongst all these, religion has its own sacred space and the subcontinent’s rich history has a balanced mélange of religious influence that temples and shrines throughout the twenty nine Indian states reflect. Here we countdown the top religious destinations of India that every believer must absolutely visit:

Badrinath- one of the four dhams

Badrinath

For a devout Hindu, the sojourn to Badrinath, the popular Indian religious destination, is like achieving the life’s goal. Rameshwaram in the South, Dwarka in the West, Jaganathpuri in the East and Badrinath in the North are the four Pilgrimage or Char-dham earmarked for all Hindus to visit in their lifetime, to gain eternal Moksha. The high risk quotient being the reason Badrinath has always been considered foremost Hindu Pilgrimage or Dham. More Details…  

Rameshwaram
Top Religious Destinations of India

 

Rameshwaram is a very sacred religious destination for Hindus at the edge of the gulf of Mannar in South and is one of the top religious destinations of India. It’s a small island located at the tip of peninsula, connected by Pamban bridge to main land. Besides, Badrinath, Jaganath Puri and Dwarka it’s one of the four major pilgrimage or Char Dham, that Hindus consider to be most sacred and mandatory for visit once in their life time. Rameshwaram is located 570 km from Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai. More Details… 

Lord Jagannath, Puri, Odisha

Jagannath Temple of Puri

Situated in Puri, Jagannath temple receives enormous religious tourism every year. Dedicated to the great universal Lord Jagannath, Shree Jagannath is among the top Hindu temples and is the revered fourth pilgrimage (Char Dham) for Hindus. This is also one of the top religious destinations of India. The best time to visit is when the Rath Yatra takes place in June. More Details…

Dwarka, Gujarat

Dwarka

Located in west, Dwarka is a mesmerizing land of unparalleled spirituality and splendor. Legend claims that it was Lord Krishna’s capital once and is now among the revered Char Dham Yatra sites. Local men wear wholly white attire which denotes the purity of the place. A beautiful and sacred site, Dwarka is a must visit for its natural beauty and holiness. More Details…

Haridwar, Uttarakhand

Hardwar

Haridwar is a religious center and is among the most visited pilgrimage destinations in India. Home to the holy River Ganga, the city is also called Gangadwara. Touted to be among the seven holiest places for Hindus, legend claims that Haridwar is among the places where drops of Amrit spilled. Most pilgrims visit the city during the Kumbh Mela when it receives hundreds of visitors who come to perform the ritualistic bathing in the sacred waters of Ganga. More Details… 

Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu Kashmir

Maa Vaishno Devi

Located amidst the Trikuta Hills of Jammu, the Vaishno Devi Temple is said to be the holy abode of the great goddess Mata Vaishno. Among the top sacred destinations of Indian, Mata Vaishno Devi of Jammu is visited by devotees all year long. Devotees undergo an arduous trek which leads them to the holy caves where the goddess lives. The pilgrimage is not only adventurous but also a one-time experience that most people re-live through the years with annual visits. More Details…

Amarnath Dham, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir

Amarnath Dham Kashmir

The Amarnath Cave is among the top pilgrimage sites of India and is a shrine of the Lord Shiva. Located at a height of 3,888 m (12,756 ft) near the beautiful city of Srinagar, the shrine is shrouded by snowy mountains. People visit to see the Ice stalagmite Lingam that gets formed on its inside the caves during Shravan month. More Details…

Venkateswara Temple (Tirupati Balaji) Andhra Pradesh

Sri Venkateshwara Swamy temple, tirupati balaji

Renowned Tirumala Venkateswara Temple of Chittoor district is also referred to as Tirupati Balaji. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple is one of the top religious destinations of India and is touted to be the richest Indian pilgrimage center and absolutely worth a visit during the Brahmotsavam festival. More Details…

Harmandir Sahib, Golden Temple, Amritsar

Sri Harmindar Sahab

Famously called the golden temple, the Harmandir Sahib of Amritsar is visited by thousands every year. Not only a religious place but also a historical heritage monument, Sri Harmandir Sahib is a visual delight with mesmerizing interiors. The temple’s construction was overseen by Sikh Guru, Ramdass Sahib Ji and this famed Gurudwara remains to be among the most integral Sikh pilgrimage sites in India. More Details… 

Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa

Basilica of Bom Jesus -Goa

A UNESCO World Heritage Site in old Goa, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is India’s top sightseeing spot and most popular churches. A landmark in Indian Christian History, the Basilica of Bom Jesus Church is also home to some grand baroque architecture. More Details… 

Ajmer Sharif, Ajmer

Ajmer Sharif

Ajmer Sharif is famous worldwide and is the sacred shrine of the Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. Also referred to as the Dargah Sharif, several devotees visit the place throughout the year but the best time to pay a visit to the Dargah is during the Urs festival. Ajmer Sharif ia also one of the top religious destinations of India.More Details…

Sai Baba, Shirdi, Maharashtra

Saibaba Samadhi

Sai Baba of Shirdi is revered among devotees of all faiths. A beautiful shrine of the Shri Sai Baba, the place is among top religious places on India owing to Baba’s samadhi and sufi reputation. More Details…

Velankanni Church- the place of deep faith and reverence

Vellankanni Church

A Catholic faith Vellankanni Church is located in Vellanganni town of Nagapattinam District of Tamil Nadu. This is devotedly called ‘Lourdes of the east’ because in South-west France Lourdes church is frequently visited by millions. This is dedicated to the almighty in the name of ‘Our lady of good health Basilica’. Velankanni, has been chosen by Indian government for development, as one of the heritage city called HRIDAY- Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojna. More Details…

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh

Vrindavan

Vrindavan of Uttar Pradesh is another city visited largely by Hindu devotees for its association with the Lord Krishna as it is where Lord Krishna grew up. With majestic alleys that bear traces of legends sang in the Mahabharata, Mathura is a splendid town. Don’t forget to binge on the Pedas of Vrindavan if you are going there. More Details

Mathura, Uttar Pradesh

Mathura

Mathura is where the great god Lord Krishna was born. A beautiful town, Mathura is a blessed land. With numerous temples and beautiful architecture that portrays the religious legends well; the Krishna Janbhoomi is surely worth a visit. It is also home to the Krishna Janbhoomi Temple which is always full of countless devotees throughout the year. More Details..

Sun Temple (Surya Mandir), Konark, Odisha

Sun Temple

Sun Temple’s architecture one of the top religious destinations of India is splendid and its unmatched spirituality makes it a top choice among religious travelers and pilgrims. Located in Konark, the Surya Mandir, has beautiful metaphorical architecture with the Sun God riding the majestic chariot on the top. The chariot has 12 pairs of wheels with exquisite carving and the lofty pyramidal roof make it worth visiting. More Details…

Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

Rishikesh

Rishikesh, a quintessential tourism destination, is home to several religiously significant sites like Lakshman Jhula, Bharat Mandir, Ram Jhula, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, etc. Easily connected with surrounding cities, Rishikesh is also famous for its adventure sports. More Details…

Somnath Jyotirlinga, Gujarat

Somnath Jyotirlinga

Believed to be the first Dwaadash Jyotirlinga of the great universal Lord Shiva, Somnath Jyotirlinga of Gujarat has an exquisite importance in Indian religious history. This is one of the top religious destinations of India. Located close to the Arabian Sea, Somnath Jyotirlinga is a sacred shrine visited by devotees all year long.  One legend claims that the Saint Agastya even drank the entire ocean near Prabhasapattan. The best time visit the place is on Shivaratri when vibrant festivities take place. More Details…

Meenakshi Temple, Tamil Nadu

Meenakshi Temple

An amazing architectural wonder located in just as mesmerizing town of Madurai, Meenakshi Temple was built for the revered Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. Thus the temple has been named Meenakshi (one of several names of Goddess Parvati). If you are taking a pilgrim to the Meenakshi Temple, don’t miss a dip at Golden Lotus tank. Thought to be auspicious, the dip should be taken before you visit the main shrine.  The temple is famous for its hall that has 985 pillars with each pillar bearing beautiful and intricate carving. More Details…

Leh, Jammu and Kashmir

Leh

A haven for adventure lovers, Leh is the place to be but what many forget about the place is that it is home to numerous Buddhist monasteries.  With beautiful and calm Tibetan monasteries, Leh is everything that a spiritual seeker needs. More Details….

Hampi, Karnataka

Hampi town

The ruins of Hampi (Karnataka) are hauntingly beautiful! So many temples bear traces of the centuries gone by and the real splendor lies in the beauty of its architecture. The architectural design is still magnificent and if spiritual tourism is something what draws you then Hampi is a must visit with its Virupaksha Temple. More Details…

Ranakpur, Pali, Rajasthan

Ranakpur, Pali

Located amidst the two mesmerizing cities of Rajasthan, Jodhpur and Udaipur, Ranakpur Jain Temple of Pali is among India’s spectacular religious delights and one of the top religious destinations of India . Built in honor of Adinatha, and best known for its marbles in faded hues, this Jain temple is a grand religious place, surely worth a visit. More Details… 

Ranakpur Pali –Rajasthan

Ranakpur Pali –Rajasthan

If you will look for seven wonders in India, then surly Ranakpur Pali Jain temples will adorn the list. These temples are one of the five premium Jain pilgrimage and acclaimed for its exquisite architectural style and handiwork. No wonder, Ranakpur is well deserved top religious destination of India. In Ranakpur there is one small Sun temple also that is managed by Udaipur Royal family trust.

Ranakpur Pali

How to reach

Ranakpur Pali is located between Jodhpur and Udaipur. Its 162 km from Jodhpur and 91 km from Udaipur. The roads are good and all regular and luxury buses and taxis are available from these cities. Nearest train head is Falna Railway station that is 30 km away.

Visiting hours– are from noon to 5 PM as morning hours are reserved for praying.

Temple history

The famous Jain temple is dedicated to Adhinath Tirthankara aka Lord Rishabh, who was the founder of Jainism. The construction of the temple started in 1437 AD following a dream vision of a local businessman Dhanna Shah. He started the sacred construction work under the patronage of then ruler of Mewar Rana Kumbha. It was said to be designed by one architect named Dipaka. The construction of the temple continued till 1458 AD.

Lord Rishabh

Temple is unique

This temple is fully done in one type of a light colored marble stone. The area of the basement covers an area of 48000 sq. feet. Temple’s interesting spectacle is 1444 numbers of exquisitely carved pillars that support the temple. The temple is spread over 60 x 62 m plot area facing Aravali hills valley. Unbelievably no two pillars are similar in designs and sculpting. You can’t miss one 108 snake head sculpture carved from one single stone.




There are many temples that include Chaumukha temple, temples of two other Tirthankaras Parsavanath temple and Neminath temple. There are Amba Mata Temple and Surya Temple too. Chaumukha Temple is the most important and as the term Chaumukha indicates, this temple is four-faced. Intricate structure of the temple has four independent doorways to get into the chambers. These chambers ultimately lead to the main hall where the image of Lord Adinath, the first ‘Tirthankara’ of the Jains is located.

Chaumukha temple Ranakpur Pali

Architecture

The image of Adinath is four faced facing in four directions. That symbolizes the spiritual powers of Lord Adinath on all four directions, indicating his cosmic reach. The five spires elevate above the walls and around 20 dome shaped projects rise from roof of the pillared hall. Each spire houses a shrine and the largest shrine is the important one that has the central altar. The temple’s ceilings are adorned with foliate scrollwork and geometric patterns intricately done. The style of architecture and sculpture are of Maru Gurjara origin. It highlights supreme craftsmanship of Rajasthani artisans of that era. It’s a mix of Rajasthani and Gujarati craft of 15th century. As experts believe that the architecture of the temple is completely Western Indian than North Indian style, prevalent in those days. Especially Mughal architecture seen in the monuments of that era.

Architecture of Ranakpur

There is one Kumhalgarh wildlife sanctuary nearby where one can take jeep safari. You can also do horseback safari on the hills.

Sri Venkateshwara Swamy temple-Tirupati Balaji Mandir

Sri Venkateshwara Swamy temple- Tirupati Balaji Mandir

 Sri Venkateshwara temple-Tirupati Balaji Mandir is located in Tirumala, Tirupati, Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Built atop Seshachalam hills range on seventh hill Venkatadri, the temple’s deity is Lord Venkateshwara-the incarnation of Vishnu. He is also called Govinda, Balaji and Srinivasa. He is believed to save the mankind from sorrows and trials of ‘Kaliyuga’. The temple of Venkateshwara is also called ‘temple of seven hills’.

Sri Venkateshwara or Tirupati Balaji Mandir has amazing following and it’s the richest temple in the world in terms of donations and wealth. The devotees who come to pay their respect and have blessings of Balaji are over 40 million each year making it unbelievably the busiest religious place. On annual celebration Brahmotsavam 500,000 people visit the temple per day. Undoubtedly the Sri Vekateshwara Swamy temple is one of the Top religious destinations of India.

Sri Venkateshwara Swamy temple-Tirupati Balaji Mandir

The temple is built in typical Dravidian style of architecture and it’s believed to have begun in 300 AD. The sanctum sanctorum Garbhgraha is the abode of Balaji standing upright facing east. The statue is said to remain there till the end of Kaliyuga. Interestingly, Kaliyuga is of 432,000 years and it began 5000 years back.

How to reach

Air- Flights are available from all major towns to Tirupati airport.

Road– The roads are excellent, luxury buses available from all major towns. 20 km hilly road from Tirupati to Tirumala up to 1 km from temple. Some people prefer to take stairs or path from Alipiri and reach in 4 hours

Rail– Nearest rail head- Renugunta, Tirupati main and Anantarajupet

Visiting deity or Darshan

Lord Venkateswara’s Darshan is much sought after, people make beeline to enter and be blessed. Tirumala Devasthanam does commendable job to manage such huge footfalls. They have constructed two queue complexes that have facilities such as waiting rooms, fans, water points and toilet facilities.




Puja-way to worship

The worship of the Lord is done by Hindu tradition of Vaikhanasa, praying supreme God Vishnu. The following ways of worshipping is done in Tirumala temple set with the time.

  • Usha kala Puja- Before sunrise
  • Madhyahna puja- in Noon
  • Nisi Puja- after sunset

The worshipping is done by Vaikhanasa priests who traditionally are doing for centuries and are of few family lineages authorized to be in sanctum sanctorum.

Unique Temple facts 

Prasadam

Prasadam Sri Venkateshwara Swamy temple Tirupati

Tirupati laddu is famous prasadam made specially by the temple board, this is offered to Lord Venkateshwara. There are more prasadam like curd rice, tamarind rice and dosa etc.

Hair tonsuring

Hair tonsuring Sri Venkateshwara Swamy temple Tirupati

Many devotees donate their hair to the lord, as token of sacrifice. The hairs are gathered and sold on auction; last year those were sold for an astronomical $6m. It’s second after the donation pot generates money for the temple.

Hundi or donation

The gold donated by devotees is in quintals, few years back temple authorities deposited 3000 kg of gold to the bank. The devotees offer about 20 to 25 million INR per day in the donation box of Lord Venkateshwara.

Thulabharam

This is a way to donate by body weight, sitting on one side of weigh balance and on other side grains, fruits as per the wishes of donator, more than the body weight is donated to the Lord Venkateshwara.

Other religious places around Tirupati Balaji Mandir:

Papavinasam Teertham waterfall wherein devotees take a dip to wash off their sins

Papavinasam Teertham

Swami Pushkarni Lake is highly revered since it is believed that Lord Vishnu himself took bath in the lake.

Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple is another highly revered religious place near Tirupati dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple

Vrindavan-where Lord Krishna spent his childhood

Vrindavan-where Lord Krishna spent his childhood

A town located in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh in India, Vrindavan can easily be doted as one of the top religious destinations in the nation today. It is the site where according to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna spent his childhood days. Known for over five thousand odd temples dedicated to Lord Krishna, this town is located just about 11 kilometers away from Mathura, the birth place of Lord Krishna.

Vrindavan

History of Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh

As one of the most ancient of the religious sites Hindus often refer to, Vrindavan is home to one of the oldest surviving temples in the planet, the Govinda Dev temple which was built in the year 1590. The entire essence and the existence of this holy pilgrimage were lost. In the 16th century when the Bengali saint, Chaintanya Mahaprabhu visited this holy place in the year 1515 to dig out the lost places where the traces of Lord Krishna were still existent. Apart from finding all the important places in the region, another female Hindu spiritual poet, Mira Bai also made Vrindavan her home.

With so much about Lord Krishna, this place is a site where all the Krishna worshippers, from all over the world, visit to seek recluse from their lively deeds.

How to reach Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh

Being one of the most visited tourist destination and pilgrimage in the nation, Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh can be reached without much trouble.

  • By Flight: You can reach Delhi from anywhere in the world and then can take a car or train to reach the place.
  • By Train: Trains are available to Vrindavan where the last station to get down at is Mathura. From there, Vrindavan is just about 20 kilometers.
  • By road: Local transport is available or you may drive to the place.

The major attractions in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh

Some of the major attractions in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh include the following:

1. Banke Bihari temple:

Banke Bihari temple

One of the most important temple in this town, the Krishna idol here is known as Thakur- ji. The eyes of the lord here are said to be so powerful and piercing that the idol is always behind a veil.

2. Govinda Dev Mandir:

Govinda Dev Mandir

Built in the year 1590 by the then Raja Sawai Man Singh of Jaipur, this temple is a sight to behold.

3. Shahji temple:

Shahji temple

One of the famous temples, Shahji temple has been magnificently designed and holds amazing marble sculpture. The temple is dedicated to deity Chote Radha Raman.

4. Krishna Balaram Mandir:

Krishna Balaram Mandir

Also known as the ISKON temple, this is dedicated to lord Krishna and houses great amenities for tourists.

5. Madan Mohana temple:

Madan Mohana temple

One of the oldest structures in Vrindavan, this temple is situated on the banks of the river and was established on a 50 feet hill.

6. Kesi Ghat:

Kesi Ghat

Located by the side of Yamuna river, Krishna is known to kill demon Kesi here and you can easily light lamps in the evening here. Also visit the Kesi Ghat temple or Jugal Kishore temple at this place, which is one of the oldest tempkes of Vrindavan.

7. Jaigurudeo Temple:

Jaigurudeo Temple

Resembling the Taj Mahal in Agra, this one is made similarly of white marble and is also known as Naam Yog Sadhna Mandir.

8. Sri Ranganath temple:

Sri Ranganath temple Vrindavan

This one is amongst the largest temples of Vrindavan built in South Indian style and dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The ten days festival in form of Rath Yatra Brahamotsav is major draw among devotees during March-April months.

The other nearby places that you would not like to miss in Vrindavan are Seva Kunj, Rangi Mandir, Radharaman Mandir, Radhavallabh Mandir, Sri Gopeshwara Mahavdev temple among plenty more!




Other prominent holy places in Vrindavan are Seva Kunj and Nidhivan which have interesting religious significance that tourists should knoew. Also while in this city, the tourists engage in Vrindvan Parikrima which means walking around the city and attending evening prayer at Holy river, Yamuna.

 So take out time from your schedule and visit this immense religious city, Vrindavan to gain peace and happiness.

Mayapur – a spiritual place dedicated to Krishna

Mayapur – a spiritual place dedicated to Krishna

Mayapur is situated at the point of confluence of Ganges river and Jalangi river, near Nabdwip in West Bengal. Mayapur at 130 km distance from Kolkata, is right there on the world map because this is where the ISCKON headquarter is located. It’s considered a holy place as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or Caitanya was born here on 18th Feb 1486.

Krishna as Chaitnya in Mayapur

Why millions of people throng this place from all over the globe? Because, it’s the birth place of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He was regarded as the manifestation of Krishna in his most compassionate form by Gaudiya Vaishvanism faith. He taught his followers how to attain perfection and fulfillment in life through Bhakti Yoga, simply means, loving devotion to God.  He was a protagonist who showed devotees the way to follow holy Bhagwad Gita to attain proximity to Krishna. Chaitanaya Mahaprabhu’s real name was Vishambhar, from early age he preached Bhakti, the devotion to God. His teachings were followed closely and later in 16th century it became a ‘Bhakti’ movement or Hare Krishna Movement.

Mayapur

How to reach

Air- Nearest airport is Kolkata which is nearly 3 hours away from Mayapur. Flight

Train– From Kolkata trains are every hour and takes 2 to 3 hours to reach Nabdwip Dham

Road–  Taxis and Bus travel services available.

Onward journey to Mayapur

From Nabadwip Dham station, rickshaws are available up to Mayapur Ghat, from there the boats are the medium to cross Ganga to reach Hular ghat of Mayapur.




Places to see in Mayapur

ISKCON’s Chandrodaya Mandir

Srila Prabhupada was the founder of International society for Krishna Consciousness or ISKCON. At his behest the holy figures of Radha-Madhav were installed in 1980 and then within six years in 1986 a huge well planned temple was built by his devotees. This ISCKON temple is famous shrine known as Prabhupada’s Samadhi Mandir, a magnificent memorial site with a museum that depicts different phases of his life. Big white spires of the temple are visible with its imposing magnificence. A bronze statue in classic sitting form of Srila Prabhupada is worshipped by the devotee. Lush green gardens are well maintained and panoramic. Outside walls are decorated with terra-cotta sculpting of Krishna’s various activities depicted in Srimad Bhagvatam. A large auditorium with stage, sound and lights is used for various seminars, for showing ISCKON films and festivals. ISCKON has a Goshala that houses more than 200 cows and given good care.

ISKCON’s Chandrodaya Mandir

Chaitnaya Mahaprabhu’s holy Birth place Yogapeeth

In Mayapur on the banks of Holy Ganga is Chaitanya’s birthplace. The place was discovered in 19th century by Bhaktivinoda. He built an aesthetic temple with figures of Mahaprabhu along with his companions Lakshmipriya & Vishnupriya and Radha-Madhav. There is a neem tree in the courtyard that’s considered exact place where Mahaprabhu was born. He used to be called Nimai also for this reason. There are many other Gaudya Vaishnavanism faith organizations in Mayapur such as Chaitanya Gaudya Mission etc.

Nabadwip

Across Ganga from Mayapur, Nabadwip is identified for its connection to Chaitnaya Mahaprabhu. Historically, Nabadwip was the capital of Sena dynasty king Lakshman Sena in 12th century. There are several religious places such as Dwadash Shiv temple built in 1835. Its exquisite floral design and architecture is its great feature. There are several other temples dedicated to Chaitanya Sonar Gouranga Temple and Sri Chaitanya Saraswat that has big inflow of pilgrims.

Nabadwip

Krishnanagar City

A historical city 15 km away from Mayapur has beautiful Cathedral church, an old palace of Raja Krishna Chandra, rulers here in 18th century. Now district headquarters of Nadia district, it is famous for its mud sculpting art, one can see and buy in Ghumi Putulpatti.

Krishnanagar City

Accommodations


ISCKON has a guest house to stay, can be booked on net, few other temples have the facilities to stay. Hotels are available too.