India is widely prominent throughout the world for its rich cultural heritage. It’s a country having almost all the major religions and maybe it has the maximum number of religions being practised in just one country. People worship a different Gods, Goddesses & Gurus across the country. Wherever you go in India, you’ll find a religious place nearby. That’s how religiously incredible India is.
Even the world isn’t untouched by this spiritual diversity of India. People from all across the world visit India predominantly to see its historical Temples, Churches, Mosques, Monasteries, Caves, etc. that have been standing exactly the way they were built thousands of years ago. Even though there are numerous religious places in India but there are a few ones which are considered as the most sacred. Every pilgrim aims to visit those in their lifetime. Here is the list of most visited religious places in India:
1. Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu Kashmir
Mata Vaishno Devi Temple is considered to be one of the holiest places for pilgrims in India. This is impossible to say that from how long the temple is worshiped by peoples. Mata Vaishno Devi is believed as ‘The mother who fulfils whatever Her children wish for’.
The temple is a Holy Cave located on the mountain named as Trikuta, in Jammu and Kashmir state. The Temple is built at the altitude of 5200 ft. It is believed that prior to the war of Mahabharat, Shri Krishna worshipped Mata for the blessing and victory. This is also a belief that Pandavs built this temple for Mother goddess.
The temple in present day is served by Pandit Shree Dhar. According to them, the Mata is present in the cave in the form of three pindis. Best time to visit Vaishno Devi temple is from October to July, i.e. from the start of winters till the end of summers. In winters, the place is covered with snow due to its high altitude. For going there, you can travel by air, train or a road trip.
- By air – the nearest airport is in Jammu. Others are Leh and Srinagar. From airport to Katra, you can take a taxi or a helicopter.
- By Train – you can reach Jammu railway station.
- By Road – The distance of Jummu from Delhi is almost(589.1 km) via NH 44. It’s almost a 12-hour ride.
2. Golden Temple/ Swarna Mandir
Also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib (‘abode of Gods’), Golden temple dwells in the sacred ecosystem of Amritsar. It’s a central religious place for the Sikh community and a symbol of equality and brotherhood for everyone. The temple is built around a handmade pool which was completed by Sri Guru Ram Das in the year 1577.
In 1809 it was built with marble and copper. Then in 1830, it was overlaid with the gold foil giving it the name ‘Golden Temple’. According to the Sikh history, Guru Ram Das found this place to start a new town with a man-made pool. Later, he made his official center and home next to it. The town became the city named Amritsar and the pool is now known as the Golden Temple Complex.
The construction started in December 1581 and completed in 1604. It was then rebuilt in 1764. The temple is made in Sikh architecture with use 750 Kilograms (1653 pound) of gold. Also, the temple is built level below the ground level. It has three holy trees; the three trees signify a historical event or a Sikh saint. One of the largest Langars is found at the Golden Temple for almost 365 days.
To reach Golden temple we can use Air, Bus, Rail, And personal vehicle.
- Air – Amritsar airport is the nearest to the Golden Temple.
- Rail- Amritsar railway station is hardly 15 to 20-minute drive from here.
- Road- A long and broad network of the road for the temple is available from around the country. Daily bus service is also available for the temple and with a personal vehicle, you can reach them it’s around 450 km From Delhi.
3. Ajmer Sharif Dargah
The most popular Dargah in India is the Ajmer Sharif, in Rajasthan. It is the Dargah of Moinuddin Chisthi who was a great Muslim preacher. This dargah is about 2 kilometers from the main Ajmer city and is older than 1192 AD. This place is one of the most visited religious places in India. About 150,000 pilgrims visit the Ajmer Sharif Dargah daily.
The Dargah has many ways to enter: the first gate is known as Nizam Gate, second is the Shahjahani Gate and the third gate is Buland Darwaza. The astounding architectural structural of this building is a prime reason to visit it. According to the devotees, if you go and pray with a pure heart without greed and malice, your wish will definitely come true.
The best time to visit Ajmer is the Urs festival Muharram Or Ramadan. It gets extremely full of people during this time. If you prefer uncrowded area, then it’s better to go on someday other than festive days. The Begami Daalaan Porch is one of the beautiful porches in the country. It was built in 1643 by princess Jahan Ara Begam.
The walls of the Porch are made up of marble pillars. TheDargah is open Daily from 4 am to 9 pm in summer, and 5 am to 9 pm in winter. To reach Ajmer Sharif, you can try any mode like air, bus, and train.
- Air – the Sanganer Airport is the nearest airport at about 135 km from here.
- Train – The Train lines are connected to Ajmer from all nearby cities.
- Bus- The Rajasthan State Road provides a lot of bus services from all the major cities to Ajmer Sharif.
4. Shree Somnath Temple
Somnath Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of India and also the first amongst all Jyotrilings. The temple falls in the Kathiawad district of Gujarat. It’s one of the most visited religious places in India. The Somnath Temple is one of the oldest Hindu pilgrimage sites. The temple is on Triveni Sangam of the three rivers Kapila, Hiran and the Sarasvati.
Because of a curse, the moon God Som lost his shine. So, he prayed to lord Shiva for forgiveness and to relieve him of the curse at his place. Therefore, the place is called as Somnath (“The moon god” or “the lord of the moon”).
The Somnath temple was one of the richest temples of India much time many attacked by many kings but the temple is still the same.The best time to visit Somnath is in winters, Nov to Feb. If you love Summers, you should know that the temperature of Somnath in summers can go high up to 42°C. The Somnath Temple is well-connected with roads so we can reach there by bus, train, as well as air.
- By air – you can go only to Ahmedabad in a flight.
- By Train- you can only go by Train from Ahmedabad to Somnath. No direct train is available from Delhi to Somnath.
- By Bus- From all over India we can go Somnath with a bus service.
Suggested Read: Top 23 Shiva Temples in India
5. Hemkund Sahib
Also known as Gurudwara Shri Hemkund Sahib Ji, it’s a very sacred place for Sikh community and pilgrimage site in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Resting at an elevation of 15,200,00 ft from sea level, Hamekund is not accessible in winter till the beginning of summer, October to April, due to heavy snowfall. Hemkund Sahib is surrounded by seven mountains. The major town near Hemkund is Joshimath.
The last point with the vehicle is GovindGhat and then a 9 kilometer trek with a beautiful path awaits you. You can cover the trek on foot or by taking a pony. The shelter for pilgrims is also facilitated by the Gurudwara. Staying in Hamekund for overnight is not allowed.
According to the history, Hemkund Sahib is devoted to Guru Gobind Singh (The tenth Sikh Guru) who lived from 1666- 1708. People also say that Guru Govind Singh used to do meditation at this place. Other than Hemkund, Chamoli district is a beautiful place to visit. To reach Hemkund, you have to go through air or bus.
- By air – For Hemkund, you need to go by Helicopter only.
- By bus – from any city, you can only go to Govindghat. Then you have to travel a 9 km track.
- By train – from all around the popular city we can only reach Rishikesh after their you need to go by a bus or a tracker.
6. Shree Jagannath Temple
Shree Jagannath Temple is one of the important temples of India. According to Hindu culture, going to Shree Jagannath Temple is similar to Char Dham. It is situated in Puri, in the state of Odisha. A large number of tourists go on a pilgrimage to Shree Jagannath Temple every year. Each year at Shree Jagannath Temple, devotees do a Rath Yatra and Chandan Yatra. People from around the world join this Yatra and enjoy it. The Snana Yatra And Nabakalebara are some of the festivals celebrated in Shree Jagannath Temple.
This temple was built in 1161 CE. The temple of God Mahaprabhu, also known as Lord Vishnu, is the simplicity of the Sanatan religion. The images of Purusottama, ‘The original lord Vishnu and Laksmi’, are available in the temple. The nearest place to Shree Jagannath Temple is the Sun temple at just 35-40 km from Puri. The best time to visit Shree Jagannath Temple is during the Rath Yatra Festival and the Snana Yatra. For going Shree Jagannath Temple we can take a drive, flight or a train.
- Flight – the nearest airport is the Bhubaneswar Airport.
- Train – you can easily take trains to Puri from any city in the country.
- Bus – Bus services from all popular city to Puri are available.
7. Ranakpur Jain Temple
A 15th century old Jain temple is the most popular Jain Temple in the country. It is located in Ranakpur, Rajasthan with 3 small temples in it. The light colour of the temple attracts tourists with its design of Amber Stone and marble. Rajasthan is has always been famous for its richness and art. This temple is a live example of the artistic wealth of the state.
The temple is also famous for the nearby Parshvanath temple in Khajuraho. This temple is famous for erotic arts on walls and the architectural marvel. Nearby places include Kumbhalgarh Fort and Surya Narayan temple for travel in Ranakpur. The best time to visit here is August, which is neither too cold nor too hot.
For going to Ranakpur, you can use many all the ways of commutation like:
- Flight – Nearest airport is Dabok Airport.
- Train – the nearest railway station is Khimel.
- Bus – bus services are available from all major cities to Ranakpur.
8. Venkateswara Temple, Tirumala
The temple of Sri Venkateswara is situated in the hill town of Tirumala at Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. It is eminently known by the names Tirupati Balaji and Tirupati Temple. It’s elevated at 2,799 ft(853m) from the ground. It was built during ancient times. The design of this temple is a proof of ancient hand work.
- Srivari Brahmotsavam is a nine-day festival in the temple and is the most important of all.
- Vaikuntha Ekadashi is another festival starting in late December. This is celebrated for worship of Lord Vishnu only during Ekadashi.
- Ratha Saptami is a festival started on the seventh day of a particular month. This festival is also called Surya Jayanti.
You can go to Tirumala in this festive time and on other days. This temple was first built on 10 acres land by queen Samavai in early 966 CE. The aadhi Varaaha Swamy Temple is one of the nearest places to go for further devotion. Sri Venkateswara Museum is another place to visit in Tirumala.
You can go to Tirumala by air, bus and train.
- Air – you can go Tirupati airport from any city on flights.
- Train – Tirupati railway station is also well connected with train.
- Bus – Tirumala is well connected to all major cities via roads.
Also Read: Top 20 Shiva Temples in Uttarakhand
9. Sun Temple, Konark
Orissa is one of the few places where you can find a series of temples with a deep history. The Sun Temple in Konark, Orissa is a high point of achievement for the Konark architecture. The sun temple is one of the complexes designed by Konark architectures. Konark is situated at the distance of 35 km from Puri.
The capital city of Bhubaneswar is about 66 km from Konark. The meaning of the name “Konarka” is made up of two-word elements: Kona meaning corner and Arka meaning the sun. Standing near the Bay of Bengal for a long time, this temple is dedicated to Sun God. It was constructed by Raja Narsimha Deva 1 who was a powerful monarch of Orissa. The sun temple of Konark was built in the 13th century.
The attraction in the temple is the twelve pairs of wheels with seven pairs of horses. This is one of the best-looking temples in Orissa. The main sanctum is almost at a height of 229 ft. from the ground. The temple falls in the mid of a beautiful and green forest containing various varieties of trees.
- Road – The temple is 1,691.8 km from Delhi via NH19. It is well connected via roads.
- Air – Bhubaneshwar airport is the nearest. Then the road is there to reach Sun Temple.
- Train – Puri railway station is the nearest to Sun temple. Rest of the route is by road.
This temple is surrounded by some other small temples also. The main temple is also called ‘The Black Pagoda’. The nearby temple of Lord Jagannath (one of the famous Lord of Odessa) is called ‘The White Pagoda’.
India is a enigmatic place having tonnes of mysteries which have been baffling scientists all around the world. One such mystery can be seen in the Amarnath Temple. Amarnath is one of the holiest pilgrimage destinations for Hindus. Amarnath Temple is located in Jammu and Kashmir. The temple is in the form of a mountain cave inside which a Shiv-Ling of snow is present. Water drops falling from the roof to the floor get frozen and form the mesmerising ice Shiv-Ling.
About 141 km away from Srinagar, the temple is situated at an altitude of 3,888m making it quite a challenging journey for the pilgrims. Almost 43-kilometre track is one of the most alluring things in this pilgrimage. The yatra is not available for the whole year. Only in summers, the devotees are allowed to go on the Amarnath track. Thousands of devotees make an annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath temple in the months of July to August. Discovery of the holy cave was done by Bhrigu Muni. Some say that the cave was in water and Kashyap muni brought it out.
To reach Amarnath, you can take Bus, Cab or go in a helicopter.
- Bus – Amarnath roads are not well build. Buses have a hard time reaching there.
- Air – Helicopter services are there to the cave.
- Train – The nearest station is Jammu. Then you can hire cabs to reach Amarnath.