Experience Holy Cities in India

India, the name goes synonymous with a land that offers a multiplicity of religion, caste, creed and its esteem hospitality to vouch for. This Nation offers some of the holiest cities in the world, each narrating its own legend and rich history and culture. India as a country can most convincingly boast of offering its tourists the best spiritual destinations in the world.

Please allow us to take you through a brief sojourn of visiting famous holy cities in India as below, where the actual heritage is still intact in its pristine self and one actually ends up gaining enlightenment into the inner self.

Kedarnath - Kedarnath Temple
Located in the Garhwal Himalayan Ranges of Uttarakhand near Mandakini River is the Kedarnath Temple, which is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas - the actual place where Lord Shiva has appeared in physical form for his devotees in the past.The temple is hence considered as one of the holiest Hindu shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva.Pandavas were supposed to have pleased Lord Shiva by doing penance in Kedarnath. Hence the place got its historical name from 'Lord of Kedar Khand'. The temple gained prominence due to the miracles during the 2013 flash floods. During the 2013 cloudburst, temple complex and surrounding areas suffered extensive damage to a point of total annihilation. However, aerial photos showed that the temple itself was still standing among the surrounding debris and this was considered as a miracle.

Haridwar – Holy Ganga
Haridwar, meaning 'Gateway to God' is located in state of Uttarakhand in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is one of the most visited spiritual destinations in India, as it is believed to be our way to God and salvation. This is one of those rare places blessed by the three Hindu Gods: Lord Brahma ('sristhi'), Lord Vishnu ('stithi'), and Lord Shiva ('samhara'). The belief of the pilgrims who come here is that a visit to this very holy place and a dip in holy river Ganga washes away their sins. The final remains of Hindus post cremation is also immersed in Holy Ganga for a final exit from this materialistic world, thus beginning the journey through astral world.

It is believed that Rishikesh is the birth place of Yoga, India's biggest contribution to the world. A small town in the state of Uttrakhand and located among scenic beautiful hills with the river Ganges flowing beneath the dense lush green forests, Rishikesh is a definite visit by all those who seek bliss and solitude.Celebrities from all across flock the city to study the art of yoga and attain Inner peace due to its serene and pristine environment, thus making this place a hotspot for International tourists who seek spiritual awakening and learning. Rishikesh is thus considered perfect for pilgrimage along with meditation facilities.

Amritsar - The Golden Temple
The Harmandir Sahib, informally known as the The Golden Temple is one of the most important shrines of the Sikhs.The temple depicts openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religion as symbolized by the four doors to get into the Harimandir Sahib. The most interesting fact about the Golden Temple is that the foundations of this holy place were laid by Hasrat Mian Mir, a Muslim saint. This sacred destination is fully alive with religious passion and purity. One of their most important festivals is the Vaisakhi, which is celebrated in the second week of April (usually the 13th). Sikhs celebrate this day as the auspicious day of founding of the Khalsa clan.It is celebrated with great fervor in the temple premises.

Varanasi – Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Varanasi is also called as Kashi. This holy city is known as the spiritual capital of India and is located in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Varanasi is declared by pilgrims as the city of Lord Shiva. According to Hindu devotees they believe that anyone who dies in this spiritual place attains moksha without following the cycle of reincarnation. More than 3000 years have passed since this religious Centre was discovered. Many of its temples were plundered and destroyed by Mohammad Ghauri in the 12th century and thus only a small fragment of yester year's knowledge and culture still resides with us now. Varanasi is famous for the Kashi Vishwanath Temple - one of the Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. The temples and religious institutions in the city date back to the 18th century.

Bodhgaya – Mahabodhi temple complex
The significance of Bodh Gaya comes from the fact that it is the place where Gautama Buddha obtained Enlightenment (Bodhimandala) under the Bodhi tree, which is still standing tall. This is a religious site and place of pilgrimage associated with the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Gaya district in the state of Bihar. The place-name i.e. Bodh Gaya, did not come into use until the 18th century. Historically, it was known as Uruvela, Sambodhi, Vajrasana or Mahabodhi. The main monastery of Bodh Gaya used to be called as Pali, now it is called the Mahabodhi Temple.

Bodhgaya is one of the most important and sacred Buddhist pilgrimage center in the world and attracts both Buddhist's and believers of Buddhism worldwide to this holy location. The temple is an architectural amalgamation of many centuries, cultures and heritages. This can be envisaged from the evidence of its architecture which has a distinct stamp of the Gupta era; it also has inscriptions describing visits of pilgrims from Sri Lanka, Myanmar and China between 7th and 10th century AD.

Ajmer - Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti's Dargah
The holy city of Ajmer is the 5th largest city in Rajasthan and is the Centre of Ajmer District and the beautiful city is surrounded by the Aravalli Mountains.

The Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti's Dargah Ajmer Sharif is located in Southwest of Jaipur. It is a holy place for Muslims. But devotees and devotees of Islam from all over the world and religion visit this place to seek blessings. The tomb of a highly revered Sufi saint was constructed by the Mughal emperor Humayaun. Moinuddin Chishti introduced and established the order in the subcontinent. The initial spiritual chain of the Chishti order in India, constitutes the great Sufi saints of Indian history today, millions of pilgrims go here to obtain the Saint's blessings. It is said to be the most prominent pilgrim center after the holy city of Mecca.

Thiruvananthapuram - Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple
Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple as per belief is located at a place which is considered as one of the seven Parasurama Kshetras and references of this temple are there in the Puranas, namely -Skanda Purana and Padma Purana. The Principal Deity, Padmanabhaswamy, is enshrined in the "Anantha-sayanam" posture (in the eternal sleep of Yoga-nidra on the serpent Anantha). This shrine is run by the Royal Family of Travancore and they are the principal caretakers. The temple came to limelight recently because of the most spectacular archaeological find in the 21st century; billions in gold and jewels were uncovered in the secret sanctums of this centuries-old Indian shrine in series treasure vaults and it is said to be worth more than an estimated value of approx. twenty billion dollars which put it on the world map.

Tirupati– Lord Venkateshwara Swamy temple
The holy city of Tirupati is a major pilgrimage and cultural city in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. It is the largest city in the Rayalaseema region. Tirupati is famous for the Venkateswara Swamy temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, located about 20 kilometers North West of Tirupati in the Tirumala hills at an elevation of 853 meters above sea level. Tirupati is considered as one of the most relevant pilgrimage centers in the World; the temple draws millions of pilgrims and is now the busiest pilgrimage Centre in the world. Tirupati City itself has several other temples and is famous for its red wooden toys, copper and brass idols. Also, this has helped boot the city to a major economic and educational hub in the southern region of the state. There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord in Tirumala. According to one legend, the temple has an idol of Lord Venkateswara, which it is believed would remain in existence through the entire duration of the present Yuga namely Kaliyuga.

Madurai– Meenakshi Amman Temple
Located in the southern bank of river Vaigai,Tamil Nadu,the beautiful Madurai city is famous for the Meenakshi Amman Temple, besides being the third largest city and the second largest municipal corporation in the state of Tamil Nadu.The Meenakshi Temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvati who is known as Meenakshi and her consort, Lord Shiva, named here as Sundareswarar. The name "Minachchi" means fish eyed and is derived from the words "mina" meaning fish and "akṣi" meaning eyes. According to a Hindu legend, in order to answer the prayers of the second Pandya king Malayadwaja Pandya and his wife Kanchanamalai, Parvati appeared out of the holy fire of the Putra Kameshti Yagna performed by the king. There is also another version of this story which says that the goddess herself gave a boon to Kanchanamalai in one of her previous births that she would have the privilege of mothering the Goddess.