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India is a secular country and thus, it holds numerous ancient and modern religious sites. The divine aura is so irresistible that people from all over the world are attracted to feel the connection with God. Many travel enthusiasts, devotees and photographers visit these religious sites to learn more about the culture and history of India. Due to these reasons, there has been a growth of 6-7 percent booking to sacred places in India in recent years.
The manifold of temples, mosques, churches, gurudwaras and monasteries defines India all over the world. The religious culture of this land appeals tourists of various religion to take up full-fledged spiritual destinations tourism.
Explore 20 most famous Religious sites that you must visit in India.
1. Vaishno Devi Temple
Location: Trikuta Hills in Jammu
The temple of Maa Vaishno Devi in Katra situated in Jammu could be reached only after emphatic uphill trek covering 12 Km distance. The abode of Mata Vaishno is amongst the most popular pilgrimage in India. Most of the devotees prefer the roadway, on the road to ‘darbar’ or taking the stairs.
Mesmerizing landscape, pervading divinity and thrilling adventure all these you will enjoy during the trek. This is one journey in India that will remain etched in your memories forever.
Location: Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand
Kedarnath is located on the snow-capped Garhwal Himalayan range near the Mandakini river and one of the holiest pilgrimage site in India. It is one of the Char Dhams located in the Himalayas.
Kedarnath Temple is visited by thousands of devotees from all over India to seek the blessing of Lord Shiva and is situated at an elevation of 11,755 ft above sea level. The temple is open to the general public only between April and November and closed all other times due to the extreme weather conditions.
Location: Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh
The ancient city of Tirupati is famous amongst pilgrims for the Tirumala Venkateswara or Tirupati Balaji Temple. Tirupati is named among the most famous holy destinations in India and visited by many devotees. It is believed that Tirumala Venkateshwara is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Like other holy temples in South India, Tirupati Balaji too is known for the exquisite architecture. The temple is considered as the Temple of Seven Hills. Tirupati Balaji Temple is the wealthiest temple in the entire Indian subcontinent temples.
Also Read: Top 5 Places To Visit In Andra Pradesh
Location: Ahmednagar, Maharashtra
The holy home of the Saint Sai Baba, Shirdi is among the most famous sacred destinations in India. Visited by people of all faiths for the reverence of Sai Baba, the town is visited all throughout the year.
The way Sai Baba enlightened many souls through his abstinent practices and teachings unattached with any religion made Shirdi a place of tourism. Saibaba emphasized on God being One- ‘Sabka Maalik Ek’ and represent the idea of equality.
5. Jagannath Temple
Location: Puri, Odisha
A famous pilgrimage in India, Jagannath Temple is the most exceptional monument in Odisha. Jagannath temple is one of the fourth religious sites for Char Dham. Although a famous pilgrimage, Jagannath Temple comes to life during the annual rath yatra when a huge number of devotees visits the temple.
King Indradyumna built it in the 11th century. The main deities statues presiding over the temple are Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra.
6. Jama Masjid
The most integral part of Delhi tourism- Jama Masjid, ranks among the worlds’ most popular Muslim religious sites. This spectacular architectural was constructed by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1644. This highly great masjid comprises of four grand towers and three massive gates.
The floor of Jama Masjid has been covered with white and black ornamented marbles resembling Muslim mat. Each year, on Eid, thousands of reverent Muslims gather in the mosque to offer special Eid Namaz in the morning.
Also Read: Top 5 Places To Visit In Delhi
7. Ajmer Sharif Dargah
Location: Ajmer, Rajasthan
Ajmer Sharif Dargah is the Sufi shrine of revered saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti. It is believed that he lives here and listens to people’s wishes and fulfills them. Gharib Nawaz Dargah Sharif is visited by millions of devotees every year from all over the globe.
The Muslim devotees from all over the world visit dargah to attend the annual Urs festival at Ajmer Sharif. The Dargah captivates everyone’s heart as there is undoubtedly something magical about this place that people from different faith come and worship here.
Location: Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
The exact meaning of Taj-ul-Masjid is ‘The Crown of Mosques,’ and it is located in the city of lakes- Bhopal. It is the largest mosque in India and tallest in Asia. It is listed among the worlds’ most popular Muslim religious sites. This mosque was built during Nawab Shah Jahan Begum of Bhopal.
The mosque has a capacity of 175,000 people. The building offers an impressive view and is crowned with two massive white-domed minarets. This special mosque is the most beautiful structure of Bhopal.
9. Gurdwara Harmandir Sahib
Location: Amritsar, Punjab
Golden Temple is situated in a city of Amritsar which is enclosed by a human-made lake with dazzling water and beautiful fishes in it. Constructed by the 4th Sikh Guru- Ramdass Sahib Ji, Gurudwara Harmandir Sahib, is the most prominent Sikh pilgrimage site to visit in India.
The golden gilded temple reminds of numerous Sikh historical events. Starting from morning till evening, one can listen to the prayers enchanting within the premises of the temple. All this creates a holy atmosphere that one will love to experience repeatedly.
Also Read: Top 5 Places To Visit In Punjab
10. Takht Sri Patna Sahib
Location: Patna, Bihar
Takht Sri Patna Sahib has a great sacred significance that entices the devotees from India and the world. It is home of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. It is situated on the banks of river Ganga in the beautiful city of Patna. Built by the first emperor of Punjab- Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Patna Sahib has a fascinating history to reveal; it is the place where Guru Gobind Singh Ji was born in the year 1666. The tenth guru had stayed here for many years before leaving for Anandpur. Thus this place is considered as the memory home of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
11. Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib
Location: Chamoli District, Uttarakhand
Hemkund Sahib is a prominent Sikh pilgrimage in India situated at an altitude of 4,329m above sea level. Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib is the highest altitude Gurudwara on the earth, which is located between an outstanding panorama.
The architecture of Gurudwara is entirely relevant to the surroundings. Hemkund Sahib has a pentagonal structure. Beautiful hills cosset resembles the worship area and each crest is referred to as a holy Nishan Sahib. Due to its religious significance, devotees from all over the globe visit here every year.
12. Mahabodhi temple
Location: Bodhgaya, Bihar
Bodhimanda Vihara is the significant monastery of Bodhgaya now known as the Mahabodhi Temple. Considered as one of the most substantial and pious temples in the Buddhist religion. The temple has an enormous 180 feet pyramid structure which has a few themes engraved on it and gives an impression of the custom, convention, culture and lessons of Buddhism.
It was the spot where Lord Buddha attained his learnings sitting under an ancient Bodhi tree which is still present within the temple. It is now listed among UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Also Read: Top 5 Places To Visit In Bihar
13. Sarnath Temple
Location: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
After attaining enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, the Lord Buddha visited Sarnath. Sarnath Temple is widely famous for being one of the holiest and must-visit pilgrim sites holding great significance in the Buddhism religion. At Sarnath, the Lord Buddha established the “Wheel of Dharma” is Sarnath.
Sarnath Temple is that holy place where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon preached about the doctrine of Buddhism along with the four noble truths, eightfold paths and the middle part of attaining ‘Nirvana.’ Built by emperor Akhbar in 3rd century B.C.
14. Namdroling Monastery
Location: Coorg, Karnataka
The Namdroling Monastery popularly known as Golden Temple is the largest Buddhist center in the world. Namdroling Monastery is the most beautiful Buddhist temple with Tibetan mythology paintings and artwork.
Inside the monastery, witness the enormous 40 feet high golden statues of Guru Padmasambhava, Amityaus and Buddha Sakyamuni, surrounded by lovely paintings of various sides of Tibetan Buddhist mythology. The prayer rituals conducted by the monks are quite unique in their way.
15. Gomateshwara Temple
Location: Vindhyagiri, Karnataka
Gomateshwara Statue or The Statue of Bahubali is the 2nd biggest solid statues on the planet which is 57-feet high. Gomateshwara Temple is arranged at Shravanabelagola in the Hassan area of Karnataka. It is the most renowned Jain pilgrimage and important heritage sites of South India. The Gomateshwara statue was built in the 10th century by Chamundaraya from the Ganga dynasty.
Devotees come to Shravanabelagola for the festival known as the Mahamastakabhisheka. This festival celebrated once in 12 years, where the Gomateshwara statue is anointed with milk, saffron, ghee and other things.
Also Read: 5 Places to See in Karnataka
16. Ranakpur Temple
Location: Pali District, Rajasthan
The Ranakpur Jain Temple or Chaturmukha Dharana is a blessed journey for Jains in India. Situated in the Pali region of Rajasthan. The Ranakpur temple is among one of the oldest Jain shrines in India. Travelers from everywhere throughout the world visit this temple that has eye-catching architecture and excellent environment. From 1500 years, this temple is dedicated to Tirthankara Rishabhanatha.
The stone carvings of the Ranakpur Temple are based on the ancient Mirpur Jain Temple that is located at Rajasthan. The special thing about the temple is its color-changing columns. The column color changes from golden to pale blue after every hour during the day.
17. Sri Digambar Jain Mandir
Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir is known as the most ancient Jain mandir dedicated to the 23rd Tirthankara of Lord Parshvanath. Besides the colossal statue of Parshvanath, the temple also houses idols of Rishabhdev and Lord Mahavir. It is constructed by red stones that’s why known as Lal Mandir.
It is known for a bird’s veterinary hospital in a second building behind the main temple. The Mughal Emperor welcomed the Jain traders to Delhi and allowed them land in his capital. The families brought their religion and assembled the temple out of appreciation for their Gods
18. Basilica of Bom Jesus
Location: Old Goa
Can you consider Goa as a sacred spot? I think nobody!! Ironically, Goa contains many ancient and modern churches. The glorious church of Bom Jesus is known for the tomb of St. Francis Xavier and it is most visited the church in India. It was found that the St. Xavier’s body was as fresh as the day it was buried.
This miraculous event continues to attract many devotees across India. Exposition or public viewing of his body in every ten years attracts lakhs of pilgrims all over the world.
Also Read: Top 5 Places To Visit In Goa
19. Se Cathedral
Location: Goa/ Daman
Se Cathedral is the largest church in India. This cathedral is a famous landmark built with Portuguese Manueline style. The Se Cathedral holds a large bell called Golden Bell. It is said to be one of the best bells in the world and the largest in Goa. The church alter depicts the dedication of Catherine of Alexandria.
You can witness numerous paintings on the sides of the altar. Se Cathedral stands the beautiful whitewashed Church of St. Francis of Assisi, which today houses part of the archaeological museum.
20. Santa Cruz Basilica
Location: Fort Kochi, Kerala
The Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Kochi is one of the eight Basilicas in Kerala. Considered as one of the heritage sites of Kerala. This church is the finest and most impressive churches in India and visited by tourists across the world.
The first Portuguese Viceroy constructed Santa Cruz Cathedral, Francesco de Almeida.
Apart from these, there are numerous other religious destinations in India which you can visit such as Dwaraka, Badrinath, Somnath Jyotirling, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, Rishikesh and others. It is best to visit these destinations at the time of festivals to enjoy many interesting rituals.