Hindu pilgrimage sites in India

From Bharatpedia, an open encyclopedia

In Hinduism, the yatra (pilgrimage) to the tirthas (sacred places) has special significance for earning the punya (spiritual merit) needed to attain the moksha (salvation) by performing the darśana (viewing of deity), the parikrama (circumambulation), the yajna (sacrificial fire offering), the Dhyana (spiritual contemplation), the puja (worship), the prarthana (prayer, which could be in the form of mantra - sacred chants, bhajan - prayer singing, or kirtan - collective musical prayer performance), the dakshina (alms and donation for worthy cause), the seva (selfless service towards community, devotees or temple), the bhandara (running volunteer community kitchen for pilgrims), etc. These sacred places are usually located on the banks of sacred water bodies, such as sacred rivers or their tributaries (among the rigvedic rivers of sapta sindhu the trio ganges-yamuna-saraswati are considered most scared), the kundas (pond or lake, among these the Lake Manasarovar is considered most scared), the ghats (water bodies with stairs such as Ghats in Varanasi), or the stepwells (among these the rani ki vav in the form of inverted temple is considered most spectacular), or the temple tanks.

In order of importance, in India there are 7 Sapta Puri holy cities, 4 Dhams (Char Dham) and 12 Jyotirlings devoted to the Lord Shiva, 51 Shakti Pithas devoted to the feminine manifestation of the god, and the important Lord Rama circuit (Ayodhya, Chitrakoot, Hampi and Rameswaram) and Lord Krishna circuit (Braj. Kurukshetra and Dwarka).

Holy Places: Himalayan Chota Char Dham - Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. Varanasi, Prayagraj, Haridwar-Rishikesh, Mathura-Vrindavan, Ayodhya, Dwarka and Rameswaram.

Holy Fairs: The Kumbh Mela (the "pitcher festival") is one of the holiest of Hindu pilgrimages that is held four times every twelve years; the location is rotated among the four cities of Prayagraj, Haridwar, Nashik, and Ujjain. The Mahamaham in temple town of Kumbakonam is also celebrated once in 12 years. Annual Gita Mahotsav at Kurukshetra, Shravani Mela at Deoghar, and Pitrapaksha Mela at Gaya are also notable holy fairs.

Holy Temples: the Char Dham of Rameswaram, Dwarka, Puri and Badrinath. Katra, home to the Vaishno Devi temple; Puri home to Vaishnava Jagannath temple and Rath Yatra celebration; Tirumala - Tirupati, home to the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple; Sabarimala home to Swami Ayyappan; the 108 Divya Desams; the Shakti Peethas; the twelve Jyotirlingas; the seven Sapta Puri; the Pancha Bhoota Stalam.

Holy Deity : Kuladaivat Hindu families have their own family patron deity. This deity is common to a lineage, a clan or a locality.

Samadhis (shrines) of Saints: Alandi, Samadhi of Dnyaneshwar: Mantralayam, samadhi of Raghavendra Tirtha, Belur Math which enshrine that Holy remains of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda Puri, and other direct Disciples of Sri Ramakrishna, Tulsi Ghat, Varanasi where Saint Tulsidas left his mortal coil, Samadhi Mandir of Saint Kabir at Gorakhpur, near Varanasi, Panchaganga Ghat, Varanasi where Trailanga Swami lived and left his mortal body, Karar Ashram, Puri where Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, attained the Mahasamadhi.[1]


Varanasi is one of the main pilgrimage sites.
Dwaraka temple
Tirupati temple
Jagannath temple
Badrinath temple
Amarnath temple
Kesava Deo temple
Guruvayoor Temple

See also


  1. Yogananda, Paramahansa (1997). Autobiography of a Yogi, 1997 Anniversary Edition p. 383. Self-Realization Fellowship (Founded by Yogananda) http://www.yogananda-srf.org/,
  2. "Kurukshetra map". kurukshetra.nic.in. Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  3. "Haryana Tourism". Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  4. "Development of all pilgrimage sites located within a radius of 48 kos (miles) of Kurukshetra would be carried out". Chief Minister's Office, Haryana. 11 October 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  5. "The 48 Kos Kurukshetra Region". harekrsna.com. Retrieved 24 July 2016.

Further reading

Template:Hindu holy cities