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Many travelers remain unaware of some absolutely incredible pilgrimage places in India. Spirituality is a large part of every Indian’s daily life. It's been one of the top things that attract people to India from all over the world. People of various religions have been peacefully coexisting in India for a long period of time.

Globetrotting travelers who seek spiritual enlightenment eventually make their way to India. Home to diverse religions, this enchanting land holds the answer to many of their questions. This has given pilgrimage tourism in India a huge boost making pilgrimage places in India highly sought-after.

While there may be no particular most holy place in India there are plenty of religious places that come quite close. Did you know there was a list of some best pilgrimage places in India by UNESCO as well? Let's take a close look at some of the top ones you can visit on your next trip.

From ancient mosques in the north and churches in the northeast to spectacular temples in South India, you will find it all here. You can visit some exceptionally amazing pilgrimage places in India even if making an impromptu business trip on last minute flights.

Check the list of the most popular ones listed here for your convenience. Visit as many of these incredible places of worship in India as you possibly can!

best pilgrimage places to visit in India

Here are the best pilgrimage places to visit in India:

1. Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu

Unsurprisingly, Rameshwaram tops our list of religious places in India that are most sought-after. The place is revered by Hindus across India as it is associated with many of the events from Hindu mythology. A popular pilgrim spot where devout Hindus come to wash off their sins, Rameshwaram is home to the famed Adam's Bridge, Palk Strait, and the stunning walk over sea among other important things.

Gandhamadhana Parvatham and Kothandaramaswamy Temple are among the most popular places of worship to visit here.

2. Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh

Sarnath happens to be among the most important pilgrimage places in India for Buddhists. Home of a number of Buddhist monasteries, temples and monuments, this is among the best places of worship in India for Buddhist travelers. It is believed the Buddha gave his very first sermon right here. Also, this is popularly believed to be the birthplace of the leader who founded Jainism.

Thereby, don't be surprised if you find quite a number of Jain temples in Sarnath in addition to the Buddhist ones.

3. Jwalamukhi Temple, Himachal Pradesh

This temple is located in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. This temple is dedicated to Sati, wife of Shiva. What may leave you in dismay here is the eternal flame that is burning in the premises of the temple for 100 years without any source of fuel. It is believed that Sati killed herself after hearing and mistreated Shiva from her father.

After her death, Vishnu made to split her body into 51 pieces which fell down on the different parts of the earth. It is believed that Sati Devi's Tongue has fallen at this place, where Jwala Ji temple is constructed. Many scientific organizations have come here to research the source of this eternal flame.

4. Amritsar, Punjab

Sikhs who book business class flights to the country often do it for a visit to Amritsar. Home to the revered Golden Temple, Amritsar is arguably the holiest places for Sikhs in India and the world. Receiving as many tourists, if not more, as the Taj Mahal, the Golden Temple is a must-visit for any spiritual traveler. This great complex is known as Harmandir Sahib.

The entrance of white marble is large and majestic, and the sight of the gold at the bottom of the entrance arches is incredible. The gigantic kitchen, known as Guru Ka Langar, feeds between 60,000 and 80,000 people each day. Marvel at the temple architecture, learn about its history, take in the serenity in the ambiance, and dine at the temple langar at least once. There are other magnificent temples to visit in Amritsar as well.

In your walk through the city you can go in search of the different temples that you can also visit, such as the Sri Durgiana Temple or the Mata Temple.

5. Veerabhadra Temple, Andhra Pradesh

Veerabhadra temple located at Andhra Pradesh is also known as Lepakshi Temple. Lepakshi Temple is famous for its architectural beauty. There are 70 Pillars in the temple, but one pillar lies hanging in the premises of the temple is the piece of wonder. To prove that, many people pass a piece of cloth through the bottom of the pillar. The mystery behind how this pillar stays intact without any support remains a million dollar question.

6. Shivagange Temple, Karnataka

The temple is located in Karnataka at a distance of 55 Kms from Bangalore. The temple is located in a cave on a small hill which can be climbed easily. Ghee is the product of butter which is obtained by heating butter. Here it is reversed.

7. Almora, Uttarakhand

One of the best excursions that can be done on a weekend morning is the hike to the Syahi Devi temple, a natural and cultural wonder. The temple was one of the places where Vivekananda meditated while on his own journey through the Himalayas. It is one of the quietest places you will find and a great place to enjoy a game of chess!

Some of the great places to travel in Uttarakhand in less budget would be the Katarmal Surya Temple. Vridh Jageshwar is only 40 km from Almora with innumerable temples of Shiva and the legends that exist of these.

Bageshwar is about 75 km from Almora. Bageshwar is famous for the confluence of the Rivers, Sarayu and Gomti. The ancient temple dedicated to Shiva, built by the Katyuri kings attracts many pilgrims to this site, especially in January on the religious occasion of Makar Sankranti. There are other places to visit in Uttarakhand from Almora such as Baijanath and Gananath.

8. Chamoli, Uttarakhand

Every year, at the end of April, the twin villages of Saloor Dungra celebrate the Ramman, a religious festival in honor of the local tutelary divinity, Bhumiyal Devta, in whose temple most festivities are celebrated.

9. Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand

Gangolihat, 75 km away, is an important religious center in the Haat Kalika temple. There are also some other temples in the area surrounding, such as Mahakali Temple, Patal Bhuvaneshwar, Mostamanu Temple and Ghunsera Devi Temple.

Interesting Reads: Places to Visit in Kedarnath and Badrinath

10. Tagore Hill, Jharkhand

At the top of Ranchi Hill, there is a temple dedicated to Shiva. People from different corners of the country gather in the temple to offer their homage to the deity. During the Shravan Mela festival, the place is flooded with Hindu devotees.

11. Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh

Why is the Khajuraho temple so popular? Why khajuraho temple was built? Why does the famous Lonely Planet guide recommend it? Why is it on all the tourist itineraries of those who visit India? Is it worth seeing the Kamasutra temples? What do we know about the Khajuraho mandir? In history Khajuraho was the religious capital of the Chandela dynasty, far away and long ago.

The temples of love are inside a very well maintained green property which is why it is very enjoyable to visit them, take pictures and play to find certain characters within the infinite temple carvings.

12. Badami, Karnataka

Pattadakal group of monuments is ideal for heritage tourism in the state. Pattadakal was the place where the Chalukya kings were crowned. The Virupaksha temple is the largest temple in Pattadakal. It was built in the 8th century by Queen Lokamahadevi to commemorate her husband's third victory over the Pallavas of Kanchi.

Also known as Vijayawara Temple, this temple is the oldest in Pattadakal. It has a Dravidian style. Both the Sangamesvara temple and the Virupaksha temple have the same square plane from the base to the sikhara, or cone-shaped top. The small temple of Chandrashekhara is to the left of the Sangameshvara temple. Mallikarjuna Temple
is a small version of the Virupaksha temple.

On the porch of the temple there is a beautiful image of Narasimha. In addition you can find references to the Ramayana, Mahabharatha and representations of the social life of the time. On the outside there are sculptures of Shiva, Nandi or Nataraja among others. Kashivisvanatha Temple was the last one built in the style of the first. It was built by the Rashtrakutas in the 8th century in a Nagara style.

Galaganatha Temple is located north of the Virupaksha temple and faces west. Papanatha temple dates back to the year 680. This temple has similarities with the Navabrahma temples of Alampur in Andhra Pradesh, which were also built by the Chalukyas of Badami. The pillars of the main hall have figures of couples and carved women.

In some parts of the temple you can find couples carved in loving attitudes, and on the outside there are figures of lions, elephants and scenes of the Ramayana. Durga temple in Aihole is another religious places that adds charm to Karnataka.

13. Mysore, Karnataka

The most representative temple of Srirangapatna is the Ranganathaswamy Temple. Talakadu is believed to have been under a curse that the once fertile town with more than 30 temples got submerged in sand. It is quite fascinating to see the entire town under beach sand. Of the 30 temples, 5 Shiva temples and a Keerthi Narayana temple has been excavated. ASI has done a wonderful job of excavation and reassembling this temple.

14. Shimoga, Karnataka

Agumbe is one of the highest peaks of Western Ghats. To go trekking and stop halfway in the Gopalakrishna Temple, a temple of the fourteenth century that exhibits Hoysala art. Together with Shimoga, you should also visit a small village, Sigandur. Just 63 kilometers from Shimoga, Sigandur is Sigandur Chowdeshwari Temple, which attracts a good number of tourists because of its religious importance.

The hills of Kodachadri rise above the small pilgrimage center of Kollur, presided over by Sri Mookambika Devi.

15. Chikmagalur, Karnataka

Another tourist attraction here is Hebbe Falls which is gigantic and the roaring waters that fall from the high cliff makes it a magnificent site! This serene hill station has beautiful monuments like the Kodandarama temple, Veera Narayana temple in Belavadi and Markandeshwara Temple in Khandya that exhibits a beautiful mixture of Hoysala and Dravidian architectural styles.

16. Hassan, Karnataka

Hasanamba Temple is very famous for its mystery. This temple is very unique from other temples. Hasanamba temple is opened once in a year for 10 days. After 10 days the pooja is performed and the doors are closed which is opened again only next year. The mystery is that the oil lamp lit before closing the doors will be burning when the doors are opened.

It is interesting to note that the flowers offered to the Goddess Hasanambe remain fresh when the doors are opened as if they were offered just then.

Belur and Halebidu are two other interesting temple complexes in Karnataka, very different from Hampi and with hardly any infrastructure for tourism. They are separated from each other by 15 km and is about 150 km from Mysore. The main attraction of Belur is the Chennakeshava temple built by King Vishnuvardhana to celebrate the victories over the Chola dynasty in the great battle of Talakad.

Built by the Hoysala rulers, Chennakeshavasvami Temple is a magnificent sanctuary dedicated to Vijayanarayana. The facade of the temple is full of stone carvings of elephants, horses, lions, sensual dances and epic episodes of Indian mythology like the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas. This Belur temple is located on the banks of the Yagachi River, also called Velapura.

The temple is a ekakuta vimana design, combining elements of the Nagara style architecture of northern India and Dravida style of southern India. Halasuru Someshwara Temple is located on the outskirts of Halasuru also called Ulsoor in Bangalore. Another notable art in the sculptures are Mount Kailash of Ravana and Durga killing Mahishasura.

Halebidu was the capital of the Hoysalas in the 12th century and is a small temple but with very elaborate stone sculptures. The Hoysaleswara temple stands out for the thousands of figures carved in the stone, all of them different, representing mythology, dancers, birds and all kinds of animals. The second temple is called Kedareshwara, and the two are located in front of a large lake, from which the city takes its name.

Shettihalli Rosary Church is one of the famous places in Karnataka. This church remains submerged under water during monsoon but comes out of it during summer season.

17. Hampi, Karnataka

Hampi is located literally among the ruins of Vijayanagara, the ancient capital of the Vijayanagara empire. Still today it is an important religious center, and the Virupaksha temple is a clear exponent, since important Hindu ceremonies are held continuously. The numerous Dravidian temples of the Vijayanagara Empire made it one of the largest medieval cities of the time after Beijing.

One of the most striking elements within the complex of the Vijaya Vittala Temple is a sanctuary in the shape of a stone car (one of the three most famous in India) pulled by elephants and dedicated to Garuda. Inside the temple, which stands out for its elegance and grandiosity are some curious musical pillars. They say that each of them emits a different rhythmic sound when hit with a sandalwood stick.

If you have more time (and desire) you can make an excursion to the other side of the river, where there are several temples, although they are not as beautiful like the Hanuman Temple. You will have to climb 572 steps to get to the top but you will enjoy incredible views of Hampi.

Achyutaraya Temple is one of the most imposing and striking. Visible from Matanga Hill and at the end of the street of the courtiers, the idol to which the temple is dedicated is Tiruvengalanatha.

18. Davanagere, Karnataka

Davanagere is located at a distance of 260 kilometers from Bangalore. Kundavada kere also known as Mallikarjuna sagara is a picturesque lake. Soole kere also known as Shanti Sagara has a temple dedicated to Siddeshwara near the lake. An important attraction of Davanagere is the Durgambika Devi fair. Murugha Mutt (Shivayogi mandir) is located in the heart of the city and several religious and cultural programs are organized here.

Davanagere benne dose or Davanagere Butter dosa is an icon of Davanagere. It is prepared by adding generous amount of benne (butter) along with coconut chutney and special white alu sabzi (normally alu sabzi are greenish yellow in color).

19. Bhatkal, Karnataka

The 20 storey high Gopura (249 feet) is the first thing you will see when you visit this place. It has a has lift to take you to the top for the amazing experience. The view of the shiva statue opposite on the coast and the beaches on the other sides is a treat! Its famous for its gigantic shiva statue which is the second tallest in the world! Standing 123 feet high on the coast of Arabian sea is something not to be missed.

Keep aside half a day for this. Make note of the Murudeshwar temple timings before visiting otherwise you will need to wait and the queue gets longer. So prepare in advance. Also there is a restaurant if you feel hungry just on the side of temple. Its built a little inside the coast which gives a wonderful sea view feel. Do note the waiting time is top and you may have wait long to get a place.

20. Nashik, Maharashtra

Trimbakeshwar is the most sacred place for the devotees of Lord Shiva. It is one of the many Jyotirlinga which are spread all over India. Trimbakeshwar is situated on the banks of river Ganga. Experience the Indian art of living in this place.

Gondeshwar Temple is made up of the classical Hemapanti styled architecture. These shrines were not merely religious sanctums. But they were also pivotal centers for sharing knowledge & research on regional history, sociology, good governance and tradition.

Interesting Reads: Best Places to Visit in Karnataka

21. Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh

Divya darshan tickets is provided to pilgrims who walk from Alipiri or srivarimetlu. Sarva Darshanam is mainly known as free darshanam . Two options are provided with token or without token. Time for darshan is more for Sarva Darshanam. If you are planning along with family avoid weekends and try for Tuesday or Wednesday. These days have minimum pilgrims compared to normal days.

Try to stick to right hand side to see Venkateswara for more time. If you are planning to go to Tirumala by steps avoid luggage. You can deposit luggage at Alipiri and same will be given to you once you reach Tirumala. Don't loose your Divya Darshan special Darshan tokens. Carry your own carry bags for laddus. Try to avoid steps on weekends. Crowd will be more.

Try to eat fruits. Normal breakfast is not good. If you don't get accommodation you can try to get lockers in Madhavam Complex. You can keep your luggage and go for the darshan. Free food is provided to pilgrims in multiple places. If you have free time you can visit some beautiful places near Tirumala like Akasha Ganga, Sri Venugopala Swamy temple, Papavinasam.

With so many incredible pilgrimage places in India, plan a visit at the earliest possible. Find some cheap flights to India real quick and make your way here pronto! See some of the most stunning places of worship in India and have your most serene trip yet. Visiting these fantastic pilgrimage places in India will leave you with some memorable moments for sure.
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