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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! Here are the best pilgrimage places to visit in India:

best pilgrimage places to visit in india

1. Rameshwaram

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

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. Kashmir

Kashmir will always make it to the 10 holy places of India list regardless of who is drafting it. The stunning region was once dominated by Hindus before a surge of Buddhism and Islam occurred. Today, the place is an archetype of unity in diversity speckled with a vast number of temples, mosques, and monasteries.

Many of the places of worship here date back to centuries ago. Kashmir is among the best pilgrimage places in India to visit and experience different religions in one place.

Interesting Reads: Places to Visit in Kashmir

4. Amritsar

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. Goa

It’s true that Goa has the ultimate party-city reputation. However, not many people realize that the steeped-in-history destination is also among the best pilgrimage places in India. Owing to its past Portuguese influence, Goa is home to some really incredible churches that Catholics will love to visit.

Enjoy the brilliant architecture of these churches and the peaceful ambiance they sit in. The most famous one, however, is the Basilica of Bom Jesus which holds the remains of the beloved Catholic Saint Francis Xavier.

Interesting Reads: Best Things To Do In Goa

6. New Delhi

Long before it was christened the capital of India, Delhi was the stronghold of Mughal rulers. Iconic mosques and other vital Islamic structures were built under them. Every Mughal monument in the city has a small mosque somewhere on the premises. The Jama Masjid in Delhi is among the most popular pilgrimage places in India for Muslims.

It is an absolute must for any Muslim traveling to the region to visit this place. Also, the Qutub Shahi Dargah is another important place. It holds the tombs of several legendary Mughal rulers.

Interesting Reads: Religious Places to Visit in Delhi

7. 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.

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.

Gangolihat, 35 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

8. Jharkhand

At the top of Ranchi Hill, there is a temple dedicated to Lord 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.

9. 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.

Orchha owes its popularity to its past. It was the capital of the Bundella dynasty, so its few streets intersect between temples and palaces where gods and kings lived and now forgotten.

Although it is small, there is a lot of movement of people, mainly in the Ram Raja temple, next to the main square. There are two places that undoubtedly stand out above the rest. These are the Raj Mahal and the Jahangir Mahal. Chathurburj is a temple that dates from the ninth century, surrounded by colorful stalls selling tika.

10. 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. The famous Kailasa temple of Ellora was built on the model of the Virupaksha temple.

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.

Galganatha 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.

The most representative temple of Srirangapatnam is the Ranganathaswamy Temple.

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.

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 Kandya Temple that exhibits a beautiful mixture of Hoysala and Dravidian architectural styles.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Durga temple in Aihole is another religious places that adds charm to Karnataka.

Interesting Reads: Best Places to Visit in Karnataka

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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