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The Pilgrim’s Bucket List

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Char Dham Yatra - Haridwar and Rishikesh

You may want to have a conversation with God or delve deeper into your soul to connect with yourself. Whatever it may be, India is the place to be in if you want to pay heed to your spiritual calling. A land rich in culture and heritage, India is also a place of many religions. It is no secret that people from all over the world visit India because of its spiritual connection. Be it along the banks of the Ganga river in Rishikesh or amidst the hills in Badrinath, exhale all your inhibitions out as you take a deep breath with the light breeze blessing your face. How many places can you strike out of your list by the end of this year? We have created a pilgrim’s top bucket list for you, if you are in the search of sanctity and pristine beauty.

Rishikesh, Must Have Destination in Your Pilgrim’s Bucket List

Ganga Rishikesh

Also known as the Yogic Hub, this holy hamlet attracts many tourists because of its sacred Ganga Aarti at Triveni Ghat. You hear pandits chanting hymns as each devotee whispers a prayer of hope under their breath, before they set afloat their diyas onto the holy river. Take a dip in the holy river along the Triveni Ghat and wash away all the worries and fears that you may have. This holy town makes you feel safe with it being one of the few places that will take you the closest to the presence of God. Moreover, Rishikesh is also the yoga enthusiast’s paradise with its many ashrams and yoga retreats. Speak to your inner soul and have that long overdue conversation with yourself.


Kedarnath Dham - The Pilgrim’s Bucket List

Located on the foothills of the Himalayas, Kedarnath is one of the four Char Dham pilgrimage centres in India. Tourists from all over the world visit this 1200-year-old temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Situated amidst snow-capped mountains, the Kedarnath temple welcomes its devotees with a spiritual atmosphere after an adventurous trek to Lord Shiva’s shrine. Moreover, the endless meadows and lush forests located at the lower ranges of the Himalayas add to the charm. The 14-kilometre trek to the Kedarnath temple starts with Gauri Kund, another mythological location. Rumour has it that Goddess Parvati engaged in deep meditation in the hope of marrying Lord Shiva here.


Image Source : holidify.com

If you cannot reach the stairway to heaven, don’t worry, you can take the gateway to the Gods in Haridwar. With pandits chanting holy words and priests holding large fire bowls in their hands, you will be awe struck with the spirituality of this city. It is lit up with hope of thousands of devotees and the sparkle in their eyes as they set their diyas free to drift on the river. All in the hopes of having a conversation with God. Har ki Paudi is deemed to be the most historically significant temple in the city. This temple is famous for its Ganga aarti, with thousands of devotees attending every day. It is known to be the exact spot where the Ganges leaves the mountains and enters the planes.

Must Read : A Spiritual Journey to Haridwar and Rishikesh

Amarnath, Must Visit Destination from Your Pilgrim’s Bucket List

Amarnath Cave - Amarnath Yatra

Located in Jammu and Kashmir, this Hindu shrine is situated at an altitude of 3,888 metres. The Amarnath caves are located amidst snow clad mountains and at least 2 lakh yatris pay obeisance at the holy shrine of Lord Shiva each year. The yatra trek however takes place only during the summer season with registration starting from April 1 and the yatra commencing on July 1. The most common route taken by Yatra Pilgrims is Amarnath via Baltal which is at a distance of 14 kilometres from the cave which can be covered by both road and helicopter.


Shirdi-sai-temple - The Pilgrim’s Bucket List
Image Source : culturalindia.net

The beatific land of Sai makes you feel the omnipresence of God. The soothing sound of the temple bells ringing amidst the clamor of devotees, and the divine garlanded idol of Sai Baba smiling benignly, makes the search for peace worthwhile. The Sai Baba temple is one of the most famous places in Shirdi. This temple is dedicated to Sai Baba, who is worshipped as an incarnation of God, by lakhs of devotees. Located in the heart of the village, this temple sees at least 60,000 devotees each day.


Amritsar Temple

Situated amidst the Lake, Golden Temple in Amritsar is one of the most religiously significant pilgrimage sites in the country. With its kada parasad warming your soul, Harmandir Sahib welcomes people from all religions. With its beautiful location, merely sitting by the lake known as Amrita Saras (Pool of nectar) and contemplating life would be therapeutic. One can enter this holy shrine from four entrances. This signifies the fact that people from all walks of life, caste and creed can enter this temple. Amritsar’s own personal sun is Golden Temple’s gleaming central shrine topped by a dome made of 750 kgs of gold. The homely langar is served every day, filling the stomachs of at least 1 lakh people visiting the temple.



Where the hills meet the Gods, Badrinath is one of the most sought-after holy sites by tourists and devotees. Badrinath temple with its grand entrance, is bathed with sheets of snow if you visit during the winter season. This temple is home to Lord Vishnu and one of the four Char Dham pilgrimage sites. This sacred shrine has visiting hours from 4 am to 10 pm. Rumour also has it that each time a devotee opens the door to the temple, they find a lamp which has been glowing continuously since the last six months. If you are interested in purchasing some sacred souvenirs, you must head to Salagram Sila – a sacred stone of Lord Vishnu. Here you will get religious books, ancient relics and holy threads.

Suggested Read : 10 Reasons to Plan a Rejuvenating Family Trip to Char Dham Yatra


Temple in Varanasi

Known as the Hinduism capital of the country, Varanasi a.k.a Benaras is laden with 88 ghats that lead to the Ganga river. Popular temples include Kashi Viswanath Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple, Dhanvantari Temple and Durga Temple. This atmospheric city has tourists from all over the world and strikes even the most well-trodden traveller with awe. Taking a dip in the holy Ganga river by the Ghats is believed to give one ultimate salvation. You will find the Ghats along the banks of the Ganga River sprawling with fortune tellers, snack-sellers, vegetable vendors, boat-operators and yoga practitioners. Being a popular tourist destination, this city is extremely crowded especially towards the Ghat areas. However, the one thing that still floats in the air is devotion.


Kanchipuram Temple - The Pilgrim’s Bucket List
Image Source : oneday.tours

With numerous Shivaji and Vishnu Temples, this town is also famous for silk articles. This city is dotted with ancient stone temples such as Vaikunta Perumal temple, Kailasanathar temple, Varadharaja temple and Kumarkottam temple to name a few. History says that the country’s tallest temple tower can be found at Ekambareswara temple. Kanchipuram also houses famous Jainism religious spots such as Trilokyantaha temple and Chandraprabha temple. To understand the way of life of people in this religious city, tourists can also stay in maths and enjoy its culture. If you are a Lord Shiva devotee, you must visit the Kailasanathar temple. It is one of the oldest structures in the city and has detailed, intricate carvings and architecture.

Jammu and Kashmir

Image Source : blog.railyatri.in

Vaishnodevi is nestled in the lap of Trikuta Mountain. Pilgrims from all walks of life have been visiting this holy site since time immemorial. This holy pilgrimage site is a cave tucked away in the lower Himalayas. It is located at an altitude of 5,200 feet above sea level with Katra, a small village as its base camp. The tunnel to the holy cave comprises the symbols of Vakra Tunda Ganesha, Surya Dev and Chandra Dev. To reach over the Dhadh of Bhairon Nath, you will have to crawl into the cave through the tunnel. As you wade through the water, you will get to see the symbol of Lord Hanuman known as Launka Beer.

Also Read : 10 Reasons to Plan a Vaishno Devi Yatra with Your Family this Holiday Season


Basilica of Bom Jesus at Old Goa

We know, you may be surprised to see Goa in this list since it is known to be the perfect holiday spot for partying and chilling. However, this destination also has a number of vintage churches. Basilica of Bom Jesus is one of the oldest churches in the country and is often frequented by tourists. It is rather famous in the Roman Catholic world and houses the tomb and the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier who was also addresses as the Apostles of the Indies. If you want a detailed tour of the Church along with some interesting facts, you will have to pay just Rs 100 to a guide to show you around.


Tirupati Temple

The age-old temples of Tirupati are visited by quite a few pilgrims throughout the year. Sri Venkateswara Temple is known to be the second most visited shrine in the world. It is perched on the seventh peak of the Tirumala Hill, covering 2.2 acres of land. Govindaraja Swamy temple is one of the oldest structures in Tirupati and the city has been constructed around it. If you are a history enthusiast you could also take a look at the number of inscriptions carved on the walls of this temple as well as Sri Venkateswara Temple.

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