20 Famous Holy Places in India | Religious Places in India

Religious Places in India

Kedarnath, Varanasi, Tirupati, Shirdi, Madurai, Ayodhya, Vaishnodevi Devi, Sabarimala, Ranakpur, Haridwar, Amritsar, Bodh Gaya, Amarnath, Mathura, Rishikesh, Badrinath, Vrindavan,  Rameshwaram, Pushkar, Puri.

The religious places in India are renowned worldwide for their spirituality. While Haridwar is considered one of the holiest sites for Hindu pilgrims where millions flock in the hope of washing away their sins, Amarnath is where Lord Shiva worshippers trek through arduous routes just to offer prayers to an enshrined Shivaling made naturally from ice.

Some of the holy places in India span both the North and southern parts of India. The ones situated in the North include Kedarnath, one of the Char Dhams, located in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand, where every year lakhs of Shiva devotees come to offer prayers. But, when you move towards the south, you have Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh's Chittoor district that is known for the mad rush of pilgrims to offer prayers to a gigantic idol of Lord Venkateshwara, and the historic Kanchipuram town where you visit a gazillion temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Shiva.

Here is the list of famous holy places in India:

01

Rishikesh

On River Ganges' banks in Uttarakhand, Rishikesh is one of the top holy places in India located at the foothills of the Himalayas. It lies 42 kilometers away from Dehradun, 201 kilometers from Chandigarh and 233 kilometres from Delhi. This city is situated at the start of the Char Dham pilgrimage (Kedarnath)Gangotri, Badrinath, and Yamunotri) and the gateway to the upper region of Garhwal. Right from several famous temples and ashrams, Rishikesh is home to Swarg Niwas Temple, Neel Kanth Mahadev Temple, Triveni Ghat, and Bharat Mandir.
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02

Haridwar

Hindus consider Haridwar, located in the mystical state of Uttarakhand, to be nothing more than an empyrean. The holy town of Haridwar is situated by the sacred river Ganga and is a place of great peace. Watch the fiery Diyas floating on the sparkling river and experience the Ganga Aarti in the evening. Kumbh Mela happens once every 12 years and attracts millions of devotees every year; however, the city remains crowded with devotees the entire year-round.
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03

Badrinath

Located in the state of Uttarakhand within Chamoli district, India, Badrinath is a Nagar Panchayat and one of the holy places in India. Badrinath is surrounded by the peaks of Narayana and Narayana, and Nilkantha, which have great mythological significance. Numerous ancient texts and scriptures refer to Badri or Badarikashrama as a holy toBadrinathwn; it is also believed to be the site where Nara and Narayana, the dual manifestations of Vishnu, meditated. On their way to heaven, the Pandavas are believed to have passed through Badrinath.
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04

Pushkar

Pushkar has over 300 temples and 52 bathing sites, making it one of most significant pilgrimage places in India. A visit to this holy town is not only made interesting by the narrow alleys and the connecting histories, but it also ensures a highly rated travel experience. Some of the key religious attractions at Pushkar include the Brahma Temple, Atmeshwar Temple, Paap Mochini Temple, Raghunath Temple, Savitri Temple, and Old Rangji Temple that are thronged by both foreigners and Indians.
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05

Kedarnath

Besides being one of the most revered pilgrimage destinations for Hindus, Kedarnath contains one of Lord Shiva's 12 Jyotirlingas and forms the third Dham of the Char Dham Yatra. Each year, pilgrims worldwide visit this sacred place seeking absolution and spiritual bliss, an unending cycle of death and life. Some of the principal tourist attractions at Kedarnath include the Kedarnath Temple, Gauri Kund, Omkareshwar Temple, Vasuki Tal, Bhairav Temple, and Shankaracharya Samadhi.
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06

Varanasi

In Varanasi, India's spiritual and cultural heartbeat, you will find the country's religious and cultural heartbeat, and since time immemorial, it is one of India's holiest cities. Located on the banks of the Ganges River in Varanasi, the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi is regarded as the most sacred city for Hindus. Lord Shiva's devotees frequent this temple at least once in their lifetime, or frequently. There is no doubt that the Ganga, flowing through Varanasi, accentuates the sacredness of this city.
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07

Rameshwaram

One of the most esteemed places of worship in India is located in Ramanathapuram, a town in the heart of Tamil Nadu's Ramanathapuram District. Innumerable myths surround Rameswaram, and one of its most significant attractions is the Ramanathaswamy Temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the presiding deity worshipped as the Jyotirlinga. Ramanathaswamy is one of the twelve Pillars of Light of the Dwadash Jyotirlinga. During Rama's penance for killing Brahmin Ravana, Rameshwaram is believed to be where he worshipped Shiva.
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08

Puri

Lord Jagannath's ancient homeland, Puri is one of the most popular pilgrimage places in India. Part of the sacred 'Char Dham' pilgrimage circuit, Puri has several old temples that are both sacred and of architectural and historical significance. Lord Jagannath, Goddess Subhadra, and Balabhadra, are the principal deities of the Puri Jagannath temple. Rath Yatra, an annual event that brings throngs of visitors to the temple, brings this place to life. Indian culture is believed to be reflected in the sacred shrine here.
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09

Amritsar

Amritsar is derived from the word "Amrit," a holy tank surrounding the Golden Temple, known as Amrit Sarovar, which translates to 'the pool of nectar' in Punjabi. It is also one of India's Sikh pilgrimage sites. Ram Das Pura is a village later named after Guru Ram Das, the 4th Sikh Guru and founder of Amritsar, and is well known for its Golden Temple, which is the Sikh religion's seat.
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10

Bodh Gaya

The Buddhist pilgrimage site of Bodh Gaya is located in the district of Gaya in Bihar and is known for the Mahabodhi Temple. The enlightenment of Gautama Buddha took place under the Bodhi tree. UNESCO now recognizes the temple as a World Heritage Site, and the government of India has worked with other countries to build facilities for Buddhist pilgrims. There are four crucial Buddhist sites in this region, namely Kushinagar, Sarnath, and Lumbini.
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11

Amarnath

One of the most significant religious places in India is Amarnath, which is a Hindu shrine located in Jammu & Kashmir. The cave is home to Lord Shiva's Lingam, which is surrounded by snow crests and mountains and is located at an elevation of 3,888 meters, situated 141 kilometres from Srinagar. This temple attracts devotees who come to view the Lingam of Lord Shiva which is created by freezing water droplets to form a vertical shape. Between May and August, the Lingam waxes however as per religious practitioners, the Lingam melts and grows according to the phases of the moon.
12

Mathura

Mathura is one of the popular religious places in India and is the birthplace of Lord Krishna, one of the most adored deities. There are 25 ghats lining the Yamuna River in Mathura, which are best visited during dawn (just after sunset) when hundreds of diyas are afloat during aarti and sunrise (just after sunset). In August/September, when Janmashtami (the birthday of Lord Krishna) occurs, Mathura is filled with tourists and pilgrims. In February/March, Holi is celebrated, which attracts crowds from worldwide.
13

Vrindavan

One of the oldest cities on Yamuna's banks is Vrindavan which is considered to be one of the unique places of worship in India by Krishna's devotees. Vrindavan is said to have been the home of Lord Krishna when he was a child. Vrindavan derives its name from the words grove (van), and basil (Vrinda), possibly referring to Seva Kunj, and Nidhivan, located nearby. Many people come to Vrindavan to abandon their worldly lives since it is considered a sacred place.
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14

Vaishnodevi Devi, Jammu

The Mata Vaishno Devi shrine is an additional crucial Indian pilgrimage destination situated on the 'Trikoot Parvat' near Katra, Jammu, and Kashmir. Each year, thousands of pilgrims visit the temple from all over India and worldwide. Goddess Durga is worshipped in the cave of Mata Vaishno Devi in three varying natural rock formations called Pindies. But, as you approach your final destination, panoramic views, beautiful natural sights, and the sounds of chants of 'Jai Mata Di' fill the air.
15

Sabarimala, Kerala

Kerala is home to Sabarimala, one of the most important pilgrimage centres in the country. In addition to being one of India's oldest temples, this temple is about 70 kilometres from Pathanamthitta. Its history stretches back more than 5000 years. In November and January, pilgrimage season begins (the temple remains closed throughout the remainder of the Malayali year, except for the first 5 days of every month. Irumudi Kettus, filled with traditional offerings to God, are carried by those participating in the Ayyappa Vratam (Ayyappa Maala - a 41-day celebration).
16

Tirupati

In India, Tirupati is one of the oldest and most sacred pilgrimage sites, and Lord Venkateswara's shrine, Tirumala, is 22 km away from here. Nevertheless, Tirupati is the primary transportation hub and town for Tirumala, located at the bottom of the hill. Thondaimaan, a Tamil king, built the first temple at Tirumala. This temple features 450 square kilometres of surface area. The critical temples in Tirupati include Avanakshama Temple, Varahaswami Temple, Tirumala's Lord Venkateswara Temple, and Tiruchanur Temple dedicated to Goddess Padmavati, ISKCON Lord Krishna Temple, Srinivasa Mangapuram Temple, and Govindaraja temple, among others.
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17

Shirdi

Shirdi is best known for the shrine of Shirdi Sai Baba and is one of India's richest temples. Sai Baba, who lived in the 20th century, became one of the greatest saints of India when he visited Shirdi when he was 16 years old and remained there until he died in 1918. It is at Shirdi that he reached his samadhi or final abode. This temple complex is located in about 200 square meters, which includes Lendi Baug Gurusthan, Dwarkamai, Samadhi Mandir, and Chabad Temple.
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18

Madurai

In addition to being called Athens of the East, Madurai has been continuously inhabited since the Sangam period of the pre-Christian era, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the subcontinent, where The Pandyan Empire was headquartered once. One of the largest temples in India is Meenakshi Temple, also known as Madurai Meenakshi, and draws tourists each year with its intricate architecture, which is a testimony to the skill with which Vishwakarma Brahmins sculpted it.
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19

Ayodhya

This region is located on the south bank of the river Saryu, part of the great northern plains. Ayodhya city is an important pilgrimage site and is one of India's seven holy cities. In the Hindu pantheon, Lord Ram's birthplace is Ayodhya, a small and tranquil town that receives pilgrims from all over India. Hindu pilgrims visiting Ayodhya during festivals and essential religious functions, a divine dip in the revered Saryu River is considered immensely auspicious.
20

Ranakpur

Ranakpur is a picturesque village in the Pali district of Rajasthan and is located in the Desuri Tehsil, near Sadri town. Ranakpur is an ideal destination for nature lovers and is situated between the two famous cities of Udaipur and Jodhpur. Set amidst luxuriant greenery, this village is the scenic village encompassed by blue, mystic Aravalli Mountains. Located in Ranakpur are several temples dedicated to the Tirthankaras, renowned for their beauty and architecture.
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