8 Most Visited Pilgrimage Sites In India
India is renowned for being a land of spirituality and a variety of religions, and therefore it is also very popular for possessing a number of sites that are religiously significant. Now, there are thousands of pilgrimage sites available in the country. However, only a selected few of these spots are visited on a regular basis by tourists. So, here is presenting a list of the “8 most visited pilgrimage sites in India”.
Read More: CHAR DHAM, AND THE FOUR PILGRIMAGE SITES
a. Vaishno Devi Mandir- Jammu and Kashmir:
Vaishno Devi Mandir Map
Dedicated to the incarnation of “Goddess Mahakali, Mahasaraswati, and Mahalakshmi” is a temple situated in Jammu and Kashmir known as Vaishno Devi Mandir. It is elevated at an altitude of 1,569 meters above sea level and is situated in a small town known as Katra. Located in the Trikuta Hills, this temple is considered to be one among a few most popular pilgrimage sites in India since it is visited by thousands of devotees annually. Furthermore, to reach this temple found in a cave surrounded by beautiful landscape, a devotee needs to undertake a rather taxing trek.
b. Jagannath Mandir- Odisha:
Jagannath Mandir Map
Considered to be one among the four “Char Dham” pilgrimage sites, is a famous temple situated in Odisha known as Jagannath Mandir. Dedicated to an avatar or incarnation of Lord Vishnu known as Jagannath, this temple was reconstructed by a king belonging to the Eastern Ganga Dynasty known as Anantvarman Chodaganga Deva. Furthermore, this temple is renowned for an annual chariot festival also known as the “Rath Yatra”, as result of which it attracts a large number tourists, and is therefore considered to be one among a few most visited pilgrimage sites in India.
c. Tirumala Venkateswara Temple- Andhra Pradesh:
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple Map
Dedicated to a deity known as “Sri Venkateswara” (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) is an extremely popular Hindu shrine situated in Andhra Pradesh known as Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. Located in a city called Tirupati considered to be the “Spiritual Capital of the state”, this temple is renowned for its “magnificent” architecture. It is also renowned for a “Puja” (a Hindu prayer service) which is known for being extremely pious. In addition, this temple attracts on an average 6,000 devotees per day, and therefore is one among a few pilgrimage sites in India that is frequently visited.
d. Golden Temple- Punjab:
Golden Temple Map
“The abode of God” is the literal translation of Sri Harmandir Sahib, the renowned gurdwara located in Amritsar, Punjab. Also referred to as the “Golden Temple“, this sacred Sikh shrine was constructed by Guru Ram Das in the year 1577. The unique feature of this religious shrine being that it is open to men and women belonging to all faiths. Furthermore, this gurdwara also pays tribute to a number of events that have played a huge role in the development of Sikh religion and its history. Since the Golden Temple follows an “open to all” policy it is among a few pilgrimage sites in India that is visited by a large number of people annually.
e. Sun Temple- Odisha:
Sun Temple Map
Dedicated to the Hindu God of “Light and Day” is a popular shrine in Odisha known as the Sun Temple. Situated in a town known as Konark at a distance of about 35 kilometers away from the city of Puri, this temple is renowned for a 100 foot high chariot comprising of 12 pairs of carved wheels. It was in 1984 that this Hindu shrine was nominated by the UNESCO in the “World Heritage Sites” list. Apart from its magnificent architecture, the Sun Temple is also renowned for the scenic beauty that surrounds it, and therefore is visited by a large number of tourists annually, thereby making it one among a few pilgrimage sites in India that is extremely popular.
f. Shirdi- Maharashtra:
Comprising of a temple dedicated to a 19th century saint known as Sai Baba, is a pious town located in Maharashtra known as Shirdi. Situated in the Ahmednagar district, this sacred hamlet (hometown of the saint called Sai) is visited by people belonging to all faiths from all across the country. Apparently, the “Sab ka Malik Ek” (i.e. One God) philosophy preached by the saint has resulted in attracting a large number of devotees, and thereby making this town one among the few most visited pilgrimage sites in India.
g. Velankanni Church- Tamil Nadu:
Velankanni Church Map
“Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health” is how the renowned Velankanni Church is also referred to as. Apparently, this church was constructed by a Portuguese sailor in gratitude for having survived a violent sea storm. It is this story behind its construction that attracts a large number of devotees to this pilgrimage every year. In addition, to the historical and religious significance attached to this church, it is also known for its magnificent architecture. Furthermore, a feast known as “Nativity of Mary” is celebrated over here annually and is visited by thousands of devotees, thereby making it one among a few pilgrimage sites in India that is visited the most.
h. Haji Ali- Maharashtra:
Haji Ali Map
Constructed using an “Indo-Islamic style architecture” is a renowned dargah/mosque located in the city of Mumbai in Maharashtra known as Haji Ali. Apparently, the construction of this mosque is closely linked to a legend that speaks of “doomed love”. Furthermore, this dargah also comprises of a tomb belonging to Sayeed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, a wealthy Muslim merchant. This Muslim shrine has over the years become a famous landmark in the city of Mumbai. In addition, a large number of pilgrims belonging to all faiths visit this shrine every week especially on Thursdays and Fridays thus making it one among a few most visited pilgrimage sites in India.
Also Read: 10 AMAZING JAIN TEMPLES IN INDIA
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons