India is a beautiful blend of diverse cultures, traditions and religions. It is also the place where the oldest religion in the world, Hinduism was founded. A land full of temples of different faiths, India is also called a spiritual land because of the number of Gods, sadhus, gurus and yogis that exist in the country. For people who want to visit temples, mosques, churches and monasteries, India is a one-stop destination for all. So without further ado, we present the top places of worship that you shouldn’t miss when in India.
1.) Jagannath Temple, Puri
We start off with the majestic Jagannath Temple at Puri. Apart from being one of the most famous tourist attractions and an important pilgrimage destination, the Jagannath Temple is a part of the ‘Char Dham Yatra’. Shrouded in many mysteries, this ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath (Krishna)and worshipped along with the deities Balabhadra and Subhadra. This marvellous temple has been built with the sculptural richness of the Orissan style of temple architecture. The temple is also famous for its annual Rath Yatra or the Chariot Festival, where all the three deities are moved in elaborately decorated chariots and bathed in perfumed water with one hundred and eight pitchers. The Jagannath Temple is a symbol of Orissa’s rich history, culture and spiritual traditions.
2.) Ramanathaswamy Temple, Tamil Nadu
The marvellous Ramanathaswamy Temple located in Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu is one of India’s holiest shrines. This temple enshrines Lord Shiva in the form of two lingams and is believed to have been established and worshipped by Rama, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. The ethereal temple is built in the beautiful Dravidian form of architecture with massive walls, lofty gopurams (huge towers) and a colossal Nandi. It has long striking corridors housing over 1000 pillars with distinct carvings 22 Teerthams (temple tanks) inside the temple complex.
3.) Golden Temple, Amritsar
Sri Harmandir Sahib, popularly known as Darbar Sahib and informally referred to as the Golden Temple is one of the famous Gurudwaras and a most revered spiritual sites of Sikhism. Built in the centre of a holy tank, Amrit Sarovar, the Golden Temple has four entrances in four directions, representing the openness of the Sikhs to all people and religions. The temple has been constructed of marble and embellished with real gold, thereby earning the name of ‘Golden Temple’. Structurally, the temple has been constructed a level below the ground level as it signifies that one must be humble and go down to reach God. The main hall of the Golden Temple houses the sacred scripture of Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib which is placed on a raised platform under a canopy studded with precious jewels.
4.) Sheikh Salim Chisti Dargah, Fatehpur Sikri
One of the finest examples of the Mughal architecture is the tomb of Sufi Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti in Fatehpur Sikri, also known as Sheikh Salim Chisti Dargah. A well-known religious site for Muslims, this Dargah was built by Emperor Akbar in honour of the Sufi Saint. Built between the years 1580 and 1581, this mausoleum is built on a 1-meter-high platform and is decorated with mosaics of black and yellow marbles arranged in geometric patterns. The main hall boasts of intricate carvings on the marble and delicate latticework, while an ebony ‘chhaparkhat’ enclosure surrounds the marble cenotaph. A must-visit to admire the Mughal architecture and fine craftsmanship.
5.) Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh