No one is alien to the religious tendencies of Indians, and the many places that they have dedicated to their different gods. India being a country of many religions and communities, caters to the religious and cultural inclinations of all the communities, so you would find here, beautiful famous temples, popular mosques, architectural churches and iconic Jain or Buddhist structures.
Even if you are not so religious, you can take a visit to any of these place or buildings, for the sheer pleasure, which the architectural values and beauty will give you. You can explore the rituals and practices of various religions and learn something about the people and their living in India, through their popular historical buildings or pilgrimages. So have a historical trip in India and explore the land of gods.
Originally known as Harmandir Sahib, the Golden Temple is a beautiful structure built in the center of a lake in Amritsar city. It is the most popular Sikh Gurudwara in the country, whose upper half has been constructed in gold. You can see the Sikh worshiping rituals here, while the beautiful marble work and frescoes on the inside are also worth taking a look.
Dedicated to Shakti, the consort of Shiva, this temple is a very popular Hindu pilgrim destination. The entire hill is dedicated to the goddess, though it is the temple on the great heights that the devotees aim to. The beautiful hills, the amazing crowd and the feelings of the devotees, all would be a wonderful thing to see.
Traveling a long distance, from the northern Himalayan mountains to the south eastern Bay of Bengal, the river Ganga, is the most popular and a sacred river of the country, which is believed to wash away the sins of people who repent. Haridwar and Rishikesh are two popular areas in Uttarakhand which are pilgrim spots for devotees, where people come to take a dip in the holy water.
Originally Venkateshwara, this south Indian temple is dedicated to a form of Lord Vishnu, and is the most popular place for pilgrimage in the country. This temple is also believed to help people in washing their sins away by worshiping to the merciful Vishnu, with a true heart,.
Another Jammu temple, Amarnath is a popular cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, the supreme. A very important pilgrim place for Hindus, it is believed to be some 5000 years old. The cave treasures an ice structure of Shiva linga, which is the main attraction here. Very tight on security level, many people make a visit to Amarnath on an annual basis.
Amongst the popular 'Char Dhams' (four pilgrimage places) in the country, this is the most famous one, situated in Uttarakhand. The popular Badrinath temple is the main attraction of the city, and a pilgrimage to the place includes many other places, holy rivers and temples in the neighboring areas.
A very popular place for Muslims in the country, and even for national international tourists, Ajmer Sharif or Dargah Sharif, is the place where relics of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti lies, making many Muslim devotees to pay their respects here. The white marble buildings and various parts, like pillars, domes and so on, are all very exquisite and given by various Mughal rulers.
One of the Charm Dhams of the Hindus of the country, Rameshwaram is a city in Tamil Nadu State, whose popular temple is a very crowded and sacred place for devotees. The lifeline of the southern state, many tourists and devoted Hindus make their annual pilgrimage here.
Another of the Char Dhams , Jagannath Temple is in the city of Puri, in Orissa, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the caretaker of human kind. The brilliant temple and its architecture is as famous as the iconic Chariot Festival of the city.
In the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, this popular pilgrim place was the home of Sai Baba, a great spiritual teacher of 19th century. Many trusts and gardens have been made on the name of Sai Baba, and his teachings and life can be read about here. This place also believed to fill you with positive vibes and a good conscience.
These few places are the best places to visit, if you are interested in exploring the religious side of the country.
Last updated : Jan 2, 2012.