The Best Spiritual Places In India You Shouldn’t Miss
India is a land of many cultures and religions. Our richness truly lies in our diversity, our oneness, and our ability to appreciate and embrace all of it without blinking. That is how you know you have arrived in this country, famous for the Taj Mahal and spicy food, but more nuanced than our emblems, signatures, and trademarks.
And one cannot talk about India without talking about its spirituality. Being an ancient land ruled by monarchs of various religions, we are a sum of all of what they left behind, from beautiful gilded temples to ancient mosques with history and valuable teachings etched on them.
If you are all about spiritual tours, here are a few places that should be on your list. Whether you are seeking tranquillity and solitude or the devout in you is looking for an escape, these are the best spiritual places in India for all of it.
1. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
One cannot talk about spiritual places in India without mentioning Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Steeped in ancient history, Varanasi is famous for its burial rituals and Aartis that happen on the Ghat every evening. It is a liberating and enthralling experience to witness the latter.
It sees a myriad of tourists every single day in large numbers. Varanasi also happens to be one of the seven most sacred cities in the country and is renowned as a place where one comes to wash away their sins. Yes, a dip in the holy Ganga river is known to ward off all the sins one has committed in this life and also frees the soul of a human being from further reincarnation.
If you want to witness spirituality in all its enthusiasm and extravagance, head to Varanasi any time of the year.
- Nearest Airport – Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport (27 km, 1-hour drive)
- Nearest Railway Station – Varanasi Railway Station (2 km)
2. Haridwar, Uttarakhand
Haridwar is another of the seven sacred cities in India. These holy cities are famed because of the belief that a drop of Amrit (heavenly elixir) was dropped in these cities by Lord Garuda. A famous and beautiful fair called the Kumbh Mela is celebrated every 12 years to denote these seven cities’ holiness and sacredness, including Haridwar.
You can visit all of the famous temples here and offer prayers, watch the evening Ganga Aarti which is a spectacle of its own. The floating diyas light up the entire river in the evening when devotees light them up on the banks. Immerse yourself in the beauty and holiness of this city that exudes spirituality at each step. Or sit by the famous Har ki Pauri and ponder on more profound questions of life.
- Nearest Airport – Jolly Grant Airport (39 km, drive of 1 hour)
- Nearest Railway Station – Haridwar Railway Station (2 km)
3. Amritsar, Punjab
Home to the beautifully gilded and famous Golden Temple, Amritsar is another spiritual place in India that is simply unmissable. While spirituality might be the highlight of your trip, there is plenty to do in this small and lively city. From indulging in delicious Chhole Kulche to shopping for beautiful knick-knacks in the markets or visiting the Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar has many touristy things to tick off from one’s list.
However, when it comes to spirituality, make sure you visit Sri Harmindar Sahib in the wee hours to catch a sunrise or after the night falls. These two times are perfect as there is little to no crowd and gives you the space to take in the temple’s sanctity. Relish on Kada prasad, provide a helping hand in the kitchen to prepare for one of the biggest langars, or take a dip in the waters like every other religious person who visits the temple.
Visiting Amritsar is an experience that is complete and fulfilling in itself.
- Nearest Airport – Shree Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport (11 km)
- Nearest Railway Station – Amritsar Railway Station (2 km)
4. Bodhgaya, Bihar
Which is the best place for spiritual enlightenment in India, you ask? It is one where Lord Buddha himself found enlightenment centuries ago – Bodhgaya in the culturally rich state of Bihar. The Bodhi tree under which Gautam Buddha has been known to have found enlightenment has become a part of a temple complex that is open to tourists year-round. Buddhists from all over the world come here as part of their spiritual pilgrimage. Many Buddhist monasteries and temples have been built here.
You can visit the complex, take a tour of Bodhgaya, or simply learn more about this prince’s teachings turned Lord who started a new religion. One can also stay here and learn from Buddhist monks and monasteries about the faith. Several retreats and workshops are organized for this task in the region of Bodhgaya. It is a nurturing experience for a devout Buddhist or merely keen to know more about this religion.
- Nearest Airport – Patna Airport (122 km, Drive of 3 hours 40 minutes)
- Nearest Railway Station – Gaya Junction (17 km, Drive of half an hour)
5. Ranakpur, Rajasthan
If you are interested to know more about Jainism, a religion that preaches humility above everything else, Ranakpur should be on your list of spiritual places in India to visit. Famous for the oldest Jain temple in the country, Ranakpur Temple, this town is off the radar of tourists, and that adds to its tranquillity and beauty, kind of what one looks at and expects from spiritual places.
Soak in the ethereal and calm atmosphere of the place and learn more about this beautiful religion. You will find devotees and followers of Jainism visiting the town from around the world. Talking to them and listening to stories about their religion’s origin adds to the experience of getting lost in this lesser-known spiritual town of Ranakpur.
- Nearest Airport – Maharana Pratap Airport, Udaipur (113 km, Drive of 2 hours 26 minutes)
- Nearest Railway Station – Udaipur Railway Station (90 km, Drive of 2 hours 15 minutes)
Of course, the list of spiritual places in India is not limited to this. Which are your favorite destinations when it comes to seeking enlightenment, solace, or just knowledge about the things beyond our existence? Tell us in the comments. And don’t forget to check out Travel Now, your one-stop solution to all things travel-related by DBS.