India is a land of the divine. You can explore the most beautiful religious places in India including Vaishno Devi, Kedarnath, Yamunotri, Gangotri, Char Dham, the Golden Temple, Dwarka and Rameswaram. Haridwar and Varanasi are famous religious places in India since ancient times. Both Indians and foreigners love to visit the hundreds and thousands of temples that India houses.
Most Visited Religious Places Across India
The religious places of India reflect the diversity of culture, people, language, region, rituals, and religions. Many travellers, pilgrims and photographers visit these places to learn more about the culture and appreciate it.
- Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu Kashmir
- Golden Temple/Swarn Mandir/Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar
- Sun Temple (Surya Mandir) in Konark
- Jagannath Temple (Jagannath Mandir) in Puri
- Somnath Jyotirlinga, Gujarat
- Ranakpur Temple
- Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati
- Hemkund Sahib
- Dargah Gharib Nawaz in Ajmer
- Velankanni Church
- Amarnath Cave
Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu Kashmir
The Vaishno Devi Temple is a prominent Hindu temple dedicated to the Lord Vaishno Mata who is believed to be one of the incarnations of Goddess Lakshmi. The famous temple attracts thousands of pilgrims to the shrine every year in spite of being located in the steep Trikuta Mountains of Jammu & Kashmir. It is one of the most revered Hindu pilgrimage sites and an important Shaktipeeth in India that can be reached after a 13 km arduous journey on foot from Katra.
Golden Temple/Swarn Mandir/Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar
Golden Temple or Swarn Mandir is one of the prominent and religious spiritual sites for the Sikh religion. The popular gold-plated architecture of the temple is adorned with a beautiful copper and white marble walls encrusted with precious stones. The interiors of the structure are inscribed beautifully with verses from the Sikh holy book “Guru Granth Sahib”. For devotees, it is a symbol of human brotherhood and equality that also showcase the distinct identity, glory and heritage of Sikhism.
Sun Temple (Surya Mandir) in Konark
The majestic Surya Mandir or Sun temple located at Konark is one of the prominent tourist attractions of Odisha. The beautiful picturization of a chariot being pulled by a set of seven horses is the key attraction that allures travellers from far and wide. This artistic masterpiece is one of the last standing structures of the pre-historic era that reflects the rich and glorious past of our country.
Jagannath Temple (Jagannath Mandir) in Puri
The famous Jagannath Mandir located in Puri of Odisha is a prominent Char Dham pilgrimage site for Hindu devotees. It is renowned for its famous annual chariot festival or Rath Yatra to which thousand of devotees take part from all across the globe. It is one of the most spectacular temples of India dedicated to the worship of Lord Jagannath, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Somnath Jyotirlinga, Gujarat
Located in the Prabhas Patan in Saurashtra of West Gujarat the beautiful Somnath Jyotirlinga is one among the 12 jyotirlinga shrines of Lord Shiva. The pilgrimage site is known to reflect an exquisite example of the classic era and an intricately carved specimen of fine architecture. This divine place is known to be the Eternal Shrine, as it is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna ended his Lila and started his journey to the heavenly abode.
Apart from the royal Kings and Maharajas and historical monuments of Rajasthan, this land is also popular for its beautifully carved Ranakpur Jain temple. Located in a small village of Ranakpur near Sadri town, this Śvētāmbara Jain temple is among one of the most spectacular Jain temples. The divine serenity and the peacefulness of this place hold a special place in everyone’s heart thus compels devotees to visit this temple at least once in their lifetime.
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is one of the most revered shrines located in the hill town of Tirumala at Tirupati in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, India. The temple is dedicated to the worship of Sri Venkateshwara who is believed to be one of the incarnations of the Lord Vishnu. This famous temple is of utmost importance, in terms of both religion and heritage. Every year a massive number of devotees from all across the globe flock here to pay their reverence at the shrine for darshan.
Hemkund Sahib is a paramount place of worship and a pilgrimage site for the Sikh religion in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. It is believed to be one of the highest Gurudwara placed at an elevation of 15000 feet above sea level among the mountains. This revered Sikh shrine is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year from near and far. The snow-capped peaks, the beautiful treks and the picturesque view surrounding the gurudwara enhance its beauty thus making it a famous destination among travellers.
Dargah Gharib Nawaz in Ajmer
Located at the foot of Taragarh Hill in Ajmer, Rajasthan, The Dargah Gharib Nawaz is one of the most celebrated tombs and revered shrines in India. The tomb is dedicated to the Sufi saint- “Moinuddin Chisty” one of the preachers of humanity. The shrine is also popular by many names like Dargah Sharif, Ajmer Dargah Sharif, Ajmer Sharif etc and is visited by numerous devotees throughout the year from all across the globe.
The Roman Catholic church, Velankanni Church is one of the holiest Christian pilgrimages for Catholics in India. The admirable architecture of this revered pilgrimage attracts devotees of every religion, caste and creed from all across the globe. Belongs to an era of the 16th or 17th century, the gothic style of architecture is said to radiate the rays of hope and piety among followers.
Amarnath Cave is one of the most sacred Hindu pilgrimages as it represents an important part of Hinduism. The divine shrine is renowned worldwide due to the natural formation of Shiva Linga from the snow. The holy cave is opened only during Shravan maas which requires a trek of around 36 to 48 km to reach the revered cave. According to historical scholars, the cave is around 5,000 years old where Lord Shive narrates the secret of his immortality to Lord Parvati.
The Eternal city of Varanasi is regarded as the spiritual capital of India and among one of the best places to visit in North India. It is known to house some 2,000 temples in its close vicinity, thus it attracts Hindu pilgrims from all across the globe to perform the sacred last rites. The beautiful city located on the banks of the River Ganges reflects our ancient history, religion, traditions and prominent Hindu mythology. Many of the devotees strongly believe that in Varanasi, Vaishnavism and Shaivism co-existed in harmony.
Apart from beaches, the city of Goa is surrounded by numerous churches, temples and mosques built by the Portuguese. These magnificent, sacred & religious sites are known for their glory that have a spiritual vibe too. The divine temples of Goa are dedicated to the worship of ‘Panchayatan’ which includes the prime Lords such as Devi, Lord Ganesha, Lord Rudra, Lord Keshava and Lord Aditya. Whereas the Churches are the heart of Goa that reflect the vibrant rich history and culture of the Portuguese.
The ancient city Dwarka is a well-known Hindu pilgrimage site. The holy city is renowned for its ancient Dwarkadhish Temple which has an elaborately tiered main shrine, a carved entrance and a black-marble idol of Lord Krishna. As per Indian epic literature, this divine city is believed to be the capital of Lord Krishna’s kingdom. It is one of four sacred Hindu pilgrimages which is called the “Chardham”, and is one of the seven-most-ancient religious cities in India.
Rishikesh is a place where you can do a lot – adventure sports, yoga and temple darshan… everything is present here. 20 km from Haridwar and it takes 6 hours from Delhi to reach Rishikesh, another pilgrimage town which is regarded as one of the holiest places for Hindus. Due to the religious significance of this place, non-vegetarian food and alcohol are strictly prohibited in Rishikesh.
Mathura and Vrindavan
The holy town of Uttar Pradesh, Mathura and Vrindavan religiously preach to the Hindu deity Lord Krishna. The place is renowned as the home ground of Lord Krishna where the almighty had spent his entire childhood. It houses numerous temples, dedicated to Lord Krishna and his lover, the deity Radha. Mathura and Vrindavan are among one the most sacred places in Vaishnavism that are visited by millions of devotees of Radha Krishna every year.
Haridwar is the most visited pilgrimage in India. Located on the banks of the holy Ganga, Haridwar, the ‘Gateway to Gods’ is blessed by nature and is truly a paradise for the nature-lovers. It is renowned for its numerous temples and Ghats where devotees bathe to purify themselves of their sins and achieve salvation and perform funeral rites. It is believed to be the oldest living city located on the banks of the mighty Ganga river. Watching the beautiful sunrise and sunset from the shining shores of the river gives an unforgettable experience to the visitors. Moreover, in recent years it has emerged as the best places to visit near Delhi.
Located on the beautiful Pamban Island of Tamil Nadu state, Rameshwaram is regarded as one of the prestigious Hindu pilgrimage sites. It is surrounded beautifully by ornate corridors, huge sculpted pillars and sacred water tanks. As per the strong belief of devotees, a pilgrimage to Varanasi is never said to be complete without a pilgrimage to Rameswaram. It is considered one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham sites apart from Badrinath, Puri and Dwarka.
Badrinath is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham pilgrimages, located along the banks of Alaknanda River in the ‘Devbhoomi’ Uttarakhand. The divine place is dedicated to the worship of Lord Badrinarayan a.k.a Lord Vishnu and every Hindu yearns to visit this sacred place at least once in his lifetime. Although the temple remains closed for 6 months due to extreme weather conditions and snowfall in winter, which makes it difficult to reach this holy shrine.
Hampi being an ancient village in Karnataka is still blessed with one of the most beautiful and exquisite architectures among the other historical monuments in the state. Also regarded as one of the most beautiful religious places in India, it has garnered enough praise across the world because of its excellent craftsmanship. The sight of a beautifully carved stone chariot standing in front of the huge Vittala Temple site allures travellers from near and far.
Madurai is regarded as the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu. The city is renowned for its numerous historical monuments, with Meenakshi Temple and Tirumalai Nayak Palace being the most beautiful religious places and a major pilgrimage sites. As per many history scholars, the temples were built by Pandyan and Madurai Nayak kings in the Dravidian style of architecture that contributes to one of India’s most outstanding Hindu pilgrimage centres.
BodhGaya is a paramount Buddhist pilgrimage site referred to as the place where Gautam Buddha is said to attain enlightenment under the sacred Bodhi Tree. In Buddhism, it is regarded as one of the four holy sites of pilgrimage, and the Mahabodhi Temple complex at Bodh Gaya is a renowned World Heritage Site. Satiate with numerous temples and monasteries, the era-old birthplace of Buddhism allures travellers from all across the globe to soak in the serenity of spiritual Buddha vibes.
Shirdi is a small town in the state of Maharashtra which is popular as the home of the revered spiritual leader and famous saint Shri Sai Baba. It has emerged as a major pilgrimage site in India that witnesses a daily heavy influx of devotees from all across the globe to seek the blessings of Sai Baba and to honour his legacy. It is considered to be one of the sacred places in India.
Leh is a small region of Jammu and Kashmir which is highly renowned due to its stunning scenic locales, the strong influence of Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhist temples and pristine environment. This Land of Lamas is surrounded by numerous monasteries, temples and mosques where devotees love to worship, meditate and perform religious functions.
Apart from these, there are numerous other religious destinations in India like Bodhgaya, Pashupatinath, Muktinath, Allahabad and others. It is best to visit these destinations during any religious festivals to enjoy many interesting rituals. A tour of India is incomplete without a visit to some of these famous religious destinations of the country.