India is an interesting land that is steeped in some of the most ancient and deep-rooted religious beliefs. Indians are woven together in a common thread of well-preserved traditions and a culture that dates back to the ancient ages. The mesmerizing Aarti Darshan or the complex and soul-enriching puja rituals are all a part of Indian culture. Despite following different religious practices, Spiritual journeys, Yatras or pilgrimages form a major foundation of India’s belief system. From Sikhs to Buddhists, there are several pilgrimages dedicated to various communities and religions.

If you are looking for a spiritual rejuvenation then going on a soul-stirring pilgrimage is the best way to go. Here are the top 10 spiritual journeys in India:

1. Char Dham Yatra

Char Dham Yatra is one of the most iconic pilgrimages in India. It takes place on the auspicious and pious land of the Garhwal Himalayas. Every year the holy gates of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri open up for Darshan to devotees from across the world. The Char Dham Yatra was established by the great sage, philosopher, and founder of Advait Vaidya, Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century.

Completing this yatra will grant complete moksha or liberation from the karmic cycle of birth and rebirth. The pilgrimage presents the Himalayas in its best form and is a deeply moving experience for every pilgrim.

Going for the Char Dham Yatra is no longer a distant dream for devouts. Chardham Yatra by Helicopter or by road has now made this challenging and testing pilgrimage into a more fulfilling one.

2. Hemkund Sahib Pilgrimage

One of the most prominent Himalayan pilgrimages is the Hemkund Sahib. Placed on a whopping elevation of over 15,000 feet above sea level the trek remains open for devotees from just May to October. The trek up to the Gurdwara is a testing one but it leads the way to one of the most stunning places in India.

Solace and tranquillity are the unsaid words to describe the whole trek. The trek is 18 km long and starts off from Govindghat, the same place where the Valley of Flowers trek also commences.

The pilgrims are treated with an otherworldly charm of glaciers, snow patches, and a unique biodiversity. The trek is recommended for everyone to try at least once.

3. All India Char Dham Yatra

The All India Char Dham Yatra connects the 4 corners of the subcontinent. This holy pilgrimage was also established by Adi Shankara in an attempt to unite the people of India in one common thread of belief. This pilgrimage connects the 4 holy sites of Jagannath in the East, Dwarkadheesh in the West, Badrinath in the North, and Rameshwaram in the South.

All 4 dhams are dedicated to Lord Vishnu and this is one of those rare pilgrimages that can be done any time of the year. This would definitely be one of those experiences that will make you come in touch with the real India and leave a lasting mark on your soul.

Going on the All India Char Dham Yatra will also grant you moksha. Each of the Char Dham destinations across India has its own value and importance in the Hindu culture.

4. Buddhist Pilgrimage

India is the birthplace of Buddhism. It is in Bodhgaya that Gautam Buddha had achieved enlightenment while meditating under a Bodhi Tree. This enlightenment gave birth to the 3rd most largely followed religion in the world.

Buddhist pilgrimage in India covers all the major places concerning Gautam Buddha. This includes visits to Bodhgaya- the enlightenment place of Lord Buddha, Sarnath - the place of his very first sermon, and Kushinagar - the place where Buddha left his mortal body and achieved Mahaparinirvana. Some people also visit Lumbini which is in Nepal. Other than that all the primary centres of Buddhist pilgrimages are located in India that are visited by Buddhists from across the globe.

Buddhism was one of the most prominent religions in India for the longest time.  Ever since the wheel of Dhamma was set in motion, the places related to Lord Buddha became significant places of pilgrimage.

5. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is one of the most challenging pilgrimages in the world. Placed on a whopping elevation of 21,778 feet above sea level, the trip takes a mental and physical toll on the pilgrims. The Pyramidical Kailash Mountain is located in China but there are routes from Pithoragarh that connect the two countries. Shiva resides in Kailash Parvat and the pilgrimage involves taking a Parikrama of this holy mountain.

Kailash Parvat is extremely important among Hindus but it holds equal importance in the life of other religious groups as well like the bons, Buddhists, and other indigenous groups as well.

The sacred peak is also flanked on both sides by the natural high-altitude lakes of Manasarovar and Rakshastal. Going on this holy pilgrimage to the sacred peak will wash the pilgrims off their sins and grant them reincarnation.

6. Vaishno Devi Yatra

This pilgrimage is probably one of the most popular spiritual journeys in India. As the name suggests, this pilgrimage is dedicated to a manifestation of Durga Maa who is also commonly referred to as Adishakti. This holy shrine of Mata Rani is located on the Trikuta hills which is 13 km away from Katra.

As compared to other pilgrimages across India, the journey to the holy caves of Vaishno Mata is an easier one. The roads are very well made and maintained with many options for alternative ways of getting there. On foot, it takes 5 to 8 hours to reach the main temple shrine.

The holy cave that is worshipped is made out of 3 naturally formed rocks also known as Pindies. These Pindies are believed to manifest the 3 forms of goddesses and the pilgrims believe that these goddesses call the pilgrims for Darshan.

7. Amarnath Yatra

When it comes to holy pilgrimage shrines, Amarnath cave is one name that will come repeatedly. Located at an elevation of 12,500 feet above sea level, Amarnath is one of the holiest places of Shiva worship. This natural cave is located in Lidder Valley and remains open for a limited period of time for Darshan.

Along with being a major place for Shiva worship and pilgrimage it is also a very important Shaktipeeth. According to sacred texts, Amarnath cave is the place where Lord Shiva had told goddess Parvati the secrets of immortality. The Shivling in Amarnath cave is a unique one. It is in the form of a natural ice stalagmite.

Getting there is one of the most challenging yet immensely rewarding experiences for all the pilgrims involved.

8. Nau Devi Darshan

The Nau Devi Darshan Yatra involves taking a pilgrimage to all the major Shaktipeeths that are spread across the subcontinent. Taking this pilgrimage is not only a deeply spiritual experience but it is also a way of exploring the glories of India. The trip includes a visit to 9 important Shakti Peethas – Mansa Devi Temple, Naina Devi, Sheetla Devi, Jwala Ji, Kangra Devi, Chamunda Devi, and Vaishno Devi among others.

This is one of those rare spiritual journeys that is dedicated entirely to pleasing the goddesses. The Shaktipeeths came into existence in a very dramatic form. In an attempt to stop Lord Shiva from mourning and destroying the world, lord Vishnu decided to cut up the goddess’s body in 52 different pieces. The places where these pieces fell are called Shaktipeeth.

9. Kinner Kailash Yatra

Kinner Kailash is a major pilgrimage destination for Hindus as well as Buddhists. Located on an elevation of over 19,000 feet above sea level, the Kinner Kailash Yatra is considered to be as difficult as the Amarnath Yatra. This pilgrimage takes place near the Indo-Tibetan border and in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. The testing journey up the hill gives way to one of the most iconic and undeniably captivating natural Shivling.

The journey opens up during the monsoon months and it takes 2 to 3 days to reach the Shivling and offer your prayer. It is here that Shiva meets Parvati for the first time which is also represented through the presence of Brahma Kamal the entire route which is Lord Shiva’s favourite flower.

10. Manimahesh Yatra

The Manimahesh Kailash is located in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh and is among one of the most important Shiva pilgrimages in India. It is 26 km from Bharmour and at an elevation of over 13,000 feet above sea level. Did you know that not even a single soul has ever reached the Manimahesh Peak? This has only helped it become even more important and mystical.

The yatra is believed to completely purify the souls and minds of the pilgrims. Although a tough trek, it will open up one of the most incredible views of the valleys and surrounding mountains. The trek is 15 to 20 days long and starts off from Hadsar Village. Manimahesh Yatra has proven to be a life-changing journey for many.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q-1: When Is The Best Time To Go For Char Dham Yatra?

Ans: The best time to go for Char Dham Yatra is from May to early July i.e. from its date of opening to pre-monsoon months.

Q-2: What Are Some Spiritual Places To Visit In India?

Ans: Some of the must-visit spiritual places in India are Rishikesh, Varanasi, Bodhgaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Rameshwaram, Puri, etc.

Q-3: What Facilities Will I Get By Booking Char Dham Yatra By Helicopter?

Ans: In a helicopter Char Dham Yatra, you will get a VIP Darshan experience, smooth transfers, pick up and drop off service, accommodation, special puja service on request, etc.

Q-4: Where In India Did Buddha Achieve Enlightenment?

Ans: Buddha achieved enlightenment in Bodhgaya in Bihar.

Q-5: Which City Is Known As The Spiritual Capital Of India?

Ans: Varanasi – one of the oldest surviving cities in the world is considered the spiritual capital of India.

Resource: Pilgrimage Tour