Richly steeped in mythology and flavoured by centuries of religious fervour, India is full of countless revered holy spots. There is something about the country, which often prompts restless souls from faraway shores to surrender themselves to India’s religious beliefs and traditions. Be it, the frenzy of the Kumbh mela, or the serenity of ashrams and temples, India’s religious sites have something for everyone. No wonder, countless travellers from all walks of life and all parts of the globe flock to the country to satiate their spiritual quest. In fact, it is not only about pious leanings. Many of the temples and other holy places boast stupendous feats of architecture and prove to be a photographer’s delight. Come, let’s take a quick religious sightseeing tour of the country.
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu
Sprawling across an area of about 156 acres, it is India’s largest temple and amongst the world’s largest religious complexes. The temple is dedicated to Lord Ranganatha (Lord Vishnu’s reclining form) and is believed to be first of the 108 Divya Desams or holy abodes of Lord Vishnu. The temple is especially celebrated for its Gopurams and a look at the picture will tell you why.
Shiva Statue, Har ki Pauri, Haridwar
Lord Shiva stands tall and mighty on the banks of the Ganges at Har ki Pauri. This astounding view is just one of the rewards of visiting Haridwar. The entire place teems with ashrams, temples, and other majestic statues. The surreal glow in the background is the brilliance of the rising sun.
Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai
A shining example of the country’s secular character. Thousands of devotees, irrespective of their faith, seek blessings at the dargah. The Haji Ali Dargah has the tomb of the merchant turned holy man, Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. The Dargah Sharif stands on a small islet reached by way of a causeway. One can visit only during low tides as the causeway gets flooded at high tide.
Home to one of the handful of Brahma temples in the world as well as a famous holy lake and dozens of other well known temples, Pushkar is another must visit spot on the pilgrim trail. Legend goes that the lake here was formed by the tears Lord Shiva shed after his wife Sati’s demise. The camel fair held during November is another major attraction from Pushkar.
Yaganti, Andhra Pradesh
Built by King Harihara Bukka of the Sangama Dynasty in the 15th century, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This highly revered place draws hordes of devotees, especially on Maha Shivaratri. Some interesting trivia here. It has been scientifically verified that the idol of Nandi, the bull is growing here.
Akshardham Temple, Delhi
The ‘Titanic’ complex of Akshardham Temple stands on the banks of the River Yamuna. The main monument here is located in the heart of the complex and soars to a height of about 43 metres. It is completely covered with intricate patterns of deities, musicians, dancers, and flora & fauna. According to statistics, nearly 70% of the Delhi tourists visit the temple and it also holds the Guinness World Record for being the ‘world’s largest comprehensive Hindu temple’.
Narasimhaswamy Konda, Visakhapatnam
This enchanting hill is a pilgrimage centre for Hindus. Devotees flock in overwhelming numbers to the ancient temple dedicated to God Narasimha (Lord Vishnu’s fourth incarnation) here.
Pinak Shome is a member of the enthusiastic iXiGO fraternity and an avid traveller.