Pilgrimage and Spiritualism in India
of modernization keep spreading its tentacles to swallow the Indian
subcontinent, India remains a mystic country for outside world for its
divinity, religious ethos , culture and spiritualism. The country known for
its enigmatic saints and their practices in obscure Himalayan caves, fanatic
crowd in age old pilgrimage places, desolate Buddhist monasteries in
Himalayan ranges, it seems a cradle for spiritualism and religious growth
from time immemorial. Yoga and meditation, has earned great reputation in
the world originated in this part of the world. Still in most part of India
treatment is done by ancient practice of medicines like Ayurveda and Yoga.
Western world has also recognized the healing power of Yoga and meditation.
Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism have roots in India, exist harmoniously
and contribute meaningfully towards the evolution of a mature society.
The Ganges river with eternal spiritualism / divine path of
Ganga is not only a river but a cauldron of religious, economic, cultural
and social hullabaloo that live everyday with the people. Ganga invites
pilgrims from India and the entire world. A source of resplendent life, the
Ganges has never ceased to inspire heart, with its celestial origin and
Byzantine course, it covers almost 2, 700 kms. Multitude of pilgrims throng
her banks at large holy cities to perform the ritual bath and pujas. Every
evening at sunset, thousands of fire lamps are set afloat on the river in
obeisance to the celebrated waters. Ganga is not only worship for her
sacredness but also revered because she is descending fro the Himalayas to
irrigate the Indian land.
Different Pilgrimages located near the river
Located at the Himalayas, Haridwar is one of the holiest
cities on India, home of several temples dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva, both
supreme divinities in the Hindu pantheon , this ancient city is the point of
departure on the pilgrim's route, to the source of the Ganges. During
festivals like Kumbh Mela, the place is crowded with tons of devotees all
across the world for the divine bath. Each evening in Haridwar , the sunset
is celebrated with the traditional aarti at Har KI Pauri.
» Gaumukh -
The scenic beauty of Gaumukh, which is
situated on the high altitude path is spellbinding. A splendor valley of
Bhojbhasa at 3800 m, dominated by majestic white peaks is must to see. A
small sanctuary dedicated to Lord Shiva is situated on 6,542 m high
altitude. Gaumukh is a sacred city with an ambiance of divinity.
The name suggest it is a city
of rishis (yogis and saints). An ancient city with strong and rich surge of
water from the melted Himalayas, is a place of divine tranquility. In
ancient times, Rishikesh was the place where wise and renowned rishis took
meditative residence in the neighborhood foliage of mysterious forests.
Ayurveda, the ancient healing practices is widely practise here. Scenic
beauty at sunset from the Lakshman Jhula is fascinating. Rishikesh is like
an another world where the atmosphere is embellished with devotional music,
bhajans (songs) and ritual practices.
» Amarnath -
Located in 'paradise' Kashmir, it is
considered one of the major pilgrimages in India. Major attraction is an ice
Shivalinga (lord Shiva's phallus) that change size with changing season and
also as the moon shine and fades, it becomes bigger and smaller. Each year
on the full moon day of July- August, when the Shivalinga attains its
maximum height there is a festival at this cave temples. Lord Shiva is said
to have first appeared on this day.
Among the pilgrimages in India,Varanasi is revered the most.
One can experience a mystic flavor at this spot, their are number of
activities from which get a feel of spiritualism. Stand on any spot on the
banks of the Ganga with hands raised in a namaskara and turn slowly on your
axis , sitting on the steps of ghats and watch aarti in the evening will
propel sense of divinity in the soul, watching dopey sadhus with incredible
lifestyle will be a great experience.
» Ayodhya -
Although a disputable area, Ayodhya in
Uttar Pradesh is also a popular sacred place, lying to the east of Lucknow -
is believed the birthplace of Lord Rama. It is often associated with the
legend of Vishnu's incarnation as a fish. It is a place dotted with
monasteries and ashrams. With numerous monkeys and sadhus, place seems like
straight out from epical tale.
» Tirupati -
The town of Tirupati is one of the
most ancient and spectacular places of pilgrimage in India. It is situated
in the Chittoor district in southern Andhra Pradesh. The town owes its
existence to the sacred temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara situated on the
Tirumala Hill adjoining it.
Indian mystic wanderers - tale of sadhus, tantric practices
and yogis and meditation
India is famous for spiritual practices and exceptional lifestyle of saints
and yogis who abandoned all the material pleasures on Earth and devote
themselves to practices of asceticism and meditation. With long beard and
unkempt hair, sporting rudraksha necklace and tie their locks in a huge
chignon, they are reminiscent of supreme ascetic. Their mystic appeal always
lure overland travelers and they are nothing less than any wonders.
Apart from Hinduism there are lots to see and understand in this mammoth
land. India is favorite place for westerner because of its strong connection
with Buddhism. Though modern day Buddhism tends to be associated with
countries such as Japan and Tibet yet, the thrill is unique in the land of
its origin. Here Buddha was born, attained enlightenment, revealed the four
novel truth and eight fold path, Buddhist pilgrimage trail is one of the
best experience one can have.
Start with Bodhgaya in Bihar, this is where young Buddha attained nirvana.
Another spectacular place is Nalanda, the first university from where monks
trained and left to disseminate the faith worldwide. Other pilgrimage sites
are great stupa of Sanchi, in Madhaya Pradesh. Climb to Dharamsala, where
the monasteries are beautiful and have scent of ancient Buddhism. To the
west , world heritage site beautifully carved paintings of Ajanta and Ellora
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