India is a place that has long held allure to Westerners. With a now emerging global economy still India sags behind the west in material comforts. All the same, there is a spiritual energy and warmth that is beyond anything our Western minds have really seen. Visitors to India often get beyond seeing the Taj Mihal and look to go to destinations that will deepen their spiritual reality. For many the opportunity to extend themselves beyond their current spirituality is of far greater interest then getting lost in any of India sprawling metropolises. A few places in India that give visitors a healthy dose of spiritual awakening are.
The ancient city of Haridwar – referred to as the “Gateway to God” – is considered one of the seven holiest places in India. This location, located at the foothills leading to Himalyas in Uttarakhand, has long been a popular place for Hindu pilgrims to travel to. They believe that by dipping themselves into the holy waters of the Ganges River the fast currents will wash away their sins.
Varanasi is again one of the seven sacred Hindu cities. The attraction this the city of Lord Shiva, the god of creation and destruction, is that it is believed who ever dies within the city will be liberated from the cycle of reincarnation. Varanasi is huge draw for Hindu pilgrims and foreigners alike.
Bodhgaya is considered the most central of Buddhist pilgrimage locations in the world. Located in the province of Bihar, it was here that famously Lord Buddha mediated under a Bodhi tree until he found enlightenment. This exact spot is now marked by the sprawling Mahabodhi temple. This town offers many courses in Buddhism and meditation for foreigners.
Rishikesh situated on the banks of the Ganges River is the birthplace of Yoga. For this reason it has become a popular place to come and meditate, do yoga, and learn about Hinduism. There are numerous ashrams and yoga institutes. Rishikesh has become an extremely popular location for foreigners seeking spiritual guidance.
Amritsar, “Holy pool of nectar”, is the spiritual capital of the Sikhs, it takes its name from the body of water that surrounds the golden temple. The amazing golden temple attracts pilgrims from around the world and is particularly alluring when lit up at night time.