Places of worship in India are not only countless and many but have become a part of India’s rich heritage and culture. In India, religion is a way of life, and spirituality and devotion only affirm the living culture of the land. For a nation that worships a river as a Goddess and animals as sacred beings, places of worship are essential to their very existence. From Kedar and Badri in the North to the Meenakshi temple in the South, from Dwarkadeesh in the West to Shri Jagannath Dham in the East, places of worship are scattered throughout the length and breadth of the country.
India is also a place where multiple religions and faiths coexist. Here one can see a Hindu taking a dip in the holy waters of the Ganges or a Muslim offering his daily namaz. One can also witness the holy chants in the Monastery or maybe partake in langar in a Gurudwara. This coexistence of beliefs and faiths is what makes India such a unique country and land different from the others.
Here are 10 places of worship worth visiting in India-
Kamakhya Temple, Assam-
In India, mythology runs deeper than blood in our veins. Similarly, Hindu mythology and legends talk of 51 shakti-peeths. Kamakhya Temple in Assam is one of the 51 shakti-peeths dedicated to the goddess Maa Kamakhya or Kameshwari. Located in Guwahati city’s Nilachal Hill, the temple boasts unique architecture and hosts several thousand devotees every day. With the temple door opening at 8 AM every day in the morning, people flock in large numbers to offer their prayers. The temple is also associated with the Shakta cult, which is the worship of the mother goddess.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple-
The city of Kashi, or Benares is said to be as old as time itself. Located in this historic city is the very famous Kashi Vishwanath temple. Situated on the banks of Ganga, a river considered very sacred in Hinduism, the temple is dedicated to the worship of the Hindu God Shiva. One of the 12 Jyotirlinga, the Kashi Vishwanath temple holds immense significance for the Hindus. Devotees come every day and offer their prayers within the premise of the temple. People can also be seen taking a holy dip in the Ganges before they enter the sacred premises.
Shri Harmandir Sahib Gurudwara, Amritsar-
Also famously and most popularly known as the Golden Temple, Shri Harmandir Sahib Gurudwara is a significant place of worship for the Sikhs. Constructed around a man-made lake, the Golden Temple sees lakhs and lakhs of devotees every year. The gurudwara also hosts langar or a community kitchen where people from different corners of life can come and have a meal. Today, the Golden temple stands as a testament to India’s rich past and as proof of the culture of the land
One of the major shrines in Hinduism, dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kedarnath is located high up in the mountains of Uttarakhand, at an elevation of 3584 m. Pilgrims have to trek all the way up and witness the glory of the Kedarnath temple standing high against the backdrop of snow-capped Himalayas. The temple has also witnessed the devastating 2013 floods but stands safe and safeguarded against all odds. Pilgrims too, despite every odds and struggle, continue pouring in large numbers every year to visit this place of worship.
Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa-
An important religious place for Christians, the Basilica is located in Old Goa. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Basilica is an architectural marvel reminding tourists of the Baroque style. The Basilica has the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier and thus tourists from all over the world come in to visit every year.
Khwaja Gharib Nawaz Dargah-
Ajmer in Rajasthan has one of the most popular places of worship in India, the Ajmer Dargah. Built in 1236, the Dargah is a tomb of the Sufi saint Moinuddin Chisti. People of all faiths are welcome here. The annual Urs festival is also held in the Dargah and one can witness the soulful qawwali music within its premises.
While Ladakh is known for its high altitude and barren landscape, the place also boasts of several monasteries. Thiksey Monastery is one of the places of worship here and is important to Tibetan Buddhism. Built in 1430 AD, the Thiksey Monastery has history written all over it. It also has the statue of the Maitreya Buddha, also known as the future Buddha, and attracts several tourists to catch a glimpse of the future Buddha. The Thiksey Monastery, till today, remains an important place of worship in Ladakh.
Dilwara Jain Temples-
Situated in Mount Abu in Rajasthan, the Dilwara Jain Temples are of immense significance in Jainism. Apart from its religious significance, the temple has some exquisite architecture and carvings that make it such a tourist hotspot in Rajasthan. It stands as one of the important places of worship in India.
Located in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai, Meenakshi temple is dedicated to the goddess Parvati, locally known as goddess Meenakshi. The architecture of the temple is different from the northern parts of India and is stunning to look at and admire. The temple also has several pillars adorned with carvings and designs. Also bearing a pond known as the Golden Lotus Pond, the Meenakshi Temple is a very famous temple in Southern India. Not only one of the most important places of worship, but the Meenakshi temple is also a major tourist attraction in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.
Jama Masjid, Delhi-
Built by Shah Jahan in the mid-17th century, the Jama Masjid is now one of the most important places of worship for Muslims. It is also famed as the largest mosque in India and has an extraordinarily large courtyard that can hold thousands of devotees. Also a tourist attraction in old Delhi, Jama Masjid sees a large number of people coming to marvel at the grand and old structure built by the emperor Shah Jahan himself.