India is home to billions of people that come from diverse religions and multiple ethnicities. They pursue a distinct culture, proudly exhibited through their customs and beliefs. Hinduism is one of the most ancient religions in India. Its legacy dates back to the primordial era. There are various famous temple towns in India with beliefs so ingrained and faith so unwavering. A mere visit to one of these temple towns overwhelms everyone with feelings of devotion, salvation, and inner peace.
1. Kedarnath -
It is one of the holiest temple towns of North India nestled in the lap of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, primarily famous for its Kedarnath temple. It is also one of the famous Char Dhams. A visit to the serene Kedarnath temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is considered sacred for the Hindus. Pilgrims from all over the world come to pay their homage in the Kedarnath temple. Its juxtaposition amidst the snow-capped mountains near the quaint Mandakini river makes the temple even more alluring to sight. Another famous temple in the area is the Bhairav Temple dedicated to Lord Bhairav Nath. Once you travel to Kedarnath, do not forget to visit the eye-pleasing Gaurikund and prepossessing Vasuki Tal.
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2. Rishikesh -
Rishikesh is a historically acclaimed and one of the most visited temple towns of North India located in the Garhwal Himalayas. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Rama received his penance in Rishikesh. It is believed that Lakshman Jhulla marks the point where Lakshman crossed the Ganges. Many such anecdotes are also associated with the famous Neelkanth Mahadev temple. Legend has it that the temple represents the drinking of venom by Lord Shiva during Sagar Manthan to obtain Amrita.
Rishikesh is widely famous as the World Capital of Yoga. The place scooped Western fame after a visit by the world-famous rock band named Beatles. They stayed in the Chaurasi Kutia in the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram to practice meditation and study yoga. Now, the ashram comes under Rajaji National Park and is famous as the Beatles Ashram. Other famous tourist spots in Rishikesh are the Swaarg ashram and the Parmarth Niketan. Rishikesh is often known as the gateway to the Himalayas because it serves as a starting point for famous treks and routes to pilgrimage centers.
3. Badrinath -
Badrinath is one of the famous Char Dhams in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. It is one of the most sacred temple towns of North India situated on the bank of the Alaknanda river between the Nar and Narayan peaks. Primarily famous for its Badrinath temple, this small temple city of India receives pilgrims from all over the world. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and can be visited during the months from April to November. Other famous temples in the area are the Mata Murti temple, the Brahma Kapal temple, and the legendary Sheshnetra, which is believed to represent the Shesh Nag. You can also visit the Vasundhara falls and the magnificent Nerlkantha Peak.
4. Varanasi -
Varanasi is one of the most venerated temple towns of North India sanctified by over 2,000 temples. It is also the oldest city in India with exemplary magnum opus in the temples. Located at the bank of the river Ganga, Varanasi welcomes pilgrims from distant corners of the world who seek salvation. This magical city of temples has over 365 ghats, including the famous Manikarnika Ghat, Tulsi Ghat, and Dasaswamedh Ghat. The evening aarti hosted at the bank of the river Ganga is mesmerizing. The site of thousands of floating mud lamps and the sound of enchanting hymns captivate the hearts of the beholders. Some famous temples in Varanasi include the Bharat Mata temple, Durga temple, Gauri Matha Temple, and Sarnath temple. It is believed that Gautam Buddha gave his first sermon to his disciples after enlightenment in Sarnath.
5. Mathura -
Famous worldwide as the birthplace of Lord Krishna, Mathura is an ancient city of decorated temples and vibrant rituals. Pilgrims also visit Vrindavan, which is the twin city of Mathura. The most sacred shrine in Mathura is the celebrated Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi temple. Other popular places in Mathura include the Gita Mandir, Dwarkadhish temple, Visham Ghat, Kusum Sarovar, and the gigantic Govardhan temple.