Spirituality and religious convictions merge together to draft as the most indispensable foundation of the Indian civilization. In its entrenched history, India has been home to several sacred destinations where needs from the physical world are exiled by the divine fervor of religion. For some devotees, these sacred places call for a pilgrimage at least once in a lifetime, and for others they symbolize euphoria between life and God. From the northern foothills of Himalayas to the southern coastal lands, faith, spirituality and religious ethics will accompany you ubiquitously in different sacred towns of India. Some of these sacred places are fabricated around mythological legends while some are spiritual treasures. So here we have the seven most sacred Indian cities according to the Hindu mythology.
Famed as the birthplace of Lord Rama, Ayodhya is an ancient city on the bank Sarayu River. According to Hindu mythology, Ayodhya was capital of the Hindu kingdom Kaushal and was described as ‘made by Gods and prosperous as Heaven itself’. However, the native land of Lord Rama also preaches a life exempt from greed, egoism and envy. Called as the land of spiritual bliss and liberation, Ayodhya has some of the most important archaeological shrines found anywhere in the country. Places like Chakravarti Mahraj Dashrath Mahal, Nageshwarnath Temple, Hanuman Garhi, Ramkot and Kanak Bhawan are some remarkable pilgrims in Ayodhya.
Commonly known as Lord Krishna’s birthplace, Mathura was the capital of the Surasena Kingdom according to Hindu legends. The ancient city of Mathura is also known as Madhuvan for its thick forest covers and was an important trade route from centuries. . Sited at the bank of Yamuna River, Mathura is the most important pilgrimage for devotees of Krishna. The ancient city of Mathura is also famous for its Braj culture where every ghat has a special narrative of Lord Krishna. It’s really hard to name a few sacred destinations in a land where the number of holy places is more than the number of dust particles on earth’s surface.
The literal meaning to Haridwar is the Gateway to Gods or Lord Shiva. According to Hindu mythology, the ancient city of Mathura is one of four sites where the few drops from nectar of immortality were mistakenly dropped. The city is also famous for its colossal Kumbha Mela that is celebrated here after every 12 years. Millions of devotees come to Haridwar every year to wash away their sins at the banks of Ganga River and also perform ritualistic bathing here. Sacred places of interest in Haridwar include names like Har ki Pauri, Ghat in Kankhal, Mansa Devi Temple and Chandi Devi Temple.
Also known as Banaras or Benaras, Varanasi is one of the world’s oldest living cities and is called the religious capital of India. Described as the favorite city of Lord Shiva in Hindu myths, Varanasi is another holy city located on the banks of River Ganga with its two tributaries Varuna and Asi crafting the name Varanasi. It is considered important for every Hindu to visit Varanasi at least once in lifetime and take a holy dip in the sacred waters of the Ganga. The four ghats – Dashashwamedh Ghat, the Manikarnika Ghat, the Panchganga Ghat and the Harishchandra Ghat are a must visit when in Varanasi.
Popularly described as city of 1000 temples, Kanchipuram is a small town located near Chennai. Kanchipuram is alsoadmired for illustration of Pallava and Manimekalai architectural works. Located on the banks of river Vegavathy, Kanchipuram is perfect unification of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Christianity. According to Hindus, Kanchipuram is regarded as a place for final attainment and is major pilgrimage site for both Saivites and Vaishnavites. Some of the famous temples in Kanchipuram are Ekambareswarar Temple, Kailasanathar Temple, Muktheeswarar Temple, Kumarakottam Temple and Varadharaja Perumal Temple.
Situated on the banks of the Kshipra River, Ujjain was called Ujjayini in ancient times and was the capital of the Avanti Kingdom. The ancient city of Ujjain is abode to the famous Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga and one of the four sites that host the famous Kumbh Mela. Like the city of Haridwar, Ujjain is too allied with the famous tale of the immortality nectar. Besides being a popular Hindu sacred place, Ujjain also portrays aspects of Buddhist culture. Places like Harasiddhi Temple, Mahakal Temple, Chaubis Khamba Temple, Triveni Navgrah Temple and Chintaman Ganesh Temple are some prime paradigms of Hindu holy places in the city.
Classed as one of the foremost Hindu pilgrimage sites, Dwarka was Lord Krishna’s capital city when he migrated from Mathura. Situated on the bank of the Gomti River, the ancient city Dwarka was eventually submerged in the Arabian Sea, but religious relics can still be noticed in this part of India. Although Dwarka has undergone several changes with time, the city still has numerous chronological monuments that witnessed historic events. Major sacred places in Dwarka include Dwarakhadheesh Temple, Shikara Temple, Bet Dwarka and Gaytri Temple.