India is considered a holy land bestowed with countless pilgrimage centers and is a birthplace of many religions like Hindiuism, Buddhism and Sikkhism to name a few followed worldwide. Each of the pilgrimage centers has a unique “purana” (story) behind its emergence and frequented by pilgrims all over the country as well as from other parts of world where Indians are densely populated. People belonging to other religions apart from the Indian origin also keenly visit these holy destinations with the spirit of attaining salvation. The top four pilgrimage destinations that an Indian and tourists should never miss visiting when they get the opportunity in life are Amarnath, Badrinath, Vaishnodevi and Amritsar Golden Temple.
Amarnath, the cave temple, in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, is the abode of Hindu god "Lord Shiva" and has a historical recognition dating back to 5000 years ago. This holy destination receives thousands of pilgrims all over the world every year and the best time to visit this place is during July-August. The temple site is surrounded by other spectacular destinations endowed with serene atmosphere, welcoming weather, crystal clear rivers and magnificent landscapes. The deity of cave temple Lord Shiva is worshiped in ice form which rises to 9 feet tall when fully formed. To reach the cave temple, one has to walk over 40km through the holy path originally believed to be traveled by Lord Shiva and his consort Parvathi. Those who are unable to cover this distance can use the Amarnath helicopter services rendered by tourist departments. Besides Indian pilgrims, there are even foreign travelers who set a pilgrimage to Amarnath when they visit India.
Badrinath is located in Uttarkhand state and its history dates back to 1200 years ago. The residing deity is Lord Vishnu, who is believed to have meditated for several years incarnating as sages having the names Nar and Narayan. Goddess Lakshmi, consort of Lord Vishnu, protected the meditating Lord from rough weather in the form of berry. Hence, Lord Vishnu got the name Badrinath, which means the “Lord of Berries”. There are other small pilgrim centers surrounding Badrinath associated with interesting mythological stories. Every year millions of pilgrims visit this mountainous abode of Lord Vishnu.
Vaishnodevi pilgrimage is a highly honored pilgrimage by people of India. The deity Vaishnodevi resides in a tiny cave surrounded by range of mountains. It is said that one has to crawl down into the cave on knees to catch a glimpse of Vaishnodevi. The tourists departments here provide comfortable accommodation to all the devotees who set pilgrimage to this divine abode. The disabled pilgrims and people who visit with a short time on hand are provided helicopter rides which are included in the tour packages as optional. There are even other Indian tour packages which cover scenic destinations of Himalayas that surround Vaishnodevi pilgrimage.
The Golden Temple
The Golden Temple of Amritsar in the State of Punjab is highly revered, as the holy Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhism is worshiped here. The temple is surrounded by a pool of water, where it is necessary for each and every devotee to take a dip before entering the shrine. The glittering image of Golden Temple reflecting on the pond that surrounds it is spectacular to look at. Amritsar has other historical places to visit like Jalianwalah Bagh and Durgiana temple, neighboring it. All devotees are offered free food where even pilgrims join hands for preparing food, which they consider as service to God.
The above information is very less about Indian pilgrimage centers. The Indian land which stretches from Himalayas in the North to Kanyakumari in the South is fully endowed with innumerable holy destinations, which Indians cannot complete visiting them even if they spend their whole lifetime.