India has a diverse culture and is secular by nature. The country is home to multiple religions, and people have no dearth of pilgrimages in India. Every year millions of tourists and devotees visit numerous holy cities and religious sites in the country. The country has been a home for some of the most prominent figures in Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. From temples to Dargahs and Churches, there are hundreds of pilgrimage sites and holy cities in India.
Kedarnath is a town located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand in India. This holy place in India is one of the famous Char Dhams and houses the holy Kedarnath Temple. Located high in the mountains and accessible only by foot, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is considered to be one of the most famous holy places in India.
By air: To reach Kedarnath by air, you need to travel to Jolly Grant Domestic Airport in Dehradun. This is the nearest airport to the pilgrimage and is connected by roadways. You can also avail of helicopter services from here to travel directly to Kedarnath.
By rail: Rishikesh Railway Station is located around 200 km from Kedarnath and serves as the closest rail link to the city. You can get direct trains to Rishikesh from any part of the county.
By road: Kedarnath is accessible from Delhi Via NH 334 & NH 107. However, it takes more than half a day to reach the city. You can also take the NH 7 and NH107 highways to reach this holy city from Dehradun.
Ram Temple, Ayodhya
Work is in full swing to build one of the biggest temples in India after Independence. and the grand opening is expected to take place between January 15 and 24, 2024. The Ram Temple in Ayodhya is touted to be a combination of new-age technological conveniences and age-old Indian traditions. Spanning 54,700 sqft, the temple area covers nearly 2.7 acres of land. The entire Ram Mandir Complex would be spread over nearly 70 acres and will be equipped to host about a million devotees at any time.
How to reach Ayodhya?
By air: The closest airport near the Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport in Lucknow. The distance from Lucknow to Ayodhya is 135 km. However, work is in full swing to complete the upcoming Ayodhya Airport before the opening of the Ram temple. The development of the Ayodhya Airport is expected to be completed by September 2023.
By train: The Ayodhya Junction is well-connected to major cities and towns in India. You can check train schedules and book tickets through the Indian Railways website or other online platforms.
By road: The National Highway-27 (NH27) and other state highways connect Ayodhya with cities such as Lucknow, Varanasi and Gorakhpur.
By bus: The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) operates regular bus services to Ayodhya from various cities in with the state and the neighboring states.
Vaishno Devi, Jammu and Kashmir
Vaishno Devi is one of the most popular pilgrimage places and is located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. Situated in the hills of Katra, the temple is dedicated to a manifestation of the Hindu goddess Sati. It is recognised as one of the 108 Shakti Peethas and is an extremely important pilgrimage site for Hindus. Millions of Hindus visit here every year to worship the Goddess and receive blessings.
By air: The closest airport near Vaishno Devi is the Jammu domestic airport which serves the city of Jammu. You can travel here from any other terminal in India. You can also take helicopter services from Katra to reach the temple easily.
By rail: Katra is the nearest rail link to Vaishno Devi. The station is located at the base of the hill that houses the holy temple. Regular trains are available here from cities like Jammu, Delhi, Dehradun, and Amritsar.
By road: You can take NH 44 from Delhi to reach Katra. Alternatively, you can also take the NH54 and NH 44 highways to reach Katra from Amritsar.
Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh
Tirupati is a famous holy city in Andhra Pradesh that is visited by thousands of devotees in India and abroad. The Venkateshwara temple or the Tirupati Temple, is the prime pilgrimage spot for South Indians. The shrine of God Venkateshwara invites devotees who visit here to seek blessings and pray to have their wishes fulfilled.
By air: Tirupati Airport is located in the city of Tirupati and serves as the nearest domestic airport. Travellers from anywhere in India can easily reach the city through direct flights. International travellers can travel to Bangalore or Chennai and then take connecting flights here.
By rail: Tirupati Railway Station is the rail link which connects the city to the rest of India. The station receives trains from major railway stations like Bangalore, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Madurai and Mumbai.
By road: You can travel to Tirupati from Mumbai via NH 48 highway. From Chennai, the city is accessible by the NH 716A highway. Alternatively, you can also take the NH40 and Srinagar – Kanyakumari Highway to reach the city from Hyderabad.
Kamakhya Temple, Assam
Kamakhya Temple is located in the city of Guwahati. This city lies in the state of Assam in northeastern India. The temple is one of the most powerful Shakti Peethas in India. The ancient temple is a popular Hindu pilgrimage site and an important place of worship in Shaktism.
By air: To reach Kamakhya Temple by air, you can travel to Guwahati by international and domestic flights. From the Guwahati airport itself, you can hire a cab or bus that will take you to the temple.
By rail: Guwahati railway station is the best rail link to the temple and lies only a short distance away. Numerous trains arrive here from cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai, so travelling here is a breeze.
By road: To reach Kamakhya Temple by road, you can take the NH 27 highway from Kolkata. Alternatively, you can also take the NH27 highway to reach the temple from Delhi.
Haridwar is a holy city and a top tourist place in Uttarakhand. The city is known for its melee of holy places and temples that are scattered over its territories. The sacred Ganga exists in the foothills of the mountains at Haridwar and gives way to several Ghats where people gather to worship their God. The city also has three important Siddh Peethas, namely Mansa Devi Temple, Chandi Devi temple, and Maya Devi Temple. These Siddh Peethas are said to be places where a worshipper can get his or her wishes fulfilled.
By air: To reach Haridwar by air, you need to travel to the Jolly Grant Airport of Dehradun. From here, a short cab ride will take you to Haridwar in minimal time.
By rail: You can also reach Haridwar through well-established rail links. The Haridwar railway station is located within the city and is well connected through direct trains from all four corners of India.
By road: Tourists who want to reach Haridwar by road can travel to the city via NH334 from Delhi. Alternatively, you can also take the Rishikesh National Highway to reach the city in under 2 hours.
Puri is an extremely holy city that lies in Odisha. Situated in Eastern India along the Bay of Bengal, the city is home to the famous Jagannath Temple, which finds its place in one of the Char Dhams of India. The city also houses the Konark Temple, which is visited by tourists all around the year.
By air: The best way to reach Puri by air would be to travel to Bhubaneswar Airport from any part of India. You will find frequent domestic flights here from cities like Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai, and Patna. From the airport itself, you can take a cab ride to reach the city.
By rail: Puri railway station is actually one of the biggest railway stations in Eastern India. The station is connected by rail to major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai, and can be reached through direct trains.
By road: Travelling to Puri from cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai is no trouble at all. The well-made highways of NH16 and Nh65 will easily take you to Puri through picturesque roads that travel through multiple Indian states.
Dwarka is an ancient city that is also an important Hindu pilgrimage site and a part of the Char Dhams in India. Located in Gujarat, the ancient Dwarkadhish Temple in Dwarka was said to be built around 2000 years ago. The temple houses a Hindu deity which is evident in the black-marble idol of Lord Krishna placed in the inner sanctum.
By air: The nearest airport to the holy city of Dwarka is Jamnagar airport which lies approximately 137 km away from the city. This is a domestic terminal, and frequent flights are available here from cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Cochin.
By rail: Dwarka railway station is situated within the holy city and can be easily accessed by trains from various parts of India.
By road: From Mumbai, Dwarka can be reached via NH48. Alternatively, you can also take the Nh65 highway to reach the city from Hyderabad.
Badrinath is a holy town in Chamoli district in the state of Uttarakhand. This Hindu pilgrimage site is one of the four Char Dham pilgrimages in India. The Badrinath Temple in the town is the pilgrimage spot for Hindus, especially from the Vaishnava sect. The temple is named after Rishi Ved Vyas and is visited by thousands of tourists every month.
By air: The Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun is the best way to reach the holy town by air. International travellers can first reach Delhi and take connecting flights here. The domestic terminal at Dehradun receives flights from various other terminals in India.
By rail: Tourists travelling by rail can go to Rishikesh Railway Station, which is the nearest railhead to Badrinath. From here a cab or bus ride can take tourists to the town.
By road: If you are travelling by road from Delhi, you need to take the NH7 highway to reach the city.
Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu
Rameswaram is situated on Pamban Island in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The Ramanathaswamy Temple located here is a major Hindu pilgrimage site and a top tourist attraction as well. The ornate temple has decorated corridors, sculpted pillars and many holy water tanks. This site is another of the Char Dhams in India and is said to bear an imprint of Lord Rama’s feet.
By air: Madurai Airport is the closest airport to Rameshwaram, which is around 149 kms from the city. You can also choose to travel to Tuticorin Airport, which is located at a distance of 142 kms from the city.
By rail: Rameshwaram has its own railway station that lies on this quaint island. You can book direct trains from Madurai, Coimbatore, Chennai, Mumbai, and Cochin railway stations.
By road: From Madurai, Rameshwaram is accessible via Madurai-Mandapam and NH87 highways. Alternatively, you can reach the city from Chennai via the Chennai-Theni highway and then Trichy – Kanyakumari Road.
Ajmer Sharif, Rajasthan
Ajmer Sharif Dargah is a top pilgrimage site in the country for Muslims. The site is located in Ajmer, Rajasthan, which lies in Western India. Ajmer Sharif contains the Sufi tomb of the Sufi saint, Moinuddin Chishti. He is considered one of the religious leaders of Sufism. People around the world come to Ajmer to visit the Dargah and pay their respects to the late saint.
By air: The closest airport to Ajmer Sharif is the Kishangarh airport which lies only 24 km away. Alternatively, tourists can also travel to Jaipur International Airport and then take a cab ride to this destination.
By rail: Ajmer Sharif Dargah is two km away from central Ajmer Railway station and the nearest railhead to the site. This station is connected by trains from all parts of India.
By road: If you are travelling from Jaipur, Mumbai, or Delhi, you need to take the NH48 highway to reach the city of Ajmer.
Haji Ali Dargah, Maharashtra
Haji Ali Dargah is situated in Mumbai and a little away from the mainland. The Dargah holds the remains of the tomb of Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. Bukhari was a Sufi saint who is reverenced by the people of Islam. Situated near Mumbai city, the dargah is one of the most recognisable as one of the top Muslim pilgrimages.
By air: Mumbai International Airport is one of the most important airports in India and connected to almost all major countries in the world. The busy airport receives both international and domestic tourists.
By rail: Mumbai is well connected by rail links and has its own railway station. The station is of the most important rail heads of th3 country and receives many trains from all corners of India.
By road: Travelling to Mumbai via roadways is pretty easy and comfortable. Tourists can take the NH48 highway, which travels through major cities in India.
Jama Masjid, Delhi
Jama Masjid is a very important pilgrimage site that is located in the heart of the capital city of Delhi. The pilgrimage site was constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The magnificent Majid is also a favourite of tourists, and each year hundreds of tourists and pilgrims visit Jama Masjid to witness its beauty and grace.
By air: Indira Gandhi International Airport is located within Delhi and is a major international airport in India. The airport is best for both domestic and international travel. You need to reach this airport and then take a cab or bus to Jama Masjid.
By rail: The New Delhi Railway Station is well connected to all parts of India. Rail links from Delhi run through the major cities in India like Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and so on. In case a direct train is unavailable from a place, Delhi can be reached through connecting trains from any other Indian city.
By road: Since Delhi is the capital city of India, it is connected to all other parts of the country through a large system of roadways. You can choose to go to the city from Mumbai via NH 48. Pilgrims can also reach Delhi from Kolkata via NH19.
Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is a Roman Catholic basilica. This Christian pilgrimage site is located in the state of Goa. The Basilica lies along the Konkan Coast of India. The iconic monument is a popular tourist destination, among all the churches of Goa. The basilica is even recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The basilica is located in Old Goa, the former capital of Portuguese India, and holds the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier.
By air: to reach the Basilica of Bom Jesus, you need to travel to the Dabolim airport, which lies 30 km from Panaji. The airport receives frequent flights from Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kochi. Additionally, international flights also operate at this airport.
By rail: There are two railway stations near the Basilica of Bom Jesus. The Vasco da Gama and Margao stations are both very close to the pilgrimage site and have lots of trains arriving here from different parts of the country.
By road:- Tourists can reach the Basilica of Bom Jesus if they take the NH 48 highway from Chennai. From Bangalore, a short ride of 30 minutes via New Airport Road will take you to this destination.
Velankanni, Tamil Nadu
Velankanni is another popular Christian pilgrimage site in Tamil Nadu. The city is located in the Nagapattinam district on the Coromandel coast of India. This popular tourist spot receives millions of devotees a year who travel to the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health, a Roman Catholic shrine. The church especially stays crowded in the months of December and March as Christians come here to celebrate auspicious days.
By air: Tourists who want to travel by air can reach Trichy or Tiruchirapalli, which is situated at a distance of 153 kilometres from Velankanni. For international travel, Chennai airport is 312 kilometres away and the closest international air link.
By rail: Velankanni railway station is the best way to reach the city by train. This is a terminal station, so many long-distance trains arrive here daily. You can easily catch direct trains here fr cities like Chennai, Cochin, and Bangalore.
By road: People who are travelling to Velankanni by road from Chennai need to take the NH32 and East Coast Roads to reach the town. From Bangalore, the quaint town is accessible via NH 44 highway that runs through the North-South corridor.
St. Philomena’s Church, Karnataka
St Philomena Cathedral is located in the state of Karnataka. The church was commissioned in the mid-20th century to house its patron saint, the martyr St. Philomena from Rome. Christian devotees also consider the cathedral as a pilgrimage spot and arrive on auspicious occasions. The church follows the Gothic revival movement and is actually known for being one of the tallest churches in Asia.
By air: The nearest major airport to St Philomena Church is the Bangalore International Airport which is well connected by both domestic and international flights. Tourists and pilgrims can avail of direct flights travelling to Bangalore Airport from any part of India and abroad.
By rail: Mysore railway station is a small station located near St Philomena Cathedral. Many tourists opt to travel to the church by train due to budget constraints. You can easily reach Mysore from major railway stations like Chennai and Bangalore.
By road: Tourists can reach St Philomena Cathedral from Chennai via NH 48 highway. Alternatively, people travelling from Cochin can take the NH544 highway to travel to the pilgrimage site.
What are the holiest places in north India?
Some of the holiest places in North India are Kedarnath, Varanasi, Vaishno Devi, Golden Temple, and Haridwar.
What are the Char Dhams in India?
The Char Dhams in India are Kedarnath, Badrinath, Rameshwaram, and Puri.
What are some of the most important Muslim pilgrimages in India?
Some of the most important Muslim pilgrimage sites in India are Ajmer Sharif, Haji Ali Dargah, Jama Masjid, Dargah Hazratbal, and Hauz-i-Shamsi(Hauz).