9 Best places to visit in India during Train Travel
There are countless temples in India that are worth visiting, but here are ten of the most popular ones that you can visit by train:
Tirupati Balaji Temple:
Tirupati Balaji Temple, also known as Sri Venkateswara Temple, is a highly revered Hindu temple located in the town of Tirupati in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and is considered one of the most important pilgrimage sites in India.
The temple complex covers an area of 26.75 acres and is situated on the seven hills of Tirumala. The main deity, Lord Venkateswara, is represented by a black stone idol that is believed to be self-manifested. The temple has several halls, shrines, and other structures, including the famous Ananda Nilayam, which is the main shrine housing the deity.
The temple receives millions of devotees every year, and it is believed that offering prayers and donations at the temple can bring prosperity and good fortune. The temple is known for its elaborate rituals, including the daily Sevas (worship services) and the famous Brahmotsavam festival, which attracts thousands of devotees from all over the world.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple,
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples in India, located in the holy city of Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the principal deities in Hinduism.
The original Kashi Vishwanath Temple was believed to have been built in ancient times, but it was destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries due to various reasons. The current temple was built in the 18th century by the Maratha monarch, Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore.
The temple has a significant place in Hindu mythology and is considered one of the most sacred places of pilgrimage for Hindus. It is believed that a visit to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple can bring blessings and fulfillment of desires. The temple is particularly significant for devotees of Lord Shiva, who believe that the Jyotirlinga (a representation of Lord Shiva) housed in the temple is one of the 12 most sacred Jyotirlingas in India.
Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, Maharashtra:
The Shirdi Sai Baba Temple is a major pilgrimage site in the state of Maharashtra, India. It is located in the town of Shirdi, which is about 240 km from Mumbai.
The temple is dedicated to Sai Baba, a revered saint and spiritual leader who lived in Shirdi during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Sai Baba is known for his teachings of love, compassion, and the importance of inner peace, which continue to inspire millions of people around the world.
The temple complex includes several shrines and prayer halls, as well as a museum that houses various artifacts related to Sai Baba’s life and teachings. The main attraction of the temple is the Samadhi Mandir, which houses the tomb of Sai Baba. Devotees come from all over the world to offer their prayers and seek blessings at the tomb.
Golden Temple, Punjab:
The Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, is a famous Sikh gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. It is considered the most sacred shrine for Sikhs around the world and is visited by millions of people each year.
The temple is named after its stunningly beautiful golden dome that is adorned with gold leaf, which was added in the early 19th century by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The complex of the Golden Temple includes the temple, a large man-made lake known as the Amrit Sarovar, and several other buildings and monuments.
The temple was first built in the 16th century by Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, and has since undergone several renovations and expansions. The architecture of the temple is a unique blend of Hindu and Muslim styles, representing the harmony and unity of different religious traditions in India.
The temple is not only a religious site but also a symbol of communal harmony and a center of community service. The langar, or communal kitchen, provides free meals to all visitors regardless of their caste, religion, or social status. It is said that over 100,000 people are served food here every day.
The Golden Temple is also known for its daily prayer and worship ceremonies, which include the singing of hymns, recitation of scriptures, and distribution of sacred food. The temple complex is especially beautiful at night when it is lit up with thousands of lights.
Overall, the Golden Temple is an important religious and cultural landmark of India, attracting millions of visitors each year who come to pay their respects, seek blessings, and experience the unique culture and traditions of Sikhism.
Meenakshi Temple, Tamil Nadu:
Meenakshi Temple is one of the most famous and important Hindu temples in India, located in the ancient city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi, an avatar of Goddess Parvati, and her consort Lord Sundareswarar, an avatar of Lord Shiva. It is believed that the temple was first built in the 6th century BC, and has undergone multiple renovations and expansions over the centuries.
The temple complex covers an area of 14 acres and consists of several towering gopurams (entrance towers), halls, shrines, and other structures. The most famous feature of the temple is its towering gopurams, which are covered in intricate carvings and sculptures of Hindu deities, mythological creatures, and scenes from Hindu epics.
The temple is also known for its elaborate rituals and festivals, including the Meenakshi Thirukalyanam, a grand wedding ceremony of the deities that attracts thousands of devotees every year. Another important festival celebrated here is the Chithirai Thiruvizha, which marks the coronation of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar.
Meenakshi Temple is a significant pilgrimage site for Hindus and is visited by millions of devotees every year. It is not only a religious and cultural landmark but also a significant architectural marvel, showcasing the best of Dravidian architecture.
Jagannath Temple, Odisha:
The Jagannath Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath (Lord of the Universe) located in the city of Puri, in the state of Odisha, India. It is one of the four major pilgrimage sites, called the Char Dham, for Hindus in India.
The temple is an important center of worship for Vaishnavites, one of the major sects of Hinduism. It is said to have been built in the 12th century by King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva and has undergone several renovations and expansions over the years.
The temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra (Chariot Festival), where the idols of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra, and sister Subhadra are taken on a grand procession on chariots through the streets of Puri. The festival is a major event in India and attracts millions of visitors from all over the world.
The temple complex includes several smaller shrines dedicated to various deities, as well as a large kitchen that serves free meals (prasad) to thousands of devotees every day. The kitchen is considered to be the largest kitchen in the world, and the food is cooked using traditional methods over wood-fired stoves.
Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple premises, but they can view the temple from a raised platform known as the Rooftop Garden. The temple is also known for its unique architectural style, which is a blend of Kalinga and Dravidian styles.
Overall, the Jagannath Temple is an important religious and cultural landmark of India, attracting millions of visitors each year who come to seek blessings, experience the unique traditions of Hinduism, and witness the grandeur of the Rath Yatra festival.
Somnath Temple, Gujarat:
The Somnath Temple is a famous Hindu temple located in the town of Prabhas Patan in the state of Gujarat, India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is considered to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas (shrines of Lord Shiva) in India.
The temple has a long and rich history, dating back to ancient times. It is said to have been originally built by the moon god Soma in gold, and then rebuilt by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka, in silver. The current temple is said to have been built by the Solanki dynasty in the 11th century, and has undergone several renovations and restorations over the years.
The temple is famous for its stunning architecture and beautiful location by the Arabian Sea. The main sanctum of the temple is adorned with a beautiful lingam (an abstract representation of Lord Shiva), which is said to be one of the most powerful and sacred in the country.
Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand:
Kedarnath Temple is a Hindu temple located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is situated in the town of Kedarnath, which is situated at an altitude of 3,583 meters above sea level in the Garhwal Himalayas. The temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and is considered one of the holiest temples in India.
The temple is believed to have been built by the Pandavas from the epic Mahabharata. The temple is made of large, heavy, and evenly cut gray stones, and has a rectangular shape. The temple has a wooden roof and a stone exterior.
The Kedarnath Temple is open to devotees only from the end of April to the beginning of November due to heavy snowfall in the region during the winter season. The temple can be reached by a 14 km trek from Gaurikund, which is the nearest town accessible by road. Helicopter services are also available to the temple from the town of Phata.
Kedarnath Temple is not just a religious site, but also a popular tourist destination due to its scenic beauty and the challenging trek to reach the temple. The temple and its surroundings offer breathtaking views of the Himalayan range and the Mandakini river flowing nearby.
Mahabodhi Temple, Bihar:
Mahabodhi Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Buddhist temple located in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India. It is believed to be the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment and is therefore considered one of the holiest places for Buddhists.
The temple complex consists of the Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhi Tree, and several other shrines and monasteries. The Mahabodhi Temple is a massive brick structure with a height of about 55 meters. It has a pyramidal spire on top and is decorated with carvings and images of Buddhist deities.
The temple is built on the spot where Lord Buddha is believed to have meditated under the Bodhi Tree and attained enlightenment. The Bodhi Tree is a descendant of the original tree that existed during the time of Lord Buddha and is believed to be around 2500 years old.
The Mahabodhi Temple attracts millions of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world every year. The temple complex also houses several meditation and prayer halls, monasteries, and guest houses for visitors. The Mahabodhi Temple is not just a religious site, but also a center of learning and research on Buddhism and its teachings.
Visitors are required to follow strict guidelines while visiting the temple, such as removing footwear and dressing appropriately. The temple is open to visitors from sunrise to sunset and entry is free.
Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu and Kashmir:
Vaishno Devi Temple is a popular Hindu temple located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is situated in the Trikuta Mountains and is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani. The temple is considered one of the holiest pilgrimage sites for Hindus and is visited by millions of devotees every year.
The temple is located at an altitude of 5,300 feet and can be reached after a steep uphill climb of 12 kilometers from the base camp at Katra. Devotees can either trek the distance or take a helicopter ride to reach the temple. The trek is considered challenging, but the breathtaking views of the mountains and the lush green surroundings make it a memorable experience.
The temple complex consists of three caves or ‘pindis’ that represent the three forms of the goddess – Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi, and Maha Saraswati. The main cave is where the goddess is believed to reside and is the most visited spot by devotees.
The temple is open throughout the year and is especially crowded during the Navratri festival, which is celebrated twice a year in the months of March/April and September/October. Devotees offer prayers and perform rituals to seek blessings from the goddess and fulfill their wishes.
Apart from the temple, there are several other attractions around the Vaishno Devi Temple, such as the Bhairon Temple, which is located 2.5 kilometers from the main temple and is considered an important pilgrimage site. The Ardh Kuwari Cave, located halfway on the trek to the temple, is also an important spot for devotees.
Overall, Vaishno Devi Temple is not just a religious site but also a beautiful destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and spirituality.
These are just some of the top temples in India that you can visit by train. India has a rich history and culture of spirituality and pilgrimage, and there are countless other temples and shrines that you can explore as well.