Pilgrimage India

Pilgrimage India -- THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS

In religion and spirituality, a pilgrimage is a long journey or search of great moral significance. Sometimes, it is a journey to a sacred place or shrine of importance to a faith. Members of every major religion participate in pilgrimages. A person who makes such a journey is called a pilgrim.

Unlike some other religions, Hindus are not required to undertake pilgrimages during their lifetime. However, most Hindus who can afford to go on such journeys travel to numerous iconic sites including those shown in the maps above and discussed below.

Char Dham (Famous Four Pilgrimage sites): The four holy sites Puri, Rameswaram, Dwarka, and Badrinath (or alternatively the Himalayan towns of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri) compose the Char Dham (four abodes) pilgrimage circuit.

Kumbh Mela: The Kumbh(a) Mela (the "pitcher festival") is one of the holiest of Hindu pilgrimages. There are five types of Kumbh Melas:

  • Maha Kumbh Mela - occurring every 144 years - only in Allahabad.
  • Purna Kumbh Mela - after every 12 years - last one took place in January 2001 in Allahabad.
  • Ardh Kumbh - 6th year after Kumbh Mela.
  • Kumbh Mela - every 3rd year, rotating through Allahabad, Nasik, Haridwar and Ujjain.
  • Magh Mela - Annual, held every year except years of Kumbh Mela and Ardh Kumbh Mela. Held in Magh

Old Holy cities as per Puranic Texts: Varanasi formerly known as Kashi, Allahabad formerly known as Prayag, Haridwar-Rishikesh, Mathura-Vrindavan, and Ayodhya.

Shakti Peethas: Another important set of pilgrimages are the Shakti Peethas, where the Mother Goddess is worshipped, a principal one being Kalighat in Kolkata.