During the month of Shravan (July-August), tens of thousands of Hindus undertake an arduous 50km pilgrimage through the scenic Himalayas to worship a very special symbol of Lord Shiva: an ice stalagmite-lingam that forms each year in the cave of Amarnath at the end of the Lidder Valley in Kashmir. The sacred Amarnath cave is regarded, Read More
Ayodhya, set on the banks of the Sarayu river, is a mythical city: it is said to have been the capital of the Kosala Kingdom, which saw the birth of Lord Rama, the famous hero of the Ramayana epic. As such, it is considered by Hindus as one of the seven most sacred cities, Read More
Shakti means ‘power’ or ‘energy’. It is a fundamental concept in Hinduism, which is often associated with the feminine principal and personified by Devi, Hinduism’s primordial goddess. The Shakti is venerated all over India and devotion culminates during the 9-day festival of Navaratri.
Jainism derives from the Sanskrit verb ‘ji’, meaning ‘to conquer’. This refers to the battle that Jain ascetics must fight against material temptations. It is a religion that probably appeared around the 5th century BC. Its origins remain unclear, Jainism has no known founder but it was taught by enlighted teachers called ‘Tirthankaras’ (bridge-builders)., Read More
Buddhism has more than 300 million followers around the world, which makes it the fourth religion (or philosophy) after Christianism, Islam and Hinduism. The history of Buddhism begins around the 5th century BC when Siddharta Gautama, prince of the kingdom of Shakya, received a spiritual awakening under a ficus tree. Siddharta Gautama then became, Read More
In a pious country like India, the pilgrimage is one of the pillars of the faith.There are tens of thousands of pilgrimage centres in India but some of them are the most sacred and every believer makes at least one of the subcontinent’s major pilgrimages in his or her lifetime.
The lingam is the symbol of the Hindu god Shiva. There are numerous lingams throughout India, but the twelve Jyotir lingams or ‘lingams of light’ are the holiest and most worshipped of all. Jyoti means ‘light’ and lingam means ‘mark’ or ‘sign’. According to Hindu tradition, the Jyotir lingams pilgrimage washed off bad karma and, Read More
Buddhism has more than 300 million followers around the world, which makes it the 4th religion (or philosophy) after Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. The history of Buddhism begins around the 5th century BC, when Siddharta Gautama, prince of the Shakya kingdom, got enlightened under a ficus tree. Siddharta Gautama then became the ‘Buddha Samyaksam’ or, Read More
The “Pancha Bhoota Sthalas” refers to the five temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, each of these temples representing the five prime elements of nature; water, air, ether, fire and earth. “Pancha” means five, “Bhoota”, elements and “Sthalas”, place. These temples are all located in the South of India, four in Tamil Nadu, Read More
Char Dham, meaning ‘four abodes’, is the pilgrimage circuit around the four most revered pilgrimage sites in all India. These are in Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameshwaram, located at the four cardinal points of the Indian sub-continent. Hindus believe that a pilgrimage or yatra around the Char Dham cities opens the way to moksha,, Read More
The name Kumbha Mela means “festival of the jar”. It is probably the world’s biggest pilgrimage; gathering up to 100 million people in one place, to bathe in the sacred waters of four holy cities.The belief is that it opens the door to moksha (liberation) and spiritual awakening. A surprising and spectacular event that, Read More
Mount Girnar is an undisputed must-see while you’re in Gujarat. Climbing the 9999 steps to its summit leaves an imperishable memory. The atmosphere is serene and friendly and the views are breathtaking. Mount Girnar (Mount Neminath for the Jains) is in fact a cluster of hills and peaks about 4km from the town of, Read More
To Hindus, the Sapta Puris are the seven holiest cities in India. Sapta means ‘seven’ and puri means ‘town’. These seven holy cities are also called the Sapta Moksha Puris, the ‘seven cities of liberation’ or the Sapta Tirtha, ‘seven places of pilgrimage’.