The temple explorer has a lot to choose from the various devotional and spiritual wealth in India, but every location is specific to the preferences and the beliefs one has when deciding to visit the places. Most of the visits are based on preferences related to devotional places or temples of importance be it the Jyotirlings to Shakti Peths and family gods or goddesses known as Kul Dev or Kul Devi to Guru Parampara followed in their communities and more. An ideal pattern followed by pilgrims or temple visitors is divided into a few large agendas – The famous Char Dham Yantras, the 12 Jyotirlings Darshan during the holy month of Shravan, Divya Desham Stan of Sri Hari Vishnu to Devi Shakti paths spread across the Bharat Bhoomi. (Also read: Benefits of spiritual travel: Rejuvenating mind and soul through journeys of inner discovery )
Must-Know Tips for Exploring India’s Spiritual Wonders
In an interview with HT Lifestyle Giresh Kulkarni, Founder of Temple Connect discussed a few important tips and tricks that you must keep in mind while planning your next spiritual getaway.
1. What are some popular spiritual destinations in India?
Ayodhya, Varanasi, Haridwar, Mathura, Rishikesh, Amritsar, Bodh Gaya, Puri, Tirupati, and Dwarka are some of the popular spiritual destinations in India. The key agenda to visiting the said locations is to explore the heritage and culture attached to these shrines and take the blessings of the deities who may show a lot of blessings in return on the visit is what the eternal belief has been for ages.
2. What is the best time of the year to visit these spiritual destinations?
The best time to visit these spiritual destinations may vary depending on the specific location. Generally, the winter months (October to February) offer pleasant weather and are ideal for visits. However, it’s advisable to check the local climate and festival calendars of the specific destination before planning a trip. Travel Plans connected to special festivals around the temple visit need to be incorporated for better logistics and crowd management planning from the Sr. Citizens’ to little toddlers’ point of view.
3. Are there any specific rituals or practices that visitors should be aware of?
Visitors should be aware that some spiritual destinations in India have specific rituals and practices that are followed. It’s recommended to research and understand these rituals beforehand to ensure respectful participation and adherence to local customs.
4. Are there any specific dress codes or attire requirements for visiting temples or other spiritual sites?
Many temples and spiritual sites in India have dress codes that require visitors to dress modestly. It’s generally expected to cover shoulders, and legs, and especially avoid wearing revealing clothing. It’s advisable to wear comfortable attire and carry a shawl or scarf to cover oneself if required.
5. Are there any local customs or traditions that visitors should be familiar with?
Learning some local customs and traditions before visiting spiritual destinations can enhance the experience. Greeting locals with folded hands (Namaste) or using respectful language is considered polite. It’s also important to be aware of cultural sensitivities and to seek permission before taking pictures.
6. How can I find accommodation near these spiritual destinations?
There are various online platforms, travel agencies and official websites that provide information on accommodation options near spiritual destinations. It’s advisable to book in advance to secure the preferred accommodation. There are various temple-operated guest houses or Dharma Shala undertaken by the state tourism department for the convenience and comfort of the tourists. There are initiatives supporting the stay and bed and breakfast format of offerings in all small and big temple towns – available with the best of the local cuisines or delicacies.
7. Are there any guided tours or packages available for spiritual and devotional trips in India?
Yes, there are several travel agencies and tour operators that offer guided tours and packages specifically for spiritual and devotional trips in India. These tours often include visits to multiple destinations, temple visits, and local insights. The initiative powered by the Ministry of Tourism of various states, temple management and travel and tour operations acts actively to guide the pilgrims with the historic, cultural, traditional and ritualistic sentiment of the locations with in-depth information on the annual festival schedules and more.
8. What are some nearby attractions or activities that can be combined with a spiritual trip?
Many spiritual destinations in India have nearby attractions worth exploring. For instance, Rishikesh offers adventure sports and scenic views, while Mathura and Vrindavan are associated with Lord Krishna and offer cultural experiences. It’s worth researching such attractions to make the most of the trip. Kashi has its own Ganga Aarti to experience, Tirupati has a variety of daily festivals to participate and the Golden Temple at Amritsar has its own important service to the community through the community kitchen – Langar – a must-experience element of a lifetime.
9. What are some safety tips to keep in mind while travelling to these spiritual destinations?
It’s advisable to carry a copy of important documents, avoid displaying excessive wealth, be cautious of pickpockets, and opt for registered transportation options. Additionally, it’s recommended to drink bottled water, eat from clean and trusted establishments, and ensure personal safety during crowded religious gatherings.
10. Are there any specific dos and don’ts that visitors should be aware of when visiting temples or other spiritual sites in India?
When visiting temples or other spiritual sites, it’s important to remove footwear before entering the premises and follow the instructions provided by the signage or temple authorities. It’s customary to avoid touching idols, maintain silence, and avoid public displays of affection. Photography may be restricted in certain areas, so it’s important to check beforehand.