Spiritual Cities of India

India is a holy land where people start their day by offering prayers to the almighty. In other words, it signifies that India has so many temples, out of which some are famous all over the world while others are still unknown to some. According to the scriptures of Hinduism, there are seven holy cities in India. Sapta means seven and Puri means town, therefore they are called Sapta Puri together. It is often believed that the one who visits these seven sacred cities, attains Moksha (liberation). These towns are prominent in Hinduism as different deities descended in these cities in different incarnations (avatars). In the Holy Scriptures, Sapta Puri has been described as:

Ayodhya Mathura Maya Kasi Kanchi Avantika

Cities that constitute Sapta Puri

  1. Ayodhya
  2. Mathura
  3. Haridwar (Maya)
  4. Varanasi (Kasi)
  5. Kanchipuram (Kanchi)
  6. Ujjain (Avantika)
  7. Dwarka (Dvaravati)

Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh

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Ayodhya is the birthplace of Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Situated on the banks of Sarayu River in Uttar Pradesh, this holy city is rich in culture and heritage. Its origin dates back to thousands of years ago. The city is the most notable one as it has been featured in many religious and literary texts in history, out of which the most popular one is Ramayana. The city has more than 100 temples and several kunds (pools) and ghats (steps leading to river). This famous city is also known by the names of Saket and Ram Janmabhoomi.

Holy places to visit in Ayodhya

  • Kanak Bhavan
  • Vashishtha Kund
  • Kala Ram Temple
  • Hanuman Garhi
  • Rama Ghat
  • Brahma Kund
  • Kshireshwaranath Temple

Best time to visit Ayodhya

  • September to March

How to reach Ayodhya

  • By Air: The nearest airport to Ayodhya is Faizabad Airport, at a distance of 8 km.
  • By Road: Ayodhya is connected to all the major cities of Uttar Pradesh. Regular bus service is available from different parts of the state.
  • By Train: Ayodhya shares good rail connectivity with nearby railway stations as well as major stations of North India.

Mathura, Uttar Pradesh

Located on the banks of Yamuna River in Uttar Pradesh, this ancient city is the birthplace of Lord Krishna, who is the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This city has been mentioned in several literary works such as Vedic and Puranic literature as well as Mahabharata. Its nearby towns Vrindavan and Govardhan are also equally important for Hindus as it is believed that Lord Krishna spent his childhood there. The town is also renowned for Buddhist art, which played a significant role in the evolution of Indian art. Another interesting fact about this quaint town is that it has survived the ravages of several non-Hindu rulers. In spite of the adversities, Mathura has retained its charm. It is also known by the names of Madhuvan, Braj Bhoomi and Krishna Janmabhoomi.

Holy places to visit in Mathura

  • Keshav Dev Temple
  • Vishram Ghat
  • Banke Bihari Temple
  • Krishna Balaram temple
  • Rangabhumi
  • Birla Mandir
  • Dwarkadheesh Temple

Best time to visit Mathura

  • October to March

How to reach Mathura

  • By Air: The nearest airport to Ayodhya is Agra Airport, at a distance of 47 km.
  • By Road: Ayodhya is easily accessible via National Highway 19 and National Highway 44.
  • By Train: Mathura Junction is well-connected to major railway stations of the country.

Haridwar (Maya), Uttarakhand

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Famous as the “Gateway to Lord Vishnu”, this ancient city is located on the western bank of holy River Ganga. It is also significant in Hinduism as the world-famous Kumbh Mela is organized in this sacred town once in every 12 years. Thousands of people flock this city on the occasion of Kumbh Mela to take a dip in the sacred waters of Har-ki-Pauri ghat because it is believed that Lord Vishnu’s footprints are engraved on a rock. It is also the starting point for the pilgrimage of Char Dham. Moreover, according to Hindu mythology, Haridwar is one of those four sites where Amrit, the elixir of immortality was spilled when the celestial bird Garuda was carrying it away in a pitcher. In several epics, Haridwar has been referred to as Mayapuri, Kapila, and Gangadwar.

Holy places to visit in Haridwar

  • Maya Devi Temple
  • Prajapati Daksh Temple
  • Mansa Devi Temple
  • Anandamayi Ashram
  • Bharat Mata Mandir
  • Shanti Kunj
  • Chandi Devi Temple

Best time to visit Haridwar

  • October to February

How to reach Haridwar

  • By Air: The nearest airport to Haridwar is Jolly Grant Airport, at a distance of 40 km.
  • By Road: Haridwar is well-connected to the major cities of India by roads. Private vehicles as well as buses can be used to reach Haridwar.
  • By Train: Haridwar shares good connectivity with many major cities. Therefore, the train is a good option to reach Haridwar.
Varanasi (Kasi), Uttar Pradesh
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The oldest inhabited city of India is Varanasi, situated on the banks of River Ganges in Uttar Pradesh. The city holds historic as well as religious significance. In the works of Mark Twain, it can be described as, “Older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together”. Along with being the Spiritual Capital of India, this holy city is also an important center of culture, literature, art as well as Hindustani classical music. The city has also been mentioned in the Mahabharata, Ramayana and even the Puranas dating back to more than 5000 years ago. People from all over the world throng this city to seek solace as the city shelters more than 2000 temples and 80 ghats. This famous and spiritual city is also identified by several names, some of them are Shiv ki Nagri, Kashi, and Banaras.

Holy places to visit in Varanasi

  • Kashi Vishwanath Temple
  • Asi Sangam
  • Dashashwamedh Ghat
  • Adi Keshava Temple
  • Varana Sangam
  • Manikarnika Ghat
  • Tulsi Manas Temple

Best time to visit Varanasi

  • October to March

How to reach Varanasi

  • By Air: Varanasi has an international airport and all domestic flights also operate frequently to and from this city.
  • By Road: Varanasi is easily accessible by roads from nearby cities like Allahabad, Kanpur, Gorakhpur, etc.
  • By Train: Varanasi has a major railway station, which is well-connected to all major railway stations of North India.
Kanchipuram (Kanchi), Tamil Nadu
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Situated on the banks of River Vegavathy in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Kanchipuram is the only city included in Sapta Puri, which is dedicated to Goddess Parvati. Having a vast history, the city boasts of several temples. This ancient town is divided into two parts- Shiva-Kanchi in the north and Vishnu-Kanchi in the south. This makes the city quite popular among the Shaivites and Vaishnavites. This city has been under the reign of several rulers. That’s why, it is known by different names such as Kanchiampathi, Conjeevaram, and the nickname “The City of Thousand Temples”.

Holy places to visit in Kanchipuram

  • Kamakshi Amman Temple
  • Kailasanathar Temple
  • Varadharaja Perumal Temple
  • Ekambareswarar Temple
  • Buddhist Stupas
  • Devarajaswami Temple
  • Kachapeshwarar Temple

Best time to visit Kanchipuram

  • October to March

How to reach Kanchipuram

  • By Air: Chennai Airport at a distance f 53 km is the nearest airport to reach Kanchipuram.
  • By Road: Kanchipuram is easily accessible by roads from nearby South Indian cities.
  • By Train: Kanchipuram can be accessed from all the major cities of South India by train.
Ujjain (Avantika), Madhya Pradesh
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One of the four sites hosting the famous Kumbh Mela (world’s largest religious gathering) is Ujjain in Central India. Also known by the name of Ujjayini, this holy city is nestled on the eastern bank of River Kshipra. Dating back to 3rd century BCE, this city receives a lot of tourists who come to resolve their fears and realize their dreams. Another striking fact about the city is that it houses one of the 12 jyotirlingas, Mahakaleshwar. Since the city is regarded as a holy place by the Hindus, it is also called the “City of Temples”.

Holy places to visit in Ujjain

  • Kal Bhairav Temple
  • Ram Mandir Ghat
  • Harsiddhi Temple
  • Chaubis Khamba Temple
  • Ram Mandir
  • Sandipani Ashram
  • Chintaman Ganesh Temple

Best time to visit Ujjain

  • October to March

How to reach Ujjain

  • By Air: The nearest airport to reach Ujjain is Indore Airport at a distance of 51 km.
  • By Road: Regular bus services are available from major cities of Madhya Pradesh to reach Ujjain.
  • By Train: Ujjain Junction Railway Station is a major railway station and shares good connectivity with all other major stations of the country.
Dwarka (Dvaravati), Gujarat
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Positioned on the banks of River Gomti, Dwarka is an important part of Charm Dham along with Badrinath, Puri, and Rameshwaram. Dwarka is the only city that forms part of Char Dham as well as Sapta Puri. The abode of Lord Krishna also has a rich archaeological and historical background. It is often believed that Lord Krishna shifted his capital from the Yadava Kingdom to Dwarka around 5000 years ago and lived here thereafter. Since the city is full of centuries-old temples, the city plays a pivotal role in Hinduism.

Holy places to visit in Dwarka

  • Dwarkadhish Temple
  • Rukmani Temple
  • Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple
  • Gomti Ghat
  • Gita Temple
  • Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Mandir
  • Swami Narayan Mandir

Best time to visit Dwarka

  • September to March

How to reach Dwarka

  • By Air: At a distance of 98 km, Porbandar Airport is the closest one to reach Dwarka.
  • By Road: Dwarka is easily accessible from the cities of Gujarat as well as other cities of the country.
  • By Train: Dwarka Railway Station is well-connected to all other major railway stations of the country.

India is a country endowed with spirituality and sanctity. Here, not one or two but several gods have descended in different incarnations. Therefore, it is a hub of spirituality and shelters innumerable temples in different parts of the country, most prominent ones are located in the seven spiritual cities. So, if you wish to seek solace and know more about the beliefs of different faiths, take a spiritual tour to India and add-on to your Karma.

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