India can be truly described as the land of temples; a land that pulsates with the devotion of the natives; a land where the tolling of the bells, the smell of the incense sticks and camphor permeate the air venerating the innumerable Gods, as per the Hindu religion. In this land there are seven holy trithas or pilgrimage centres known as the Sapta Puri, where Gods in different incarnations known as avatars are believed to have descended. Sapta means seven and Puri means a town. The word Tritha is derived from the Sanskrit word Tri which means to be rid of all sins, and the seven trithas of spiritual importance, as per the Holy Scriptures in India are Ayodhya, Mathura, Dwarka, Haridwar, Varanasi (Benaras, Kashi), Kanchipuram, and Ujjain (Avanti).
It is the birthplace of Lord Ram (seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu). This holy city is located on the banks of the River Sarayu in Uttar Pradesh. Ram Janma Bhoomi has more than 100 temples. Ayodhya is dotted with many kunds (wells) built in the honour of the important characters of the epic Ramayana including Brahma, Sita and Bharat. There are some auspicious Ghats, steps leading to the river, like the Lakshmana Ghat where Lakshmana, Rama’s brother, took a bath, and the Rama Ghat, also known as the Swaragdwarm, literally meaning gateway to heaven.
Famous Temples in Ayodhya
1. Kanak Bhavan
2. Vashishtha Kund
4. Kshireshwaranath temple
The Krishna Janma Bhoomi, the birthplace of Lord Krishna (eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu), is located on the banks of River Yamuna. Also known as Braj Bhoomi, Mathura is considered to be a holy city and has been mentioned in the Vedic and Purana literatures. This city has been a pilgrimage centre since the 7th Century.
Famous Temples in Mathura
1. Keshav Dev Temple
2. Prem Mandir Vrindavan
6. Radha Gopinath temple
10. Seva Kunja
As per Bhagavat Purana, Lord Krishna shifted the capital of the Yadava Kingdom from Mathura to Dwarka, in Gujarat, on the banks of the River Gomti, about 5000 years ago. Dwarka is one of the seven holy cities of India and forms one of the Char Dham Yatra including Badrinath, Puri and Rameswaram.
Famous Temples in Dwarka
4. Moola Dwarka
Haridwar is the holiest state in Uttarkhand and literally means the “gateway to Lord Vishnu” It is located on the western banks of River Ganga, where the river begins flowing on the plains. As per legend, King Bhagirath succeeded in bringing Ganga to the earth after praying to Lord Shiva to help his ancestors atone for their sins. Har-ki-Pauri ghat or Gangadwara has been constructed at the exact location where River Ganga descends on the plains. Thousands of Pilgrims flock to this ghat every year to take a holy dip in the most sacred river in India. A rock with the footprint of Lord Vishnu is preserved here. As per legend, Haridwar is one of the places where a drop of Amrit, the elixir of immortality obtained from the churning of the cosmic oceans, spilled over while Garuda the celestial bird was carrying the vessel holding it. The famous Kumbh Mela is held in Haridwar every 12 years when lakhs of people make a beeline for this holy city.
Famous Temples in Haridwar
3. Maya Devi Temple
Kashi is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. It is located on the banks of River Ganga. Believed to be the favourite city of Lord Shiva, and known as “Shiv Ki Nagri”, the first Jyotirlinga emerged here. The Pandavas are also believed to have visited Kashi to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. It is believed that anyone who dies in Kashi will attain moksha or liberation. With a mention in the Mahabharata, Ramayana and even the Puranas dating back to 5000 years, Kashi has more than 2000 temples and 81 Ghats.
Manikarnika, Dashashwamedha, Pancha-ganga, Asi Sangam and Varana Sangam.
Famous Temples in Varanasi
Located on the banks of the River Vegavathy in Tamil Nadu, Kanchipuram is one of the seven sacred Indian cities. The city has 108 Shaiva and 18 Vaishnava exquisitely designed temples and is famous among the Saivites and Vaishnavites.
Famous Temples in Kanchipuram
On the bank of the River Kshipra is one of the four sites that host the Kumbh Mela. The Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, is located in this holy city. It is believed that Lord Shiva killed the demon Tripura in Ujjain. Lord Krishna and Balarama were tutored here by Muni Sandipani. Apart from the Mahakaleshwar Temple with the Jyotirlinga, the Gopal Temple with a silver idol of Krishna, Balarama, and Muni Sandipani is also very famous.
India is indeed a blessed country where not one but many Gods in their different incarnations have roamed. The undying devotion of the people of India keeps the faith and the trust in the Supreme Being alive and eternal.
Best Time to Visit
Nov to March
The Sapta Puri Yatra is one of the very popular yatras undertaken by Hindus. All seven of these destinations are of real importance of their own. It is said that on going a yatra of Sapta Puri, the individual gets rid of the birth and death cycles and attains the ultimate Moksha. It is as important as the Char Dham for the Hindus.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- Relief from diseases
- Purchase of vehicles
- Gain Knowledge
Kailaasarana Shiva Chandramouli Phaneendra Maathaa Mukutee Zalaalee Kaarunya Sindhu Bhava Dukha Haaree Thujaveena Shambho Maja Kona Taaree
Meaning -Oh Lord Shiva who is seated on Mount Kailash, where the moon decorates his forehead and the king of serpents crown his head, who is merciful and removes delusion, You alone can protect me. I surrender to thee.
Aum Trayambakam Yajaamahey Sugandhim Pusti Vardhanam Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaath Mrutyor Muksheeya Maamritaat
Meaning -We worship the fragrant Lord Shiva, who has 3 eyes and who cultivates all beings. May He free me from death, for immortality, as even a cucumber is separated from its bond with the vine.