There are several religions in the world and out of these 21 are the major ones. As a result, there are a number of places that are popular for being the focal points of all religions. From temples to monasteries to churches and more, these sacred sites can be in any form.
These places can be found on the top of mountains, amidst jungles and so on. Complete visual wonders, here are top sacred sites in the world that are visited by millions all around the year to seek peace.
Following are the top 51 sacred sites in the World :
Meiji Shrine, Japan
Constructed around 100 years ago, Meiji Shrine was erected to honor the souls of Japan’s first modern Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. Bounded by a sanctified forest with over 100,000 trees, this garden consists of autumn foliage, spring azaleas, black pines that are sprinkled with snow and summer irises. This Shinto Shrine boasts of extremely peaceful surroundings and was built 6 years after the death of the Emperor and his wife. People visit the place for meditation and for attending traditional weddings too. The shrine is spread in an area of 70 hectares.
- Address: 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 151-8557, Japan
- Religion: Shinto shrine
- Open Hours:⋅5 am – 6:30 pm
- Type: Imperial Shrine
- Founded: 1 November 1920
One of the world’s holiest cities, Jerusalem holds immense religious significance for the followers of Christianity, Island and Judaism. However, the place lacks peace due to trouble between Palestinians and Israelis as both of them claim to be Jerusalem as their capital. For Christian, the place hold immense significance as it is seen as the place Jesus lived, preached and died. Millions of pilgrims visit this place who wish to explore the popular sites, such as the Last Supper was held, to walk on the roads where he had walked, to explore the Gethsemane garden where the Lord was captured and Mount Calvary- the site where he was crucified.
- Established: 3000 BC
- Capital: Israel
- Places To Visit in Jerusalem: Haram Al-Sharif, Western Wall Plaza, Tower Of David, Mount of Olives. Israel Museum, Armenian Quarter, Mount Zion, Muslim Quarter, Kidron Valley
- Best Time to visit Jerusalem: Between April – May and October – November
Bodh Gaya, India
India’s most important Buddhist religious site, Bodh Gaya is the site where Prince Siddhartha had meditated under the popular Bodhi Tree and had gained Enlightenment and he became Gautama Buddha. The place is visited by followers of Buddhism from all around the world to gain the slightest of Buddha’s wisdom. At the Mahabodhi complex, devotees from Thailand, Sri Lanka, Japan, Bhutan and Myanmar. Located in Bihar, Bodh Gaya was visited by the great Mauryan ruler Ashoka, around 250 years ago. It is believed that coming here, he renounced all worldly pleasures and also established Mahabodhi temple, a monastery and a diamond-studded throne- special Asana for Buddha.
- State: Bihar
- Established: 3rd century B.C.
- Places to visit: Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhi Tree, Great Buddha Statue, Royal Bhutan Monastery, Archaeological museum
- Best time to visit: October to March
[ Read more about Bodhgaya ]
Spanish Synagogue, Czech Republic
Located in Prague, Spanish Synagogue is one of the most beautiful synagogues in the whole of Europe. Constructed in Moorish Revival style in 1868, this synagogue has stunning paintings, colorful stained glass, geometric carvings, Oriental motifs, all glowing in gold. The elaborate interiors of this Jew worship place is the most striking feature here. At the time of World War II, it was taken away from the Jews by the Germans and used it as repository. The structure was restored during the late 1990s.
- Address: Vezenska 1, Josefov, Prague 1, Czech Republic
- Architectural style: Moorish Revival architecture
- Founded: 1868
- Style: Moorish Revival
- Opening hours: November-March: 9 am-4:30 pm
April-October: 9 am-6 pm
Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar
One of the most popular pagodas in the world, Shwedagon Pagoda boasts of being an extremely attraction in Yangon, the capital city of Myanmar. Around 2600 years old, the pagoda is locally known as Shwedagon Zedi Daw The. Probably also the world’s oldest Buddhist pagoda, it stands on Singuttara hill, 99 m high. The gold-plated stupa on the top is festooned with 7000 diamonds and precious stones like sapphires, rubies and topaz. This shrine preserves 8 hair of Gautama Buddha and remainders of 3 former Buddhas.
- Address: Shwedagon east gate Yangon, 11201, Myanmar (Burma)
- Open Hours: 4 am to 10 pm
- Visitor Center: 8 am to 9 pm
- Entrance Fee: $8.00
- Available Facilities: Food and concession services are available
- Best Times to Visit: November to April
- Dress code: Wear trousers or at least knee-length and shorts or skirt; t-shirts with elbow-length sleeves are also expected.
Lotus Temple, India
Lotus Temple or the Bahai House of Worship in New Delhi is a white colored structure that is built in the shape of a lotus flower and has 3 layers of 9 petals, representing the 9 main religions of the world. Constructed in the year 1980, the building lies amidst well-maintained lush gardens and is visited a huge number of people from all faiths. The sacred site is ideal for meditating and it works to unite all the religions. The building lies in the middle of nine pools.
[ Read more about Lotus Temple in Delhi ]
- Address: Lotus Temple Rd, Bahapur, Shambhu Dayal Bagh, Kalkaji, New Delhi
- Opening Timing: 9 am to 6 pm on all days except Monday
- Architectural style: Expressionist architecture
- Founded: 13 November 1986
- Best time to visit: October to March
St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
The Papal Basilica of St. Peter or St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, it is one of the largest religious structures in the world. The place holds immense significance for the people following Christianity. As the interiors are as lavish and wonderful as the exteriors. Paintings of angels, teems with ornate gold, lovely statues and marble columns and creations of popular Renaissance artists are the main features of this basilica. This basilica one of Rome’s 4 churches that hold the rank of major basilica.
- Address: Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City
- Architectural styles: Baroque architecture, Renaissance architecture
- Dress code: Wearing trousers or at least knee-length and shorts, short skirts with elbow-length sleeves are also expected.
- Open Hours: 7 am to 7 pm
- Entrance Fee: Free
- Founded: 18 November 1626
Glastonbury Tor, England
Glastonbury Tor is a cone-shaped hill that boasts of a mystery aura, around it and has a 14th century church tower on its top. This church tower is the remains of a church that was found here in the 15th century. Erected amidst the Summerland Meadows in Somerset, this hill, as per the ancient Celts has the entry gate to the home of the Celtic King of the Fairies, Gwyn ap Nudd. Another folklore says that this hill has the Holy Grill. There are other legends too. It is believed that a visit to this hill offers immense happiness. Treat your eyes to the lovely views of the surroundings from the top.
One of the largest stupas in the world and an important sacred site for Tibetan Buddhists, Boudhanath stupa lies on the outskirts of Kathmandu Nepal. The four sides of the stupa’s top has four peaceful and watching eyes of Buddha. The stupa is bounded by several monasteries, nearly 50, colorful houses and workshops.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Swayambhunath, Boudhnatha, it is believed to founded be in the 14th century. This stupa lies on the ancient trade route between Lhasa and Kathmandu.
Golden Temple, India
Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib, popularly known as Golden temple is one of the most important Sikh pilgrimage site in the world, which is also visited by devotees of other faiths in huge numbers. The construction of the Gurdwara started in 1574 and got completed in the year 1601. The lovely structure lies amidst a sacred pond (Amrit Sarovar) where the visiting devotees take a dip into. In the first half of 19th century, decorative marble and gold was added to its dome, which is festooned with Islamic-style floral patterns and precious stones. The verses of Guru Granth Sahib has been carved on the interiors and exteriors.
[ Read more about Golden Temple in Amritsar ]
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, possesses 2 natural rock formations, also called a sandstone monolith. Placed in the red center of the continent, this national park boasts of abundant natural beauty and is flocked by tourists from the same. Known to be a sacred site for the Anangu people of Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal tribe, the featuring rocks were built by the forefathers and their spirits reside in these formations. Uluru is an 1100 feet high sandstone rock with a flat top and Kata Tjuta is built of over 30 domes in different types of rocks and has a height of 1800 feet.
Mecca, Saudi Arabia
The most sacred city for the followers of Islamic faith, Mecca in Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of the founder of Islam and prophet, Muhammad. It is said that a person of the Muslim faith must visit this place at least once in his lifetime. Also known as Makkah Medina, it is known as that place where Muhammad for the first time revealed Quran. Ka’aba (black stone), the sacred house in the shape of a cube is said to be that structure around which all the Muslims sit, facing it, and say their prayers. However, entry to non-Muslims is banned here. The Hajj period falls in the 12th Muslim lunar month, Dhu-al-Hijah.
Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe Chapel, France
Constructed during the 10th century on a volcanic rock around 85 m above its surroundings, Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe Chapel is accessible through 268 stone steps. Although there are a number of mountain churches and chapels in Southern France area but the kind of experience that this chapel offers, is completely matchless. Once you are on the top, savor the lovely views here. Though the structure was constructed by Bishop Godescalc and the deacon Trianus in 962, significant additions were made in the 12th century.
Thiksey Monastery, India
The largest monastery in the central region of Ladakh, Thiksey Monastery is located at a distance of 19 km, eastwards of Leh. Fluttering colorful flags with the backdrop of clear blue sky form a lovely sight. The monastery belongs to the Yellow Hat (Gelugpa) sect and boasts of a stunning structure that that is same as the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The building complex is 12-storied and has a nunnery too. You can also spot several things linking to Buddhist art including swords, Thangka paintings, statues, stupas and more. Also known as ‘Mini Patola’, it houses a 40-feet high status of Maitreya Buddha (future Buddha), that stands high covering around 2 floors of the Gompa. Enjoy picturesque views of the surroundings from the top.
- Address: Leh Manali Hwy, Thiksey, Jammu and Kashmir 194201
- Style: Fort monastery in the Central Tibetan pattern
- Best Time to Visit: May to October
- Entry fees: 30 rupees for both Indians and foreigners
- Open Hours: 7 am to 7 pm (May to November)
If spirituality, healing and mysticism have always been of interest to you, Vortexes in Arizona is going to cast a spell on you. Located in Sedona town, it is a stunning red-rock formation that has 4 vortex points known to have healing and mystical powers. A number of trek past this area on-foot and partake in meditation under the aura spread in the area. An ancient Native American tribe, Yavapai has a number of tiny altar dwellings and several paintings in the vortexes, honoring the energy spread here. A visit to this place fills you with positive energy.
Hagia Sophia, Turkey
Originally a Christian patriarchal basilica, then a regal mosque and museum in the present times in Istanbul, Turkey, Hagia Sophia boasts of a stunning architecture, explored by cultural as well as religious visitors. One of the world’s oldest and architecturally beautiful places of worship, Hagia Sophia is a sight to behold and cherish in your memories. Specially known for its huge dome, this museum was one of the best examples of Byzantine architecture that became an inspiration for many.
Bet Giyorgis, Ethiopia
Church of Saint George or Bet Givorgis is one of eleven monolithic churches in Lalibela. This lovely structure was carved right from a rock, way back in the 12th century. These churches were originally build to match the magnificence of Jerusalem. Walk past the meandering passages and tunnels that are many feet below the surface level. Formerly known as Warwar or Roha, this site has both historical as well as religious significance.
One of the largest and also an extremely significant complexes of Greek Orthodox monasteries, Meteora is a huge monolithic stone structure, forming a stunning sight. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Meteora in Greece is like a suspended bridge that consists of a number of historical monasteries, out of which a number of them can be explored even today. The view from above is divine. The place is also a major attraction amongst hiking enthusiasts.
Char Dham, India
Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath are the four destinations or Char Dhams that every Hindu wishes to visit at least once in his lifetime. Located in the Garhwal region of the Uttarakhand state, the Charm Dham circuit consists road journey, pony/palanquin ride and trekking to these four destinations. While Gangotri is dedicated to River Goddess Ganga, in Yamunotri, River Goddess Yamuna is worshipped. Similarly, while Lord Badri (Vishnu) is worshipped in Badrinath, Kedarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva. All these place boast of immense scenic beauty.
[ Check-out the list of places to visit during Chardham yatra ]
Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Turkey
Located in Istanbul, Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmed Mosque is an important monument of Islamic and Turkish art. While blue-colored tiles add a class to the interior of the mosque, the exterior is extremely splendid, marking the skyline of Istanbul. This huge mosque can accommodate around 10,000 worshippers at a time. The remaining part of the complex comprises of the Tomb of the founder and a place for higher learning. The structure of this attraction is the best example of Byzantine mosque development and Ottoman church. Famous for being as lovely as Hagia Sofia, the mosque was completed in seven years.
Abu Simbel Temples, Egypt
Located in Nubia village in Southern Egypt, Abu Simbel temples were erected around 3000 years ago the popular Pharaoh Ramesses II. And, they look spectacular giants as always. Placed on the western bank of Lake Nasser, these two huge rock temples of Ramses II and Nefertari (his favorite wife) have been etched straight into the rocks. One of the most popular ancient sites in Egypt, this temple complex has interesting interiors, marked by huge columns dotted with symbols and pictograms.
Ghats of Varanasi, India
Ghats are the place that have steps leading to the river and there are over 100 of ghats in Varanasi that lead you to the holy river Ganges. Varanasi or Benaras is one of the holiest cities in India and its ghats are always bustling with activities like baths, meditation, ritual baths and cremations. A boat ride along the ghats of Varanasi during sunrise is an amazing, irresistible and great experience. Some of the popular ghats are Dasaswamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Harischandra Ghat, Kabir Ghat and Assi Ghat.
Jagannath Temple, Puri, India
One of the Char Dham destinations of India, Puri in Orissa is home to Jagannath Temple, a popular Hindu temple that is dedicated to Lord Jagganath. The temple is visited by devotees from all around the year in huge numbers who come here to seek Lord’s blessings from all around the globe. Founded in the year 12th century, the temple bustles with activity during yearly event of Rath Yatra when the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra are brought out of the temple and is kept in a chariot that is taken every year in the city.
[ Read more about Jagannath Temple ]
Basilica of San Vitale, Italy
The Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site was constructed way back in the 6th century and is known as a fine example of Byzantine mosaics art. One of the very important churches of early Christianity, its construction started in 526 by Bishop Ecclesius and was completed in 547 by the 27th Bishop of Ravenna, Maximian. The lovely and colorful mosaic art is one of the most striking features here.
Mount Kailash, Tibet
Mount Kailash, while for a mountaineer is an interesting challenge with dangerous terrain, for many others it is a sacred site that is visited by people of Hindu, Bon, Jain and Buddhist religion. This snow-clad peak is accessible on-foot and every year thousands of pilgrims embark on Mount Kailash trek to seek the blessings of their Lord. Tiredness, extreme fear of height and extreme weather are a part of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. While Hindus believe that, this peak is the heavenly abode of Lord Shiva, the people of Jain religion call it Meru Parvat and know it as the place the 1st Jain Tirthankara attained liberation. For Buddhism, the Mountain is home of the Buddha Demchok. Located in western Tibet, the peak is close to Lake Mansarovar, a sacred lake.
Amarnath Cave, India
Accessible through a treacherous trek, partly on-foot and partly on-foot or on-palanquin, Amarnath Cave in India is dedicated to Lord Shiva. One of the holiest shrines in Hinduism, this cave is placed amidst snow-covered peaks. The cave is covered all round with snow and can be visited only for some time during the summer months. Nearly thousands of Lord Shiva’s devotees embark on this Yatra to visit the Amarnath cave to see ice stalagmite that gets formed inside, depicting a Shiva Linga. The cave lies at an altitude of 3,888 m above the sea level in Jammu and Kashmir State. Hindu mythology says that it was in this is the cave that the Lord explained the secret of life and eternity to his consort Goddess Parvati.
Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan
Tigers’s Nest, also known as Paro Taktsang and Taktsang Palphug Monastery, is a hanging Buddhist temple complex that lies on the cliff side of the upper Paro Valley. Located at an elevation of 3120 m above the sea level, it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding region and the mighty Himalayan Mountains. The monastery was founded in the 8th century by Guru Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche. If legends are to be believed then he came at this site on a tigers’ back and meditated here for 3 months. The complex was later built in the year 1692 by Tenzin Rabgye.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Borobudur temple complex was founded between the 8th and the 9th centuries that lies in the forests of central Java in Kedu Valley. One of the most-visited sights in Indonesia, it is the single largest Buddhist complex in the world. This 7-storied structure has more than 500 Buddhas, the place offers lovely sunset views. The active volcanoes form an amazing backdrop. It is believed that the constructions was completed in a span of 75 years. On the circular platforms there are around 72 openwork stupas. The complex has 9 arranged platforms, 6 square and 3 circular, with a central dome on the top.
Batu Caves, Malaysia
One of most picturesque sites in Asia, the Batu Caves lie just northwards of Kuala Lumpur. Dedicated to Lord Murugan, the site is one of the most famous Hindu sacred site that are located outside India. The complex bustles with activity during the Hindu festival of Thaipusam that is organized in the 10th month of the Hindu calendar. The site basically consists of limestone hill that has a number of caves and Hindu temples. The main attraction here is the huge statue of Lord Murugan. One needs to climb 272 steps to reach the top and treat one’s eyes to the lovely views of the surroundings. The place is also a popular site for rock climbing enthusiasts. One can also spot monkeys around the cave area. The caves were founded in the year 1892.
Basilica of Bom Jesus, India
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Basilica of Bom Jesus is one of the most popular churches all around the globe. Located in Old Goa, around 10 km eastwards of Panaji city, this church has the mortal remains of the popular saint St. Francis Xavier, which is placed in a silver casket. One of the best examples of baroque architecture in the country, this construction of this church started in the year 1594. One of the oldest churches in Goa and India, it was consecrated on 15th May 1605.
Mount Sinai, Egypt
Mount Sinai, also known as Mount Horeb, holds religious importance for the followers of Jewish, Islamic and Christian religious faiths. This site lies in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt and finds its mention in the Quran, The Torah and the Bible. It is said that this was summit where Prophet Moses had had a conversation with God and had got the 10 Commandments, which were written on 2 stone tablets. Every year, thousands of pilgrim embark on a trek to the point where Moses had stood.
Cenote Sagrado, Mexico
The sacred well of Sacred Cenote, also known as Well of Sacrifice is a renowned cenote at the pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site of Chichen Itza, in the northern Yucatán Peninsula. This place was the site of worship of the ancient Maya people.
Located in Chichen Itza in Mexico, this site was used for Mayan people for worshiping their Rain Goa, Chaac. They used to offer gold, pottery, jade, and other valuable things. Even human remains have been found in these waters. The Mayans believed that this well was visited by their Lord himself.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat in Cambodia is a temple complex that was erected in the first half of the 12th century. One of the most prominent archaeological sites in South-East Asia, it spreads in an area of around 400 square km that also includes of forested area.
Formerly it was established as a Hindu temple for the rulers of Khmer Empire. In the end of the 12th century, it was transformed into a Buddhist place of worship. The Khmer King Suryavarman II constructed this site.
Shrine of Padre Pio, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy
Located in southern Italy, the Shrine of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, is the world’s second-most visited Catholic place of worship. This church was visited by over 7 million devotees in a year. People visit this sacred site to pay homage to a popular Italian Saint Padre Pio, who died here around 40 years ago. A church is constructed around his tomb.
Jain Temples, Ranakpur, India :
Dedicated to Jain Tirthankar Adinatha, Jain temples of Ranakpur are known to be one of the 5 important Jain religious sites. Extremely popular for its intricate architecture, this site was built in 15th century by Seth Dharna Sah (a Jain businessman) with the assistance from Rana Kumbha, the then ruler of the Mewar region.
The temple complex is built in light-colored marble with a huge base spreading in an area of 48000 square feet. The complex is supported by over 14000 pillars with stunning carvings. The complex has a number of temples such as Chaumukha temple, Surya temple, Amba Mata Temple and Parsavanath temple.
[ Browse through our Ranakpur tour packages to plan your trip ]
Tiger Cave Temple, Thailand
Many associate Thailand with beach and bar but the place home to one of the most spectacular sacred site called the Tiger Cave Temple that is located in Krabi. Placed amid a lush jungle, the temple founded by Abbot Luang Por Chamnean Srilasatheto in the 1970s is a popular meditation for nuns and monks.
It is said that while he was meditating, a tiger came inside the cave but did not harm the Abbot. The tiger’s pawn impression can be seen inside the temple. The shrine is placed on the mountain top and is accessible after climbing 1260 stairs.
Mount Parnassus, Greece
Lofting above Delphi in the central region of Greece, Mount Parnassus is a limestone mountain that is known to have a connection with Greek mythology. The mountain is known to have a connection with God Apollo and is also known to be the home of the Muses, popular for song and poetry.
During the winter months, they place is paradise for snowboarders and skiers. Mount Parnassus was also popular amidst the Dorians, the residents of Greece in the ancient times.
Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, Japan
Located in central Narita, Chiba in Japan, Naritasan Shinshoji Temple was erected way back in the year 940 by Kanchō Daisōjō, a disciple of Kōbō Daishi. Also the entry point to the lovely Tokyo City, this temples is visited by around 10 million people every year. The temple bustles with activity during its annual Gion festival that is organized in the month of July.
This temple is dedicated to the Fire God, Fudō myōō. You can also witness the fire rituals that are conducted on a daily basis, a number of times. Naritasan Park forms a lovely background for this temple, especially during the spring season.
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris
Notre Dame Cathedral, also known as Notre Dame de Paris or just Notre Dame is a Roman Rite Catholic Marian cathedral that receives as many as 13 million devotees each year. Also the very first French gothic architecture, it consists of a flying pier and stunning stained glass effects.
One of the most important religious site for the followers of Christianity, this cathedral is also a must-visit attraction of Paris. After its construction in the year 1345, it has not only been a place of worship but an art gallery too. This church is also the official chair of the Archbishop of Paris.
One of the most important religious cities in India, Tirupati is also known to be the ‘Spiritual Capital of Andhra Pradesh’. It houses the very well-known Venkateswara Swamy Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, the temple is only second to the richest pilgrimage the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala.
This landmark Vaishnavite temple receives over 40 million devotees every year and is known to be around 1200 years old. The city lies in the foothills of the sacred Tirumala hills, the world’s second oldest rock mountains. The temple complex is spread in an area of 10 square miles on a hill at an elevation of 3200 feet above the sea level.
[ Check-out the list of Temples in Kerala ]
Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City
A Roman Catholic Church, a minor basilica and the National Shrine of Mexico, Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is probably the world’s most-visited Catholic religious site. It is said that in the year 1531, an impression of Virgin Mary had appeared on an apron here. Every year on 12th December on the event of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Feast day, the church receives millions of Catholic devotees.
The site is also known as La Villa de Guadalupe or simply La Villa. The present structure of the Basilica started in the 1974 and was completed in 1976 and has been built on the site of the Old Basilica.
Sacré Coeur Basilica, France
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, popularly known as Sacré Coeur Basilica is a Roman Catholic Church as well as a minor basilica, which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Also a popular landmark in Paris, this basilica lies at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the city’s highest point.
While its construction started in 1875, it got completed in 1914 but was consecrated only in the year 1919, after World War I came to an end. If you reach the dome area, you can treat your eyes to the panoramic view of the Paris city.
Meenakshi Amman Temple, India
Known by several names like Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, Tiru-aalavaai and Meenakshi Amman Kovil, Meenakshi Amman Temple is the crowning glory of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Located on the southern banks of River Vaigai, this Hindu temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, known as Meenaskhi and her consort, Lord Shiva, called Sundareswarar here.
This Dravidian architectural masterpiece has 14 gopurams. The temple is known to be the oldest and largest one in the city. The temple is adorned with beautiful sculptures, carvings and gold- plated vimanams.
Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany
Cologne Cathedral is a Gothic structure whose construction started in 1248 and was completed finally in 1880. This masterpiece saw additions in its structure by the following builders. Seen as the faith of European Christianity, this cathedral is the seat the Archbishop of Cologne.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has arches that are over 140 feet in height and have pointed towers that are its prime feature. A High Gothic five-aisled basilica, this is a popular monument of German Catholicism as well as Gothic architectural style.
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, Lourdes, France
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, simply known as the Domain, is a Catholic shrine that is known for having magical powers to healing sick devotees. A cave and its surrounding area make the sanctuary that comprises of 2 basilicas, the original spring, meeting rooms, nine chapels and other places of worship.
Sick devotees are asked to take a bath from the miraculous water of the springs and get rid of their physical ailments. Virgin Mary appeared for the first time appeared in the dram of Bernadette Soubirous, a shepherd girl, in February 1858. Till date, 18 such apparitions was been reported.
Basilica De Sagrada Familia, Spain
A huge Roman Catholic Church in Barcelona, Catalonia in Spain, the construction of Basilica de Sagrada Familia had begun in 1882 and might get finished in the year 2026. Its design was done by the renowned Art Nouveau architect, Antoni Gaudi after whose death the work of the Basilica came almost to a halt and was resumed just a few years back. During your visit expect to see construction workers engrossed in their work.
One of the Chardham destinations and one of the most revered religious sites in India, Dwarka Gujarat is known to be the Kingdom of Lord Krishna. It is said that after leaving Mathura and Vridavan and after the completion of Mahabharats Saga, he started living here.
Positioned at the western tip of the Saurashtra peninsula, this city is visited by millions of pilgrims and historical scholars every year. It is said that after the Lord left the world and the downfall of Yadav dynasty, whole of Dwarka- city of gold, got submerged into the ocean. Dwarka has several temples such as Dwarkadheesh temple, Somnath temple, Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple and more.
[ Along with Gujarat Travel Guide, Explore the vibrant cities of Gujarat ]
Westminster Abbey, London
Formally known as the Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster Abbey is a huge Gothic abbey Church in the Westminster city and is located westwards of the Palace of Westminster. A Gallery and a new museum is being added to the structure.
The Coronation Church of England, it is a 700 -year old building receives more than a million people. It is a burial ground for many including poets, royal people, heroes, priests, villains, soldiers and statesmen. Some of the famous ones are David Livingstone, Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton. It is placed just next to House of Parliament. The church was founded way back in 960.
Baha’i Shrine and Gardens, Haifa, Israel
The wonderful Baha’i Shrine and Gardens, the most popular landmark in Haifa is placed on the edge of the center of the city. Known for being the second holiest shrine of the Baha’i Faith, the spotless gardens were completed in the year 2001.
Constructed in the honor of the founders of Bahai Faith, this place receives pilgrims from all around the globe, solidifying the unity of religions and cultures. The building is 13-story gold-domed with architectural features from both the East and the West including 9 sides that are a representation of the 9 chief religions. The staircases lead to 19 tiered terrace-gardens.
Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet
A UNESCO World Heritage Site including Potala Palace, Jokhang temple is a very popular Tibetan Buddhist temple that attracts pilgrims from all around. The site is visited by both pilgrims and tourists every year during its annual Great Prayer Festival and on the initiation ceremonies of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Llamas.
This temple complex was established by King Songtsen Gampo in 647 marking the unification of Tibet. This 4-storey temple has a number of bodhisattvas and chapels, and a jeweled gilded Lord Buddha’s statue, called Jowo Rinpoche.
Vaishno Devi, India
Stacked away in a cave in the Trikuta hills of the lower Himalayas, Vaishno Devi temple is one of India’s most sacrosanct pilgrimage sites. Every year around 8 million pilgrims embark on the treacherous Yatra to the cave temple that is dedicated to Ma Vaishno Devi who resides in the form of three pindies (stone figurines), depicting Goddess Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati. While some people cover the 6-7 km long trek from Katra to the cave barefoot, others opt for a pony ride of a helicopter ride. Maa Vaishno Devi temple is located in Jammu and Kashmir at an elevation of 5300 feet above the sea level.
[ Check-out the list of Pilgrimage tour packages in India ]
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