Religion

Religion has great importance in Uttar Pradesh. Hindu pilgrimages in Uttar Pradesh are very famous and attract pilgrims all year round from different parts of the country as well as from all around the globe. Devotees come to visit the shrines and holy places located in here. A tour of Uttar Pradesh is incomplete without a visit to these famous religious destinations. Uttar Pradesh is rich in pilgrimage destinations and there are many cities that are considered holy by devotees and pilgrims. Such as Varanasi, Mathura, Vrindavan, Sarnath, Ayodhya. Uttar Pradesh has different castes and communities and all practice their own respective religions but they all coexist in harmony and peace. It is full of religious places with temples that attract pilgrims and religion enthusiasts throughout the year. These cities and towns in Uttar Pradesh are not just popular on account of the temples and pilgrims but also for their exquisite geography and landscapes. A visit to these pilgrim centres in Uttar Pradesh will make to experience religion and peace on a deep level. These temples and shrines evoke spirituality and help to attain inner peace. Various festivals and fairs also take place at these holy places where devotees gather in huge numbers.

Destinations

SANKISA

Located at a distance of 47 KM from Farrukhabad, Sankisa is identified with the present village of Basantpur in Farrukhabad district of Uttar Pradesh. Sankisa is believed to be the place where Lord Buddha descended from heaven through a ladder of gold. Known as Sankyasa in Ramayana, this town has been a significant centre in the geography of India from the earlier times. Hieun Tsang named this city as Kapittha in his travelogue. The excavations by Archaeological Survey of India has led to the findings of many relics of ancient era, contemporary to Lord Buddha and Emperor Ashoka. The serelics are exquisite and represents high grade of art. The scriptures, terracotta figures, bronze coins and stone dishes remain the centre of attraction. The Shivalinga here is also an exotic attraction for the devotees exploring this land. 

Sarnath

Located at a distance of 10 KM from Varanasi, Sarnath is one of the most significant Buddhist pilgrimage centres. This is the place where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon, after attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya. His first sermon is sanctified as Maha Dharma Chakra Pravartan, meaning 'set in motion the Wheel of Dharma'. During the time of Lord Buddha, this area was called Rishipattana or Isipatana and Mrigdava owing to the dense forest inhabited by deer. Emperor Ashoka, who spread Lord Buddha's message of love & peace throughout his regime, came to Sarnath and got a Stupa built herein 249 B.C. Today, Sarnath stands as one of the key sites on the Buddhist Circuit, attracting followers from around the world. The town is dotted with well-maintained erstwhile monasteries, stupas, and a museum.

Kapilvastu

Earlier famed as the capital of the Shakya clan, this town is located at a distance of 20 KM from Siddharth Nagar and 97 KM from Gorakhpur. Kapilvastu was the kingdom of King Suddhodhana, the father of Lord Buddha. Here Lord Buddha spent his childhood as Prince Siddhartha, who left his palace in Kapilvastu at the age of 29 and revisited it 12 years later, after attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya. Today, Kapilvastu comprises of several beautiful villages, mainly Piprahwa and Ganvaria. A large Stupa stands at the ancient site which is said to have housed the bone relics of Lord Buddha. Meandering their way through Kapilvastu, the devotees feel transferred thousands of years back to an era when Young Prince Siddhartha after seeing the pains of life, renounced all worldly riches and pleasures in search of the path which leads to the termination of suffering and salvation. 

SHRAVASTI

Sravasti is a beautiful city situated on the banks of River Rapti this city about 48 km from Bahraich this was an ancient city and also one of the sixth largest city during Lord Buddha’s lifetime. It is named after King Shravasta from Mahabharatha and is said that Lord Buddha has spent 24 vasant or rainy season in a monastery built by his follower, Anathapindika. Sravasti is a peaceful city as it is uncrowded and full of gorgeous Buddhist and Jain relics. Sravasti is said to be the capital of the ancient Koshal Empire. The red brick ruins of monasteries and temples create a delightful visual and spiritual ambiance against the green rice and sugarcane fields. 

Deogarh

Located at a distance of 133 KM from Jhansi, Deogarh lies in Lalitpur district of with Uttar Pradesh. The name is derived from the Sanskrit term “Dev” meaning God and “Garh” meaning Fort compounded to mean “Fort of the gods”. This town is of great epigraphical and archaeological importance and has figured in the history of Guptas, the Gurjara – Pratiharas, the Gondas, the Marathas and the British. It is situated on the right bank of the River Betwa, at the western end of Lalitpur range. The cliffs overhanging the bank rise to a height of 300 feet and form a long steep ridge of red sandstone. The river takes a deep curve to the west at this juncture and passes through an extremely picturesque side. This town is well dotted with temples and the architecture& built of these temples display a high level of craftsmanship. On this land, there are more than 2000 temples which are probably nowhere in the world.Deogarh is a perfect destination for those who love to explore the ancient forts & temples. 

Allahabad

Allahabad is a beautiful city situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. The city draws attention of pilgrims and heritage lovers from all over the world as it opens the traveller to a world of mythological and spiritual wonders. Allahabad is a fusion of sanctity, religion, traditions, history and architecture which offers varied experiences from historical to religious. Allahabad is one of the destinations which holds the Kumbh Mela, world’s largest congregation of devotees. For the Mughals the city had a great strategic importance to control their empire, and it also became a prominent administrative hub for the British era. The city was the nerve centre of activities during the India’s Freedom Movement. Several eminent national leaders were born on this land. Allahabad has also played a leading role in development of Hindi and Urdu literature. The city has been described in ancient scriptures as ‘Teerthraj’, the holiest pilgrimage centre and is indeed a perfect place to have a soulful escape.

Vindhyachal

Vindhyachal, a town in Mirzapur district, situated on the bank of River Ganga is one of the most respected Shaktipeeths of Goddess Vindhyavasini. Referred in the ancient scriptures, Goddess Vindhyavasini is believed to be the instant bestower of blessings. Best known for the several shrines dedicated to the Goddess, this holy town also offers the visitors a chance to come close to natural wonders.Though Vindhyachal is a bustling town soaked with religious fervour, there is also a tranquil side not to be missed by the visitors. Located on banks of River Ganga, the land boasts green landscapes giving nature lovers their share of treat. 

Naimisharanya

Naimisharanya (Neemsar) is a land steeped with Hindu mythology linking it to Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Goddess Sati and Lord Shiva. The place is unique owing to the belief that it is the land where the pantheon of 33 Hindu God & Goddesses reside. It also believed to be the first most sacred of all pilgrim centres for Hindus. It is said that if one performs penance for 12 years on this land, one moves to Brahmaloka. The place is located on the banks of River Gomti in Sitapur district at a distance of 94 Km from Lucknow. This place finds mention as a dense forest in several ancient scriptures, including the Mahabharata. It is definitely worth a day trip to visit the various shrines. A paved street encircling the town connects the primary shrines and visitors can cover the circuit in a couple of hours.

Ayodhya

Ayodhya is a legendary spiritual centre on the banks of River Saryu that attracts the visitors with its serene ghats and countless temples. Situated in the Faizabad district, Ayodhya is counted as one of the seven sacred cities in the Hindu faith. Being the birthplace of Lord Rama and the five of Jainism’s 24 Tirthankaras, this land has many mythological and sacred bonds. According to the epic Ramayana, Ayodhya was home to the Ikshvaku dynasty, from which Lord Rama, the most illustrious of its rulers is said to have descended. Ayodhya is a significant spiritual centre for other faiths as well, Jainism in particular. The buzz of life as usual, fervour of visiting devotees, chiming temple bells and melodious chanting, all offer Ayodhya a singular spiritual ambience. Home to countless multi-faith temples, as many Dharamshalas(hermitages) and Akhadas (resting places for sadhu), the place is further enlivened by presence of all manner of supplicant, sage, scholar and such like.

Chitrakoot

Chitrakoot meaning “the hill of many wonders” falls in the northern Vindhya range of mountains spread over the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Lord Rama spend a major part of his exile here. According to the epic Ramayana, Chitrakoot is the place where Bharat, brother of Lord Rama came to visit him and asked him to return to Ayodhya and rule the kingdom. It is believed that the supreme Gods of Hinduism, (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) took incarnations here. The place is dotted with many temples and several religious sites. At Chitrakoot, everything relates to Lord Rama. One can also explore the amalgamation of culture and history on this land. Chitrakoot is a spiritual retreat, thronged almost throughout the year by travellers, who have a penchant for the unknown and unexplored. Chitrakoot is a perfect blend of divinity, serenity, and natural beauty.

Mathura-Vrindavan

Located in the western part of Uttar Pradesh, Mathura is a jumble of never-ending lanes teeming with folks, rickshaws, and glittering shops. The city is dotted with magnificent temples, most of them dedicated to Lord Krishna, the city’s presiding deity and its first citizen. These temples depict various phases of Lord Krishna’s life, taking the devotees back to the divine era. Mathura is an important pilgrimage destination of the Hindus and is one of the seven sacred cities of India. Lord Krishna was born around 5000 years ago on this land as an 8th child to Mata Devaki and Vasudeva in the prison cell of the tyrant Kansa, Lord Krishna’s maternal uncle. The land is daubed with an enchanting culture, which is enough to capture your heart and touch your soul. Vrindavan is a holy town in Mathura and is the most significant pilgrimage site in Braj region, attracting around 500000 pilgrims every year. It is believed that Lord Krishna spent his childhood here. Even the dust of this holy place is said to be sacred and devotees are often seen smearing it on their forehead. It is believed that Vrindavan was lost over time, until the 16th century, when it was rediscovered by the saint from Nabadwip, Chaitanya, Mahaprabhu, who travelled to Vrindavan in 1515.

Varanasi

Varanasi or Banaras, mentioned in the scriptures as Kashi, is less of a city and more of a dreamy experience. It is a paragon of Indian culture, philosophy, traditions and spiritual ethos since times immemorial. It is among the Sapta Puries, meaning seven sacred cities of Ancient India. The city is located on the bank of River Ganga which has two tributaries in the city: Varuna and Assi; hence the name Varanasi. The combination of Kashi – the holy city, Ganga- the sacred river and Shiva- the supreme God, makes Varanasi an immortal destination. Today, Varanasi remains the hub of cultural and holy activities. In the field of learning, especially of Religion, Philosophy, Yoga, Ayurveda, Astrology, Dance and Music, the city is certainly unparalleled. The Banarasi Silk Sarees and Brocades are known worldwide for its elegance. Varanasi is full of surprises abounding every corner; the more one explores it, the more one falls in love with it!

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