hether you’re searching for spirituality or just a fantastic way to cleanse the soul and escape the hectic demands of modern life and all of those high tech distractions, these amazing pilgrimage routes across the globe are especially worthy of making the effort.
There are many religious places on the planet that fascinate tourists not only due to their spiritual significance but with their extraordinary architectures as well.
Explore these beautiful religious places of the world that will leave you awed with their sheer elegance and splendour.
Mount Kailash, Tibet
In the remote Himalayan mountain ranges of Tibet, pilgrims from four different religions flock to the holy Mount Kailash to perform one of the most difficult pilgrimages in the world.
A 52-kilometer walk around the base of the mountain is said to bring good luck to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Bonpos if completed in a single day. This is tough enough and an arduous journey on a whole new level.
88 Temples, Japan
Pilgrims while visiting the 88 temples around the island of Shikoku in Japan, they follow a symbolic path toward enlightenment.
The pilgrims follow a 1,200-kilometre route around the island. On the way, they receive offerings, from locals, who believe that anyone of the travelers might be a reincarnation of Kobo Daishi, the Buddhist saint with whom the pilgrimage is associated.
Bodh Gaya, India
According to Buddhist tradition, 2,600 years ago, Gautama Buddha sat beneath a Bodh tree in Bodh Gaya and attained enlightenment. Buddhists around the world flock to this famous site, where a bodhi tree still stands.
Saffron-robed monks from Thailand, Bhutan, and numerous other countries peregrinate around the city in groups, visiting the main Mahabodhi temple and other shrines to the Buddha.
Ghats of Varanasi, India
Varanasi is the holiest of India’s sacred cities and famous for its ghats, terraced areas on the river banks where the faithful come for ritual baths, washing, meditate, and even cremations. Parikramas are Hindu pilgrimages that circle around a sacred site, like a temple or holy landmark.
Most of the parikramas in Varanasi trace a path along the city’s famous ghats, where many cremations take place alongside the holy Ganges River at sundown.
Camino de Santiago, Spain
The Camino de Santiago is one of the most famous Christian pilgrimages, which is also known as the “Way of St. James”.
Each year, tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists trace one of the many paths from trailheads throughout Western Europe to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain.
The pilgrimage takes anywhere from weeks to months to complete, ultimately cutting through rural northern Spain.
Via Francigena, France & Italy
The Vatican in Italy has long been a beacon for Christian pilgrims, and its star has hardly dimmed in recent years. Back in the middle ages, pilgrims would come to see the Holy See and its various treasures, but the journey was impressive in equal measure.
Today, you can hike the entire route, which officially begins in the English town of Canterbury, just like the pilgrims of yore.
Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar
Rising 100 yards above the city of Rangoon, Myanmar’s Shwedagon Pagoda is, one of the world’s great wonders.
The pagoda is famed for holding the relics of four Buddhas and savvy visitors should visit at night to enjoy the chants of the faithful, the wafting incense, and the great golden stupas shining in the spotlights.
Lotus Temple, India
The city of New Delhi is also known for the stunning Lotus Temple, home of the Baha’i faith, is a true oasis of tranquility.
Built-in 1980, the flower-shaped temple is surrounded by peaceful gardens and a large interior space is reserved for people of all faiths to come and meditate.
Basilica of San Vitale, Italy
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy is one of the most important churches in early Christianity.
It’s an amazing experience for lovers of art and architecture. The hypnotically colorful mosaics are some of only a few in the world that remain from the time of Emperor Justinian I.
Located in the outskirts of Kathmandu, Boudhanath is one of the world’s largest stupas and a place of pilgrimage for Tibetan Buddhists the world over.
The stupa is crowned by four sets of peaceful yet watching eyes and is surrounded by a whopping 50 Buddhist monasteries.
Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan
The Tiger’s Nest complex in the small mountain state of Bhutan is the world’s most famous hanging temple. After a tough three-hour hike, travelers arrive at this stunning monastery perched 3,000ft above the floor of the Paro Valley.
The interior shrines are no doubt amazing, but the view is one you’ll never forget.
Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, Iran
It is also known as “The Pink Mosque”, Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran, which is famous for its stunning array of colors. It has a unique combination of stained glass windows and mosaics.
When this mosque was built in 1888, it was specially designed to take advantage of morning light, and the sun filtering through the windows, creates a rainbow effect, highlighting the jewel-toned tiles and rugs in the interior. If you’re able to visit the mosque, make sure you go early for prime viewing.
Señor de Huanca, Peru
Every year thousands of pilgrims from all over South America visit the Chapel of Señor de Huanca, near Cusco.
Its two water sources are believed to have miraculous healing powers.
On September 14, the most important day of pilgrimage, a traditional hike is made overnight starting from just outside Cusco and taking around six hours.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
This famous twelfth-century temple in Cambodia is modeled after the mythological Mount Meru, where Hindus believe the ancient gods live.
The temple complex, which has ties to both Hinduism and Buddhism, has walls covered with carvings, including over 3,000 apsaras (nymphs) and many other mythological events and figures.
Char Dham, India
Char Dham refers to four pilgrimage sites that are particularly important to Hindus, most of whom aim to visit at least once in their lifetime. Its located in the Uttaranchal state at the foot of the Himalayas.
Tradition generally dictates that one visit sites from the east to west, starting at Yamunotri and ending with Badrinath. This pilgrimage can usually be accomplished in about two weeks, or, you can also visit just one of the four sites over a few days.
This was the list of 15 such pilgrimages, that is worth visiting once in a lifetime. It gives u a spiritual spirit, beautiful architecture, and also an arduous experience altogether.
So, let us know which all places from the above list have you already visited till now, and how was your experience.