The largest religious gathering is to be witnessed during the triennial Kumbh Mela, in the four holy places of Nasik (Maharashtra), Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh), Prayag (Allahabad), and Hardwar. A more serene festival takes place in the temple town of the Madurai, in southern India, where temple deities are carried around the a pool. A triple deity celebration for the temple Lords Jagannath Puri, Balabhadra and Subhadra becomes a spectacular and colourful Car Festival, in which a Devotees pull three decorated wooden carts through the streets of Puri in Orissa.
Ganesh Chaturuthi – the worship of Lord Ganesh- is celebrated by the immersion of giant-sized clay images in the Mumbai waters amid prayers. Bodhgaya is a place of worship for the people of the Buddhist Faith. It is this place where the Lord Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. Gaya has scared shrines of the Jains and Hindus scattered around the city. Mathura, situated on the west bank of river Yamuna is associated with the most revered of Hindu gods- Lord Krishna. Virndavan, which is famous for its association with Lord Krishna, who spent his childhood days here. Rameswaram is an island hallowed by the epic Ramayana.
A devotee who visits Varanasi is also expected to visit this place in order to gain the full fruit of his prayers. Thanjavur is another great Indian temple town. The center of Hinduism and the religious capital of Hindus Varanasi is one to most important place of work ship.
RAMESHWARAM – It is situated on an island on the South-eastern tip of the Indian Peninsula. It is believed that Lord Rama bathed at Dhanushkodi, where the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet.
The Sri Ramanathaswami temple is curiously dedicated Lord Shiva. The name indicated that Lord Shiva is all powerful god who was worshipped by Lord Rama who was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The important festivals are Mahashivaratri celebrated for ten days during February-March, Bhramotsavam (March-April) and Tirukalyanam (July-August).
The temple has a 3700 feet corridor which is the longest in India. The sea at Agni Tirtham is a sacred bathing ghat. Other temples in Other temples in Rameshwaram include Gandhamadhana where Rama’s footprints are found on a Chakra, the Kothandaramaswami temple, Adi jaganath temple and Koti Tirtam which is a spring supposed to be created by Lord Rama’s arrow.
MAMALLAPURAM – All that remains of the great city built by the Pallava ruler Mahendra Varman in the 7th century, are some breathtaking rock sculptures and monuments on a low, boulder-strewn hill by the sea, 60 km south of Chennai. ‘Mandapams’ (cave temples), ‘rathas'(temple chariots), the world’s largest bas-relief (called ‘Arjuna’s Penance’ – 27 m long and 6 m high) and a solitary pagoda-shaped Shore Temple – all hewn out of solid granite, lie scattered in the area.
The serenely beautiful Shore Temple, dedicated to both Lord Vishnu and Shiva, now stands right near the sea and has been protected from the pounding waves by a modern boundary wall.
MADURAI (CITY OF NECTAR) – TamilNadu’s second largest city is synonymous with the temple built in honour of Lord Shiva’s consort, the ‘fish-eyed’ goddess Meenakshi Temple. Thousands of pilgrims from all over India visit the temple every day. The enormous gopurams are lavishly covered with multi-coloured carvings of gods, goddesses, mythical figures and animals – the biggest gopuram having more than 1500 sculptures!
TIRUCHIRAPALLI (TRICHY) – A mammoth 83 m high outcrop of rock, rising unexpectedly out of an otherwise flat landscape, and topped by a fort and then a temple – that is the enduring image of Tiruchirapalli, better known as Trichy. Dedicated to the elephant-headed God, Ganesha, the temple is reached by climbing 344 steps carved out of the rock.
Trichy lies on the banks of the Kaveri river 320 kms south of Chennai. Being in the heart of Tamil Nadu it is a convenient base for visiting destinations in the southern part of the State. Five km to its North, at Srirangam, is the enormous Ranganathaswamy Temple set on an island in the river. The temple complex is spread over a staggering 250 hectares, and almost the whole of Srirangam town lies within its 7 concentric walls! And this complex has no less than 22 gopurams, each depicting the architectural style of the times in which it was built. The tallest gopuram is an amazing 73 m (241 ft) high!
THANJAVUR (TANJORE) – The ancient capital of the Cholas, Thanjavur is 55 kms east of Trichy. In addition to the paintings and bronze icons that are made here, Thanjavur is also famous for the Brihadeeshwara Temple built by Raja Raja Chola in the 10th century. An amazing feature of the temple is that the 66.5 m high ‘vimana’ (temple tower above the main shrine) is capped by a massive cupola carved out of a single granite block estimated to weigh more than 80 tonnes.