India is a land of religions, risks and divine worship. Many prominent religious and holy places are situated in India. People all over the world come to pay homage to their god. India, especially the Himalayan range also offer great and entertaining hurdles in reaching these places of worship. This makes these places a draw for both pilgrims and adventure-lovers. The adventure and pilgrimage combo increases the interests in these places and makes for top priority in travel diaries and planners.
Here are 5 destinations for the holy adventure seeker:
Hikind Sahib, Uttarakhand
A beautiful gurudwara devoted to Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru, is one of the most visited pilgrimage destinations among Sikhs in India. It is situated in Chamoli District in Uttarakhand at a height of over 1500 ft. and is believed to be surrounded by seven snow peak mountains where the Guru was believed to pray. A sacred place of worship amidst the snow-clad mountains makes the journey to it extremely difficult. The chilling weather and difficult terrain makes this all the more challenging. With very few tents and hotels, travel is only possible by a foot or on ponies, creating an amazing adventure for those having a craving for the holy worship. The place though generally remains unreachable due to heavy snowfall from October to April, but after the repair of the roads by Kar Sevaks, it remains open to pilgrims to visit this amazing star-shaped holy spot will full devotion – chanting songs and rejoicing.
Yamunorti Temple, Uttarakhand
The journey to the Prasad of the Yamunotri Dham, one of the destinations among the Char Dham Yatra, is extremely challenging. The Yamunotri Temple is located in Gharwal Himalayas in Uttarkashi District in Uttarakhand and is known to house the Goddess Yamuna. The remoteness of the pilgrim spot, is also surrounded by snow clad mountains and covered by dense snow half of the year, creating an adventurous trip to this place. Being situated at a height of over 3,293m above sea-level with a steep trek, makes it one of the most inaccessible holy places, traceable by religious enthusiasts. It is reachable by trekking Janki Chatti and Hanuman Chatti. Many prominent religious practices like cooking rice in the hot springs attract the holy tourist to savour the Indian colour of vermillion combined with risk and fun.
Kedarnath Shiva Temple, Uttarakhand
Kedarnath Shiva Temple, Uttarakhand credit: saiko3p
The Kedarnath Shiva Temple, Uttarakhand, reachable by a 14km trek from Gaurikund, makes it one of the most arduous yet peaceful pilgrim destinations in India. Like Yamunotri temple, it is also located in Gharwal Himalayas near Mandakini River and is accredited for being one of the highest holy sites in the country. Situated in a lush green valley amid tall high snow covered mountains, this place is a heaven for the nature-lovers who wish to worship and love taking risks. The beautiful although dangerous 14km trek is very enticing making the journey a never-to-forget experience. The helicopter facility is also available and makes it easier for the old crusaders to pay homage to their almighty. It is one of the destinations in Uttarakhand among the Char Dham Yatra and is very challenging but beautiful in the very essence of its location in the lap of nature.
Amarnath Temple, Jammu And Kashmir
Amarnath Shiva temple is a very famous Hindu sanctuary located 141km from Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir. This mystical place of worship is the main tourist destination in the months of July and August. Worshippers come here, crossing many hurdles to worship the very revered Shiva Linga – naturally made of ice. The beautiful white Linga situated in the glacier valley is believed to be divine, changing its size with the phases of the moon. The unreliable weather and climatic conditions, and the difficult trekking terrain of the mountains stretching from Pahalgam to Baba Amarnath Cave increases the adventure of the trip and makes it a must-do journey for the religious wanderlusts. The risk factor involved in accomplishing the Amarnath Yatra is itself an added treat to the queer spiritual bliss which the worshippers feel after paying reverence to their God.
Buddhist Monks, Ladakh credit: Krish_Iyer
The interesting combo of adventure/pilgrimmage is also available for the Buddhist community by making the famous Phutkal monastery the most favoured holy site among Buddhists adventure seekers. It is located at 3,850m above sea-level in a remote valley in the Zanskar region of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir. It generally requires a days walk through the rough terrain of the Himalayas to reach the destination. The impassable mountains and road-less paths have made the trek to the monastery, an exciting and interesting adventure. The fascinating monastery delicately carved out of a mountain is the most secluded monastery – very difficult and challenging to get to. The place is a great destination for amazing festivals like Smonlam Chenmo, Syungnas, Jigched Lhachusum Ceremony, Initiation of Vajrabhairava, Chonga Chodpa and many more. These attract more visitors to Ladakh and ready them to worship at this magnificent site amongst the Buddhists.