India is famous for being a land of innumerable traditions, religions and beliefs which has given rise to a plethora of pilgrimages or yatras which is attended by devout Hindus on a yearly basis. These yatras will take the pilgrims on a soul enriching journey which can also leave a potentially life changing mark on them. Most of these pilgrimages are taken up not only to please the lord but also to attain salvation or moksha from the karmic cycle of birth and rebirth. No matter what the reason for these pilgrimages are, one thing these experience offer to the yatras is a feeling of deep devotion and a vibe of unmatched spirituality that could not have been experienced any other way.
If you are looking to have a spiritually awakening experience of your own then here are a few popular and well known Hindu yatras:
Chota Char Dham Yatra
Popular for being one of the most popular Hindu pilgrimages in India and attended by a huge number of devotees from not only in India but across the world as well, this yatra takes the pilgrim to some of the most magnificent destinations in Devbhoomi Uttarakhand. Every shrine which the pilgrim will be visiting during this yatra is dedicated to a different lord which is Kedarnath (Lord Shiva); Badrinath (Lord Vishnu); Gangotri (Goddess Ganga); Yamunotri (Goddess Yamuna). The char dham portals here as well as in India were established by the great sage and philosopher Adi Shankaracharya during the 8th century with an aim of reinventing and re evoking a feeling of deep Hinduism within them. All these places are located in remote regions and allow you to experience the grand majestic beauty of the Himalayas. Regular developments take place here which now allows the pilgrim to cover the Chardham Yatra by Helicopter now.
Best Time to Visit – The Yatra remains shut down for 6 months out of the year due to inhospitable and hostile weather conditions. The best time advised for a visit of char dham yatra sites is – May to June and September end to November.
Every year devout Hindu believers make it a point to make their way up to the high altitude glacial cave which is perched on an elevation of 3,888 metres above sea level and people visit to worship the icy stalagmite Shivling. With the base camp located at Pahalgam the Yatras walk up the treacherous and mountainous trek that tests every individual’s endurance and strength. Lord Shiva here is referred to as Baba Barfani and people from far and wide make a trip to this place in large numbers to test their mental capacity and physical strength. The trekking routes will take you through the Sheshnag Lake and is known for being one of the most mystical lakes in the region.
Best Time to Visit – July to August is considered to be the most appropriate time to visit since these are the months of Shraavan, an extremely important and auspicious Hindu Festival.
Kailash Mansarovar Yatra
The imposing snow clad mountain of Kailash is famous for being one of the most holy destinations in India since it is considered to be the home of Lord Shiva. Due to its difficulty levels the trek is organized by the ministry of external affairs of government of India. Not only is this journey sacred for the devout Hindu population but it is also a significant part for various religions such as – Jainism and bon. The Yatra journey of Kailash Mansarovar involves circumambulating the snow clad mount Kailash as a holy ritual and since this is an extremely difficult task, only adults over the age of 18 years old are allowed.
Best Time to Visit – The summer months of May to June are considered to be the best time to go on the journey since the weather is pleasant and comparatively comfortable.
Vaishno Devi Yatra
Dedicated to a manifestation of the Hindu goddess Mata Adi Shakti or Chandi / Durga the Yatra is one of the most easily reachable journeys. Considered to be one of the most pious and holy journeys undertaken by believers of goddess Parvati, the Yatra journey to the cave of Vaishno Devi will take you across an easy journey of 13 kms. The cave shrine is perched on an elevation of 5,200 feet above sea level right on the lap of the overlooking Himalayas. The pilgrim witnesses an impressive turnout of not only older generation but also that of extremely young kids. The best part about this journey is that the entire walking path is well made and smooth which will allow you to have an extremely rejuvenating experience.
Best Time to Visit – the peak season for Vaishno Devi is between the months of March and October especially during the holy eve of Navratri.
Kasha or Varanasi is known for being not only one of the oldest and the most ancient cities in India but it is also one of the holiest destinations. Lined by the incredible river of Ganga, Kashi Yatra involves performing various Vedic rituals and rites for your ancestors to make them happy. Normally the yatra is taken up for pleasing the forefathers but that is not all people also choose to perform various important rituals in Gaya as well. Primarily the yatra is a completely spiritual experience which involves visit to two of the most sacred and ancient abodes of Lord Shiva which includes – Lord Vishwanath at Kashi and Lord Rameshwar temple at Rameshwaram. The yatra is not only about the temples but it will also take you across some of the most historically relevant destinations.
Best Time to Visit – The winter months of November to February are considered to be the best time to visit since the overall environment remains cool and allows you to explore the places in a better manner.