For thousands of years, India has been a place of spirituality. From ancient traditions that honour the sanctity of the natural world to religious practices centred around worship, altruism, and compassion, this extensive country has a core connection to Mother Earth and the human soul. Spirituality can hardly be avoided when you travel around India, but magic is made when spiritual experiences are deliberately included in your itinerary.
Some travellers may choose to go it alone and spend time resting and recharging at a yoga and meditation centre. Others may prefer to hike the Himalayas to reconnect with the world around us. For most, spiritual experiences in India will involve an immersion in the varied and rich religions that are prevalent here, such as watching elaborate puja ceremonies at local Buddhist or Hindu temples and learning about local beliefs about moral living and the afterlife.
Anyone anxious about visiting this colourful and often chaotic country should consider joining group tours to India with guided activities, private transport, and quality accommodation. These types of India holiday allow you to embrace every facet of local culture while giving you the peace of mind of a smooth, well-organised itinerary that includes all of the key highlights. Discover the unmissable spiritual experiences that you should add to your India tour for an unforgettable adventure.
Witness religious ceremonies at Varanasi
One of India’s most famous destinations, Varanasi is a place that divides opinion. For some, this pinnacle of pilgrimage promises an experience that is too intense, while others will be mesmerised by the daily ceremonies held by Hindus aiming to attain moksha – enlightenment at death. Either way, there is no doubt that Varanasi is the ultimate spiritual experience in India.
Varanasi sits on the Ganges, and this sacred river is central to the ceremony process. Monks perform the ancient ritual Ganga Aarti to a backing track of conch shells and bells as pilgrims float offerings of flowers and lights downriver in honour of the recently deceased. As a place central to beliefs relating to the afterlife, travellers should be prepared to encounter bodies during their visit.
Stay with monks in a Rishikesh monastery
Close to Varanasi lies Rishikesh, a city surrounded by the Himalayan foothills which has been a popular spiritual retreat for decades. Famous visitors include The Beatles who found respite here in 1968. Yoga enthusiasts and those looking to devote time to meditation will delight in a stay at a local ashram, a hermitage or monastery where life is simple, and monks spend their days in worship.
Trek your troubles away in Ladakh
Ladakh is even further north than remote Rishikesh, settled deep within the Indian Himalayas. Hiking here is really rewarding, so if you find tranquillity in trekking then this is the spiritual destination for you. Picture snow-capped mountains with glacial lakes, the sun setting against stark spiky peaks, and extraordinary vistas which appear to stretch away for hundreds of miles. There are routes to suit all skill levels.
Embrace Ayurvedic holistic healing in Kerala
If you prefer a slower pace of life for your holiday, relax and unwind in an Ayurvedic retreat in Kerala, India’s most southern state. Ayurveda is an ancient holistic health system which uses natural herbs and spices to create a physical wellness program designed to rebalance the body and mind. Enjoy a detox from sugar, meat, and alcohol, and indulge in a range of special massage treatments.
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