Spiritual Centers in India
There is an unwritten law that if you want to find yourself, come to India. One of the most spiritual places on Earth, many stressed and disturbed people have been ‘healed’ by coming to India.
There are many reasons for this. This piece is not meant to provide you with all the tools and reasons to heal yourself. Instead, I am going to suggest 5 of the most serene and soulful places in India where you will be able to travel along the path of spirituality.
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Rishikesh is already an established spiritual resort and is thousands of years old. There are a multitude of yogic and other spiritual resorts here and westerners have been coming here for decades. In fact, even your grandmother may have been here.
Situated on the banks of the Holy Ganges River, this was a ‘base camp’ for ancient Yogis and Sanyasis before they ventured further up into the Himalayas. The backdrop of the Great Himalayan Mountain Range offers the idyllic setting to let your mind soar to higher realms of consciousness.
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A 3 hours drive from Mumbai is the Vipassana Research Institute in Igatpuri. Located among forested rolling hills, the Institute teaches the Vipassana meditation technique, as taught by S. N. Goenka, in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin.
It is necessary to register earlier for the courses as they run from specific dates and are limited to a specific number of entrants. One of the most important aspects of this course is the observance of absolute silence for a period as long as an entire month. When the student does not need to worry about talking, the mind is more at work.
Another famous spiritual resort is Pushkar, an hour’s drive from Ajmer in Rajasthan. This is the site of the only temple of Lord Bharhma in the world. The temple is situated on the banks of a lake. Lining the entire lake, you will find endless other temples. There is a large resident foreign population here. As word of the spiritual atmosphere has spread far and wide.
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This is one of India’s holiest cities. It is believed that anyone who passes away from this world onto the next at Haridwar is destined to go to Heaven. You will find many Ashrams where the majority of the inhabitants will be elderly people waiting for their ‘time’. The evening Ganga Arti is a treat for the eyes. Just after sunset, as the sky is darkening, prayers are offered to the Holy Ganges River, on whose banks Haridwar is located. The flames of multiple Artis moving in unison is very popular with tourists and definitely a sight not to be missed.
Photo by Andrew Moore, CC BY-SA 2.0
Bodh Gaya is Buddhism’s most sacred site in the world. It is the location where Siddhartha Gautama Buddha attained Niravana (Enlightenment). The peace and quiet of the surrounds allows you to imagine how the Buddha would have lived here. There are numerous institutes that teach meditation and other spiritual resorts are also easy to find here.
As you can see, India is a great destination for spiritual soul-searching. Being an ancient land, there is a long tradition of spiritualism in India. The majority of the time India has been governed by Kings. They used to consult the spiritual masters on all aspects of governance as it was the tradition in India that governance must be as per the spiritual scriptures.
There is an abundance of scriptures which delve into every aspect of living life. For serious students who wish to read the scriptures themselves, the learning of the Sanskit language would be necessary as most of the scriptures are written only in this language. Luckily, there are numerous institutes which do teach the language. Reading the scriptures for yourself would allow any doubts to be better addressed.