Saturday, July 24, 2010

MP Tourism - On Spiritual Quest

Though more popular for tiger safaris, Madhya Pradesh  is an emerging center for religious tourism in Central India. Diverse religious facets have left their impact on the state. Ancient Hindu Temples, Mosques, Jain Derasar, Churches, Buddhist Stupas, sacred rivers and ashrams are spread all over the state. The monuments date way back into history while some are of recent origin.

The centers of  pilgrimage are visited not only by the pious but the modern traveler as well.  Peripatetic travelers from foreign lands in search of spirituality and exploration visit Central India in large number.       

A spiritual journey in MP is influenced by one's inclination and purpose. Some of the prime destinations are:

Jabalpur: The cosmopolitan city lies in the center of India. Virgin River Narmada originates at Amarkantak Hills and traverse a long distance to reach city. The stepped embankments of Gwarighat and Lametaghat are the hubs of Hindu rites and rituals and abode of many temples and ashrams of the mystics and saints. A holy dip in the Narmada cleanses all sins away, it is one of the five holiest rivers in India. Must visit destinations are Dhuandhar Falls and Marble Rocks. 

Major places of worship at Jabalpur:

Tripuri Sundari                    
Bajnamath
Radhakrishana Temple  
Gopalpur Temple
Pisan Hari Ki Madhyia Jain Temple
Badshah Halwai Mandir
Gauri Shankar Mandir
Church of England
Gurdwara Gwarighat Saheb
Bare Ganeshji Mandir
Mala Devi Mandir
Roopnath Temple

Well connected by rail and road Jabalpur is linked by Air with New Delhi!

Ujjain: About fifty km from Indore, the town lies on the banks of Shipra River. It is in this river the drops of precious nectar fell whence Gods and Daemons scramble for the vessel. The nectar was supposed to accord immortality on consumption. Kumbh Mela is held every 12 years to commemorate the battle for the nectar (amrit).

On the banks of Shipra lies the abode of the Lord Shiva Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga - one of the 12 in India. Hindu pilgrims visit the Shiva Temple on 13th night of the new moon during the month of Maagh. Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir is a temple devoted to Lord Ganesha situated in Ujjain. 

Omkareshwar: Situated on the banks of River Narmada is a Hindu Temple devoted to Lord Shiva. The temple is situated on island called Mandata or Shivpuri in Narmada River. Being one of the 12 Jyotirlinga of Shiva it is an important pace of worship in Madhya Pradesh in India. There are two important temples dedicated to the Lord here.

Maheshwar: The name refers to Lord Shiva, the town is situated on Narmada Banks in Kharogne District of MP. The place is also called Maheshwari. It is famous spiritual destination as well center for Maheshwari Sari  made of cotton and silk. Maha Shivratri and many Hindu festivals are celebrated with aplomb at Maheswar along with gathering of many pilgrims. Mahamritujaya Yatra is organized every in the town  a day preceding Makar Shankranti for the welfare of the people.       

Chanderi: is a small town in Ashok Nagar District of MP. Many Jain and Hindu temples make it a significant religious town. Chanderi is more popularly for its weaving industry making hand woven sarees named Chanderi Saris after the town. Nearby places of religious significance belonging to Jain denomination are Gurilagiri Bhiyadant Bhamon, Khandargiri, Aamanachar, Bithala and Thuvanji.        

Chitrakoot
: is town of religious and historical importance. Tourists on spiritual and religious quest arrive here
during Ram Navmi, Amavasya, Som Vati Amavasya, Diwali, Sharad Poornima and Makarshankrati.

Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman stayed here for more than eleven years during their exile. Bharat Milap took place at Chitrakut whence Bharat came to meet Ram and requested him to return to Ayodhaya. Tulsidas, Rahim and many other Seers and Saints stayed here to meditate. The holy place is situated in Satna district and is 195 km from Khajuraho Temples. There are many ashrams and religious spots that one can visit with the help of a guide.

Sanchi: Famous destination for Buddhist Stupa containing relics of Lord Buddha lies in Raisen District of MP. Temples of Sanchi display Buddha's journey to salvation. Built during Emperor Ashoka's rule the stupas went through torturous periods of vandalism and loot. Three stupas and many temples remain at the site in Sanchi. Few km from Sanchi is Satdhara Stupa which contains relics in a glass container. Many Buddhist monks stay here and pursue religious studies.

The above places are most traveled destinations in quest for spiritual awakening. The pious on religious journeys in MP travel in groups in packages organized by tour operators. Such travel is  safer, affordable and comfortable.

All major towns like Gwalior, Bhopal, Indore have sacred Hindu shrines worth visiting. Smaller places like Pachmarhi, Hoshangabad, Orchha, Mandu, Shivpuri and many more have religious importance as well. They are more popular as holiday destinations.  


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