Posted by Incredible India
Do you find yourself in a situation, where you feel dispirited, disheartened and helpless? Do you often feel empty inside? Many a times despite having all the successes we have ever hoped, there is a lingering feeling of anxiety or discomfort. Though we may dismiss it lightly, it could probably be a calling to nurture our soul.
Why is spiritual retreat important? The 21st century world in which we reside is full of distractions. As millenials and professionals, we are exposed to an ocean of information that we are ill-equipped to handle. This is without mentioning the information soup we choose to absorb from media, T.V, internet games…the list is endless.
Since time immemorial, spiritual traditions of all cultures have taught techniques to tame our monkey mind and stop the incessant mental chatter. Through these practices one can gain unlimited spiritual growth, limitless compassion and wisdom. In our lives however, such moments of pure bliss may be transient and short-lived. Giving ourselves the gift of time away in self-reflection, time away to concentrate on things that matter, time away to connect with our soul is extremely beneficial. While it may be a bit of a challenge to get out of your routine and allow yourself a break, undergoing a spiritual hibernation once in a while will bring a world of benefit to you by rejuvenating flagging energies and empowering you with a doze of freshness and new found confidence.
One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is a spiritual escape. A major chunk of our time is devoted to earning money or eating or sleeping to fulfil the bodily needs. Yet, it the soul that adds colors to our life. At a spiritual escape, life is simple—with no negative energy, no daily work & family responsibilities. Every aspect of your day allows you to find peace and reconnect with your spiritual side. Conversations during leisure time are often about people’s spiritual journey. When you are surrounded by otherlike-minded souls, you feel inspired and filled in a way that nothing else can touch. Given below are six sacred destinations that will enliven your soul. Do give them a try.
Varanasi- “Banaras is older than tradition, older even than legend and twice as old as both of them put together.”—Mark Twain.
Famously known as the abode of Lord Shiva, the holy city of Varanasi is perched on the western bank of River Ganga and is considered as the holiest city owing to its rich spiritual legacy and history. Said to have been discovered more than 3000 years ago, this town is a reflection of authentic India. Not just a place where pilgrims come to wash away their sins, Varanasi is also the destination where most people come to seek knowledge and awareness. Its ghats encapsulate the multiple aspects of life, its pristine temples are the sanctuaries of eternal cosmic grace, its people a cheerful and friendly lot and the sacred Ganges which forms the backbone of the city is the foundation of life and inspiration for many. In the hours leading up to sunset, the ghat comes to life with the vibrant, mystical and magical ritual called the Ganga Aarti. This grand and opulent ceremony is attended by thousands of visitors every day and is considered as one of the most lively and exciting event of India.However, Varanasi isn’t just about temples and ghats. Dotting the city are various yoga retreats which you can visit to experience the peaceful and ecstatic rhythms of Vedic life.
Haridwar- No spiritual journey is considered complete without a trip to this revered land in North India. Cradled on the banks of the Holy Ganges, Haridwar is Uttrakhand’s holiest Hindu city and pilgrims arrive here in droves to witness the tradition and culture dating back to the prehistoric times. As one strolls along the ghat at Har-ki-Pauri in the evening, one is greeted by the enchanting view of the flickering diyas which adds a divine aura to the atmosphere. Spread across the length and breadth of Haridwar are many small and big temples which include Mansa Devi Temple, Chanda Devi Temple, Parmeshwar Devi Temple, Pawan Dham and Lal Mata temple. These revered places attract millions of spiritual seekers from across the globe.Envisioned by the sages as the spiritual paradise, it casts an aura of its own especially during the Yatra season from May to October, when thousands of devotees descend upon the city in search of spiritual enlightenment.
Rishikesh- In the foothills of the Himalayas, along the convergence of Ganga and Chandrabhaga, lies the rejuvenating land of Rishikesh. This land booming with ancient temples, popular cafes, yoga ashrams and adventure sports has styled itself as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World.’ With a host of spirituality, yoga, meditation and ayurvedic programmes on offer, Rishikesh is the only place where one gets to see a convergence of spirituality and nature. Whether you want to witness the Ganga Aarti or indulge in quiet and rejuvenating meditation lessons, Rishikesh is the place for you.
Amritsar- Founded in 1577 by Guru Ram Das, Amritsar is 32 kilometres east of Lahore, and is considered as the spiritual and cultural centre of the Sikh religion. A day in this divine city starts with the blessings of Guru Nanak. The splendour of this city is enhanced by the Golden Temple which stands tall as India’s most serene and humbling sights. Believed to have been rebuilt in 1764 by Maharaja Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, the golden structure has been a meditation retreat for sages and seers since time immemorial. In the temple one gets to see the resplendent central shrine sparking in the centre of the tank, the Amrit Sarovar. This awe inspiring and beautiful sight brings an infinite calmness that is most memorable to a visitor. Every year millions of devotes and pilgrims flock this divine abode in pursuit of peacefulness, with the blessings of God.The place is great for history buffs too; whether one is looking forward to a soul-enriching Jallianwalah Bagh trip or an excursion to the Partition Museum. A major attraction of visiting this pristine town is witnessing the beating retreat—a flagship ceremony conducted by Indian and Pakistani forces since 1959.
Bodhgaya- Some places cannot be described, the beauty of such places can only be experienced when you see it yourself. Bodhgaya reputed to be the crucible of Buddhism is one such place. Spread over an area of 84 square kilometres in the state of Bihar, the pilgrimage site houses the Mahabodhi tree under which Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment and attracts tourists from across the world owing to its spiritual serendipity. The splendid temples and monasteries, the architectural masterpieces, the enlightening culture and tradition along with the gracious people add to the magnificence of this great place. To enjoy the full fervour of this place, one should make it a point to enjoy meditation retreat inside the famous Thai monastery. Apart from the temple complexes, you can also visit the Tibetian Refugee Market to buy various handicraft articles of the tibetian faith.
Triuvannamalai- Formerly known as Trinomalee, Triuvannamalai was once ruled by Tipu Sultan. Cradled on top of the Malai Hills, the place is famous for its countless temples and ashrams. The most famous among them is the Annamalaiyar Temple, a grand temple complex dedicated to Lord Shiva. As you walk closer to this majestic structure, you will be spellbound with its beauty and elegance. It is believed that visiting this temple with a pure heart paves one’s path to salvation. If you are a nature lover and a photo fanatic, make sure that you head out on a trek to witness the grandeur of Skandashramam—a cavern where Saint Ramana remained during his visit to Triuvannamalai. Adding to the magnificence and grandeur of this place is the fascinating Santhur Dam, an engineering marvel that is sure to make you feel alive. Whether you are looking for a spiritual experience or a quiet and rejuvenating holiday, Triuvannamalai is the a great choice.