Central region of India consists of the four states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Most of the Central India has a hot dry summer followed by monsoon rains and a cool and relatively dry winter with temperatures fluctuating anywhere from 0 °C to 50 °C in several parts of the region. The summers are extremely hot, winters cold and rainy season can be either very wet or very dry.
In the Central region, Ujjain is known as one of India’s sacred towns. It also serves as a site for the Kumbh Mela. Furthermore, it is also a place belonging to the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, Kaal Bhairav temple, Ram Mandir Ghar, Harsiddhi temple, and many more holy places. Amarkantak, also called Teerthraj (literally meaning the king of pilgrimages), is located in Madhya Pradesh. The sacred city of Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh possesses one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, and hence draws the attention of hundreds and thousands of pilgrims every year.
One thousand two hundred years old Jyotirlinga located in Kedarnath in Uttarakhand, serves as a prime pilgrimage spot. Another such site that attracts devotees is Varanasi (also known as India’s spiritual capital) in Uttar Pradesh. Khajuraho is a popular tourist place in Madhya Pradesh to explore a group of Hindu, Buddhists, and Jain temples. Bhagwan Parshvanatha Temple in Khajuraho is one of the famous and the largest Jain temples, dedicated to Lord Parshvanatha, the 23rd Tirthankara of Jainism. Sonagiri Temples in Madhya Pradesh, Hanumantal Bada Jain Mandir in Madhya Pradesh are some of the most famous Jainism heritage and religious centers in the central part of the country.
The Buddhist shrines of Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, Baruth, Satna, Madhya Pradesh, and Sonari, Madhya Pradesh are some of the country’s ancient stone structures. The statues and monuments existing in the area are a fine manifestation of Buddhist art and architecture expansion. Mindrolling Monastery in Uttarakhand is one of the six monasteries of the Nyingma school of Buddhism. Kushinagar is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, where Buddhists believe Gautama Buddha attained nirvana.
Temples, Shrines and Spiritual Places in Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh is a heavily forested and mineral rich state in central India. The name Chhattisgarh is derived from the 36 ancient forts (Chhattis means thirty-six and Garh means fort) across the state. In ancient times this region was known as Dakshina Kosala and finds mention in Ramayana and Mahabharata. Chattisgarh is renowned for its ancient temples, waterfalls, wildlife, rivers and palaces that continue to enthrall visitors from all over the world. Raipur is the capital and the largest city in Chhattisgarh. A tour of historically significant temples across the state offers an insight into its glorious past and culture.
The Mahamaya temple in Ratanpur is among the most famous in the state dedicated to Goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati. Dating back to the 12th century, the temple compl ex includes numerous other temples famed for its ancient architecture and exquisite carvings. A major Shaivite centre, Barfani Dham in Rajnandgaon is renowned for its massive statues of Nandi and Shiva. A relatively new temple, it attracts thousands of devotees every year primarily due to its unique, three-tiered construction. While the ground level is home to Pathal Bhairav and the second level features an idol of Navadurga, the topmost level is dedicated to Shiva.
One among the oldest and most spectacular temple complexes in the county, Bhoramdeo Temple is an excellent example of Nagara architecture that will remind you of the Konark Temple. Constructed in the 11th century, the complex of three temples dedicated to Lord Shiva is adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures that provide a rare, visual treat. Situated on a hill, the ancient Bambleshwari Temple is believed to date back thousands of years. Hundreds of devotees make their way up the 1000 stairs every month to pay homage to the goddess.
Built in the 14th century, the Danteshwari Temple in Bastar is dedicated to an incarnation of Goddess Shakti and is significant as one among the 52 powerful shakti peethas in the country. According to legends, the temple is situated at the spot at which a tooth from Goddess Sati landed when her mortal remains were demolished by Lord Vishnu in an attempt to help Shiva cope with the grief.
Witness the influence of Jainism in the state revealed through numerous beautifully created Jain temples. Arang is a renowned Jain site featuring a number of ancient Jain temples dating bak to the 9th and 11th centuries. The Bhand Dewa and Bhag Deval temples are prominent Jain centres renowned for its intricate carvings, wall paintings, stunning sculptures and enchanting architecture.
The history of Chattisgarh is also marked by the influence of Buddhism. The fascinating Tibetan settlement in Manipat is home to Takpo monastery, friendly monks draped in red robes and bright prayer flags along the roads. Sirpur is another famed Buddhist site that boasts of a Jain monastery, twelve Buddhist monasteries, five Vishnu temples and a staggering twenty two temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The important Buddhist temples here include the Anandprabhu Kutir Vihara, Gandheshwar Temple and Swastika Vihara.
Chattisgarh remained invisible on the tourism circuit until recently. Offbeat explorers were largely responsible for uncovering the natural diversity and ancient monuments of this delightfully beautiful state. The ancient temples in Chattisgarh are more than simply places of worship. These magnificent temples are superbly preserved monuments of its rich history, distinct culture and glorious heritage.
Temples, Shrines and Spiritual Places in Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh represents an exotic mixture of rich history, pious shrines and spectacular scenic beauty. Bhopal is the capital and Indore is the largest city of Madhya Pradesh, with Jabalpur, Gwalior, Ujjain and Sagar being the other major cities. It is the second largest state by area and the fifth largest state by population in India.
As its name suggests – Madhya means “center,” and Pradesh means “state or region.” Madhya Pradesh is a state in the center of India. Known as heart of India, Madhya Pradesh is home to rich culture and heritage of India. The state got this name because of its geographical location and its rich culture and history. It has a wide range of ancient temples, hill forts, and palaces with historical significance. Madhya Pradesh is an ornate with India’s priceless historical and religious gems (architectural monuments) that enrich the country’s cultural heritage.
Madhya Pradesh has one of the most ancient temples and historical places for the tourists and spiritual seekers. Known for their holy ambiance, temples in Madhya Pradesh have been enchanting the pilgrims, offering a religious escape into the abode of Gods. Temple in Madhya Pradesh, like Chitrakoot, has the power to soothe the minds of visitors. It is believed that when Lord Rama and Devi Sita went for exile for 14 years, they have spent 11 years in Chitrakoot. Since then, it became one of the most important pilgrimage places for Hindus, which leaves you with awe and positivity to empower your mind to conquer all your life troubles.
Madhya Pradesh has a historic and religious significance for everyone. Every year thousands of visitors visit Ujjain, famously called the ‘city of temples’ to witness Mahakaleshwar Temple and offer prayers to one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of Lord Shiva.
Sanchi Stupa is a pilgrimage place for Buddhists. It is a symbol of Lord Gautam Buddha and his presence. This great stupa is also part of UNESCO world heritage sites, which is believed to be one of India’s oldest stone structures. Not only Sanchi Stupa, but there are many other unique Buddhist sites to explore. Some of them are Satdhara, Murelkhurd, and Deorkothar.
Khajuraho is a popular tourist place in Madhya Pradesh to explore a group of Hindu, Buddhists, and Jain temples. Parshvanatha Temple is a famous and the largest Jain temple in Khajuraho, dedicated to Lord Parshvanatha, the 23rd Tirthankara of Jainism.
Fairs and Festivals
Fairs and festivals are another attraction of Madhya Pradesh. Here people celebrate major religious festivals like Holi, Diwali, and other Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh festivals of India. However, some festivals are observed only in Madhya Pradesh, like the world famous Kumbh Mela happens four times every twelve years, organized in only four cities of India, and Ujjain is one of them. The mela(fair) is a symbol of the victory of good over evil. It has a paramount significance for Hindu people. During Kumbh mela in Ujjain, devotees supposedly dips in the sacred Kshipra (also known as Shipra) River to wash away their sins.
Khajuraho is not only famous for its temples but also for its festivals. A dance festival gets celebrated in Khajuraho every year, which lasts for 7-days, to celebrate the richness of Indian culture. Artists participate in this festival from across India to perform classical dance such as Kathak, Odissi, and Bharatnatyam.
Temples, Shrines and Spiritual Places in Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh is also known as religious capital of India with Ayodhya being the birth place of Lord Rama and Mathura being the birth place of Lord Krishna. It is the place where renowned epics of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata were written. Kushinagar is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, where Buddhists believe Gautama Buddha attained nirvana. The city of Varanasi (also known as Kashi) has been a cultural centre of north India for several thousand years, and is closely associated with the Ganges. Hindus believe that death in the city will bring salvation, making it a major centre for pilgrimage.
Uttar Pradesh is also known as the “Hindi heartland” as some of the most prodigious writers from here (Kabirdas, Tulsidas, Surdas, Harishchandra, Harivansh Rai bachhan) have contributed to flourish Hindi literature.
Uttar Pradesh has many ancient temples and spiritual places. “Kashi” now recognized as “Varanasi” is the spiritual capital of India, and a prominent tourist spot. The famous Kashi fort also known as the Ramnagar Fort is situated facing the Tulsi Ghat. Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple in Varanasi is dedicated to Lord Rama and his devotee Lord Hanuman. From Manikarnika ghat to Durga temple, Varanasi is full of beauty and elegance. The most famous saying here is that anyone who dies in Kashi attains moksha.
One of the most remarkable places of pilgrimage for the devotees of Krishna is Vrindavan, with famous temples like Banke Bihari temple and ISKCON temple. Mathura, also known as the city of Lord Krishna (Shri Krishna Janmabhumi) is located on the ancient silk trade route, has a Government Foundation with a magnificent assemblage of sculpture from the time of Lord Buddha. The two most prominent temples here are the Dwarkadheesh Temple and the Gita Mandir. Ayodhya (also known as Ram Janmabhoomi), is known as the birthplace of Lord Rama, and is an attractive tourist spot.
Kushinagar is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, where Buddhists believe Gautama Buddha attained nirvana. One the most significant Buddhist place is the Sarnath temple in Varanasi. The Sarnath temples comprise distinct shrines which are located in the Vishwanath Gali, a small lane. This is the place where Lord Buddha taught his disciples the four truths of life. The place is decorated with Thangka, traditional paintings, and a beautiful statue of Shakyamuni (Lord Buddha).
The famous Ranakpur Jain Temple (Rajasthan) is a great pilgrimage place for Jain Dharma. The Gomateshwara Temple, Dilwara Temple, Rishabhdeo temple, and Badami cave temples are some of the most ancient spiritual places, famous among Jain devotees.
Fairs and Festivals
The most famous tradition of Vrindavan is Janmashtami (the birth of Lord Krishna). The “Ram Leela” festival is a lively representation of the chapters of Ramayana enacted as a part of the traditional “Dussehra” festival. Vibrant cultures of Mathura and Vrindavan can please anyone’s eyes.
From the entertaining dance festival, Rasleela to Janmashtami and Govardhan puja, the city sets wonder to a divine soul. Kashi Vishwanath, a holy place of Lord Shiva, is memorable for Phalgun Shukla Ekadashi, a traditional festival followed before Holi.
Temples, Shrines and Spiritual Places in Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand formerly known as Uttaranchal is often referred to as the Devabhumi (‘Land of the Gods’) due to a large number of Hindu temples and pilgrimage centres found throughout the state. Dehradun is the capital and the largest city in Uttarakhand. It borders Tibet to the north, the Sudurpashchim Pradesh of Nepal to the east, the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh to the south and Himachal Pradesh to the west and north-west as well as Haryana on its south-western corner.
Uttarakhand formerly known as Uttaranchal is often referred to as the Devabhumi (literally “Land of the Gods”) due to a large number of Hindu temples and pilgrimage centres found throughout the state. Dehradun is the capital and the largest city in Uttarakhand.
It borders Tibet to the north, the Sudurpashchim Pradesh of Nepal to the east, the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh to the south and Himachal Pradesh to the west and north-west as well as Haryana on its south-western corner.
Uttarakhand’s name is derived from the Sanskrit words ‘uttara’ meaning ‘north’, and ‘khaṇḍa’ meaning ‘land’. The name finds mention in early Hindu scriptures as the combined region of “Kedarkhand” (present day Garhwal) and “Manaskhand” (present day Kumaon). Uttarakhand was also the ancient Puranic term for the central stretch of the Himalayas.