Giant India, consisting of 29 states, is a panoply of colors & flavors, is comprised of innumuerable diverse cultures, and exemplifies spectacular human encounters between spiritual and material. India offers countless sights to behold and experiences to have. A trip to India may last a few days (or a couple of weeks), but the powerful experiences will become a part of your soul forever.
Though there are many religions represented in India, Hinduism, the world’s third-largest religion, is the predominant religion in India. One can travel all throgouht India and see elements of Hinduism spiritual practice everywhere. The Hindu doctrine is primarily spread through storytelling and in the temples built to honour the religion’s myriad gods. The Hindu religion is rumoured to have over 330 million gods, however there are a few main gods that are seen in various forms in temples and elsewhere as you travel.
Supreme Brahma is the Om, and is seen in all things; as he is formless, he is not worshipped. Under the Supreme Brahma is the Hindu Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Brahma is seldom worshipped, but both Vishnu and Shiva are popular. These two gods have their own sects, the Vashnavites and the Shaivites, which make up the two largest religious sects in India. Each of the gods has incarnations, or “faces,” which can be very different from their original form.
“Dharma”, or the way of life, contains a broad range of philosophies …
Hinduism can be found in idols and fanciful interpretations of nature; The Hindus believe in different idols and worshiping statues. They believe that all idols represent one infinite creator, whom they call “Brahman” (others might call it “God”). In other words, they worship the one and only creator of the world. This is one example of how India gives and demonstrates a deeper meaning to the concept – “All Is One”.
Broaden your horizons and experience this exploding cluster of spiritual beliefs.
If a country can have a soul, India’s is in Varanassi, located on the banks of the sacred river Ganges. Varanasi is a nexus of Hinduism, which is both a religion and an everyday way of life. Indelible is the experience of a slow, misty morning boat ride along the Ganges ghats, thronged by women in pink saris, businessmen in grey suits, laughing children, old beggars, and Brahmin grandees making pilgrimage to the holiest waters in all creation. Walking down to the banks of the Ganges in the morning, or especially in the early evening, joining thousands of pilgrims—mothers and children, holy men and businesspeople, Brahmin grandees, and wide-eyed visitors from all over India and the world—is a great moment in a traveller’s life, a swirlingly colourful, deeply moving, utterly fascinating daily epic.
A visit to Madurai allows all to experience the most prominent landmark in Madurai – Meenakshi Temple – visited by at least 15,000 Hindu devotees daily. The temple is located on the southern bank of the Vaigai river and is dedicated to two gods – Meenakshi (Godess Parvathi) and Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva). Each evening there is a ritual procession in the temple, and visitors witness the trememdous spirituality of the devotees – a true sight to behold.
The son of Shiva, the elephant-headed and pot-bellied Ganesh, is one of the most popular gods in Hinduism, as he is the remover of obstacles and deliverer of good luck. No trip to India is complete without an encounter with Ganesh – in temples, in museums, in gift shops, and beyond!
No matter your personal practice and religion, a trip to India will be spiritual in a way you never would have imagined.