Himachal Pradesh proudly named the ‘Land of Gods’ is a dream destination for every traveller who is looking for a spiritual retreat. Find your inner strength amid ancient and historic religiosity set in the backdrop of mesmerising landscapes of mountains, valleys and rivers. A pilgrimage through the state promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for people of all faiths. Make sure your spiritual sojourn through Himachal Pradesh includes these places which give the state its beloved cultural and spiritual character. By Manya Saini

1. Jwala Ji Devi Temple, Jawalamukhi

 

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The ancient Jwala Devi Temple is located 20 kilometres off the DharamshalaShimla road and is devoted to Goddess Durga in her form of the deity with a flaming face. The shrine is counted one among the Maha Shakti Peetham. It is said that the tongue of the primordial Mother Goddess fell at the site where the temple stands today. Legend believes that Raja Bhumi Chand Katoch, a great pilgrim of the Goddess dreamt of the sacred site and set out in search of it. When he found it, Raja built the temple where it stands till date. The gorgeous site lies amid the Dhauladhar mountain range, known far and wide for its worship of the Goddess in the form of flames burning a flawless blue coming out from the crevices of a rock, believed to be as old as time by the locals. There is no idol in the temple, instead, a havan is conducted every day accompanied by chanting and fervour in honour of the revered goddess. 

Getting There 

The nearest airport is located at Gaggal approximately 46 kilometres from Jawalamukhi town. Travellers can also choose to reach the shrine by train and road both of which are well connected from national highways. Visit the quaint town between March to June and book your stay at The Chateau Garli to experience the best of Himachali hospitality and vibe. 

2. Baijnath Temple, Kangra

 

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The Baijnath Temple is a Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva in his form as Vaidyanth, the God of Healing. The origin of the form is related to the epic Ramayana and is believed that the God took this form to heal Ravana’s heads, which he had cut off during his penance in devotion to Lord Shiva. Counted among the 12 Jyotirlingas, the temple’s idol is an ancient lingam, which according to sacred texts was installed by the God himself. Devotees from across the country visit the shrine to wish for goodwill and health for their loved ones. The stories and myths surrounding the gorgeous temple are endless, each more fascinating than the next. It imbibes in its structure ancient wisdom and blessing, for travellers’ journey across the world. 

Getting There

The town has a domestic airport of its own, with daily flights from major cities. However, most travellers choose to reach Kangra by road or train from Delhi with the closest train station located at Pathankot. Book your accommodation at The Divine Hima to experience the best of what the town has to offer. Be sure to travel between March to June for the ideal experience. 

3. Gyuto Monastery, Dharamshala

 

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The Gyuto Monastery had originated in Tibet in the 15th Century and was reestablished in India in the 20th Century after the Chinese invasion in Tibet. This monastery is famous all over the world for the practice of tantric meditation that includes practices such as Guhyasamaja, Chakrasamvara and Yamantaka. A beautiful statue of the Sakhyamuni Buddha exists on the premises of this temple that glistens and spreads a rich golden hue around when the sun shines upon it. This temple complex is located on a hilltop that offers a spectacular view of the Dhauladhar Ranges and the Beas River.This is must visit place in Dharamshala Mcleodganj . . . . . . . . . . . . . #stayhome #staysafe #raasta #dharamshala #gyutomonastery #mcleodganj #chitkul #kinnaur #kasol #manali #dalhousie #amritsar #solang #parvativalley #manikaran #khajjiar #himachal #himachaltravel #himachalpackage #grouptravel #traveladdict #totravelistolive

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The Gyuto Monastery in Dharamshala was established to preserve and protect the teachings of the great Tibetan spiritual leader Tsongkhapa. The monastery currently houses almost 500 monks who come from across India and abroad. The site is an institution which imbibes and teaches the sutra and tantra. The sacred monastery follows the ritual sanctions of the Guhyasamaja, Chakrasamvara and Vajrabhairava deities. All the work within the monastery runs under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the leader of the faith. Rituals form the crux of the spiritual aura of the monastery with intensive meditative sadhana’s being performed all year round. 

Getting There

The closest airport to Dharamshala is located in Kangra about 15 kilometres with the airport offering daily flights from Delhi. You can also choose to travel by bus or train to the quaint Buddhist town. Visits here are best enjoyed between April to July and stay at the Asia Health Resorts to get the most out of the experience. 

4. Shri Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara, Manikaran

 

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The Shri Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara, located in a small town in Himachal Pradesh holds great religious and sacred value to Sikhs across the world. It is believed that Guru Nanak Dev stayed at the site where the shrine is built with his follower Bhai Mardana. The Gurudwara houses a hot spring which was used by the Guru to help cook langar for his hungry followers. The Gurudwara is located on the banks of the revered river with pilgrims thronging to the site for its healing powers. The sacred shrine is shrouded in a plethora of stories which give it unparalleled spiritual and divine energy. 

Getting There

Reach Manikaran by train, bus or airways with the closest airport being the Kullu Manali Airport from the town. It is well connected by all means of transportation to major Indian cities. Stay at the Sun View Mountain Cabin to enjoy the perfect spiritual getaway. The best time to visit the town is between March to June when the weather is temperate and cool. 

5. Hidimba Devi Temple, Manali

 

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The ancient cave locally known as Dhungari Temple is famed as the Hidimba Devi Temple dedicated to Goddess Hidimba, the wife of Bhima, one of the five Pandava brothers. The shrine is set amid thick forests, with sanctuary located in the temple built in 1553 by Maharaja Bahadur Singh. The goddess, believed to be from a Rakshasa family, is said to have performed meditation in the cave. During Navratri, the locals in Manali worship the goddess for all days amid countless fervour and rituals. The most astounding feature of the temple is the imprint of feet in the sanctum believed to have belonged to the goddess. 

Getting There

The closest airport to Manali is the Kullu Manali Airport located about 50 kilometres away from the town. Many travellers also choose to travel by bus or train from Delhi to relish the scenic twists and turns of the great Himalayan range. Visit between March to June to enjoy a pleasant retreat during the hot summer month in the plains. Stay at the Snow Valley Resorts, for a comfortable and luxurious experience.

Related: #SomeGoodNews: Himachal Pradesh To Reopen Temples, Restaurants & Hotels Soon