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Ayodhya is preeminently a city of temples yet, all places of worship here are not only of Hindu religion. At Ayodhya several religions have grown and prospered simultaneously and also at different periods of time in the past.

The Hanuman Garhi
Situated in the center of the town, this temple is approachable by a flight of 76 steps. Legend has it that Hanuman lived here in a cave and guarded the Janambhoomi or Ramkot. The main temple contains the statue of Maa Anjani, with Bal Hanuman seated on her lap. The faithful believe that all their wishes are granted with a visit to this holy shrine. A massive structure in the shape of a four sided fort with circular bastions at each corner houses a temple of Hanuman and is the most popular shrine in Ayodhya.

Kanak Bhawan
This has images of Sri Rama and Sita wearing gold crowns. It is also known as Sone-ke-Ghar.

RamJanma bhoomi  
The chief place of worship in Ayodhya is the site of the ancient citadel of Ramkot which stands on an elevated ground in the western part of the city. Although visited by pilgrims throughout the year, this sacred place attracts devotees from all over India and abroad, on `Ram Navami’, the day of Lord’s birth, which is celebrated with great pomp and show, in the Hindu month of Chaitra (March-April).

Nageshwarnath Temple
The temple of Nageshwarnath is said to have been established by Kush the son of Rama. Legend has it that Kush lost his armlet, while bathing in the Saryu, which was picked up by a Nag-Kanya, who fell in love with him. As she was a devotee of Shiva, Kush erected this temple for her. It is said that this has been the only temple to have survived till the time of Vikramaditya, the rest of city had fallen into ruins and was covered by dense forests. It was by means of this temple that Vikramaditya was able to locate Ayodhya and the sites of different shrines here. The festival of Shivratri is celebrated here with great pomp and splendour. 

Other places of interest

Rishabhadeo Jain Temple, Brahma Kund, Amawan Temple, Tulsi Chaura, Laxman Quila, Angad Tila, Shri Rama Janaki Birla Temple, Tulsi Smarak Bhawan, Ram ki Paidi, Kaleramji ka Mandir, Datuvan Kund, Janki Mahal, Gurudwara Brahma Kund Ji, Ram Katha Museum, Valmiki Ramayan Bhawan, are among other places of interest in Ayodhya.

The forest of Naimisharanya (Aranya means forest in Sanskrit) is considered to be the Aranya Swaroop or forest manifestation of Vishnu and therefore considered sacred. It is said that during the course of history 60000 sages have lived there. Naimisharanya was the place where Veda Vyasa taught the Vedas and Puranas to his disciples.

Naimisharanya finds mention in several Puranas. The Vayu Purana states that in the Satya Yuga the sages wanted to perform a huge yagna and requested Brahma to guide them to an appropriate location. Brahma created a huge wheel, which he called Manomaya Chakra. After dedicating the wheel to Shiva he released it and told the sages to follow it. He instructed them to hold their sacrifice at the place the wheel broke. The wheel landed in a forest and as predicted it broke. This forest came to be known as Naimisharanya. Naimi means circumference of a wheel and Aranya means forest; together meaning the forest where the circumference of the wheel broke. When the wheel broke there was a huge fountain of water in the shape of a Shiva Linga and the forest was in danger of being flooded. The sages were in a panic, but the mother goddess Shakti appeared and stopped the flow of water. The Varaha Purana provides an alternative legend. It states that Vishnu once destroyed the entire army of Asuras in a second at this place with his Chakra. Nimish means an instant and Aranya means forest; together meaning the forest where the demons were destroyed in a second.
There is a huge hexagonal pond called the Chakra Kunda or Wheel Pond, which is said to be the place where the Manomaya Chakra landed rupturing the ground. Because of the emergence of Shakti at Naimisharanya, it is a famous Shakti Peeth with a temple dedicated to a manifestation of Shakti known as Linga Dharini Shakti. There is also a Vyasa Peeth associated with Veda Vyasa and Dadheechi Kunda associated with the renowned Sage Dadheechi.

Lord Rama
and Sita are said to have stayed in the forest here for 11 years of their 14 year exile. Chitra literally means “beautiful” and kut means “mountain.”

Most of the spots of tourist importance are along the river Mandakini. Janaki Kund is a straight stretch of river and a series of steps on the left bank descended to the water, almost greenish-blue in colour. According to a legend, it was the favourite bathing spot of Sita. Beyond Janaki Kund, the river is enchantingly beautiful.
Ram Ghat is a long stretch of steps cut into the banks where pilgrims perform religious ablutions and rituals. At Sphatik Shila, a large boulder has impressions of Lord Rama's footprints. In addition, there is Deva Ganga (Gupt Godavari), Sati Anusuya, and Hanuman Dhara.

Kashi - 'the City of Light". The oldest living city in the world, Varanasi is the ultimate destination of all Hindu pilgrims searching for moksha from the cycle of birth and re-birth. The word ‘Kashi’ originated from the word ‘Kas’ which means to shine. Stepped in tradition and mythological legacy, Kashi is the ‘original ground’ created by Lord Shiva and Parvati, upon which they stood at the beginning of time.Varanasi is said to be the point at which the first jyotirlinga, the fiery pillar of light by which Shiva manifested his supremacy over other Gods, broke through the earth's crust and flared towards the heavens. More than the Ghats and even the Ganga, the Shivalinga installed in the temple remains the devotional focus of Varanasi. It is open only to Hindus.
Kasi Visalakshi ( Sakthi peetam) and Sri Annapoorni temple are other main attractions. Sarnath is one among the important buddhist religious sites.
The Ghats
Pilgrims flock the ghats to have a ritual bath and perform puja to the rising sun. The Dasashvamedh ghat offers a magnificent view of the riverfront. Other special ghats are the Ashvametha, Barnasangam, Panchganga and Manikarnika.

is located at the confluence of Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati, popularly known as Triveni Sangam. The district is famous for its rich cultural heritage and religious importance.
GAYA: Derives its name from the mythological demon Gayasur (which literally means Gaya the holy demon), demon (Asur, a Sanskrit word) and Gaya. Holy Sites in Gaya
Sacred places in Gaya correspond to physical features, most of which occur naturally. Such as sacred Falguni River. Trees such as trees and Akshayavat, the undying banyan, are especially sacred. The most popular temple today is Vishnupad Temple, a place along the Falguni River, marked by a footprint of Vishnu incised into a block of basalt that marks the act of Lord Vishnu subduing Gayasur by placing his foot on Gayasur's chest.

Derives its name from the mythological demon Gayasur (which literally means Gaya the holy demon), demon (Asur, a Sanskrit word) and Gaya. Holy Sites in Gaya.

Budhagaya is the place, where Lord Buddha got attained enlightenment under the sacred Bodhi tree. There are beautiful temples of Lord Buddha For Buddhists, Gaya is an important pilgrimage place because it was at Brahmayoni hill that Buddha preached the Fire Sermon (Adittapariyaya Sutta) to a thousand former fire-worshipping ascetics, who all became enlightened while listening to this discourse. At that time, the hill was called Gayasisa.

Bharata Kund, at Nandigram, 20 km from Ayodhya, is said to be the place where Bharata ruled while Rama was in exile for 14 years. There is pushkarni kund and Beautiful temple of Sri Rama Bhaktha Hanuman and Bharatha Hugging each other. (Brotherof Lord Sri Rama).


Baba Baidyanath Jyotirlingam
The legends about the origin of the Jyotirlingam and the Shiva temple are various.
One legend, according to Shiva Purana is that in the Treta Yuga the deamon Ravana, king of Lanka (Ceylon), propitiated Lord Mahadeva and wanted him to come over to Lanka. Mahadeva did not agree to his prayer but told Ravana that one of the twelve emblems of his divinity, Jyotirlinga, would be quite as effective as his presence and that he might take it away on the condition that there should be no break in the journey back to Lanka and the lingam would not be deposited anywhere on the earth. The condition was that if the lingam were put anywhere on the earth in the course of the journey, it would be fixed to that spot forever. The legend is that Ravana agreed to this condition and took the lingam and started his journey back to Lanka. The gods dreaded the effect of the lingam being established at the seat of the deamon king. A ruse was devised and Varuna, the god of the waters, entered the stomach of Ravana and the deamon had to descend to earth to relieve him. Later, Vishnu, in the garb of an old Brahmin, appeared before Ravana, after his descent to the earth, and began to converse with him. Unaware of the trick, Ravana requested the Brahmin to hold the Jyotirlinga for a few minutes so that he could relieve himself. Lord Vishnu readily agreed to it and, as soon as Ravana turned his back to relieve himself, he left the Jyotirlinga on the spot and vanished. When Ravana came back, he found that the Jyotirlinga was firmly fixed to the earth and realized that a trick had been played on him. Out of frustration, he pressed it with his thumb so it went inside and got tilted slightly. However, failing to remove the lingam, he made his obeisance to the lingam and daily he used to come from Lanka and worship the divinity. The spot where Ravana came down to the earth has been identified with Harila Jori, about four miles north of Babadham and the place where the lingam was deposited is known as Babadham.

Matsya Purana narrates about the sanctity of the holy place where Shakti lives and frees people from diseases, i.e., Arogya Baidyanathitee. It signifies that Baidyanath cures people from incurable diseases with the help of shakti, the destroyer of diseases

Janaki Temple is a highly revered shrine located near the Sitamarhi Bus Station, in Bihar. The temple is dedicated to Sita. Along with Sita Devi, Lord Ram and Lakshman are also worshipped here. There is a spring adjacent to the temple. Legend is that, while ploughing, Janaka found Sita at the site of the spring. The temple is constructed in memory of this incident.

Badrinath-Kedarnath Pilgrimage info

The Badrinath area is referred to as Badri or Badarikaashram (बदरिकाश्रम) in Hindu scriptures. It is a place sacred to Vishnu, particularly in Vishnu's dual form of Nara-Narayana. Thus, in the Mahabharata, Krishna, addressing Arjuna, says, "Thou was Nara in a former body, and, with Narayana for thy companion, didst perform dreadful austerity at Badri for many myriads of years."

One legend has it that when the goddess Ganga was requested to descend to earth to help suffering humanity, the earth was unable to withstand the force of her descent. Therefore the mighty Ganga was split into twelve holy channels, with Alaknanda one of them.The mountains around Badrinath are mentioned in the Mahabharata, when the Pandavas are said to have ended their life by ascending the slopes of a peak in western Garhwal called Swargarohini - literally, the 'Ascent to Heaven'. Local legend has it that the Pandavas passed through Badrinath and the town of Mana, 4 km north of Badrinath, on their way to Svarga (heaven). There is also a cave in Mana where Vyasa, according to legend, wrote the Mahabharata.

According to legend, the Pandavas after having won over the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra war, felt guilty of having killed their own brothers and sought the blessings of Lord Shiva for redemption. He eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed he dived into the ground, leaving his hump on the surface. The remaining portions of Lord Shiva appeared at four other places and are worshipped there as his manifestations. The arms appeared at Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, the belly at Madhmaheshwar and his locks (hair) with head at Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath and the four above mentioned shrines are treated as Panch Kedar.

An imposing sight, standing in the middle of a wide plateau surrounded by lofty snow covered peaks. The present temple, built in 8th century A.D. by Adi Shankaracharya, stands adjacent to the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandavas.

Legends state that Lord Rama did penance here for killing Ravana, the demon king of Lanka; and Lakshmana, his younger brother, crossed the river Ganges, at a point, where the present 'Lakshman Jhula' (लक्ष्मण झूला) bridge stands today, using a jute rope bridge. The 'Kedar Khand' of Skanda Purana, also mentions the existence of Indrakund at this very point. The jute-rope bridge was replaced by iron-rope suspension bridge in 1889, and after it was washed away in the 1924 floods, it was replaced by a stronger present bridge.

The sacred river Ganges flows through Rishikesh. It is here that the river leaves the Shivalik mountains in the Himalayas and flows out into the plains of northern India. Several temples, ancient as well as new, can be found along the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh.

A paradise for nature lovers,. In the scriptures it has been variously mentioned as Kapilsthan, Gangadwar and Mayapuri It is also an entry point to the Char Dham (the four main centers of pilgrimage in Uttarakhand ie Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri), hence, Shaivaites (followers of Lord Shiva) and Vaishnavites (followers of Lord Vishnu) call this place Hardwar and Haridwar respectively, corresponding to Har being Shiv and Hari being Vishnu. Gangadhara, Shiva bearing the Descent of the Ganges River as Parvati and Bhagiratha, and the bull Nandi look on. Sage Kapila is said to have an ashram here giving it, its ancient name, Kapila or KapilastanThe legendary King, Bhagirath, the great-grandson of the SuryavanshiKing Sagar (an ancestor of Rama), is said to have brought the river Ganges down from heaven, through years of penance in Satya Yuga, for the salvation of 60,000 of his ancestors from the curse of the saint Kapila, a tradition continued by thousands of devout Hindus, who brings the ashes of their departed family members, in hope of their salvation. Lord Vishnu is said to have left his footprint on the stone that is set in the upper wall of Har-Ki-Pauri, where the Holy Ganges touches it at all times.

According to the legend ancient, sage Asit Muni had his hermitage here. All his life, he bathed daily both in the Ganges and the Yamuna. Unable to go to Gangotri during his old age, a stream of the Ganges appeared opposite Yamunotri for him.

The temple and the place opens every year on the auspicious day of the Akshaya Tritya, which generally falls during the last week of April, or the first week of May. The temple always closes on the sacred day of Diwali in mid-October - first week of November, with a brief ceremony. The temple staff return to their villages and for the rest of the time the valley is gripped in no-man silence and covered with a white sheet of snow. With the melting of the snow next summer, the temple re-opens to the blissful happiness of thousands of visitors again. GANGOTHRI
Bhagiratha, the grandson of King Sagar, is believed to have meditated to please Goddess Ganga enough to cleanse the ashes of his ancestors, and liberate their souls, granting them salvation or Moksha.

Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna at the centre of Braj or Brij-bhoomi, called Shri Krishna janma-bhoomi, literary 'Lord Krishna's birth place'. The Keshav Dev temple was built in ancient times on the site of Krishna's legendary birthplace (an underground prison). As per the epics Mahabharata and Bhagavata Purana, Mathura was the capital of the Surasena Kingdom, ruled by Kamsa the maternal uncle of Krishna.

The town is famous for its 21 kilometre long Parikrama of the a very old hill called Govardhan. The parikrama procession is held in very high religious belief. Its said that Lord Krishna held Govardhan Hill on his little finger to save the town from wrath of the god of rains Indra.

Temple in Barsana, dedicated to the worship of Radha and Krishna.  It is a village near Mathura. Stories from the Hindu tradition relating to the deity, Krishna indicate that his favorite gopi, known as Radha, spent her childhood in Barsana The town is thus a site of pilgrimage for many followers of Vaishnavism,

Many millions of devotees of Radha Krishna visit these places of pilgrimage every year and participate in a number of festivals that relate to the scenes from Krishna's life on Earth. According to LEGEND, Krishna was raised in the cow herding village of Gokul by his fparents Nanda Maharaj and Yasoda. The Bhagavata Purana describes Krishna's early childhood pastimes in the Vrindavan forest where he, his brother Balarama, and his cowherd friends stole butter, engaged in childhood pranks and fought with demons. Along with these activities, Krishna is also described as meeting and dancing with Gopi’s of Vrindavan village, especially with Radharani.

Rangaji Temple
built in 1851 is dedicated to Lord Ranganatha depicted as Lord Vishnu in his sheshashayi pose, resting on the coils of the sacred Sesha Naga. The temple built in the south indian style (as a replica of Srivilliputhur) has a tall gopuram (gateway), of six storeys and a gold - plated Dhwaja stambha, 50 feet high. A water tank and a picturesque garden lie within the temple enclosure. The prayers within the temple are performed, following in the style of Andal, one of the twelve Vaishnava Saints of South India.

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