Since times immemorial, India has been known and renowned for Yoga & Meditation. As a result, the Yoga and Meditation Centers in India have gained popularity among health conscious people. They have marked their place in Indian as well as global arena. Some of the famous yoga destinations in India are Haridwar, Rishikesh, Varanasi and Nashik. As time passed by, yoga might have reached in every part of the globe, but the traditional and original element remains confined to these places only.
Haridwar - The Gateway to the Gods
Location: Haridwar or 'the Gateway to the Gods' is located in Uttarakhand at a height of almost 300 meters above sea level. It is one of the seven holiest places according to Hindu mythology. Haridwar serves as a gateway to other pilgrimages like Rishikesh, Badrinath and Kedarnath.
Tourist Destinations: Referred to as Mayapuri, Gangadwar, and Mokshadwar in the ancient scriptures and epics, Haridwar has always remained a major pilgrimage for the Hindus. The golden reflection of floral diyas in the river Ganges is the most enchanting sight in the twilight during the Ganga Aarti ceremony at the Har-Ki-Pauri. The temple of Chandi Devi atop the Neel Parvat is a 3-km trek from Chandi Ghat. The Chandi Devi Temple is also accessible by a ropeway through the Gauri Shankar Temple. The temple atop the Bilwa Parvat is dedicated to Goddess Mansa Devi. A true replica of the original Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu & Kashmir is newly constructed here. The Gurukul Kangadi University is a center of learning where education is imparted in the traditional Indian way even now. The Veda Mandir within the university houses many archaeological exhibits situated on the Haridwar-Jwalapur bypass road. Other important tourist places are the Bharat Mata Temple, Maya Devi Temple, Bhimgoda, and Shanti Kunj.
Yoga and Meditation in Haridwar
Along with an array of temples and spiritual centres, Yoga ashrams in Haridwar too have gained immense popularity. Besides the Holy Ganga banks, these ashrams transfer one to the time to Satyuga and allows one to live an ascetic life in the middle of the stressful saha world. Some of the famous Yoga Ashrams in Haridwar are Bhaj Govindam, Sahajayoga Center, Kripalu Bagh Ashram and Divya Yog Mandir (Patanjali).
Rishikesh ? Yoga Capital of the World
Location: Rishikesh is located in the northern Uttarakhand, spreading on the Ganges, at its confluence with the Chandrabhaga stream. Surrounded by hills on three sides, it has an altitude of 356m above sea level.
Tourist Destinations: Rishikesh abounds in temples. Most of the pilgrims who pass through Rishikesh on their way to the Himalayan shrines of the Char Dham pause for a holy dip and puja at Triveni Ghat. The most spectacular view is during aarti (evening worship) when diyas or oil lamps float on the water. Nearby is the Bharat Mandir, one of the oldest dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Chandreshwar temple stands at the confluence of the Chandrabhaga and the Ganges. Also there is Hanuman Mandir is flocked by a large number of devotees mainly on Tuesday.
The dense-knit complex of caf?s, shops and ashrams collectively known as Swarg Ashram is the most attractive part of Rishikesh, backing on to forested hills where caves are still inhabited by sadhus or hermits. The Lakshman Jhula, a 450-feet-long suspension bridge and was built in 1939.There you can see the Lakshman Temple on the west bank.
Yoga and Meditation in Rishikesh
Rishikesh is called the yoga capital of the world and there are many ashrams in Rishikesh offering courses on meditation, yoga and Hindu philosophy. The hatha yoga and pranayama meditation classes at Sri Ved Niketan Ashram are well known. The International Yoga Festival is organized every year from February 2 to 7 by UP Tourism.
Varanasi ? The Land of Kashi Vishwanath
Location: The holy city of Varanasi or Benaras is located on the banks of the River Ganges in Uttar Pradesh. It literally means the ?City of Lights?, is a great place for spiritual purification.
Tourist Destinations: Varanasi derived its name from the river Varuna, hence is called Varanasi. It is believed that Lord Shiva himself resided in Kashi (Varanasi). The city hosts the shrine of Lord Kashi Vishwanath (an appearance of Lord Shiva) as well as one of the twelve venerated jyotirlingyas of Lord Shiva. The Hindus believe to wash off their sins once they take a holy bath in the Ganga in Kashi. Vishalakshi Temple (dedicated to goddess Sati) is also another attraction for Hindu tourists here. Even Lord Buddha rendered his first sermon in the Deer Park at Sarnath. The Dhamek Stupa (of pre-Ashokan era) and the Chaukhandi Stupa (where Lord Buddha met his first followers) are other attractions of Varanasi. The twenty-third Jain Tirthankara, Parsvanath, was believed to be born here. Along with spirituality, Varanasi is also a renowned educational hub and famous for Benaras Hindu University. It has also earned global fame for its classical music branch, Benaras Gharana, which originated here and was spread all over India and the world.
Yoga and Meditation in Varanasi
Varanasi or Banaras is a Mecca of Spirituality; hence there are lot of ashrams and centres that are preferred by people. Sree Rama Taraka Andhra Asramam, Ramakrishna Advaita Ashrama, Santmat Anuyayi Ashram, Samne Ghat Parmhash Ashram in Varanasi.
Nashik ? The Land of Kumbha Mela
Location: Abode of Lord Rama during the 14 years of his exile, Nashik is a picturesque city in the north-western part of Maharashtra.
Tourist Destinations: Nestled tranquilly on the banks of the sacred river Godavari Nashik has its own religious and mythological personality. As per Ramayana, Lakshman, brother of Lord Rama had cut the nose of Suparnakha here in Nashik. More than 100 sacred temples are located at Nashik. Few of the important ones are Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple and Kalaram Temple. Every once in 12 years, Kumbh Mela is organised in Nashik. The rich blending of ancient and the modern in Nashik endows it a special aura. Thus, it is also fondly called as 'The Benaras of South India.'
Yoga and Meditation in Nashik
Nashik has been associated with Lord Buddha and Vipassana meditation, introduced by him. Igatpuri in Nashik district is famous for Vipassana International Academy, where one can learn the ancient technique of meditation which is called Vipassana. Another popular place here is SAUYOGA; both of them are largely visited by spiritually inclined people.
How to Reach
By Air: Dehradun Jolly Grant Airport
By Rail: Haridwar Junction
By Air: Dehradun Jolly Grant Airport
By Rail: Rishikesh Junction
By Air: Varanasi Airport
By Rail: Varanasi Railway Station
By Air: Mumbai International Airport
By Rail: Nashik Road (NK) and Devlali (DVL)
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