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32

Aarti - Homage to Ganges :

In Rishikesh and neighbouring Hardwar, each evening, as the sun's last rays reflect off the boundless waters of the Ganges, people gather for the aarti. This divine light ceremony is filled with devotional songs. The aarti, ornate oil lamps, are released into the water. Aarti is a time when people break free from the stresses and strains of everyday life, and gather together in Joy, reverence and peace. As the bright yellow sun dips in the water, one is filled with a deep sense of bliss and spiritual connection.

 
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34

Golden Temple :


All that glitters here, for certain, is gold. The temple complex in Amritsar, Punjab is the most sacred place for the Sikhs. The holy waters of the surrounding sarovar (pool) mirror the gold of the temple making it an enriching experience.

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36

Make a wish :

On Mathura Road in Delhi, next to the trade fair grounds is the Matke ka Peer. It is believed that wishes are granted if an earthen pot is placed on the branches of the tree. So make a wish and may it come true.

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57

Temples on a hill on a moonlit night :

 Palitana, city of Jain temples, lies at the feet of Shatrunjaya hills, in the eastern part of the Saurashtra. From this town, a flight of steps lead to a cluster of 863 temples built over a period of 900 years. On a moonlit nights the ivory coloured temples are a delectable sight. The ornate temples with deities studded with gems and jewels, can be reached after a 90 minute climb.


 

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59

Watch idols immersed in the sea :

Ganesh is the well-endowed god of prosperity. So it pays to treat him well! Celebrate the birthday of Lord Ganesh along with a million others as they move towards the sea to immerse his idols. The biggest public culmination of Ganesh Chaturthi happens on Choupatty Beach, Mumbai, in the large-scale immersion. They city comes to a standstill as hundreds of thousands of worshipers crowd the beach. As the king-sized idols are dragged into the sea, the crows goes wild and chants, “Ganpati Bappa Morya”. Simultaneously, there are processions, music performances on decorated stages (called “pandaals”), cart races, and wrestling matches.
 

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70

Follow the Buddha's trail :

Visit the quiet little village of Bodhgaya in Bihar. It is here that the Buddha is said to have attained Nirvana. Once here, you can visit the Bodhi Tree (the fifth in succession of the original tree) under which the Buddha had attained Enlightenment. Other places of interest are the spectacular Mahabodhini Temple, Vajrasana and the ancient railings that surround the temple.


 

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78

Experience the juggernaut :

 Did you know that Juggernaut, defined in the English dictionary as an "irresistible destructive force" was coined by British settlers in India when they witnessed the annual spectacle at the 12th century Jagannath Temple in Orissa? A reason to see the Rath Yathra, or the Car Festival is because it is one of the most stupendous processions on the globe. Tens of thousands of ecstatic singing and dancing people crowd in front of the chariots as they make their way through town. The temple is one of the four holy Dhams, or "abodes of the Divine", and millions of pilgrims come each year to pay homage to the deity Lord Jagannath, Lord of the Universe. The festival takes place once a year in July.
 

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80

Ancient Monastery :

Visit the 17th century monastery of the Mahayana Buddhists in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, at an altitude of 10,200 ft. Home to over 500 Lamas, it is surrounded by mountains. The temple contains a huge statue of Buddha and other priceless images and Tankhas. It also has a wealth of old scriptures, beautifully illustrated religious books (some of them in Sanskrit) and a library containing antique books including gold-lettered copies of the sacred Buddhist scriptures.
 

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98

Meenakshi temple, Madurai :

Madurai, in southern Tamil Nadu is over 2500 years old. Noted for its splendid temple dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi, Madurai is famous for its fine handloom fabrics and beautiful brass lamps.

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