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While some people embark on international vacations in order to experience new cuisine, a different language, unique scenery or major attractions, some travelers are most interested in expanding their spiritual horizons.
India is a unique destination because so many different religions coexist within the nation. You can find Sikh temples, Christian cathedrals, Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries and unending natural beauty to put you in touch with your spiritual side.
If you are planning to take a spiritual pilgrimage to India a la the famous film and book, “Eat, Pray, Love,” here are some realistic things that you can expect along the way.
India is an Enormous Country
All too often, potential pilgrims decide to travel to India without realizing just how big the country really is. India takes up a whopping 1.3 million square miles in area, making it the seventh-largest nation in the world.
It is also home to more than a billion people, who live in countless cities throughout the country. Don’t assume that you can quickly travel from New Delhi to Chennai, for example, as the journey could easily take 40 hours of driving or much longer on a train or bus.
However, you can still enjoy a spiritual pilgrimage by planning your destinations in advance and ensuring you have a guide to get you from one spot to the next.
Your Pilgrimage Can Focus on a Variety of Religions
When some people think of a spiritual pilgrimage in India, they imagine hiking through the Himalayas and doing yoga near the home of the Dalai Lama. For others, it is all about locating the stunning Sikh temples outfitted in gold.
The important thing to remember is that there are a variety of pilgrimages, and they can focus on one or several religions. If you want meditation, chanting and yoga, that’s certainly possible.
If you’d rather have a guided tour of Christian, Buddhist and Hindu churches, that is certainly possible too. Just find the right tour that meets your needs, and remember that no two spiritual pilgrimages can or should be identical.
Embrace Local Spiritual Pastimes
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Determine which path is right for you
Closer to Nepal and Tibet, you might spend your days hiking, exploring mountaintop villages and breathing in fresh air beyond compare.
In bustling cities like Mumbai, you might learn to seek out the beauty in surprising places by admiring the brightly colored fabrics on display.
Embracing the local spiritual culture might mean practicing yoga, getting an Ayurvedic massage, sticking to a vegan diet, watching sacred dances in Jain temples or learning to meditate in silence for hours at a time.
Being open to new ideas and rites is key as you travel through India toward enlightenment.
Travel agents eager to please adventurous clients might want to recommend a spiritual pilgrimage through India. The vibrant sights, sounds and smells transform visitors into pilgrims ready to embrace the local culture and heritage.
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