Narrowing down upon one of the cheap flights to India proves to be a wonderful way to drink in the intoxicating elixir of Eastern spiritualism. Read on for information on famous religious places like Khajuraho, Somnath, Ellora, and Sanchi.
India is fast shedding its reputation as the ‘land of snake charmers’. However, travellers booking flights to India in search of the elusive Eastern mysticism can still look forward to a heartily fulfilling experience. Be it the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh or Benaras, an odyssey to the temples of South India, or the Char Dham Yatra of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath, an India tour offers enough by way of spiritualism. Almost every corner of India has some or the other major shrine like Amarnath, Mata Vaishno Devi, Hemkunt Sahib, and Jagannath temple. Get introduced to some of the most famous and popular places of worship in India on a holiday to the country.
Khajuraho has become a popular site for its unique blend of the spiritual and the erotic. Many travellers who catch flights to India head off to Khajuraho for witnessing a striking depiction of the Kamasutra in stone sculptures. These sculpture date back to the period from tenth to twelfth century and adorn Khajuraho’s temple complexes. Although, most people know the village of Khajuraho for the erotic statues in the Devi Jagdamba temple, there are quite a few other noteworthy temples to be explored as well. The different temples in Khajuraho have been classified as the Southern, Eastern, and Western temples. A good time to visit Khajuraho is during the week long Khajuraho Dance Festival held in the month of March.
Konark Sun Temple
The Konark Sun Temple of Orissa is another wonderful place for a spiritual high in India. Built in about 1250 A.D., the temple is said to reflect the peak period of ancient Kalinga architecture. The sun temple resembles a very large chariot being drawn by seven huge horses. The driver of the chariot is none other than Surya, the Sun god and the chariot twelve pairs of beautifully carved wheels. The temple came up during the rule of Narasimhadeva-I, the Eastern Ganga King. Today, Orissa’s significance in India’s tourism industry is largely due to the Sun Temple. The Konark Dance Festival during the month of December is one of the best times to take a trip to Orissa. The weather is benign and one can watch Orissa folk dance performances, as well as other dance forms like Kathakali, Odisi, Bharatnatyam.
The Somnath Temple is a must visit spot for anyone taking a holiday to Gujarat. The temple is situated in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra. It is amongst the twelve Jyotirlingas of God Shiva and has a very colourful legend attached to it. The story goes that the temple came up after Soma, the moon god was partially saved from a curse by God Shiva. As per the curse, Soma was to wane away and die but God Shiva partly cast aside the curse. Devotees believe that the waxing and waning phases of the moon reflect the effects of the curse. March and October are two of the perfect months for planning a trip to Gujarat, but travellers looking for cheap flights to India, may consider the hot summer months.
Ellora Cave Temples
The Ellora Cave Temples are located in the Deccan plateau and symbolise the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain religions. These cave temples represent the finest form of cave temple architecture and are exquisitely carved interiors as well as exteriors. These cave temples were carved out from 350 A.D. to 700 A.D. and remain a major hub for tourism in Maharashtra. Out of a total of 34 caves, 5 caves towards the North signify Jainism, the 17 in the middle denote Hinduism, while the remaining 12 towards the South are dedicated to Buddhism. The southern caves are said to have been constructed during the 7th and 8th centuries A.D. The nearest airport is at Aurangabad at a distance of about 30 km.
Ranakpur Jain Temples
Ranakpur is well known for some of the most important Jain temples and one of the five holiest places of the Jain community. Located in the popular travel destination of Rajasthan, Ranakpur attracts a fair share of the tourists who book cheap flights to India. The main temple is the Chaumukha or Four Faced Temple, which is dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain Tirthankar. This magnificent temple has some 29 halls and about 1444 pillars. A couple of days would be sufficient for a fairly extensive tour of Ranakpur.
Sanchi bears a lot of evidence of the transformation of character that the great Mauryan empreror Ashoka the Great went through after the Kalinga war. Sanchi is full of pillars, temples, monasteries, and stupas dating back to the period from 3rd Century B.C. to 12th Century A.D. This is the land where Buddhism became the dominant theme of life and edged out Hinduism. Here Ashoka built the first stupa and also erected many pillars. After fading away into oblivion for some time, Sanchi’s spiritual and cultural importance was rediscovered during the 19th century. Since then Sanchi has gone on to become a major religious and historic travel destination in India.