Travel around the country , seek blessings and enjoy the magnificent show put up at these temples around India. 

1. Maa Vaishno Devi, Jammu

Photograph courtesy: maavaishnodevi.org

Vaishno Devi is considered to be one of the holiest pilgrim centers in the country and is visited by over 10 million devotees throughout the year. Devotees have to trek for 12 km to the shrine from the base camp at Katra. The cave temple has three naturally formed rock structures called pindieswhich represent the deities- Goddess Maha Kali, Goddess Maha Lakshmi and Goddess Maha Saraswati. The temple is situated atop the Trikuta Mountain, 5200 ft above sea level and 60 km north of Jammu in the Katra district of Jammu and Kashmir. Facilities like free accommodation in dharamshalas, minimally priced meals and free medical care are offered by the temple trust. The municipality has made provisions for travelers to reach the temple– helicopter services (Rs 1,170 one way, Rs 2,340 both ways), pony rides (maximum of Rs 850, depending on the duration and route), porters, calledpithoons can carry around 25 kg of your luggage or children less than six years of age (Rs 700 both ways) and palanquin services (Rs 5,000 both ways for a six carrier). The temple is open throughout the year for a visit, given safe weather conditions.

How to reach:

By Road:

Since a trip to Vaishno Devi is famous among travelers, there are direct buses available from most North Indian cities to either Katra or Jammu. A road trip can be planned from anywhere in the country.

By Rail: The nearest rail-head is the Katra railway station, also known as the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra railway station. It is well connected with trains from around the country.

By Air: The nearest airport is the Satwari Airport at Jammu which is 50 km from Katra by road.

2. Naina Devi Temple, Bilaspur

The Naina Devi temple is located in Bilaspur,Himachal Pradesh . It is said that, when Goddess Sati burnt herself alive in a Yagna,  her death enraged Lord Shiva and he performed the tandava, alarming all Gods. This resulted in Lord Vishnu releasing the Chakra which cut Sati’s body in 51 parts; now the 51 Shakti Peethas. It is believed that her eyes fell where the temple stands today. People from all walks of life visit the Goddess who fulfills their wishes. The temple has three idols- Goddess Maha Kali, the eyes(naina) of Sati and Lord Ganesha.

How to reach:

By Road:The town is connected to NH 21; 350 km from Delhi and 100 km from Chandigarh.

By Rail: Anandpur Sahib is the closest rail-head and is 30 km from the temple.

By Air: The nearest airport is at Chandigarh and is 100 km from Bilaspur by road.

3. Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia commons

The Kamakhya temple is situated at the Nilachal hills in Guwahati, Assam. Durga puja is celebrated with grandeur in this temple. There are 10 deities in the complex with individual temples for each of them. It is one of the oldest Shakti Peethas, according to the legend, Goddess Shakti’s genitals fell where the temple currently stands. Apart from Navratri and Durga pooja, Ambubachi Mela is one of the annual festivals when the menstruation of the goddess is observed here. The structure of Garbhgriha (one of the chambers) represents her uterus. Navratri is celebrated on  grand scale and people visit the temple in large numbers.

How to reach:

By Road: Direct buses are available from Guwahati and Dispur to Maligaon, where the temple is located.

By Rail: The closest rail head is the Kamakhya Railway Junction. It is the second largest railway station after Guwahati junction, trains are regular and frequent.

By Air: Gopinath Bordoloi Airport at Borzhar is the closest airport. It is located  14 km from the city center. Regular flights are available from Kolkata andDelhi

4. Dakshineswar Temple, Kolkata

Photograph courtesy: Dakshineshwar temple/Facebook

Situated on the eastern banks of river Hoogly, the Dakshineswar Temple in Kolkata, West Bengal is home to Goddess Bhavatarani, a form of Goddess Kali. The temple was established by Rani Rashmoni who had a vision of the goddess directing her to establish a temple in Kolkata instead of having to travel all the way to Varanasi to pray. The fact that Swami Ramkrishna Paramhans, the Guru of Swami Vivekanand, worshiped and stayed here, adds to the popularity of this temple. Durga pooja is celebrated on a very large scale and the temple decor is a sight you must not miss. Thousands of devotees come here for the extravagant festival. The event is simply breathtaking and a reason good enough for you to be here during the festival.

How to reach:

By Road:Kolkata and Howrah are the two major cities from where you can travel to Dakshineswar.

By Rail: Dakshineswar station is the closest rail-head. You can take a cycle rickshaw, bus or walk it up to the temple from here.

By Air: Kolkata airport is closest to the temple. you can opt for either road or rail to commute from the airport.

5. Karni mata Temple, Bikaner

Over 600 years old, the Karni mata Temple is located in Dehnok, 30 km from Bikaner in Rajasthan. Home to over 20,000 rats, the deity is known to protect the erstwhile royal family. The male members of the family are said to reincarnate in the form of rats. Consuming food nibbled on by these rats is considered auspicious. The Karni Mata temple is flooded by devotees during Navratri. Elaborate poojas are carried out, people chant through the night for jagraatas and hope the deity grants forgiveness for all their sins.

How to reach:

By Road: A drive from Bikaner will take somewhere around an hour. There are several local buses that will take you from Bikaner to Deshnok. hie a cab if you want to reach the temple directly.

By Rail: The Deshnok station is the closest rail head. It is well connected and trains to the town are regular.

By Air: The nearest airport is at Jodhpur (140 km). The only other convenient option is Jaipur, which is 259 km by road from Deshnok

6. Danteshwari Temple, Jagdalpur

This is yet another of the 51 Shakti Peethas. The temple gets its name from the fact that Goddess Shakti’s teeth fell at this spot in Chattishgarh, hence the name Danteshwari temple. This 14th century temple is nestled in  Bastar, a quaint town that comes together to celebrate Dussera. The ordinary village becomes a major tourist attraction during this time of the year.

How to reach:

By Road: The village is connected to Jagdalpur which is well routed to the national highway.

By Rail: There are trains connected to Jagdalpur from Raipur station which is well connected with the Indian Railway.

By Air: The closest airport is in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. You can take a train or bus to reach the destination.

7. Maha Laxmi Temple, Kolhapur

Photograph courtesy: mahalaxmikolhapur.com

The Maha Laxmi temple in Kolhapur is one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas. The goddess is not only the goddess of wealth, but also grant wishes. It is believed that Goddess Laxmi is the consort of Lord Vishnu. The temple and the town of Kolhapur have several legends associated to it. Navratri is one of the festivals celebrated here with great enthusiasm. Visiting the temple during ther nine days of Navratri is considered to be very auspicious.

How to reach:

By Road: Kolhapur is located on the NH4, which is connected to  Mumbaiand Bangalore. You can get direct buses to Kolhapur from Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Belgaum, Mangalore and Hubli.

By Rail: Kolhapur railway station (Chatrapati Shahu Maharaj) is connected to most major cities. You can take a bus, auto rickshaw or hire a cab to reach the city center.

By Air: The Kolhapur Airport is closest to the temple, about nine km from the city.

8. Ambaji Mata Temple, Junagadh

Photograph courtesy: gujarattourism.com

This temple is located in Junagadh, Gujarat. The temple is known for blessing newly weds and you’ll find several of them flocking the temple during Navratri. The temple goddess has been worshiped right since pre-vedic times. It is yet another Shakti Peetha and has great importance for the Saivists. There are no idols in the temple because it has been in existence even before idol-worship was followed. All people who enter the sanctum of the temple are blindfolded when they’re offering prayers.

How to reach:

By Road: There are buses to Ambaji from several major buses. You can alight a bus at the town bus stop and walk it up to the temple.

By Rail: Ambaji has no railway station, the closestrail heads are Mount Abu(18 km) and Maval (18 km) both in Rajasthan.

By Air: The Udaipur Airport (95 km) and the Ahmedabad Airport ( 146 km) are the closest to Junagad. A bus, cab or train ride to the temple will be more than comfortable.

9. Jwala Ji Devi temple

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

The Jwala Ji temple gets its name from the fact that the holy shrine is a set of seven or nine flames that burn constantly. It is located in Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh. Tourists and devotees visit the temple in huge numbers to pay their homage to the goddess during Navratri. It is also believed that when Sati’s body was divided into 51 Shakti Peethas, her tongue fell at the spot where the temple stands now. Some say that some of her clothes fell here while still burning, hence being represented by the Jwala.

How to reach:

By Road: Motor-able roads connect the town to Dharamshala (20 km), Chandigarh (200 km) and Delhi (475 km).

By Rail: The Jwalaji road and Pathankot rail heads are the nearest ones to the temple. You can board a local bus, hire a cab or rickshaw to reach the temple.

By Air: The Gaggal airport (Dharamshala- Gaggal Airport) is the closest to the temple. You can hire a cab from the airport to the temple.

 

 

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