Kolkata’s Durga Puja is India’s official nomination for the 2020 edition of the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Durga Puja is not only a religious festival, it is the most significant socio-cultural event in Bengal. Though predominantly originated in the Hindu ritual and legends, the Durga Puja celebration cross cuts the communal divide in many of its attributes. It is an epitome of harmony across caste, class, creed and religion.
The Kumbh Mela — the largest congregation in the world — sees world gathering of saints, pilgrims, devotees to take holy dips in the sacred confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the mystical Saraswati. Bathing in these rivers is thought to cleanse and purify ones’ soul of all sins. Recognized by UNESCO as India’s ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’, Kumbh Mela never ceases to amaze and its amazement is always felt in the grandeur of it being the largest religious-cultural festival in the world.
Shri Mangesh Temple is the most visited temple in Goa. This temple is visited by a large number of locals, domestic as well as foreign tourist every year. The main temple is dedicated to Bhagavan Mangesh, an incarnation of Shiva. Bhagavan Mangesh is worshipped here as Shiva linga. The temple has both historical as well as religious importance.
The Ajanta Caves are 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 CE in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra state of India. The first Buddhist cave monuments at Ajanta date from the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE. During the Gupta period (5th and 6th centuries CE), many more richly decorated caves were added to the original group. The paintings and sculptures of Ajanta, considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, have had a considerable artistic influence. The caves were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.
An ancient solahbhuji (sixteen-armed) Durga temple at village Deori, near Tamar, around 60 km from Ranchi, on the Jamshedpur-Ranchi Highway (NH-33). The original temple is made up of big stone placed one over another without using any cementing material in between, like many ancient constructions. According to some local beliefs, this Solah Bhuja Devi Prachin Durga Mandir is in existence since the Mahabharata times.
Mahakaleshwar temple at Ujjain is an important pilgrimage place for Hindus as it’s said to be one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. It’s also regarded as one of the top 10 Tantra temples of India, and has the only Bhasm-Aarti (ash ritual) of its kind in the world.
An ancient city situated on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River, Ujjain was the most prominent city on the Malwa plateau of central India for much of its history. It emerged as the political centre of central India around 600 BCE. It was the capital of the ancient Avanti kingdom, one of the sixteen mahajanapadas. It is an important place of pilgrimage for Shaivites, Vaishnavites and followers of Shakta. It is a known Hindu pilgrimage centre with the Kumbh Mela held here every 12 years.
It can only be termed as a blessing, by Lords and mother nature, that Omkareshwar, the sacred island called Mandhata or Shivapuri in the Narmada river, is shaped like ॐ (Om) – the holiest symbol of Hinduism. Not surprising then that this serene town is also one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines in India. Pilgrims in unimaginable numbers visit the shrine every year, seeking the blessings of Lord Shiva.