Customs and Rituals

Do Hindus consider pilgrimage important?

In a land with countless sacred places associated with numerous divine names and forms, pilgrimage (yatra, “going out”) remains an essential expression of religious devotion for all who can afford it. For those whose modest means prevent them from traveling distances, a pilgrimage to closer sites is always a possibility. In ancient times Hindu pilgrimages may have been related to the increasing popularity of sites associated with sacred events in the life of the Buddha. Among the most important goals of pilgrimage are the sources and confluences of major rivers. With its many important temples of Shiva and Kali, as well as the bathing and cremation ghats that line its Ganges banks, Banaras tops the list of pilgrimage cities. A thirty-six-mile circuit around the city still attracts many travelers in search of blessing and forgiveness. Other important sites include those associated with events in the life of Krishna.


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