From brief epiphanies to deep mystical changes, blogger Siddhartha Joshi explores the spiritual offerings in India and finds an exhilarating sacred culture with something for everybody.Read more below
Blogger Siddhartha Joshi explores the spiritual offerings in India
From brief epiphanies to deep mystical changes, blogger Siddhartha Joshi explores the spiritual offerings in India and finds an exhilarating sacred culture with something for everybody.
“India is the perfect place to face your fears and go on a spiritual journey. From meditating in Amritsar to attending mass in Goa - there’s an energy throughout India that is like no other.”Browse the Instagram gallery
There’s so much spirituality to explore in Delhi. A festival of flowers, known as Phool Walon Ki Sair (which translates to “procession of the florists”) is a yearly celebration of all the flower sellers in Delhi and takes place over three days. It happens in September, after the rainy season has finished and is celebrated by everyone in Delhi across all religions.
In Delhi, a spiritual place that means a lot to me personally is Jama Masjid. I’ve been going there since I was a child, and each visit since has made the place even more special for me. I go there not just to observe and photograph but also to feel at peace. It’s best to start early in the morning and arrive before sunrise. I love sitting there and watching the sun rise, and then going down the steps for a cup of sizzling hot chai.
Varanasi is a city that I visit every time I need to rejuvenate! There’s something really special in the air there. From the moment you arrive, your mind switches off from the daily mundane practicalities of life and the energy of the place takes over. There’s no need to do anything to activate this energy as the surroundings simply embrace you and make you a part of its long and spiritual journey from eternity.
Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously living cities of the world, and it has survived and grown stronger with each challenge. Located on the banks of the holy river Ganges, it’s believed that one dip in the river cleanses you of all your sins. However, the cleansing is primarily spiritual. Spend time in the city doing yoga, meet the mystics, explore the narrow lanes and maybe by the end of it you might discover something new about yourself too.
It was a cold winter morning when my mother and I decided to travel to Punjab and visit the Golden Temple - one of my mother’s cherished travel destinations. While my dad stayed back in Delhi, we took a train on a foggy day to Amritsar. Over the next three days, we fell in love with the city and it’s spiritual vibes. We do not follow Sikhism, but just being in such a spiritual city, really made us sit back, relax and meditate every morning.
Amritsar is home of India’s most sacred and well-known temple - the Golden Temple. It’s name a reference to its gilded domes, but it’s history is far more humble. Today the temple is an important cultural and spiritual place for Sikhs, Hindus as well as Muslims - it’s place where everyone comes together to bow down with respect. The temple is a great example of India’s diversity as well as how faith and spirituality bring people together.
My first trip to Ladakh was more than a decade ago and it involved a two-day bus trip from Srinagar to the capital city of Leh. Although I made new friends during the journey and we explored Ladakh together, my spiritual explorations were solo. I vividly remember waking up before dawn and hiking up a hill to reach a monastery for the first prayer of the day. It was just the priest and me and though we barely spoke to each other, I was completely immersed in the space. Later he gave me a brief introduction to Buddhism and left me to my own accord inside the monastery - I still get goosebumps to this day when I think about that experience.
The landscape of Ladakh is barren and I think that somehow makes you introspect and explore within. An experience I’ve had every time I visit the region. Monasteries are everywhere, and they are all unique, though my favourite monastery is Lamayuru. A great way to explore spirituality in Ladakh is to visit the region during a festival, like Naropa festival, when spiritual gurus from all over come together and meditate.
Though Goa is more often known for its beaches and nightlife, there’s a side to the state that is lesser known - spirituality. It’s one of the few states where the majority of people practice Christianity, and that makes the state quite unique. Christianity came to Goa with the arrival of the Portuguese, and with it, a new culture and way of life adapted to the local traditions.
Spending Christmas in Goa is a beautiful experience. I did a three-day road trip to reach Goa in time for the festivities and saw a Goa that I never knew existed. We attended mass on Christmas Eve, joined in for the festivities thereafter followed by a small celebration with some of the locals in their family home. There are many beautiful churches and basilicas in Goa, but the most spiritual experience happens when you actually spend time with the local Goans and become a part of their life, even if for a day.
Looking for even more inspiration? Browse through photos and tips submitted by Instagram users to help you plan a journey around India like no other.Scroll to view images
Click on the other articles below to explore more tips from Sid.