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Temples of Maharashtra
In India and world over, people are embracing religious tourism. We focus on six of the most-visited holy places in Maharashtra.
The land of temples and shrines, Maharashtra has long attracted travel enthusiasts who look for peace and solitude. It'll let you set out on a religious pursuit during which you can embrace your spiritual side. These shrines and temples across Maharashtra are visited by people of all faiths; liberals and conservatives are also welcome to journey together and international tourists who visit Maharashtra are often stunned by its majestic temples and shrines. Religious tourism is not a new idea—something thought up recently—it has its roots spread far and wide into our culture and history.
1) Jyotirling: Five of the most important jyotirlingas in Maharashtra are Aundha Nagnath, Bhimashankar, Ghrishneshwar, Parali Vajinath and Trambakeshwar. Bhimashankar, a popular pilgrim place, is named after the Bhima river. It plays host to over 25,000 pilgrims during the annual Maha Shivratri fair.
2) Nanded - The holy city: A visit to the holy city of Nanded lets you explore its history. It is one of the few historical places in the Marathwada region and is famous for its Sikh gurudwaras. In 1708, Guru Govind Singh, the tenth spiritual leader of the Sikhs, came to Nanded, and a monument has been constructed at the place where he died.
3) Shani Shingnapur: Shani Shingnapur bills itself as the place where miracles take place! Over the last few years, it has emerged as a popular religious destination and has also found a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records. People world-over are enamoured by its greatness and grandeur. On route to Shani Shingnapur, you can visit the shrine of Sai Baba at Shirdi, which is situated 122km from Nashik. It is the abode of revered saint, Sai Baba of Shirdi, who preached tolerance towards all religions and spread the message of brotherhood. Be there on a Thursday when there are special pujas and a darshan of the Sai Baba statue.
4) Ramtek: Soak up the fascinating history of Ramtek on your visit to the Lord Ram temple situated here. Legend has it that Lord Ram rested at Ramtek while he was in exile. The present temple is believed to have been built by the King of Nagpur, Raghuji Bhonsale, after his victory over the fort of Deogarh in Chindwara.
5) Ashtavinayak: No need to set out on this yatra post retirement. Explore eight fascinating Ganesha temples including Mayureshwar, Siddhivinayak, Ballaleshwar and Varadvinayak among others. Follow devotees as they begin their yatra at Morgaon near Pune and discover the eight (astha) naturally-formed stone statues that have been housed in old temples built where these were first found. Two temples located at Pune are Mayureshwar Mandir, which is situated 65km from Pune on the banks of Karha River and Siddhivinayak Temple in the village of Siddhatek, 100km from Pune. Chintamani Temple is the most famous of the eight revered shrines and Girijatmaj Temple is situated within the Buddhist caves on a mountain and devotees have to climb 307 steps to reach the temple. Vighnahar Temple is situated on the banks of Kukadi river and is enclosed on all sides by high stone-walls, while the famous Mahaganpati Temple bears the most powerful representation of Lord Ganesha.
6) Shiva Temple at Trambakeshawar: Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this ancient Hindu temple is situated 28km away from Nashik, in the town of Trimbak. The current temple was built by Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao.
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