Seeing Spiritual India

A Guide to Temples, Holy Sites, Festivals and Traditions

By Stephen Knapp

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            This is written especially for anyone who wants to have a deeper understanding of the spiritual traditions of India and learn what is the importance and history of the many holy sites that you can visit while traveling within this country. It is written for both those who are new to India and those who are experienced.

            India has one of the most ancient cultures on the planet that is still a living and dynamic tradition. Many of the customs and rituals that we can see today have existed for thousands of years. This is what makes this country so interesting and draws so many people to it. It is the culture of yoga, meditation, gurus, spiritual philosophy, ancient festivals, holy men and women, sacred mountains and rivers, and the potential for becoming more aware of who we are and the purpose of life. This is what continues to attract people from all walks of life, and try to look beyond the veil of its mysteries.  

            This book will certainly help you find your way around India’s mysterious traditions, and the historical and spiritual significance of the major holy places, temples, and festivals that this region has to offer.

        *    This book divides the country into East, Central, South, North, West, the Far Northeast, and Nepal, and describes the best itineraries to take to see the most of each area.

        *    It provides descriptions of the temples and the architecture, and what you will see at each place.

        *    This book provides the significance and traditions connected with each site, the historical legends, and the spiritual benefits a person acquires by visiting each location.

        *    It helps you decide which places are the most interesting for you, where you want to go, and problems to avoid.

        *    It describes the holy places of Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, and Muslims.

        *    Packing lists suggestions and how to prepare for your trip.

        *    How to return from India with the greatest of spiritual wealth.

        *    How to get the best experience you can from your visit to India.

        *    Where you can go to most effectively perceive your own spiritual identity.

        *    How the spiritual side of India can open you to your own divine nature.

 

This book goes beyond the usual descriptions of the typical tourist attractions and opens up the spiritual venue waiting to be revealed for a far deeper experience on every level.

 

        "Thanks to the many travels throughout India, as well as his knowledge of the culture and history, the author provides an astonishing amount of details about the subject matter of the book. Readers will delight at finding such a credible tour guide! The majority of information comes from firsthand knowledge. Adding to his credibility, the author cites sources such as Sri Upadesamrita, and better yet, even cites primary source material such as a letter written by Prince Aurangzeb in 1652 to his ruling father, Emperor Shah Jahan.

        "With so much information being presented, it would be easy for the text to become dry and hard to read. But because of personal touches and comments from the author throughout, the reader will be able to more easily visualize the journey and relate to the author.

        "Seeing Spiritual India is impressive both for the large amount of information it presents, and for the ease in which it is presented. Should a reader want to plan a trip to India to see spiritual sites, this book is truly all he or she would need!" Editorial Review from iUniverse.com, and why the book achieved and Editor's Choice award.

 

 

 

 

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Contents

 

INTRODUCTION

        Purpose and Benefits of Pilgrimage * Taking the Trains * Be Cautious * Avoiding Scams * Being Prepared * Dealing With Ricksha & Taxi Drivers * Currency Exchange * Food Precautions * Heat Stroke or Heat Exhaustion * Expect Personal Changes in Yourself * What If the Temples Do Not Let Us In?

 

SEEING SPIRITUAL INDIA (PART 1):

THE MAJOR HOLY PLACES IN EAST AND CENTRAL INDIA AND NEPAL

        New Delhi * Mathura * Gokula * Vrindavana * Greater Vrajamandala * Agra * Fatehpur Sikri * Gwalior * Jhansi to Archha * Khajurao * Chitrakut * Allahabad * The Tradition of the Kumbha Mela * Varanasi * Sarnath * Ayodhya * Naimisaranya * Gorakhpur/Kushinagar * Going to Nepal at Saunali for Lumbini * Going to Nepal Through Raxaul to Birganj * Lumbini * Pokhara * Muktinath * Going to Kathmandu * Kathmandu * Janakpur * Where to Go Next? * Patna * Vaishali * Nalanda * Rajgir * Pawapuri * Gaya * Bodhgaya * Barabar Hill * Deoghar * Vishnupur * Kolkata * Mayapur * Ekachakra * Ramakeli * Ganga Sagar * Remuna * Jagannatha Puri * Bhubaneswar * Sri Kakulam to Kurmaksetra * Visakhapatnam * Nagpur & Rama Giri * Vijayawada * Mangalagiri * Agiripalli * Hyderabad & Yadagirigutta * Basara * Warangal * Palampet * Vemulawada * Srisailam * Alampur * Nandyal * Ahovalam * Nellore * Going to Tirupati

 

SEEING SPIRITUAL INDIA (PART 2):

THE HISTORICAL HOLY SITES AND TEMPLES OF SOUTH INDIA

        Tirupati * Tirumalla * Other Temples Around Tirupati * Kalahasthi * Chennai * Temples in the Chennai Area * Tiruneermalai * Mangadu * Tiruninravar * Tiruvallur * Tiruthani * Sholingar * Thiruvidaventhal * Mamallapuram * Tirukkalikundram * Kanchipuram * Tiruvannamalai * The Story of the Shiva Lingam * Thirukkovilur * Auroville * Tiruvandhipuram * Chidambaram * Sirkazhi * Vaidesvarankoil * Mayuram * Kumbakonam * Gangakondacholapuram * Dharasuram * Swamimilai * Thiruvalamjuli * Suryanarcoil * Tribhuvanam * Other Temples Around Kumbhakonam * Nachiyarcoil * Tirucherai * Thiruvarur * Nagappattinam * Thirukannapuram * Mannargudi * Vedaranyam * Tanjore * Tiruchirappali * Thadicombu * Palni * Madurai * Alagarcoil * Thirupparankundram * Tirumohur * Srivilliputtur * Tiruthangal * Ramesvaram * Tiruchendur * The Pilgrimage to Six Murugan Temples * Sri Vaikuntham * Tirunalveli * Krishnapuram * Kanyakumari * Suchindram * Thiruattur * Trivandrum * Varkala * Kollam to Amritapuri * Haripad * Changannur * Aranmula * Sabarimala * Alappuzha * Ettumanoor * Vaikom * Kaladi * Cranganore * Guruvayoor * Trichur * Karamadai * Udupi * Sringeri * Kollur * Gokarna * Mysore * Srirangapatnam * Sravanabelogola * Belur, Halebid and Somnathpur * Melkote * Subramanya * Brindaban Gardens * Bangalore * Denkanikota * Ending Our Tour Back at Bangalore

 

SEEING SPIRITUAL INDIA (PART 3):

THE MAJOR HOLY PLACES OF WESTERN INDIA

        Starting in New Delhi * Karauli * Jaipur * Ajmer & Pushkar * Osian * Chittorgarh * Udaipur * Nathdwara * Kankroli * Charbujaji * Ekalingji * Nagda * Ranakpur * Rikhabdeo * Mount Abu * Ahmedabad * Akshardam * Modhera * Patan * Dakor * Dwaraka * Beyt Dwaraka * Porbander * Veraval & Somnath * Junagadh & Girnar Hill * Bhavnagar & Palitana * Lothal * Baroda & More * Ujjain * From Bhopal to Sanchi and Vidisha * Sanchi * Vidisha * Bhimbekta * Indore and Mandu * Omkeshvara * Aurangabad to Ajanta & Ellora Caves * Ajanta * Ellora * Verul * Nasik * Pandu Lena * Tryambakeshvara * Parali * Mumbai * Karla & Bhaja Caves * Pune * The Ashtavinayaka Pilgrimage * Bhimashankar * Shivpur * Mahabaleshwar * Pandharpur * Kolhapur * Bijapur * Badami * Pattadakal * Aihole * Lakkandi * Dambal * Hospet & Hampi & Anegundi * Harihara * Tadpatri * Puttaparthi * Lepakshi * Tumkur, Shivaganga * Bangalore

 

SEEING SPIRITUAL INDIA (PART 4):

THE MAJOR HISTORICAL AND HOLY PLACES OF NORTHERN INDIA

        Shukratal * Haridwar * Rishikesh * Dehra Dun * Mussoorie * Going to See the Char Dham Temples * Yamunotri * Going to Gangotri * Dodital * Uttarkashi * Gangotri * Gaumukh * On the Way to Kedarnath * Srinagar * Rudra Prayag * Okhimath * Guptakashi * Triyugi Narayana * Kedarnath * Visiting the Panch (Five) Kedar Temples * Important Towns on the Way to Badrinath * Karna Prayag * Ranikhet * Nanda Prayag * Joshimath * Vishnuprayag * Govind Ghat * Hemakund * Pandukeswara * Hanuman Chatti * Badrinath * Mana * The Five Badri Temples * Deva Prayag * Nahan * Renuka Lake * Chandigarh and Going North * Shimla * Narkhanda * Rampur * Sarahan * Bilaspur * Mandi * Kullu * Bilji * Bhekhli * Places Along the Way North to Manali * Katrain * Naggar * Bhrigu Kund * Jagatsukh * Arjuna Gupha * Vashisth * Manali * Places Around Manali * From Manali to Leh* Rohtang La * Khoksar * Keylong * Sarchu * Back From Manali to Mandi or Chandigarh * Amritsar * Going to Dharamsala * Chintpurni * Jawalamukhi Temple * Kangra * Masrur * Baijnath * Dharamsala & McLeod Ganj * Chamba * Bhramaur * Jammu * Vaishno Devi * Going to Kashmir * Towns Along the Way to Srinagar * Udhampur * Ramnagar * Sudh Mahadeva * Kud, Patnitop, and Batote * Kishtwar * Verinag * Anantnag * Martand * Avantipur * Parshaspur * Pandrethan * Going to Amarnath * Pahalgam * Sheshnag * Amarnath * The Pilgrimage to Amarnath * Srinagar * Additional Sites Around Srinigar * Khir Bhawani Temple * Burzahom * Pattan * Yusmarg * Gulmarg * The Grave of Jesus * Solomon in Kashmir * Moses in Kashmir * Going to Ladakh From Srinigar * The Dachigan Wildlife Reserve * Sonamarg * Baltal * Zoji La * Drass * Kargil * Zanskar * Sani * Karsha * Stongde * Dzongkhul * Ladakh and the Gompas West of Leh * Shergol * Mulbekh * Lamayurur * Rizong * Saspol * Alchi * Likir * Basgo * Nimmu * Phiyang * Spituk *Leh * Towns and Monasteries South of Leh * Choglamsar * Shey * The Tikse Gompa * Chemre * Thak-Thak * Stakna * The Hemis Gompa * Matho * Stok Palace * Leaving Leh Going Back to Manali * Kuruksetra * Back to Delhi

 

SEEING SPIRITUAL INDIA (PART 5):

THE MAJOR HOLY SITES AND TEMPLES OF FAR NORTHEAST INDIA

        Entering the Northeast Region * Darjeeling * Kalimpong * Permits * Gangtok * Rumtek * Pemayangtse * Phodang & Labrang Monasteries * Tashiding Monastery * Assam * Arunachal Pradesh * Meghalaya * Tripura * Nagaland * Manipur

 

CONCLUSION

 

APPENDIX ONE:

PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIP TO INDIA: A SHORT GUIDE

                Get a Passport and Visa * Immunizations * Packing List

 

APPENDIX TWO:

SUGGESTED ROUTES FOR SHORT PILGRIMAGES

 

APPENDIX THREE:

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHS

 

TRAVEL BOOKS THAT WERE HELPFUL

 

GLOSSARY

 

INDEX

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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ORDERING INFORMATION

 

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