Spiritual Experiences in India
Discover the sounds, smells and sensual atmosphere of India's incredible spiritual experiences
Add These Spiritual Experiences in India To Your Bucketlist
In the sky there is peace. All around you are the sounds, smells, subtle hints and spiritual tones. Up in the sky there is a blankness, an escape from the sometimes overbearing spirituality of these experiences in India.
For these experiences are intense. They are an insight into another world, a chance to float somewhere else and find a very different take on life. Here are a selection of remarkable spiritual experiences in India, ideas to add to your travel bucketlist.
Death and Rebirth Varanasi Night Walk
Prepare yourself for a confronting and enlightening experience at the Manikarnika or Burning Ghats of Varanasi. Hindu pilgrims come to this ancient city to cremate their loved ones or to simply die there themselves, in the hope to be liberated from the cycle of life and death. On this night walk, you will visit a temple amongst the Burning Ghats to understand how the Goddess Kali is able to liberate people’s souls by killing the ego. It’s a moving experience that combines the physical, emotional, philosophical and supernatural elements of Varanasi all in one.
Ganges Temple Ceremony in Varanasi
Varanasi is a place like no other. For many, this ancient city is the very quintessence of India itself. It evokes many images of India first-time visitors preconceive in their minds. On this private experience you’ll observe the pilgrims as they come down to the banks of the mighty Ganges River to wash away their sins. Listen as religious chants are belted into the smoke-filled air and priests lift lamps as an offering to Mother Ganga.You can join the pilgrims at the water’s edge and let an offering float down the river, joining hundreds of others in a mission to find peace amongst this frenzied place.
Participate in the Sunrise Prayers at the Thiksey Monastery in Leh
Just before first light, you’ll climb through the whitewashed buildings of the Thiksey Monastery that cascade down a hilltop in Ladakh. As you get closer to the main prayer hall, you’ll hear the echoes of the prayers being chanted by the monks in the early hour. Sunrise prayers are one of the most important times in the Buddhist monastery’s daily schedule and observing the scene is a worthwhile moment in time. As the sun rises above the horizon, you’ll also get to enjoy the stunning vista, of the valley stretching around the monastery to the snow-capped mountains beyond.
Private Aarti Ceremony in Varanasi
Each evening you can witness the pulsating spirituality of Varanasi’s ghats. This is the holy city at its most vibrant and enchanting best. The nightly aarti ceremonies take place close to Dashashwamedh Ghat. Crowds gather around the steps to enjoy a show of bells, chanting and swinging lamps led by priests. It’s one of the most energetic acts of devotion you can witness in India.In this special Varanasi moment, you’ll have a private aarti ceremony with a priest, as he recites Sanskrit chants and invokes positive blessings for your future. You will be sprinkled with holy water and a dot to the forehead, in this intensely spiritual experience.
Site of Buddha's First Sermon Buddhist Experience
Follow the steady stream of pilgrims into Sarnath, the site where Gautama Buddha delivered his first sermon and attained nirvana or enlightenment. Observe the crowd of worshippers and travellers throughout the ruins of the original monasteries and stupas. To discover more about this holy place, you’ll head into the Archaeological Museum where many relics are found, including the Ashoka Pillar, whose four lions were adopted as India’s national emblem.
Visit Mcleod Ganj in Home of the Dalai Lama
It’s difficult to describe the feeling of being in the home of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan community. It’s impossible to ignore the sense of being at peace in such a special place. You’ll visit the main Tsuglakhang temple, where the Dalai Lama is resident, before exploring more of the town known as little Tibet. You can stop to appreciate the workshops preserving Tibetan literature and artwork as well as eat a traditional Tibetan meal of momos and thenthuk soup. If the Dalai Lama is scheduled to speak, you’ll be able to attend his special teachings with your local guide.
Walk from Bir to Sherab Ling Monastery in Dharamsala
From the small hilltop village of Bir you will follow a trail to an important Buddhist monastery hidden amongst the pine trees.Entering the inner courtyard you may hear the reverberation of young novice monks chanting their recitations. Inside the main prayer hall, you’ll come face to face with a two-storey golden Maitreya Buddha, the interior’s most alluring feature.The Sherab Ling monastery is the seat of the exiled Tai Situpa, one of the highest-ranking Black Hat Lamas of Tibetan Buddhism. And one of the monks will show you around.