Standing on the western bank of India's holiest river Ganges, Varanasi is the oldest surviving city of the world and the cultural capital of India. It is in the heart of this city that there stands in its fullest majesty the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in which is enshrined the Jyotirlinga of Shiva, Vishweshwara or Vishwanatha. Here gravitate the teeming millions of India to seek benediction and spiritual peace by the darshan of this Jyotirlinga which confers liberation from the bondages of maya and the inexorable entanglements of the world. A simple glimpse of the Jyotirlinga is a soul-cleansing experience that transforms life and puts it on the path of knowledge and bhakti. Vishweshwara Jyotirlinga has a very special and unique significance in the spiritual history of India. Tradition has it that the merits earned by the darshan of other jyotirlinga scattered in various parts of India accrue to devotee by a single visit to Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Deeply and intimately implanted in the Hindu mind, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been a living embodinent of our timeless cultural traditions and highest spiritual values. The Temple has been visited by all great saints- Adi Shankaracharya, Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekanand, Goswami Tulsidas, Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, Gurunanak and several other spiritual personalities. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple attracts visitors not only from India but abroad as well and thereby symbolises man's desire to live in peace snd harmony with one another. Vishwanath being a supreme repository of this spiritual truth thus strengthens the bonds of universal brotherhood and fellow feeling at the national as well as global levels.
Dwarkadhish Temple is not only an important temple of Mathura but also of India. Built in 1814, Dwarkadhish Temple is situated in the heart of the city of Mathura. Dwarkadhish Temple is currently managed by the followers of the Vallabhacharya and is the most visited temple in Mathura. Located in the eastern part of Mathura, not far from the Yamuna River, the temple is architecturally very interesting.
One Seth Gokul Das Parikh who was the treasurer of the estate of Gwalior built Dwarkadhish temple that is dedicated to Lord Krishna. He is supposed to be a staunch devotee of Lord Krishna. An excellent work of art, the interiors of the temple include images of the Lord Krishna, his beloved Radha and other Hindu deities. The architecture of the temple has elements of local art and aesthetics. The temple carving and paintings are major attractions. The temple is a hub of activity during the festive days of Holi, Janmashtmi and Dipawali.
Prayag or Allahabad, is one of the holiest cities of India and an important city famous for its culture and contemporary heritage. It is situated at about 240 km from Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh. It has been called Prayag, in the sacred Vedic literatures. The city is especially sacred for the Hindus, as it is here that the Ganga, Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati meet, the confluence being known as the Sangam. Legends have it, that at the time of the ensuing tussle between the gods and demons to take possession of the pot full of amrit, the elixir of life that emerged from the churning of the ocean splashed out of the pitcher and fell on four places on the earth. These places were Hardwar, Prayag (Allahabad), Ujjain and Nasik. It is on the banks of the holy Sangam, at Allahabad that the world's largest gathering of humanity comes together to take bath to get purified from sins.
The Prayag (Allahabad) Kumbh Mela is the largest and holiest of all melas and is believed to be the most auspicious. On important bathing dates, lakhs of pilgrims take bath on the banks of the holy Sangam. The Purna (complete) Kumbh or Maha Kumbh, the biggest and the most auspicious fair, which falls once every 12 years, is always held in Allahabad. Ardha Kumbh Mela is held every 6th year and the Magh Mela is the annual version of the Kumbh. The main bathing days are known as 'Shahi Snans' or 'Royal Bathing Days'.
The main bathing days for the Kumbh Mela are: Makar Sankranti, Paush Purnima, Mauni Amavasya, Basant Panchmi, Maghi Poornima and Maha Shivratri.
The name of this place has been christened after the virgin goddess – Kanyakumari Amman. Mythological stories depict that Goddess parvati under the disguise of Devi Kanniya did a penance in one of the rocks in this area to reach the hand of Lord Shiva. This place is also a popular pilgrimage. The tourists who visit this southern most tip of India would certainly enjoy the exuberant scenes of the sunsets, the sunrises especially on full moon days. The nature of the sand in the beaches of Kanyakumari is unique as it is multicolored.
Lakhs of tourist, round the year are lured by the serene beauty of this place and the spectacles of sunrise and sunset. Though sunrise can be viewed throughout the year, sunset is visible only from October 15 to March 15 from this southernmost tip. But one can view both sunrise and sunset throughout the year from atop a hill called Murugan Kundram which offers a panoramic view of Kanyakumari. The sunset and moonrise can be seen almost simultaneously on full moon days from the same spot. It is a unique spectacle.