Planning a spiritual vacation for your elderly parents is probably one of the best things that you can do for them. Since there is no shortage of holy places in India, you are sure to find religious places that your elderly parents would love to visit on their spiritual sojourn.
Now before you get into the list of holy places for elderly travellers, let us understand why this spiritual pilgrimage holds so much importance for the elderly.
Spirituality, Religion and pilgrimages
There are many secrets of ageing gracefully and spirituality is one of them. The concept of spirituality has evolved over the years and today it is not just restricted to any religion. However, there is no dearth of people who see spirituality and religion as a clear overlap. Though ritualistic religion and spirituality are different from each other. Spirituality is rising above religion and seeing all people as one family. To be moral, ethical, calm and meditative. To consider one’s soul as part of the Supreme Soul. So, the true meaning of spirituality varies from person to person as people may have different perspectives on it.
In general, it is seen as a medium to connect to a Supreme force that permeates everything yet has no form. It is the effulgent Light. We Indians are blessed to have Gods with different attributes to guide us and reveal the path to salvation. But spirituality is an opportunity to rediscover ourselves as better human beings. People cite spiritual experience as sacred as it gives them a deep sense of the inner, core self and helps them attain inner peace.
Ageing brings with it several psychological and biological changes and over the years, spirituality has emerged as a great medium to stay in good health. Many pieces of evidence have shown that practising spirituality is linked with better health and wellbeing. Some of the positive impacts of practising spirituality include improvement in the emotional state, self-confidence and being calmer.
To help your elderly parents devote some time to peace and divinity, you can check out the below-mentioned holy places in India.
List of Holy Places in India
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Nestled on the banks of the sacred river Ganga, the city of Kashi, also known as Varanasi or Banaras is one of the oldest living cities in the world. At least 3000 years of recorded continuance existence. It is the “original ground” created by Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, upon which they stood at the beginning of Time. It is called the city of Light and Redeemed Souls. For thousands of years, Varanasi has been associated with Knowledge, Spirituality, Mysticism, Philosophy, Culture, Arts and Crafts, Ayurveda and Yoga. It’s prominence among Hindu holy places in India is unrivalled. Hence, there is so much to explore in Varanasi. No matter how much time your parents spend here, they are sure to keep coming back for more. Such is the charm of Varanasi.
When in Varanasi, make sure they visit the divine temple of Kashi Vishwanath, the abode of Lord Shiva and one of the 12 ancient Jyotir Lingas in India, as well as the temple of Devi Annapurna, one of the avtars of Goddess Parvati. Participate in the grand Ganga aarti in the evening to behold the gorgeous view and explore multiple ghats of significance. Varanasi is one of the few holy places that are pretty affordable in terms of accommodation and offers a wide variety to suit all pockets. So, depending on your budget, you can easily find a suitable place for a comfortable stay for your parents.
Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai
Beautifully situated on an islet in Southern Mumbai, the Haji Ali Dargah is one of the popular religious places to visit in India. Dedicated to the Muslim Saint Pir Hazrat Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, the shrine is not just restricted to Muslim devotees. He was a Sufi Saint. The place throughout the year receives thousands of pilgrims, regardless of their religions to offer chaddar and sincere prayers. On the occasions of the death anniversary of the saint and Eid-E-Milad-un-Nabi, Islamic rituals are performed here. Hazrat Haji Ali had renounced all earthly possessions and went to Mecca. Owing to his selfless acts towards people, he is a highly revered personality, who is believed to grant boons.
If you plan to visit Haji Ali Dargah, you will not have to worry much about the accommodation and food. Being located off the coast of the mega city of Mumbai, you are sure to find a good hotel for elderly parents here.
The Golden Temple, Punjab
Harmandir Sahib or The Golden Temple in the city of Amritsar in Punjab is a prominent name on the list of holy places. Being India’s most significant shrine of Sikhism, this place is thronged by people from different ethnicities and religions from across the country and abroad.
The Gurudwara is among the holiest places and is famous for its humanitarian work as the Langar here feeds over fifty-thousand people on a daily basis. People who visit here volunteer for different works to help and serve people like them. As per the Sikh tradition, several rites are performed at the Golden Temple which broadly includes a closing rite called Sukhasan and an opening rite called Prakash. The daily Gurbani here is soul-stirring. Amritsar, for its dimensions, is a well-connected city and you can easily find comfortable accommodation with proper facilities in the vicinity of the temple.
Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Basilica of Bom Jesus is located in Old Goa, also known as the former capital of the Portuguese dominion. Being one of the top 5 holy places for Christians in India, the church is well-known for the mummified remains of St. Francis Xavier.
The place is calm and serene, providing a perfect ambience for devoting time to spirituality. Speaking of its architecture, it depicts pure Baroque style architecture. Being one of India’s oldest churches, it is equally breath-taking from the inside as well as from the outside.
Dilwara Temples, Rajasthan
Dilwara Temples in Mount Abu Rajasthan, are prominent Jain Temples that are actually a group of five shrines – Shri Mahaveer Swami, Pittalhar, Shri Parshvanatha, Vimal Vasahi, and Luna Vasahi. Being a holy pilgrimage place in India for Jains, Dilwara Temples reflect the core values and principles of the religion that include honesty, frugality, non-violence, non-absolutism, and non-possessiveness. Fenced with lush green Aravalli Hills, there is no better place than Dilwara Temples for your elderly parents to dedicate time to spirituality.
There are many hotels in Mount Abu dedicated to offering a comfortable and pleasant stay to senior citizens. So, you will face no difficulty in finding a place for your elderly parents.
So, these are the top 5 holy places in India for elderly travellers connected to various religions of India, but revered and visited by all. Now, let us take a look at some tips for elderly travellers.
Some Important Tips for Elderly Travellers
• Visit your doctor to discuss your trip, before undertaking the journey. Your doctor is the only person who, after assessing the health of the elderly, can give a go-ahead for the trip and also prescribe important and add-on medications based on the climatic conditions of the place, if need be.
• Never miss your medications.
• Learn about the climatic conditions of the place well in advance and pack clothes accordingly. While the focus should be to pack all the essential items, do not forget to pay heed to the weight of the luggage as well.
• Maintain a low profile, especially if travelling alone. Avoid carrying very expensive accessories like a camera, watch, and jewellery to be on the safer side.
• Learn about the menu of the hotel before booking your stay there. Convey your preferences clearly.
Happy and safe journey!