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In religion and spirituality, a pilgrimage is a very long journey or search of great moral significance. Sometimes, it is a journey to a sacred area or shrine of importance to innate faith. Members of every major religion participate in pilgrimages. A person who makes such a journey is called a pilgrim.
Unlike some other religions, Hindus are not required to undertake pilgrimages during their lifetime. However, most Hindus go on such journeys to numerous iconic sites including those below:
Main article: Hindu pilgrimage sites in India
Char Dham (Famous Four Pilgrimage sites): The four holy sites Puri, Rameswaram, Dwarka, and Badrinath (or alternatively the Himalayan towns of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri) compose the Chota Char Dham (four small abodes) pilgrimage circuit.
Kumbh Mela: The Kumbh Mela (the "pitcher festival") is one of the holiest of Hindu pilgrimages that is held every three years; the location is rotated among Prayagraj, Haridwar, Nashik, and Ujjain.
Old Holy cities as per Puranic Texts: Varanasi formerly known as Kashi, Prayagraj also known as Prayag, Haridwar-Rishikesh, Mathura-Vrindavan, Kurukshetra, the Land of Bhagavad Gita in Haryana and Ayodhya.
Old Temple cities: Puri, which hosts a major Vaishnava Jagannath temple and Rath Yatra celebration; Katra, home to the Vaishno Devi temple; Tirumala - Tirupati, home to the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple; Madurai Meenakshi and Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Sri Rangam; Dwarkadhish Temple - Dwarka, home to Dwarkadhish form of Sri Krishna; Radharani Temple - Barsana, dedicated to Sri Radha, Sabarimala, where Swami Ayyappan is worshipped; Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala;Guruvayur temple at Guruvayur. The oldest of these temple pilgrimage is the Pandharpur Wari which is said to be in tradition from the past 800 years.
New Pilgrimage Centres: Three comparatively recent temples of fame and huge pilgrimage are Belur Math, the hub of the worldwide Ramakrishna Movement in West Bengal, Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata; Vivekananda Rock Memorial at Kanyakumari; Sri Ramana Ashram at Tiruvannamalai; and ISKCON temples in Ujjain, Bangalore, Patna, Tirumala, Vishakapatnam, Delhi, Chennai, and Mumbai. Ramakrishna Mission Swami Vivekananda's Ancestral House and Cultural Centre, the birthplace of Swami Vivekananda is also another popular destination.
Shakti Pitha: An important set of pilgrimages are the Shakti Pitha, where the Mother Goddess is worshipped, the two principal ones being Kalighat and Kamakhya. The original Shakti Pitha are
Jyotirlingas: Other set of important pilgrimages are the Jyotirlingas, where lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of Shiva Lingas. There are twelve Jyotirlingas in India. The twelve Jyotirlingas are:
Main article: List of Hindu temples in Pakistan