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Book Review - 101 Best Pilgrimage Centers In India

Sarojini Nayak

Sarojini Nayak

In the age of instant nirvana, making a pilgrimage is
no longer an ardous journey of the past, undertaken by
the devout where more than anything else, it was the
unfailing faith that pushed the pilgrims to the
destination. Today, with a little bit of planning and
the benefits of modern technology one can have a
fairly easy ‘darshan’ at most shrines. The “101
pilgrimages” comes as a blessing to die-hard pilgrims
and like the convenience of a one-stop-shop, this book
provides answers to numerous queries that are likely
to crop up for someone planning a spiritual tour.

Much more than a mere travel guide, the write-ups
throws light on interesting facets of history,
religion, mythology, legends, architectural marvels
and the cultural ethos of each region in the country.
The book attempts not only to provide detailed
information on all popular yatras, (two routes of the
Kailash Mansoravar yatra)  holy shrines, jyotirlingas,
khestras and birth places of rivers, dwelling places
of saints, but also make journeys to lesser known
places with religious significances.  Although at the
outset, the reader is made aware that “101 pilgrimages
is a travel guide that seeks to cover the chief sites
of pilgrimages for Hindus in India,” important shrines
of other religions in the country are also covered,
thus making it a multi-faith travel guide.  Again,
readers may have a feeling that regional balance is
lacking, as religious places in certain regions are
covered more extensively than the others, but the
editors apologize that it is not a deliberate

Using a reader friendly and information driven format,
the book gives all necessary information on routes,
accommodation, fares, packages, darshan timings,
festivals, entry fees and advance bookings, telephone
numbers, suggested itineraries, and miscellaneous
information of where to find vegetarian food, clean
bathrooms, etc. While the seasoned yatri may not
comprehend this significant contribution, it is
definitely of immense value to first timers.  (Special
mention needs to be made of a separate section devoted
to detailed accommodation listings along with postal
address and telephone numbers is certainly helpful).
More than 700 colour photographs enrich the write-ups,
and additional information like interesting
destinations around certain shrines provide readers
with alternate travel options besides just dwelling on
religious tours.

While the guide is a must-read for those seeking
spiritual salvation through pilgrimages, it is a
delightful experience for armchair travelers.  Even
for those remotely interestedin pilgrimages, the book
is “ a journey into an India that is greatly visited
but little seen, it is also a revealing introduction
into the histories, culture and traditions that weave
the fabric of our secular nation”.

*Title:* *101 Pilgrimages*

*Publisher:* Outlook Group of Publications, India

*Details:* 1,088 pages; Paperback; ISBN 81-89449-03-6

*Price:* Rs 395

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