the last three decades there has been a revolution quietly happening in the
global tourism industry. Terms such as eco-tourism, responsible tourism and
even voluntourism have entered common usage. Now there is an emerging trend on
the horizon that is being cited at the fastest growing sector in the whole
travel business. They call it "spiritual tourism" and it is starting
to be taken very seriously by governments, state tourism authorities, even the
United Nations agency responsible for global tourism - the UNWTO. 22 November,
2013 heralded a new era for the recognition of the growing importance of
spiritual tourism as the UNWTO convened the 1st International
Conference on Spiritual Tourism for Sustainable Development at NimhBinh
outside of Hanoi in Vietnam. UNWTO is also focusing now on spiritual tourism.
of the first challenges for those interested in "spiritual tourism"
is defining exactly what it is. Believers taking part in religious pilgrimages
such as Muslims doing the Hajj or Buddhists visiting the four sacred sites in
India and Nepal are plainly recognized as "spiritual tourists" or as
over millions of Christian for pilgrimage to Lourd France Fatima etc. This can
also include visitors of sacred sites in millions like at Notredam church,
Canterbury church, Goa churches or Temples, Mosques from different faiths as
skeers of knowledge through religion and religious wisdom. Thus the focus on
Pilgrimage/ Spiritual tourism is based on increased cultural understanding and
inter faith literacy and appreciation of the rich and brilliantly diverse
spiritual heritage of humanity.
this age of materialistic greed, endless consumption, taking time to explore
the depths of world wisdom traditions is probably the purpose of spiritual
tourism. Increased understanding between different religions, which is bringing
Spiritual renaissance is the direction and growing value of spiritual tourism.
would like to place this scene towards India. Since time immemorial, tourism in
India is based on Pilgrimage tourism and even 70% of the billion domestic
tourists are on purely Spiritual/Pilgrimage tourism.Spiritual India is full of
holy places and colorful rituals. These offer insight of knowledge and culture
and tourists also come to maximize spiritual experience in India and tourists
these places visit for unique spiritual experience. Shankaracharya’s Chardham
concept was the key point of successful Pilgrimage tourism in India and it was
made part of life with a guidance that in one’s life time, one must visit
Varanasi, Dwarka, Puri and Rameshwaram (North, South, East and West) and also
thus unifying India through Religion and appreciating each other’s culture.
Following this ancient ritual Hardwar (Gateway to God) is one of the holiest
place in India and people come to this foothill city particularly for a dip in
the holy water of fast flowing Ganga.Varanasi in UP is another sacred Hindu
cities known as city of Lord Shiva and it is believed that any one dies here
will be liberated from the cycle of reincarnation. City attracts Indians and foreigners in
thousands round the year.
not only the Hindu Centers, Buddhist center of Bodhgaya is the most important
Buddhist pilgrimage place in the world and religious and soul seekers from all
over world visit the Buddhist circuits in India with Bodhgay, Rajgir,
Nalanda, Sarnath, Kushinagar, Sravasti, Kapilavastu, Amravati etc.
Amritsar is the spiritual capital of Sikh to the pool of Nectar and Golden
Temple that attract tourists all over the world. Nanded, Anandpur Sahib, Patna,
Gwalior have Sikh pilgrimage centers.
Churches and several Churches in India bring thousands of Christian faiths to
India. St. Thomas one of the apostle of
Christianity was in India and his last remains are in India as also that of St.
Xavier in Goa.
seekers of Jews (in Kerala at Synagogue) Bahai’s at Lotus Temple, Jain Temples,
Sufi centers of, Salim Chishti/ Muinuddhin Chisti (Sufi Cult) are global places
stands as the real Spiritual Potpuri of global spiritual congregation.
doubt, India can be the center for Spiritual Tourism activities globally and
promote the UNWTO thrust that spiritual tourism be utilized for Inter-cultural
understanding and explore world’s wisdom, bring greater enlightenment to the
individual and global peace.