The most Significant Shrine in Sikhism
AVS Vrindavan is close to following spiritual, touristic & other popular destinations.
Note: You will be following a specific lifestyle during your treatment. If you plan to visit any of the following places, please do so before starting your treatment program.
Due to the Retreat center's location in Himachal Pradesh, which is also referred to as Devbhoomi, "Abode of Gods", you are in close proximity to the following holy lands pilgrimage sites.
Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib
Distance from AVS Vrindavan: Approx. 50km (1hr, 15 mins)
Anandpur Sahib - the “city of bliss”, is a city on Shivalik hills near the Sutlej river. The city is home to Keshgarh Sahib Gurudwara – one of the 5 Takhts in Sikhism. This is where the last two Sikh Gurus lived and where Guru Gobind Singh Ji founded the Khalsa Panth in 1699. This Sikh pilgrimage site hosts the largest Sikh gathering during the annual Hola Mohalla festival during the spring season in March.
Distance from AVS Vrindavan: Approx. 217km (4hr, 15 mins)
Darbar Sahib or Sri Harmandir Sahib, “the abode of God,” is spiritually the most significant shrine in Sikhism. The temple is built around a human-made pool (Sarovar) that Guru Ram Das completed in 1577. The foundation stone was laid in 1589 by Sai Mian Mir – a Muslim Pir from Lahore, on Guru Arjan's request – the fifth Guru of Sikhism. In 1604 Guru Arjan placed a copy of Adi Granth in Harmandir Sahib, calling the site Ath Sath Tirath “shrine of 68 pilgrimages”. The site became a target of persecution, and the temple was destroyed in 1757 & again in 1762. In 1809, Maharaja Ranjit Singh rebuilt the Temple in marble and copper and overlaid the sanctum with gold foil in 1830, which led to the name – Golden Temple.
Ancient legends speak of a time when demons lorded over the Himalayan mountains, Lord Vishnu “the preserver”- one of the principal deities, led the other gods to defeat the demons.
They all focused their strengths, and as a result, Sati, also referred to as Adishakti- the first shakti or the great divine mother, was born. Sati was raised like a princess by King Prajapati Daksha – the son of Lord Brahma, “the creator”. Sati grew up adoring the legends and tales of Lord Shiva, and when she reached the age of getting married, she knew it was only the ascetic Lord Shiva of Kailash with whom her heart and soul resided. Daksha's daughter soon left her father's luxuries and palace and began her meditation to win Shiva's heart. She performed intense penance in dense forests and renounced food completely. When she finally pleased Shiva through her austerities, the lord of Kailash appeared in front of her and agreed to marry her.
The legend goes that Sati and Shiva were happy in their marital bliss, but their marriage had not gone down too well with King Daksha, who considered ascetic Shiva nothing short of an uncouth lad who lives a hermit's life not worthy of his daughter. When Daksha organized a great Yagna, he invited all the deities, gods and sages--but consciously excluded his son-in-law Shiva to insult him. Hurt by her father's decision, Sati decided to visit her father and demand not to invite them. When she entered Daksha's palace, she was bombarded with insults directed towards Lord Shiva. Unable to bear anything against her husband, a devastated Goddess Sati sacrificed herself in the glowing sacred fire of Yagya.
When Shiva's attendants informed him about his wife's demise, he grew enraged and created Veerbhadra from a lock of his hair. Veerbhadra created havoc in Daksha's palace and killed him. Meanwhile, mourning his beloved soulmate's death, Shiva tenderly held Sati's body and started his dance of destruction (Rudra taandav). To save the universe and bring back Shiva's sanity, Lord Vishnu cut Sati's lifeless body using Sudharshan Chakra into 51 pieces.
The pieces fell on earth at various geographical points and became known as Shakti Peeths – the holy lands and pilgrimages. Most of the shakti peeths are located in India, and the rest in Nepal, Bangladesh, Tibet (Mansarovar), Sri Lanka, & Pakistan.
Naina Devi Temple
Distance from AVS Vrindavan: Approx 70km (1hr, 50 mins)
Naina Devi is located in the Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh. The temple is located on top of a hill where the eyes of Sati fell when her body was cut into 51 pieces by Lord Vishnu’s chakra. Shri Naina Devi Temple is also known as Mahishapeeth because of the defeat of the Goddess's demon Mahishasur. The hills of Naina Devi overlook Gobind Sagar lake. The lake was formed by constructing the Bhakra Nangal Dam and is considered the third-largest reservoir in India formed due to a dam's construction.
Kangra Devi Mandir (Mata Shri Bajreshwari Devi)
Distance from AVS Vrindavan: Approx 190km (4hr, 30 mins)
Shree Bajreshwari Mata Mandir, also known as Kangra Devi Mandir, is located in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh. The Pandavas built the original temple at the geographical location where the breasts of Sati fell when her body was cut into 51 pieces by Lord Vishnu’s Sudarshan chakra. The temple is in the vicinity of Kangra Fort & Chamunda Devi Temple.
Chamunda Nandikeshwar Dham
Distance from AVS Vrindavan: Approx 240km (6hrs)
Chamunda Devi Temple is located 10km west of Palampur in Kangra district on the Baner River banks. As per mythological legends, Goddess Durga made a goddess with her power to slay the demons – Chanda & Munda. After the goddess successfully slaughtered the demons, Goddess Durga named her Chamunda – the wrathful form of Durga. There is nothing extraordinary about the temple's architecture, but its aura spell bounds the devotees with its spiritual appeal.
Distance from AVS Vrindavan: Approx. 160km (3hr, 40 mins)
Jwalaji or Jwalamukhi Temple is a temple of the Goddess of Light. It is located about 35 km south of Kangra valley in the lap of the Shivalik range. Unlike many other temples, this one doesn't have a statue or an image but a constantly burning blue flame that seems to come from the rocks. The temple comes alive with Navaratri celebrations from March-April and Sept-Oct every year. This is a trendy place of pilgrimage as it is among the 51 shakti peeths.
Distance from AVS Vrindavan: Approx 140km (3hr, 10 mins)
The Chintpurni shakti peeth (Chhinnamastik shakti peeth) is one of the major 7 shakti peeths out of total 51. It is located in Una district Himachal Pradesh state, surrounded by the western Himalaya in the north and east in the smaller Shiwalik (or Shivalik) range bordering Punjab. Held a year thrice in the months of Chet (March-April), Sawan (July-August) and Asanj (September-October), The Chintpurni fair, locally known as Mata Da Mela (fair of the Mother Goddess), is celebrated with fervour at the temple. The Hindu genealogy registers to have a family history of 20 prior generations stretching across many centuries are also kept at this temple.
To make the most of your trip, you can also consider visiting the following popular destinations.
Distance from AVS Vrindavan: Approx. 90km (3hr, 30 mins)
Named after Hindu goddess Shyamala Devi, Shimla is the largest city in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Due to its pleasant climate, Shimla has declared India's summer capital during British Raj in 1864. The opening up of the Kalka-Shimla railway line in 1903 made Shimla more accessible. With more than 800 bridges and 100 tunnels, the railway route was a major engineering feat of that time and was coined as “British Jewel of the Orient”. Soon after, many important political meetings were held at Shimla, such as the Simla accord of 1914 and the Simla Conference of 1945. After Independence, Shimla continued to serve as the capital of Undivided Punjab. In 1971 Himachal emerged as the 18th state of the Indian Union, and Shimla was declared its capital.
Adventure & Sports
Let a Himalayan Adventure fill your soul
The Naldhera Golf Course
Distance from AVS Vrindavan: Approx. 115km (4hr, 20 mins)
Perched at an altitude of 2,200 meters, the Naldehra Golf Club, which bears a resemblance to the Scottish links courses, is located about 22 km from Shimla. Measuring 4285 yards, this Par 68 course boasts 18 holes, 16 greens and 18 tees. With many holes sharing the same fairway, crisscrossing it at different angles, it is regarded as one of the country's most challenging courses. Designed over a long sloping glade, it boasts of considerable character, with wide views of the Himalayas and thick woods all around.
Paragliding at Bir-Billing
Distance from AVS Vrindavan: Approx. 250km (6hr, 30 min)
Bir-Billing is ranked the top destination in Himachal for Paragliding. Aero-sports enthusiasts travel from all over the world to take a flight at Billing. Once you get to the top, you get stunning views of the snow-capped mountains. Paragliding world-cup of 2015 was also hosted in Billing. Paragliding activity goes all year round except monsoon season from July-September.