Why is India famous as a Yoga destination?

India for tourists is not only famous for amazing places like Taj Mahal, Hampi, nature of North east, forts of Madhya Pradesh or the desert of Rajasthan but is also a fascinating destination for those who passionately love Yoga. An ancient blend of physical and mental practices and regimes, Yoga has gained immense popularity in the last few decades all across the globe. India being its place of origin has attracted millions of tourists from around the world to learn and adapt the true nature of Yoga in its raw form.
Since 2015, the world celebrates #InternationalYogaDay on 21st June every year. Around this day thousands of tourists visit India in search of the spiritual guidance and knowledge of Yoga. There are tens of destinations which can be counted as the finest places to learn and practice Yoga in India. However, a few locations are more popular because of the surroundings and cosmic connection with the spiritual world. We have compiled a list of top three destinations for you in case you are planning to visit India to learn more about Yoga and its importance in life.

Rishikesh photo courtesy: Archie Talks
Rishikesh – The land that belongs to the Gods
Rishikesh is without a doubt is the ‘world capital of yoga’. There are thousands of Ashrams and centers that exclusively revolve around Yoga and its practices. Situated on the banks of the Holy River Ganga, Rishikesh is located in the state of Uttarakhand. There is a saying that meditating in Rishikesh will take you to the spiritual journey which will bring you closer to the state of Enlightenment commonly known as Moksha in Sanskrit.
When you are in Rishikesh, there are a few places that you can visit and learn Yoga. One of the most famous Sivananda Ashram will be the best choice as it not only teaches Yoga but also offers Teacher Training courses as well. Other than Sivananda, you can also opt for Swarg Ashrams and Parmarth Niketan Ashram. If you are actually serious about learning the ancient Yoga practices, Rishikesh is the destination for you.
Dharamshala – The majestic home of Buddha
Though not exactly the home of Gautam Buddha, Dharamshala is one of the most famous places where you can find thousands of Buddhist Monks and temples. It is said that Yoga evolved in the great Himalayan Mountains and there is no place better to practice Yoga than Dharamshala is you are looking for a place close to its origin. Dharamshala is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh and it is the home of the spiritual leader Dalai Lama as well. People who are interested in the Buddhist philosophy find Dharamshala and the adjoining Mcleodganj closer to the path of enlightenment.
While you are in Dharamshala, you can check the Buddhist temples and learn Yoga from the monks there. The Triund Hill Trek is also a good choice to check if you love snow as it greets you with a thick layer of snow all around the year.
Auroville – Where money has no place
Auroville is an experimental township in the state of Tamil Nadu, few kms north of Pondicherry. Founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa also known as The Mother, the base culture revolves around the teaching of Sri Aurobindo. The experimental township comes under the HRD ministry of India and managed by the people living in the township. The regular money transactions are not allowed in the township. It comprises of the people from different nations and at any given time there are 2500-3000 residents living in the town. You can visit and experience the amazing culture of the town as a tourist and practice Yoga under the guidance of the teachers.
The main meditation center which is the temple of The Mother Earth also known as Matrimandir attracts the residents to practice meditation and Yoga every day. The whole experience of Auroville is completely different from what you experience in other places to learn Yoga and meditation. As the town comprises of people from all across the globe, you will get a chance to learn about other cultures as well.
(To read about where we stayed in Pondicherry)
It is said that India is Yoga and Yoga is India. You cannot separate the two. Other than these three places of interest, you can find thousands of locations where you can learn and explore more about Yoga. This ancient form of meditation and discipline not only brings internal peace but will also help you in living a healthy and disease-free life.
Which destination have you been to?
Contributed by,
Theodore
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