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Spike in spiritual tourism, Ayodhya and Ujjain top Indian travelling destinations

This rise in spiritual tourism points to a growing interest in seeking solace and purpose beyond the material world. Whether it's a yearning for tradition or a desire for self-discovery, this trend is likely to leave its mark on the Indian travel landscape for years to come.

Written By: Rahul Pratyush New Delhi Published on: April 23, 2024 17:13 IST
Indian travelling destinations
Image Source : GOOGLE Ayodhya and Ujjain top Indian travelling destinations

India's travel scene is witnessing a fascinating shift. Pack your bags for a pilgrimage, not a vacation, because spiritual tourism is booming!  According to a recent report by MakeMyTrip, searches for religious destinations have skyrocketed by a whopping 97% in the past two years.

This newfound interest in spiritual travel is particularly strong in smaller cities and towns. Tier-2 and Tier-3 India seems to be seeking solace and self-discovery through pilgrimage trips.

Ayodhya and Ujjain: Beacons of faith

The report highlights three destinations leading this spiritual surge: Ayodhya, Ujjain, and Badrinath.

Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Rama, has seen a phenomenal 585% increase in searches. This ancient city in Uttar Pradesh is a holy site for Hindus and a major pilgrimage destination.

Ujjain, a significant pilgrimage centre on the banks of the Shipra River in Madhya Pradesh, has witnessed a 359% search surge.  Famed for the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, one of the 12 sacred Shiva Jyotirlingas in India, Ujjain also hosts the Simhastha Kumbh Mela, one of the four Hindu pilgrimage fairs.

Badrinath, nestled in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand, has seen a 343% search increase. This holy town, revered as the abode of Lord Vishnu, is part of the Char Dham pilgrimage circuit and attracts devotees seeking spiritual enlightenment.

More trips around the world:

The report also indicates a rise in travel frequency. Indians are taking more trips annually, with a 25% increase in those taking over three vacations a year compared to 2019. This newfound wanderlust seems to be directed towards inner exploration, with spiritual destinations taking centre stage. 

In 2023, there was a significant increase in searches for lesser-known international destinations such as Hong Kong, Almaty, Paro, Baku, Da Nang, and Tbilisi. Popular destinations for international travel from India included Dubai, Bangkok, and Singapore, with London, Toronto, and New York being the most commonly chosen long-haul destinations. About half of all international bookings were made at least two weeks before the travel date, while one-third of them were made more than a month in advance. Moreover, more than one-third of international hotel bookings were made at least 30 days before the travel date. The use of alternative accommodations on the platform also increased by 24% in 2023.

Other travel trends:

  • Last year, there were some interesting trends observed in the travel industry, including an increase in the number of holidays taken, spur-of-the-moment trips, family-oriented vacations, and a rise in the popularity of international destinations.
  • Family travel bookings grew by 64% in the past year, with nearly one in five family travellers looking for accommodations that cost over Rs 10,000 per night. Solo travel bookings also increased by 23% year-on-year in 2023.
  • It was found that women travellers tend to pre-book window seats, whereas men prefer aisle seats on flights. Additionally, the Tomato Cucumber Cheese Lettuce Sandwich was identified as the most popular in-flight meal for domestic journeys.
  • UPI emerged as the most popular payment method, accounting for 40% of all travel bookings made on the platform. Credit cards were the preferred mode of payment for high-value transactions such as booking international hotels, due to their associated benefits.
  • Finally, it was observed that 50% of all travel gift cards were given as wedding gifts, with most of them in denominations of Rs 5,000 and 10,000.

ALSO READ: Five offbeat heritage sites in India you need to visit

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