Most Visited Religious Places in the World

Travel

As per some estimates, there are roughly 4200 religions in the world. This estimate includes all forms of religions, churches, faith beliefs, tribes, and cultures. Naturally, not all these religions are global, and many are practiced within a specific area. Regardless, the sheer number of religions is massive. With many religions, there are naturally tons of religious locations spread globally.

What are the most visited religious places in the world?

The biggest religious places in the world are the locations associated with the major religions/belief systems. But just because religious sites are associated with a major religion/ belief doesn’t mean it needs to have many visitors. The location should be easily accessible as well. It

 But – what are some of the most visited religious places in the world?

1) St. Peter’s Basilica

religious places

Image Source: Wikipedia

  • Annual Visitors: 10 Million
  • Location: Città del Vaticano, Vatican City
  • Map coordinates: 48.1365° N, 11.5760° E
  • Belief/ Religion: Catholic
  • Best time to visit: Every day between 07:00 to 09:00
  • Facts: 
    • The Statue of Liberty could fit inside St Peter’s Basilica

St Peter’s Basilica is a Catholic Church located within the Vatican city to the rest of River Tiber. This renaissance-style religious center is one of the Papal Basilicas and among the major Basilicas of Rome. It is one of the most prominent buildings in Vatican City and covers an area of 2.3 Hectares. Traditionally, it was the burial site of St. Peter, who was the head of the twelve Apostles of Jesus, the first bishop of Antioch, and the first bishop of Rome. 

2) Chruch of the Holy Sepulchre

  • Annual Visitors:400 Mil
  • Location: Jerusalem, Israel
  • Map coordinates: 31.7785° N, 35.2296° E
  • Belief/ Religion: Christianity
  • Best time to visit: Oct to March 
  • Facts: 
    • Church of the Holy Sepulchre contains the site where Jesus was crucified and the empty tomb of Jesus. 

Known as the Church of the Resurrection or Church of ANastasis, this Church is located in the Christian quarter in the old city of Jerusalem. This Church was allegedly built in 312 after Constantine the Great saw the cross’s vision and began favoring Christianity. This Church is undoubtedly one of those places that are most religious in the world for Christians. 

3) Mecca

  • Annual Visitors: 2 Million
  • Location: Saudi Arabia
  • Map coordinates: 21.3891° N, 39.8579° E
  • Belief/ Religion: Islam
  • Best time to visit: November to March 
  • Facts: 
    • Mecca is a city and is home to the largest Mosque.

Makkah al-Mukarramah, commonly known as Mecca, is a city and an administrative center in Saudi Arabia. This city is also one of the holiest cities in Islam. This holy city is considered the fountainhead and cradle of Islam and is extremely revered as this city/ religious location is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammed. Undoubtedly this is among the most visited religious sites in the world, along with the most important places in the world for the followers of the Islamic religion. 

4) The Hajj

religious places

Image Source: Sacred journeys

  • Annual Visitors: 2.5 Million
  • Location: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
  • Map coordinates: 21°25′22.3″N 39°49′32.6″E
  • Belief/ Religion: Islam
  • Best time to visit: November to February 
  • Facts: 
    • Hajj Is More Than 1,500 Years Old.

The Hajj is a location in the Holy City of Mecca. This is undoubtedly one of the most visited religious locations in the world for people of the Islamic religion. Millions of people make a pilgrimage to the Hajj. As per Islam, Hajj is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims, and it should be carried out at least once in their lifetime, as long as the said person is physically and financially capable of making the journey. 

5) The Golden Temple

  • Annual Visitors: 150 Million
  • Location: Amritsar, Punjab, India
  • Map coordinates: 31.6200° N, 74.8765° E
  • Belief/ Religion: Sikhism
  • Best time to visit: November to March
  • Facts: 
    • As per the records, Lord Buddha once meditated at this sacred site.

The golden temple of Amritsar is one of the most visited religious locations in the world. This temple is affiliated with Sikhism, a monotheistic religion/ belief founded in Punjab by Guru Nanak. This temple is an open house to worshippers of all life and faiths. Therefore you do not need to be a Sikh to enter the Golden Temple. 

Side Facts: Nepal’s Hindu temple is also informally known as the Golden Temple. If you do travel to the Nepali Golden temple, be sure to try out some of the best Newari and Thakali Foods in Nepal.  

6) Pashupatinath Temple

religious places

Image Source: Wikipedia

  • Annual Visitors: 1.5 Million
  • Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Map coordinates: 27.7104° N, 85.3487° E
  • Belief/ Religion: Hinduism
  • Best time to visit: September to November
  • Facts: 
    • This temple is believed to have been built by Prachanda Deva back in the era of the Lichhavi Dynasty.

Pashupatinath is one of the oldest Hindu temples in the nation and is believed to have been built before 400 CE. This temple of lord Shiva, one of the major deities in Hinduism, is built in Nepalese pagoda style. Every morning, a religious performance called aarti is performed, considered one of the major rituals performed at the temple, with the lighting and chanting of Mantras. 

7) Banaras/Varanasi

  • Annual Visitors: 6.4 Million
  • Location: Uttar Pradesh, India
  • Map coordinates: 25.3176° N, 82.9739° E
  • Belief/ Religion: Hinduism
  • Best time to visit: November to February
  • Facts: 
    • Banaras/ Vanarsi is considered one of the world’s oldest living cities. 

Vanaria, or Banaras, is one of the oldest cities in the world, with constant habitation. This city, previously known as Kashi, was once associated with a kingdom with the same name as Kashi. Vanarsi is one of the most visited sacred sites in the world for Hindus, and there are some good reasons for this. This city is located nearby the Ganges river, which is an extremely important pilgrimage site for the people of the Hindu religion. 

8) Lumbini 

  • Annual Visitors: 1.5 Million
  • Location: Lumbini, Nepal
  • Map coordinates: 27.9207° N, 82.7347° E
  • Belief/ Religion: Buddhism
  • Best time to visit: September to November
  • Facts: 
    • Emperor Asoka made a royal pilgrimage to Lumbini back in 249 BC.

Lumbini is among the most visited religious place in the world for Buddhists. This is the birthplace of lord Buddha and is an important pilgrimage site for the followers of this religion. This city has a wide number of Buddhist temples and stupas. As per an ancient inscription, Lord Buddha was born in a Village of Shakyans in the village of  Lumbineyya Janapada, which is now the city of Lumbini. 

9) Bodh, Gaya

  • Annual Visitors: 2.5 Million
  • Location: Bihar, Nepal
  • Map coordinates: 24.6961° N, 84.9870° E
  • Belief/ Religion: Buddhism
  • Best time to visit: December to February
  • Facts: 
    • The central tower of Mahabodhi temple is roughly 55 meters tall.

Bodh Gaya is a popular and one of the most visited religious places in the world and is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists. Bodh Haya site is home to Mahabodhi Temple, and according to the beliefs, lord Buddha gained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in this location. 

10) Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu)

religious places

Image Source: Savv Tokyo

  • Annual Visitors: 3 Million
  • Location: Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
  • Map coordinates: 35.6764° N, 139.6993° E
  • Belief/ Religion: Shinto 
  • Best time to visit: May 2nd/3rd November 1st to the third
  • Facts: 
    • Meji Shrine became 100 years old in 2020

Meiji Shrine, also known as Meiji Jingu, is a popular shrine for the believers of Shinto belief, a belief that worships the ghosts and spirits that inhabit and control the natural aspects of the world. This shrine was dedicated to Emperor Meiji, the first emperor of modern Japan. The main complex of Shrine buildings is located a ten-minute walk from the southern and northern entry points. Kiyomasa’s well is located in the central garden and has become a popular power spot. 

Conclusion

As you can naturally guess, the religious places we have listed here are just a small list among the most visited religious places in the world. These locations are popular religious hotspots, pilgrimage spots, locations of origin for religions, and more. From this list, you can also extrapolate some of the most religious countries in the world as well. Regardless of the reason, they are among the most visited locations for their respective religions/ beliefs. 

We hope you found this interesting. And as always, thank you for reading till the end. 

FAQ

What are the seven most sacred places in the world?

The seven most sacred places in the world are:

  • Jerusalem
  • Kashi/ Banaras
  • Mecca
  • Bodh
  • Pashupatinath
  • St Peter’s Basilica
  • Golden Temple
  • Sensoji Temple
  • Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Which is the world’s oldest religion?

Hinduism, or Sanatan Dharam, is the oldest religion still being followed today.

What is the oldest pilgrimage in the world?

The oldest pilgrimage site in the world is Mount Kailash in Tibet. 

What is the most visited religious website in the world?

Some of the most visited religious websites in the world are:

  • Dzen.ru
  • Jw.org
  • Biblegateway.com
  • Churchofjesuschrist.org
  • Islamweb.net
  • Horoscope.com
  • Astrosage.com

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