- One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves. Machiavelli Niccolo
How to Be a Successful Pilgrim
Travelling for a religious purpose to a pilgrim town is very different from a summer holiday with family or backpacking with friends. These steps will help you become a successful pilgrim. Please note that "temple" is used as a generic term, but you could well substitute it with churches/mosque/synagogue or any other place of worship.
Feel as if God wants you to undertake this journey and remain eager to see the temple
Slowly, bring the shrine and the particular deity into your consciousness, right from the time you get the idea to go on the trip. Search the net for articles and experiences of people who visited the same place and your urge to make it happen will become stronger.As that happens, the Universe will pave the way for you to reach your destination, and all the details will fall into place.
Book a flight after checking the timings of the place of worship
If a temple is closed between 1.p.m. and 4p.m.,you would not want a flight which arrives during those hours. Most pilgrim spots are small towns which have little to offer in terms of entertainment, so long hours of waiting could bring on serious boredom.For the same reason, keep your trip short and try to take the return flight as soon as you finish your visit to the shrine(s).
Book a hotel room if you find you need to stay more than a day
Choose wisely- remember you are visiting a holy town for a day or two, you don't really need a swimming pool and a spa during that period. Don't make luxury a priority and pay for facilities you might never use. Instead choose a hotel that offers acceptable levels of comfort and is located close to the temple. If your hotel offers transfers from and to the airport, you're lucky. Otherwise, hop onto a local taxi or bus which will take you to your hotel. Choose a mode of transport that has been approved by a local government body. That way, you have less chances of getting ripped off by touts who abound in pilgrim spots.
Be prepared to withstand physical strain
Some places require climbing several flights of stairs or long hours of walking or standing in queues.
Safeguard your money
The road to temples is often lined with shops selling flowers, candles,lamps, holy threads, cloth pieces of holy colours, food items special to the place, etc. The shopkeepers often hound pilgrims into buying them and make it appear as though your trip will be meaningless without these offerings. Do not feel obliged or get talked into buying anything. Only buy if you feel convinced that you must follow the custom. Sometimes, managing all the paraphernalia in your hands can be distracting while you worship-so think before you buy.