Even a century ago, most Hindu pilgrims would travel on foot, covering vast distances to reach sacred shrines like Pashupatinath in Nepal or Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. With the advent of coaches, cars and planes the physical journey has got a little easier – but the spiritual core of pilgrimage remains the same, and as inspiring as it ever was. So why not make this the year that you visit some of the immemorial sites of Hindu worship? Attend the Kumbh Mela, by the shores of the sacred Ganges or Godavari. Travel to Krishna’s home town of Vrindavan, or his birthplace at Mathura. Or enter the Kathmandu Valley to visit the great temple of Pashupatinath, sacred to Shiva, Lord of All the Animals. Prayers, atonement and sacred rites feel all the more solemn and joyful in the ancient places, with a crowd of fellow-worshippers at your side.