India is home to some of the most sacred temples in the world. Each one has its own unique story and significance, but they all have one thing in common. They’re considered holy places by millions of Hindus across India. From Kedarnath Shiva Temple to Somnath Temple, these temples in India are not only a sight to behold but also hold great religious significance.
Hindu God Shiva is one of the three trinity s in the Hindu religion, along with Brahma and Vishnu. He’s considered the destroyer of evil and is the most popular deity among Hindus. His form is shown as a mendicant with a crescent moon on his head, wearing animal skin and holding a trident in one hand. He’s also shown with snakes around him or as Nataraja, dancing on the demon king Ravana in the epic Ramayana.
As one of the most powerful gods in Hinduism, Shiva is worshipped by millions of Hindus all over India. Shiva Temples in India are considered holy places by the faithful. Each temple has its own unique story, which is often associated with Shiva’s mythology.
Here are some of the most powerful and influential Shiva Temples in India:
1. Vadakkunnathan Temple, Kerala
Vadakkunnathan Temple is a Lord Shiva temple in Thrissur, Kerala, India. The temple is located on the banks of a holy River and is one of the most prominent Shiva temples in Kerala.
The Vadakkunnathan Temple has a three-tiered gopuram (gateway tower). A large number of devotees visit this temple daily for worshiping Lord Shiva. The legend of this temple is connected with the Mahabharata, where Lord Krishna is believed to have offered his prayers here. The inner sanctum of the temple houses a Shiva lingam made of granite stone, which is considered one of the most powerful ones in India.
2. Shankaracharya Temple, Jammu & Kashmir
The Shankaracharya Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Situated in Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir, this temple is situated at an altitude of 2,500 meters. This is the most visited Shiva Temple in India by Kashmiri Pandits, the local Hindu community of the state.
The Shiva temple in India was constructed by King Harsha Vikramaditya in the 7th century CE and it has been renovated by several rulers over time. The crowning feature of this shrine is its huge Shivalinga which weighs about 800 kilograms.
In addition to its main deity, the temple also houses several other deities including Karttikeya, Lord Vishnu’s son who rides a peacock, and Skanda – his brother who rides Garuda or eagle. According to a legend, an ancient king named Shri Harsha Vikramaditya had a dream in which Lord Shiva asked him to build an entire city around his temple. Thus, the king built Jammu as we know it today.
3. Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand
The Kedarnath Temple is one of the most famous temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. It is situated at an altitude of 3,583 meters in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand.
One should visit this temple when he/she visits the Garhwal region during summers or winters as it remains closed during monsoons due to heavy rains. The temple was destroyed by an earthquake on June 15, 2013, and had been rebuilt with great effort by the locals with monetary help from all around India and abroad.
The name “Kedarnath” comes from two words – ‘Keda’ means horse and hence ‘Kedarnath’ means lord of horses or lord riding on a white horse. Kedarnath Temple is one of the most famous temples of Indi. It attracts pilgrims from all over the world. This Shiva Temple holds a very special place for shiva devotees in India.
4. Kailashnath Temple, Maharashtra
Kailashnath Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, situated near Ellora Caves, Maharashtra. The temple dates back to the 6th Century AD and has been built by Rashtrakuta dynasty. This is
It is believed that this temple was built by Krishna I of Rashtrakuta Dynasty (680-740 CE) who extensively renovated it. He also added an inscription on top of the Northern Gateway of Kailasa Temple which can be read as “I am called Kailaas”.
5. Somnath Temple, Gujarat
The Somnath temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in Prabhas Patan on the western coast of Gujarat, India. It is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva, each representing a different manifestation of his universal energy.
The first temple at Somnath was built by the Chalukya king Bhimdev I who ruled between 1022 CE and 1050 CE. This temple was destroyed by Mahmud Begada in 1024 CE. The second temple was built by Ganga king Bappa Rawal and later reconstructed by Kumarapala Vikramaditya in 1143 CE.
Mohd Gaznavi again destroyed it in 1026 A.D. It was rebuilt by Kumarpal Vikramaditya (1143-1172).
The temple was again destroyed by Allaudin Khilji in 1296 CE and rebuilt by Rudra Singh of Junagadh State in 1801 CE.
Somnath Temple was attacked and destroyed by Muslim invaders 7 times! The present temple was built by the state government of Gujarat after it received UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1995.
6. Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, Andhra Pradesh
The temple is located in Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh. It is dedicated to Lord Mallikarjuna and is an important pilgrimage site for Hindus all over the world. It’s one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India.
7. Mahakaleshwar Mandir, Madhya Pradesh
As the name suggests, Mahakaleshwar Mandir is a temple of Lord Shiva and it is the most important temple of Lord Shiva in Ujjain. This temple is located in the middle of Ujjain city, which makes it easier for people to reach this place. Many people visit this temple every year as it is considered a very powerful temple in India.
The architectural style of this temple is very old with some statues that have been built on them over time. The main shrine has been made out of stone and gold, while there are also other shrines that have been built around it such as those dedicated to Ganga Mata, Bhavani Mata, Kartikeya (Kartik), Ganesh Chaturthi, etc…
8. Murudeshwara Temple, Karnataka
The Murudeshwara Temple is a Shiva temple in the coastal town of Murudeshwara, Karnataka. It is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India and a major pilgrimage destination for Shaivites. The temple lies on an island shaped like a conch shell along with two other temples, dedicated to Ganapathy (the elephant god) and Parvati (Shiva’s consort).
The original structure was built by Chavundaraya II in 860 AD. Over time, it was expanded by many rulers until it assumed its current form with seven gopurams (towers) and four walls that surround it.
9. Omkareshwar Temple, Madhya Pradesh
Omkareshwar is a holy place for the Hindus. It is situated in the Mandhata hills, on the banks of the Narmada River. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of India.
The original temple was built by Bhima II (967–1030 CE) at a time when Vikram Samvat calendar was starting to be used in Northern India. This old structure was destroyed by Muslim invaders several times between the 12th century and 16th century CE, but each time it was rebuilt with newer materials and architectural styles by local rulers or pilgrims who came there from different parts of India. This Shiva Temple in India was destroyed and rebuilt many times.
10. Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, Madhya Pradesh
The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is a very famous Lord Shiva temple in India, which is located in the town of Khajuraho. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a very popular tourist attraction. This temple is also one of the largest temples in India and it was built in the style of Nagara architecture.
11. Bhimashankar Temple, Maharashtra
If you are looking for a quiet and peaceful Shiva temple to visit in India then the Bhimashankar Temple is the perfect place for you. It lies on the banks of a lake at an altitude of about 715 meters above sea level. The temple was built in honor of Lord Shiva and is one of the most important sites dedicated to him in Maharashtra. It is believed that this ancient temple has been used by pilgrims from all over India since time immemorial and it attracts many people who want peace and solitude with nature.
The history behind this special place dates back thousands of years ago when there were many tribes living around here who worshipped nature gods such as Shrines Aumkaa (Goddess Earth), Agnideva (Fire God), Vaghyadevata(Vulture God), Kali Ambika Devi(Mother Goddess), Bhairava Shankar(Lord Shiva) etcetera instead going towards idol worshiping like Hindus do today while still remaining Hindu themselves! This means they believe only god exists but not idols made out
12. Kashi Vishwanath Mandir, Uttar Pradesh
Kashi Vishwanath Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. It is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the most sacred abodes of Shiva.
Its traditional name is Kashi Vishwanath Temple and it’s a part of Panch Kedar or Panch Pandava temples which include five popular Hindu shrines in the Himalayan region such as Badrinath Temple (Uttarakhand), Kedarnath Temple, and Madhyamaheshwar Temple (Uttarakhand), Kalpeshwar Temple & Kalibhadra temple (Kumaon region).
The main deity of this temple is Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati [in Devi form] known as Uma Maheshwari.
13. Trimbakeshwar Temple, Maharashtra
Trimbakeshwar Temple is one of the most popular temples in India. It is located in the town of Trimbak, a small town in the Nashik district of Maharashtra, India. The temple dates back to around 860 CE and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The deity of this temple has three eyes and four hands which signify his omnipotent nature.
The temple was built by Raja Bhoja who ruled over Malwa from Dhar (Madhya Pradesh). The original structure was built out of wood but was later replaced with stone during Shivaji Maharaj’s reign as king and it still stands tall today. For those interested in visiting Shiva Temples in India, this one is a must-see!
14. Bhavnath Mahadev Temple
The Bhavnath Mahadev is a very famous Shiva temple in Madhya Pradesh, India. It is located on a hill called Bhavnath Parvat, about 10 km from the city of Ujjain and 75 km from Indore. This temple was built by Chandela King Anundsena Deva around 1000 AD. The main idol is a black stone image of Bhavani Mata or Ishad Devi or Maa Sati who is worshipped here as Shakti or Mother Goddess according to Hindu mythology.
The exterior architecture of this temple consists of very large pillars with intricate carvings on them that show scenes from Ramayana (Ram Lila). The interiors have been carved out using stone slabs that depict other Hindu Gods like Krishna and Mahalakshmi along with beautiful paintings depicting various aspects related to Hinduism such as Shri Gopikunj (Gopis’ Abode), Vedas, etc.,
15. Tungnath Temple, Uttarakhand
Tungnath Temple is the highest Shiva temple in India located at an altitude of 3,680 m above sea level in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. This Shiva temple is one of the twelve jyotirlingas (sacred shrines) in India and its origin dates back to ancient times.
The legend behind this temple is that Lord Shiva appeared as a Lingam on top of mountain Kailash during the Treta Yuga.
During winters, you can go trekking around or even enjoy snowboarding here! You will also get to see amazing views from your vantage point so make sure you pack some warm clothes and sunglasses for protection from UV rays before heading out on this adventure!
16. Vaidyanath Mandir Deoghar, Jharkhand
Vaidyanath Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located in Deoghar, Jharkhand, India. The temple is situated on the top of a hill and is surrounded by a dense forest.
The Vaidyanath Temple was built in 954 AD by King Yashovarman of the Chandravansha dynasty. It was destroyed during Muslim rule but rebuilt by Chhatra Sai Baba in the 16th century with some additions made by Rani Ahalya Devi, widow of Raja Man Singh (1614–1644) who ruled Bharatpur State until 1787.
The deity here is known as Natha Mahadev (Lord Great God). Apart from this main deity, there are other deities like Parvati Mata (Hindu Goddess), Ganeshji (Hindu God), and Kartikeya Ji (eldest son & second-in-command in the army; also known as Subramanya or Murugan), Krishna Ji among others.
17. Nageshwar Temple Dwarka, Gujarat
The Nageshwar Temple is located in Gujarat, India. The temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva, and it is believed that Lord Krishna built it. It stands as one of four main temples in Dwarka, which includes the following:
-The Dwarkadish Temple (Dwarka)
-The Gopeshwar Temple (Dwarka)
-The Bet Dwarka Temple (Bet Dwarka)
-And finally, the Nageshwar Temple (Dwarka).
18. Srikalahasti Temple, Andhra Pradesh
Srikalahasti is a famous temple town in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is situated on the banks of the Pennar River. It’s believed to be more than 3000 years old.
This ancient shrine was built by a king named Gadhi Raju who ruled this part of India during the 7th century AD, but many legends say that it was built by an ancient sage named Kallalakshmi who wanted to worship Lord Shiva here. The temple is famous for its unique architecture. It has a huge Nandi statue made of stone and also has many sculptures on the walls depicting various Hindu gods and goddesses. The main deity at Srikalahasti Temple is Lord Shiva, who is worshipped in the form of a lingam (an iconic form representing the fertility aspect of nature).
19. Ramanathaswamy Temple, Tamil Nadu
Ramanathaswamy Temple, the most popular and famous temple in India, is located in Srirangam in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the oldest temples in India with a history that dates back over 1000 years. Built by the Chola King Rajendra I around 1010 AD, it is considered to be one of the largest temples in India.
The temple was built on an island known as Ranganatha (Lord Vishnu) and has about 30 gopurams or towers that are covered with gold leaf. The temple has three main entrances – east, west, and south gates – each leading to a mandapam (hall). The presiding deity Ramanathaswamy resides here along with his consort Sita Devi and brother Lakshmana at whose feet Lord Hanuman sits eternally worshiping them both.
20. Grishneshwar Temple, Maharashtra
The temple is located in the town of Grishneshwar in Maharashtra. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is worshipped as Shivalinga here.
The temple is situated on the banks of the Godavari River and dates back to the 12th century AD. As per legends, when Goddess Sati immolated herself, her body parts fell at various spots all over India including here in Grishneshwar. This place has been mentioned in Skand Puran and other ancient texts as well as by many poets from all over India who were devotees of Lord Shiva.
21. Chidamabaram Nataraja Temple, Tamil Nadu
Chidambaram Nataraja Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in the town of Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in India.
The temple complex houses many halls and shrines, with the largest being enclosed by walls that are 12 miles long (19 km) and enclose an area of about 32 acres (129,000 m2). The main shrine has many carvings depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.
The temple has four gateway towers known as gopurams; each tower represents a different season and opens into another courtyard inside which there are many smaller shrines to various deities including Siva-Parvati, and Subrahmanya Swami, Murugan & Vishnu. The sanctum sanctorum is at the center of this innermost enclosure where visitors can see a life-size statue of Lord Natarajar (Shiva as Lord Of Dance).
22. Amarnath Temple, Jammu & Kashmir
Amarnath Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva as Amarnath cave. The temple is situated high in the Himalayas at an altitude of 3,888 meters (12,756 ft). It is one of the most popular shrines in India and attracts devotees from all over the world who undertake a pilgrimage which includes trekking for about 10 days from Pahalgam or Srinagar to reach here.
23. Brihadeswarar Temple, Tamil Nadu
Brihadeswarar temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva. It is located in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India.
The temple was built by Raja Raja Chola I (985-1014 CE) and his son Rajendra Chola I (1012-1044 CE). The former ruled the kingdom of the Cholas from 985 CE until 1014 CE and was a great patron of art and architecture, while his son ruled from 1012 CE until 1044 CE.
24. Shore Temple, Tamil Nadu
The Shore Temple, also known as Arjuna’s Penance, is a 7th-century Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva. It is located in Mahabalipuram on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal in the Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu state in India. This ancient rock-cut temple features a number of panels depicting scenes from the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The construction was started during the reign of Pallavas rulers and finished by Chola rulers who used it as an assembly hall for artists and sculptors who worked there under royal patronage.
24. Lingaraj Temple, Odisha
The Lingaraj Temple is a famous Shiva temple in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. It is one of the oldest temples in India and was built by Raja Ramai Dev during the 10th century. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is worshipped here as “Lingaraj” (Lord of Lingas). The temple complex contains many deities and shrines such as those Vishnu, Kartikeya, Brahma, and Saraswati.
The Lingaraj Temple is one of the largest temples in India with four gateways that lead to an inner courtyard with a number of structures:
25. Kotilingeshwara Temple, Karnataka
The Kotilingeshwara Temple is a famous Shiva temple located in the town of Tumkur, in the Indian state of Karnataka. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is worshipped here as Kotilingeswara.
The linga that was installed in this temple by Adi Shankaracharya has become a very popular pilgrimage site. It attracts many pilgrims from all over India. This temple is known for its architectural beauty and grandeur.
26. Daksheswara Mahadev Temple Haridwar, Uttarakhand
Daksheswara Mahadev Temple Haridwar, Uttarakhand is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located in the holy city of Haridwar in Uttarakhand, India. This temple is considered to be one of the Panch Kedar temples. It is also known as Daksha-Mata Temple because it was built by Daksha, who was the father of Sati (Parvati’s previous incarnation).
27. Annamalaiyar Temple, Tamil Nadu
The Annamalaiyar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the deity Shiva. It is located in the city of Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is located on the banks of the river Cauvery on Srirangam Island. It was built by Chola king Kulothunga Chola I (1070-1120 CE). It has since been renovated several times by subsequent rulers throughout history.
The original structure was discovered by Acharya Ramanuja during his pilgrimage and then modified in 1117 CE. After this event, it became known as “Ranganathaswamy” meaning “Lord of Rangana” (the man who found it), and then later shortened to “Ranganathaswamy”. In 1216 CE, Vijayanagara King Singhanadeva renovated it again with granite pillars and gopurams (the entrance structures).
The current structure dates back to 1560 CE under Vijayanagara King Achutaraya
28. Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Madhya Pradesh
Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located in the town of Bhojpur in Madhya Pradesh, India. It is one of the holy temples of Madhya Pradesh and is also known as Mahakaleshwar Temple. The temple was built by Raja Bhoja (A.D 1010-1055). He was an 11th-century king of the Malwa region present in Central India.
The temple has been constructed by Raja Bhoja during his rule over the Malwa region during A.D 1010-1055 on a high plinth with 7 levels known as “Sapta Prasthas”, which means seven steps leading up to the sanctum sanctorum or garbhagriha where Lord Mahakal resides eternally with his spouse Goddess Mahalaxmi and other deities such as Brahma Vishnu Maheswara Shankar & Ganesh & Vithoba etc…
29. Jambukeswarar Temple, Trichy, Tamil Nadu
This temple is situated at Thiruvanaikaval, a village in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the five major Shiva temples in Tamil Nadu. It is believed that Lord Shiva performed his cosmic dance here with his consorts.
The temple dates back to the 10th century CE. The legend says that this temple was built by Andal also known as Alwar Tirunagari-kula-Devi. He was a notable devotee of Lord Vishnu. It later became known as Andal from Alwar (the name of her father).
30. Tarakeshwar Temple, West Bengal
The temple is located on the banks of the Hoogly River, about 10 km from Kolkata. The main deity in this temple is Lord Shiva and it has been named after him. This temple was built by the Pala dynasty. Its construction spanned over a period of 200 years. It started in the 10th century AD and ended with its completion in 1160 AD.
31. Koteshwar Mahadev Temple Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand
Koteshwar Mahadev Temple is situated at the confluence of the rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini. It is believed that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a linga at this place. The temple has been built during the 16th century.
It is one of the twelve jyotirlingas. It is considered to be an important pilgrimage spot for Hindus all over India.
The festival here begins with Navratri and continues till Kartik Purnima, which falls in the November-December time period every year
This list of temples will help you understand the rich culture of India. The country is a blend of different religions, races, languages, and cultures. You can explore this diversity best by visiting these temples. There are many more temples in India, which you can explore by visiting the country. The best way to enjoy a trip is to travel with an Indian tour operator. They will help you plan your trip and make sure that you get to know about all these places.
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Disclaimer: The information and advice contained in our articles are intended for general informational purposes only. The content on our site does not provide any medical advice or established facts, and only reflects the opinion of writers.