India is a land filled with temples, shrines and holy sites. The country has more temples than any other country in the world. India with over 80,000 Hindu temples that draw millions of religious pilgrims every year. India is also home to many famous mosques and churches as well as numerous other religions including Sikhism and Jainism. Below we’ve listed some of the most beautiful and famous temples of India along with some interesting facts about each one!
1. Sun Temple, Odisha
Rabindranath Tagore praised the beauty of Sun temple, one of the most famous temples in these words, “Here the stones speak more eloquently than men.”
The Sun Temple is situated in the small town of Konark, which lies in the Puri district of Odisha. The temple was built as a chariot for Surya, or the Indian sun god—its shape representing seven horses drawing it across the sky.
The temple is famous for its massive sculptural panels that depict the stories of Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Puranas. The Sun Temple was built by king Narasingha Deva in 1250 CE. It has a unique architecture, where various styles can be seen combined together.
There is an ancient legend attached to this temple. Once Lord Krishna cursed one of his own sons, Samba, with leprosy. To seek penance, Samba worshiped Surya (the Sun God) for twelve years until he was cured. Surya, pleased with Samba’s devotion to him, healed the dwarf. In return for this blessing and in gratitude for his healing Samba made himself a home near Surya’s temple.
2. Vaishno Devi Temple
The temple is located in the foothills of the Trikuta Mountains, near Katra.
The Vaishno Devi Temple has four entrances—one each for Lakshmi Narayan (husband-wife deities). One for Hanumanji (an avatar of Lord Shiva). One for Bhagwan Durga (a form of Goddess Durga), and one for Mata Chamundeshwari (another form of Mother Goddess). It also houses a golden idol of Mata Vaishnodevi inside its sanctum sanctorum. Only Hindus are allowed inside it as per religious norms set by priests at the temple complex.
This holy shrine attracts millions every year due to its spiritual significance among Hindus across India and abroad—especially those with roots based in Punjab or Kashmir regions. This is one of the most famous temples in the State of Jammu and Kashmir and India.
3. Jagannath Puri Temple
Jagannath Puri Temple is one of the most famous temples in India and one of the Char Dhams. It is dedicated to Lord Jagannath. The temple is situated on an island in the Bay of Bengal and can be reached only by boat. It was built by King Anantavarman of the Chodaganga dynasty in 986 A.D.
The temple has an annual Rath Yatra festival where carriages carrying idols of Lord Jagannath, Balbhadra, and Subhadra are pulled along tracks for 12 days.
The temple is built in the style of a chariot with four wheels, which symbolize the four Vedas.
4. Brihadeeswara Temple, Tamil Nadu
The Brihadeeswara Temple, located in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, is also known as Peruvudaiyar Kovil or RajaRajeswaram. It was built in the the11th-century temple by the Chola emperor Raja Raja Chola I. The palace was one of many cultural achievements for which this king is remembered. Today it stands testament to his passion for architecture.
The Brihadeeswara Temple is a masterpiece of Chola art and architecture. It is one of the largest and most famous temples in India, with a high pyramidal tower that tapers as it reaches the top and stands at 220 feet (67 meters). The temple’s name comes from its main deity, Shiva (also known as “Brihadeeswarar”), who is represented by an enormous lingam (phallus-shaped stone).
The grandeur and artistic excellence of the Cholas are reflected in the temple’s architecture. Made entirely from granite, it was built with Vaastu Shastra principles in mind.
The most remarkable thing about this UNESCO World Heritage Site is that at noon, there is no shadow on the ground. Dedicated to Lord Shiva and one of the holiest places for Hindus, it testifies to religion’s central role in Indian culture. It is one of the most famous and revered temples of Lord Shiva in India.
5. Somnath Temple Gujarat
It is said that the Indian God of Moon, Soma was cursed by his father-in-law to lose his luster; Lord Shiva cured this illness and later Soma built a temple in honor of him. It is one of the most revered ‘jyotirlingas’ among the 12 jyotirlingas.
Somnath Temple is one of the oldest pilgrimage centers in India and appears in many ancient texts, including Shiv Puran, Skanda Purana—and Bhagwat Gita. It is one of the most famous and visited temples of India.
The temple is located in Prabhas Kshetra, a site where Lord Krishna is believed to have left his mortal body. In addition to the temple, the place also has a Somnath museum and a sound-and-light show for entertainment.
The temple also houses an idol of Lord Shiva, which is believed to be over 5,000 years old. The temple has been rebuilt several times due to its destruction by foreign invaders and natural calamities. It is one of the most famous temples dedicated to Lord Shiva
6. Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand
The ancient Kedarnath temple in Garhwal (Uttarakhand), India, is one of the most sacred places in Hinduism. Hence one of the most famous temples of India. According to legend, the Pandavas were exiled for 13 years. During this time, they built this temple as atonement for their sins committed during a war in Mahabharata.
The temple is also known as the “Shakti Peetha”, one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Hinduism. According to legend, when Devi Sati was thrown by her father Daksha into a fire ritual, Lord Shiva carried her body parts to all corners of India. One torso fell at this spot in the Hemkund valley.
The Adi Sankaracharya restored the temple in the 8th century. It is one of four sacred shrines in Uttarakhand and requires pilgrims to trek 14 kilometers on the mountainous terrain.
The temple, built at an altitude of 3,583 meters and surrounded by glaciers and snow-clad peaks, is closed during the winter months due to severe weather conditions.
7. Akshardham temple Delhi
The main temple of Akshardham Delhi houses a depiction of Lord Swaminarayan, to whom it is devoted. Akshardham Temple is a Hindu temple complex in Delhi. It was built by the Birla family at an estimated cost of US$175 million. The temple complex is located on the banks of the river Yamuna, across from ghats and water sports facilities.
The temple complex covers an area of 100 acres (40 hectares), and has 14 different temples dedicated to various deities, including statues depicting Ramlila scenes. The main gateway bears resemblance to that at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, while other buildings are patterned after traditional Hindu architecture. Inside visitors find murals depicting Indian history, culture, and mythology.
The complex is surrounded by lush gardens, near the banks of the Yamuna. The largest temple complex, made in red sandstone and marble, is 107 meters wide and 121 meters long. It stands 141 feet (43 m) high at its highest point and is one of the largest Hindu temples in the world. This is also one of the most famous temples of India built in the 20th century.
8. Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in Varanasi, India. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva and one of the most ancient temples in Varanasi, dating back to AD 700. The temple spans two levels. It has an exquisitely carved facade that depicts scenes from Puranic stories like Ramayana and Mahabharata as well as other events from Hindu mythology.
Shiva Linga, This main idol of the Temple represents both formless shapeless nirguna Brahman (universal absolute) as well as its personal aspect saguna Brahman (personal supreme being).
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most visited and famous temples in India. Visiting the Kashi Vishwanath Temple one is believed to be as good as visiting all twelve jyotirlingas.
This temple is a place of pilgrimage for many distinguished personalities, including Adi Shankaracharya, Swami Vivekananda, and Goswami Tulsidas. Gurunanak also visited this temple during his lifetime.
A visit to this sacred temple is believed to be one of the ways to attain ‘moksha’ (ultimate liberation of the soul).
9. Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh
Sanchi Stupa is one of the most impressive ancient structures in India. It was built by Emperor Ashoka in 250 BC. Surrounded by ruins from earlier stupas and monasteries, Sanchi stands as a monument representing the greatness of Buddhism—and is believed to house Lord Buddha’s relics.
The site is also home to many beautiful carvings which depict the life and teachings of Lord Buddha.
The largest surviving sculpture of its age, it is one of the oldest-known representations of humanity and dates back to India’s Mauryan period. The stupa was built as a memorial to the Buddha, who is believed to be buried inside. The site houses Ashoka’s pillar, which has four lions at its base, and mentions his conversion to Buddhism. The Great Stupa at Sanchi is one of the most impressive monuments from ancient India. This is also counted as one of the most famous temples of India due to its rich history.
The four gateways around the Stupa are intricately designed as a reminder of love, peace, courage, and trust.
10. Ramanathaswamy Temple, Tamil Nadu
Rameswaram is a small island town in Tamil Nadu known for being one of the four most sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites. According to legend, Lord Rama—with his wife Sita—landed on the shore of this island after defeating Ravana, an evil Brahmin king who abducted and attempted to marry her.
Lord Rama wanted to pray here for forgiveness for killing Ravana ( a Brahmin). He asked Hanuman to fly Kailash and bring back a lingam from Lord Shiva’s home. While waiting for this visit and seeking another means of obtaining atonement, Sita made a small lingam herself—one that was eventually called Ramalinga by Lord Rama himself as an honorific title in recognition of both it being created by his wife Sita.
The lingam is considered to be one of the holiest places on earth. It is said that a person who prays here can get any wish fulfilled.
11. Birla Mandir, Rajasthan
Birla Mandir is one of the most famous temples in India. Located close to Jaipur, it was built by the Birla family of industrialists in 1938. The temple is dedicated to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and Venkateswara, the lord of the Venkata hills. This temple is also known as “Raja Harishchandra ki Jai” because its deity resembles Raja Harischand from a popular legend about honesty and truthfulness.
The architecture of this temple has been inspired by the Dravidian style with many pillars surrounding it on all sides so that anyone can enter easily without any difficulty; however, till date entry has been restricted to Hindus only, and visitors are not allowed inside except during certain religious occasions like Diwali or Karwa Chauth when they have special ceremonies celebrating these events here
The temple premises also features an open-air theater where performances take place regularly. There are many other places around Birla Mandir like Jal Mahal (water palace), Hawa Mahal (wind palace), and Albert Hall Museum where visitors can spend their time exploring these attractions.
12. Siddhivinayak Temple, Maharashtra
Siddhivinayak Temple is located in Prabhadevi, Mumbai. It is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god. The Siddhivinayak Ganesha idol is a unique and unusual sculpture, made from a single black stone. It has Ganesha’s trunk on the right instead of his usual left side.
Shree Siddhivinayak temple is one of the richest temples in India, with huge amounts of donations pouring in from all corners of the world—from Rs 100 million to 150 million a year.
The original temple was a modest 3.6-square-meter brick structure; however, it was later renovated into its current form due to the generosity of Deubai Patil—an Agri woman who made a generous donation.
On the wooden doors of the shrine, eight impressions of Lord Ganapati (Ashtavinayak) are carved—one of which is Siddivinayak.
Devotees visit the temple on all days of the year, but Tuesday is when most people come to pray for good luck—a belief that has been held since ancient times.
The temple is a major attraction for tourists as well and one of the most famous temples in India. The Ganesha idol in the form of a black stone is believed to be self-manifested by the Hindu god himself.
13. Gangotri Temple, Uttarakhand
This temple is believed to be the place where Lord Shiva created the holy river Ganges by breaking off locks of his hair.
Gangotri Temple is located in the Uttarakhand district of India, near the Himalayan mountain range. The temple’s history is legendary and explains how it holds great religious significance for many Hindus around the world.
The temple at Gangotri opens yearly on Akshaya Tritiya (usually in April or May). On this occasion, an idol of Ganga Maa is brought back from the Mukhyamath temple (her winter abode), which is at a distance of 20 km. Every year on Diwali, Maa Ganga again travels back to her home in Mukhyamath.
According to legend, King Bhagirath performed rigorous penance for 1,000 years in order to please Mother Ganga and request her descent from heaven so that she could release his ancestors from the curse they were suffering under. Pleased with his sincere devotion, mother Ganga agreed
But she asked Bhagirath to pray for her descent because otherwise, the entire planet wouldn’t be able to sustain her. After being pleased by his prayers, Lord Shiva granted him this wish and allowed Mother Ganga to flow out of locks hair.
14. Golden Temple, Punjab
The holy book of the Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib, was first placed in Sri Harmandir Sahib after its completion.
The four doors, opening in four prominent directions, welcome people from any faith or race to seek religious and spiritual contentment. The structure’s majestic architecture is built on a lower level than its immediate surroundings—a symbol of humility cherished by believers around the world.
The Golden Temple is the holiest shrine of the Sikhs. It was built by Guru Arjan Dev in 1604, and it’s set on a raised platform in a large pool of water. It is in Amritsar, the holy city of Punjab.
The temple is decorated with gold and marble, and it has domes covered with gold sheeting. The domes were rebuilt after they were damaged during an attack by the Afghan ruler Abdali in 1761
The temple is surrounded by a massive courtyard, where pilgrims wash in the pool of water before entering the shrine. Within the temple is a large, prominent dome that contains the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhism.
15. Yamunotri Temple, Uttarakhand
The Yamunotri temple, located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand state, was built in the 19th century and destroyed twice by natural disasters. The temple was first built in the mid-19th century, but it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1855. A new temple was then built and completed in 1856. This temple was also damaged by a landslide caused by heavy rainfall in 1975. The current structure is a reconstruction of that second temple, which itself was modeled after the original one from the 19th century.
Dedicated to River Yamuna, the second holiest river of India, the temple also forms part of the four Chota Char Dham Yatra. Located at a height of 3291 meters (or 10500 feet), it houses an idol made from black marble
The temple opens on the day of Akshaya Tritiya and closes after Diwali. During the rainy season, when it’s too difficult for people to walk through riverside villages, Mother Yamuna’s idol is relocated temporarily from her shrine at Yamunotri until roads are clear again.
The temples of India are some of the most popular sites for tourists to visit. They have been around for thousands of years and have a long history that goes back many generations before them. They are also home to many different kinds of architecture and art, making each one unique in its own way.
The temples in India are a must-see for any tourist. They are full of history and culture. By visiting these temples, you will be able to learn more about the country’s history as well as experience how much their culture has changed over the years.
The temples are a great way to learn about the history of India and how it has evolved over the years. They also provide a place for locals and tourists alike to come together, making them an important part of Indian culture.
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