India is universally known as the land of spiritual awakening and is home to some of the most architecturally brilliant temples. There are uncountable temple complexes spread across the country, each as beautiful and significant as the other.
10 Most Famous Temples of India that attract visitors from across the world.
- The Lotus Temple- New Delhi
- Akshardham temple- New Delhi
- The Golden Temple- Amritsar
- Vaishno Devi Temple- Jammu Kashmir
- Mahabodhi Temple- Patna
- Kailash Temple- Ellora
- Konark Sun Temple- Orissa
- Brihadeshwara Temple- Thanjavur
- Dilwara Temples- Mount Abu
- Somnath Temple- Gujarat
1. The Lotus Temple- New Delhi
Sparkling white marble covers concrete to form this lotus-shaped Bahá’í place of worship.
Having journeyed through India to study its architecture, Fariborz Sahba came upon an interesting realization: all religions have one symbol in common- the lotus. Influenced by this experience, he conceived the Temple in Delhi in the form of a lotus in an attempt to bring out the concept of purity, simplicity and unity of the Bahá’í Faith.
The Temple welcomes everyone irrespective of their religious leaning, gender or nationality. Make a visit to the temple to attain a calm state of mind and witness the confluence of all religions, worshipping under the same roof.
2. Akshardham Temple- New Delhi
The temple epitomizes several centuries of Indian culture and brilliantly showcases the essence of India’s ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spiritual teachings.
Around 11,000 devoted artisans and volunteers joined hands to build the temple.
Take an enlightening journey through India’s glorious art, values and contributions at Akshardham. A depiction of the cycle of birth, life, and death as described in Indian philosophy carried out through a spectacular musical fountain show is the key attraction.
A cultural boat ride takes you through the making of India as we know it today. Exquisite bronze statues ensconced in sixty acres of lush lawns honor India’s valorous warriors, patriots and achievers to inspire values and character.
3. The Golden Temple- Amritsar
Resting on the waters of Amrit Sarovar, fed by an underground spring, the Golden Temple is a beautiful blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural style. An elegant marble causeway adorned with pietra dura leads to the main temple complex- the intricately engraved gold paneled temple.
Inside the complex, a melodious chant from Guru Granth Sahib adds to the spiritual atmosphere.
A Sikh Museum in the temple compound depicts the struggles of Sikhs over years.
Having visited the main temple, you can wander around the premises to enjoy the serenity and beauty of the place and the calm lull of the lake.
Don’t miss out on the delicious khada prasad offered in the temple.
4. Vaishno Devi Temple- Jammu Kashmir
Situated at an altitude of 5,200 feet, the hindu temple of Mata Vaishno Devi in Jammu has been an abode of worship for the pilgrims since ages. The deity resides in a Holy Cave nestled in the folds of a three peaked mountain named Trikuta.
The holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi Ji holds the manifestation of Mata in her three forms i.e. Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi, Maha Saraswati making it mythologically significant. A stream of water flows out through the holy Cave and many devotees fill their containers with this holy water to carry home. The stream also feeds a bathing ghat where you can rinse yourself.
The devotees embark on a 12 km long trek from Katra to seek blessings of the Goddess, however, over the years, palanquins and horses have been made available for the physically weak devotees. Several cafeterias are dotted along the trail so you can take a short break.
The awe-inspiring beauty of the Jammu and Kashmir valley surrounds you during your trek making the visit worth it.
Do visit the Bhairon Temple too on your visit.
5. Mahabodhi Temple- Patna
This UNESCO World Heritage Site near Patna is believed to be place where Lord Buddha attained ‘enlightenment’. It is one of the four holy sites pertaining to the life of Lord Buddha and was the first temple built by Asoka between 5th-6th centuries. Built entirely in brick, the temple is believed to have a significant influence in the development of brick architecture.
The temple complex comprises of the 50 metre high grand Temple, the Vajrasana, sacred Bodhi Tree and other six sacred sites of Buddha’s enlightenment. Several ancient stupas mark the boundary of the complex. A Lotus Pond, believed to be the seventh sacred site is located outside.
The temple, considered the most sacred place of Buddhism in the world is significant in terms of archaeology, philosophy and cultural history making it a must-visit site for everyone.
6. Kailash Temple- Ellora
Huge trenches bored into a cliff and a removal of 200,000 tonnes of rock by mere hammer and chisel were used to give shape to this ambitious experiment of King Krishna I, to represent Mount Kailasa, Shiva’s Himalayan abode.
The temple, carved out of a solid rock is adorned with intricate panels depicting visuals from the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the adventures of Krishna. In the courtyard of the premises, beautifully sculpted monolithic pillars flank the entrance point. The indigenous Deccan artisans are believed to have played a subordinate role in the temple’s construction
Explore the temple premises for ancient relics and carvings before you tread your way through a cave offering you a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of the entire temple complex.
7. Konark Sun Temple- Orissa
Situated on the north eastern corner of Puri, the Sun Temple of Konark is dedicated to the Sun God. Its brilliant Oriyan architectural feat led to its being included as a UNSECO World Heritage Site.
The hindu temple, built in 13th century depicts the artistic intelligence and engineering dexterity of King Narasimhadeva. The temple design depicts a giant chariot drawn by seven horses and twelve wheels carrying the Sun God- Surya across the heaven.
It is widely believed that the conceived design of the temple wasn’t followed through owing to a weak foundation but the locals believe it was constructed in entirety, but, the dome was removed after its magnetism caused ship wrecks near the shore.
Feast your eyes on this spell-bounding piece of architecture while visiting Konark, for even though the main temple holding the deity has fallen off, the existing magnificent structure reflects the sheer brilliance of the architects and builders involved in its making.
8. Brihadeshwara Temple- Thanjavur
Built more than 1000 years ago by Raja Raja Chola I this World Heritage Site is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. All major festivals and economic and religious activities during the Chola were held in the premises.
This thanjavur famous temple rests on a river bank giving it an appearance of a fortress. The key attraction is the 216 feet huge tower built of 130,000 tonnes of granite. An interesting phenomenon that attracts people from across the world is that the temple’s shadow never falls on the ground at noon owing to its design.
Many brilliant sculptures, intricate carvings and ornate designs add to the beauty of the temple.
While all the other palatial monuments of the Chola period perished over the centuries, this one stands tall in all its grandeur and glory reflecting the builders’ devotion of Lord Shiva. No wonder it is hailed as one of the ‘Greatest Living Chola Temples’!
While there are many other tourist places to visit in Thanjavur some of them have rich ancient past.
9. Dilwara Temples- Mount Abu
Standing against the backdrop of verdant Aravali Hills, the magnificently carved Dilwara Temples were built around 12th century by Vastupal Tejpal. Bearing intricate carvings and opulent use of marble, the temple is sure to have you spell bound with the stunning designs and patterns carved on roofs, archways and pillars.
The temple complex comprises of five equally charming single-storied temples namely- Vimal Vasahi, Luna Vasahi, Pittalhar, Parshavanatha and Mahavir Swami Temple dedicated to different Jain Tirthankaras.
The main attraction of the temple is ‘Ranga Mandapa’, a dome-shaped ceiling. It has a chandelier-like structure in the middle of the roof, and sixteen stone-made idols of Vidyadevi, surround it.
With the simplicity of the temple architecture reflecting the Jain values and principles, the Dilwara Temples are a treat for the eyes of the architecture aficionados and history lovers.
10. Somnath Temple- Gujarat
Located on the western coast of Gujarat, the Somnath Temple is one of the oldest hindu temples of the country dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple has stood the test of time against several destructions, yet, its beauty hasn’t faded.
The temple has been constructed in the Chalukyan style and showcases fine architectural skills of its builders and designers. A subtle Jain influence on the carvings and the overall design is clearly visible despite it being a Brahmanical temple.
If you slip out the side door, the bordering Arabian Sea offers a scenic spectacle.
Explore the beauty of India’s rich history and architecture and get in touch with your spirituality by embarking on a journey to these 10 famous temples of India.
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