11 Hindu Temples You Must Visit Once In Lifetime In India
By: Pinki Wed, 22 Mar 2023 11:44:37
Ever since the first specs of civilization were unearthed in the Indus valley civilization, the presence of temples in India have been defined. Home to millions of massive and small temples or Mandirs, India is the perfect place for going temple hopping. Dedicated to various gods, goddesses and their avatars, almost every inch of the subcontinent is covered in temples. Temples in India are not merely places of worship but they are a source of immense strength and hope for everyone. Temples have not only managed to preserve the age-old culture and rich heritage but it has also helped in continually reminding us of our wonderful history that we should be proud of.
With the sound of devotional chanting in every corner and the fragrance of incense in the air while displaying traditional temple architecture, here are the top 11 Hindu temples in India:
# Shree Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple, Gujarat
Located on the banks of the Arabian Sea in the holy Veraval region of the western most state of Gujarat, Somnath Mahadev is one of the most important temples of not just Gujarat but of India as well. According to historical accounts and various literary sources, the temple has been ransacked 17 times in the past by invaders and robbers who plundered and stole the temple’s precious stones, gems and gold.
The current temple complex structure was completed in 1951 using the traditional Chalukya Style of architecture. With the presiding deity of Lord Shiva the temple is a major pilgrimage centre for devotees from all over the world.
# Badrinath Temple, Uttarakhand
Dedicated to Lord Badri who is an avatar of Lord Vishnu, Badrinath Dham is an important pillar of spirituality among the temples of India. Situated just next to the holy Alaknanda River, the temple is a part of all India as well as the Chota Char Dham Yatra that takes place in Devbhumi, Uttarakhand. Established by Adi Shankaracharya during the 8th century, the temple is a stark contrast to the lush green surroundings.
According to mythological accounts, it is here that Lord Vishnu had spent ages, just meditating while also braving the harsh weather conditions without a flinch. The temple is very close to the hearts of every Vishnu devotee as well as every Hindu devotee who wishes to go for the Char Dham Yatra and attain moksha.
# Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri
Situated in the eastern coastal state of Odisha, Jagannath temple is another important part of the All India Char Dham Yatra. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu who is worshipped here as the lord of the universe, the temple of Jagannath was built in the 12th Century. The presiding deity inside the temple is that of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and her sister goddess Subhadra.
The temple has found its mention in the holy Skanda Puran and Brahma Puran. The wooden idols of the presiding deity have been blessed by Lord Brahma himself and hold a lot of importance in the life of Hindu devotees. The temple is stunningly built on platforms with the mian temple dome being 45 stories high.
# Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi
Kashi Vishwanath or the golden-roofed temple in the heart of Varanasi is a major place of Shiva pilgrimage in India. Ranking among one of the most visited temples in India, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is truly a culmination of deep religious beliefs and spirituality in one. The temple has found its mention in the ancient holy writings of the puranas and has been visited by several important historical people such as Adi Shankara, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda, Goswami Tulsidas and many more.
The temple is built on the spot where the divine Jyotirlinga had appeared on its own. Just like several Hindu temples in India, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple had been demolished and reconstructed several times from the hands of various rulers. Gracing the holy banks of the river Ganga, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple complex consists of several smaller temple shrines and a major pilgrimage destination in India.
# Rameswaram Temple, Tamil Nadu
Also known as Ramanathaswamy temple and located in the island of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu. This Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the 12 important pilgrimage sites for Jyotirlinga Darshan while also being an important part of the All India Char Dham Yatra. As per the historical accounts, Rameswaram temple was constructed following the instructions of Lord Ram himself.
He got the temple built with the intention of worshipping Lord Shiva prior to his journey to Sri Lanka. Even the main lingam of the temple was established and worshipped by Lord Rama before crossing the bridge to Sri Lanka. This temple was later on expanded and decorated immaculately using massive gopurams and corridors by the Pandya Dynasty and the monarchs of the Jaffna kingdom.
# Meenakshi Amman Temple, Tamil Nadu
Also known as the Shri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, is located on the banks of the holy Vaigai Temple in the holy temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Dedicated to goddess Meenakshi who is an avatar of goddess Parvati the temple has found its mention in the holy Tamil Sangam literature that was built between 6th to 9th century.
The temple represents the matrilineal society and the fact that the women held an important position during the bygone era as opposed to what people may think. The temple is primarily known for its architecture and design style with over 33,000 colourful structures decorating it. Displaying 12 massive gopurams, a hall of thousand pillars and a massive gold lotus pond in the centre, every aspect of this temple is captivating to say the least.
# Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand
Situated on an elevation of over 3,500 metres above sea level in Devbhoomi Uttarakhand, Kedarnath is an important temple of Shiva pilgrimage. Placed just next to Mandakini River, this powerful Shiva temple is also a part of the Char Dham Yatra. As per historical texts the foundation for the temple was laid by the Pandava brothers while they had visited Kedarnath on a quest for forgiveness by Lord Shiva.
Later on the temple’s importance was revived by the great sage and philosopher Adi Shankaracharya who is also credited with the establishment of the holy Char Dham Yatra. The temple houses the unique triangular-shaped lingam inside a traditionally built temple structure. Although the 18 km long route to Kedarnath is an extremely challenging one, reaching the powerful divine feeling can be overwhelming for many devotees.
# Ram Janmabhoomi Temple, Ayodhya
Currently under construction, Ram Mandir is situated in the holy land of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. The temple is being built under the supervision of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra, it is set to become the largest temple in India. The temple holds immense importance in the life of every Hindu devotee since according to the holy book of Ramayan, it is here that Lord Ram is said to have been born.
The temple structure will be built in the traditional style with nagaras and domes supported by intricately carved-out pillars. Each brick used in the making of this temple will say RAM. After decades of trials, tribulations, riots and destruction, it was in 2020 that the ground ceremony took place by the honourable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
# Tungnath Mahadev Temple, Uttarakhand
Situated in the hill state of Devbhumi Uttarakhand on an elevation of 3,690 metres above sea level, Tungnath Mahadev is the highest Shiva temple in the world. Reaching the temple involves a brief hike of a few kms through a diverse natural biodiversity of the Himalayas. The temple’s origin can be traced to the time of the Pandavas.
They are said to have established this temple as a part of their Panch Kedar Yatra while they were looking for Lord Shiva. Hindu legends also tell us that both Lord Rama and Ravana had performed penance and meditated here. As the snow covers the region during the peak winter season, the idol of the presiding deity is shifted to the Markandeshwar Temple in the nearby village of Makkumath.
# Akshardham Temple, Delhi
Situated in the capital city of New Delhi, Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple is a massive temple complex. This temple complex represents the combination of traditional and modern Hindu culture, spirituality and architectural style at its best. Established in 2005 and constructed by the BAPS, the temple complex is over 2 acres and consists of several fascinating and engaging elements.
It is built in such a way that truly reflects the 1,000-year-long well preserved culture of Indian temples and traditions. It is truly a spectacle to behold as it is adorned with 200 intricately sculptured stone figures of not only gods and goddesses but of sages, monks, Acharyas and other such divine figures. Each of the 234 pillars in the temple are carved out ornately along with the 9 domes.
# Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Kerala
Famous for being the richest temple in the world and located in the city of Lord Vishnu, Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, the temple is a wonder in itself. The treasures contained inside the temple vaults are divided into 5 vaults where each vault contains billions worth of gold and treasures. The temple has been mentioned in various religious Hindu texts like the Vishnu Puran, Brahma Puran, Matsya Puran, Bhagwat Puran and more.
It is also one of the holy 108 Divya Desams in India which are considered as the holy abodes of Lord Vishnu. Built during the 8th century with the current structure dating back to the 18th century, there are numerous traditions surrounding the origins of the temple.