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35 Famous Temples in India

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Famous Indian temples

Famous Indian temples

Famous and Amazing Indian Temples

India is a land of diversity, with varied cultures, festivals, and beautiful temples. Temples can be found everywhere—from the hilly areas of the Himalayas to the mountains of Ladakh and from the forgotten villages of Tamil Nadu to the caves of Maharashtra. You can even find them in the deserts of Rajasthan. Every street in India has at least one, be it big or small. This is because people in India are very religious, and most follow their religion avidly.

This devotion can be witnessed at yearly festivals where people come together and organize pandals (a temporary structure) to worship God. Mumbai's Ganesh Chaturthi and Kolkata's Durga Puja are the most famous. Many people in India also go to extreme levels to demonstrate their belief in God. Some leave their hometowns and walk as many as 25-30 days to visit a specific temple. Others leave everything they have and become sadhus (sages) or Khareshwari or Standing Baba, people who vow to stand for long periods of time without sleep as a punishment intended for self-enlightenment.

One could assert that India is the most religious and spiritual place in the world. In any case, it certainly has some of the planet's most spectacular temples. Below is a list of 35 of the most famous temples in India along with magnificent photos.

Famous Temples in India

  1. Meenakshi Amman Temple
  2. Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib)
  3. Sai Baba
  4. Vaishno Devi Mandir
  5. Tirumala Venkateswara
  6. Shravana Belgola
  7. Chennakesava Temple
  8. Hoysaleswara Temple
  9. Sabarimala
  10. Murugan Temple
  11. Temples of Kumbakonam
  12. Ramanathaswamy Temple
  13. Sun Temple
  14. Lotus Temple
  15. Akshardham Temple
  16. Jagannath Temple
  17. Sree Padmanabhaswamy
  18. Badrinarayan
  19. Dwarkadhish Temple
  20. Siddhivinayak Temple
  21. Kamakhya
  22. Ranganathaswamy Temple
  23. Somnath Temple
  24. Brihadeshwara
  25. Kashi Vishwanath
  26. Virupaksha Temple
  27. Lingaraja Temple
  28. Ekambareswarar
  29. Mahabodhi
  30. Kedarnath
  31. Sanchi Stupa
  32. Ranakpur Jain Temple
  33. Yamunotri Temple
  34. Amarnath Temple
  35. Khajuraho Group of Monuments

1. Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai

The name of this spectacular temple is synonymous with the name of the town of Madurai. Madurai's Meenakshi temple is considered the largest temple in India as per the size and the area. Established in the sixteenth century, it is also one of the oldest temples in India.

It is the most famous temple of Tamil Nadu. There are nearly 14 gopurams, or gateways, that are magnificently carved out and beautiful paintings adorn the walls with thousands of stone figures. Out of the 14 towers, only four are considered the major ones. They are located on all sides (i.e the southern, eastern, western, and northern sides of the temple).

2. Golden Temple in Amritsar

The Golden temple, otherwise known as the Harmandir Sahib, is considered the holiest shrine in Sikhism. If you watch Bollywood movies, then you might have seen it.

Scores of people from all around the world and from all religions come to visit it each year. The temple is gold plated, and the interiors are decorated with marvelous architecture that will take your breath away.

The annual harvest festival of Baisakhi attracts tens of thousands of people and is celebrated with great warmth and intensity. The festival of Diwali is also celebrated with great excitement.

This temple is also the home of the largest free eatery, known as Langar (community kitchen), where people from any religion irrespective of their caste, creed, or economic background can come and eat for free. As many as 50,000 people eat here daily, and around 100,000 visit on weekends.

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3. Sai Baba in Shirdi

With the message of Sabka Malik Ek Hai (One God Governs All), Sai Baba came to the small village of Shirdi. He taught people that there is one God and encouraged everyone to love, to be kind, and to help others selflessly.

The temple of Sai Baba is located in Shirdi—one of the major places of worship in Maharastra.

People who live more than 300-400 km away journey here yearly as part of their religious pilgrimage or padayatra (travel by walk). Don't be surprised to see people over 80 years of age or children under eight years old.

4. Vaishno Devi Mandir in Katra

This temple is dedicated to Mata Vaishnav Devi, and it is the second most visited temple in India. It is situated at a height of 5200 feet above land.

The temple is very significant among Hindus, and most try to visit it at least once in their lifetime.

If you are planning to visit, then it is mandatory to take the Yatra Registration Card (YRC) or Parchi. The YRC is available for free at the Katra bus station, which also happens to be the nearest bus stop. YRCs can also be obtained online from the official website by paying Rs. 50 per person. No private parties can issue the YRC.

5. Tirumala Venkateswara in Tirupati

Also known as the Tirupati Balaji, this temple is the most visited temple in India, and it also happens to be the most visited place of worship in the world. It was once considered the wealthiest temple in the world until a treasure was found at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy in Kerala.

People travel here to make wishes: some pray for wealth, some come to donate their wealth, some wish to have a child, and others come to get married.

The temple gets nearly 50,000 daily visitors and an annual count of 40 million visitors. Devotees often offer huge amounts of cash and gold when they come. As an estimate, the annual gold offered here is more than 3000 kgs.

6. Shravana Belgola in Hassan

Shravana Belgola is the name of the place where the tallest monolithic statue in the world stands. This statue, called Bahubali or Gommateshwara, is highly revered by Jains observers. There are also many other statues that are taller than this one, such as Hanuman Murti at Paritala, Andhra Pradesh.

This is one of the most sacred places of Jainism. Sharavana Belgola, or Sravanabelgola as it may be pronounced, has two hills, namely Vindyagiri and Chandragiri. The statue is located in the Vindyagiri hills. It is a 57-feet-tall statue.

Mahamasthakabhisheka is a festival which takes place every twelve years. At this festival, the statue is embrocated with milk, oil, ghee, and sandalwood, etc. Thousands of people visit for this festival. The ceremony last took place in 2006, and the next is scheduled in 2018.

7. Chennakesava Temple in Belur

This temple and the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu are close to Shravan Belgola. Whoever visits Shravan Belgola also visits the Chennakesava and the Hoysaleswara temple. It is actually located in a complex with the Chennakesava temple at the center, flanked by many smaller temples on its left and right.

It is definitely one of the finest examples of excellence in architecture. Built in the 11th century, it still stands firmly today.