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Top 35 Famous Temples in India

31 Mar, 2024
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With its kaleidoscope of diverse cultures and religious traditions, India is dotted with thousands of temples, each with its own unique legends and stunning architecture.

Exploring Indias Top 35 Famous Temples

From ancient stone shrines to ornate complexes decked in colourful carvings, here are 35 religious places in India that should be on every visitors itinerary.

1. Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu & Kashmir

One of the most visited temples in India and a revered pilgrimage site, the Vaishno Devi temple is dedicated to Durga/Vaishnavi, the Hindu goddess of power. Situated high in the Trikuta Mountains, it requires a scenic 12 km trek uphill to reach the sacred cave temple.

Vaishno Devi Temple

2. Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab

Here comes one of the top temples in India, the holiest shrine of Sikhism, the Golden Temple which glitters with gold and precious stones. Its four doors symbolise open access for all visitors regardless of faith or background. The temple honors the Sikh idea of equality, feeding over 100,000 people daily in its communal kitchen.

Golden Temple

3. Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

With 14 colossal, elaborately painted gopurams (gateway towers), Meenakshi Amman is a spectacle of Dravidian architecture. Dedicated to Parvati in the form of Meenakshi and her consort Shiva as Sundareshwarar, it buzzes with thousands of pilgrims daily.

Meenakshi Amman Temple

4. Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand

Situated in the snow-capped Garhwal Himalayas near the headwaters of the Ganges, the magnificently scenic Kedarnath Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, sacred abodes of Shiva. It can only be reached on foot after a steep 14 km trek. It is one of the ancient temples of India, and it is believed visiting this holy place helps people achieve contentment in life.

Kedarnath Temple

5. Jagannath Temple, Puri, Odisha

Dedicated to Jagannath and a part of the Char-Dham yatra, this temple is a manifestation of Vishnu. This is famous for its annual Rath Yatra festival which sees ornately carved chariots pulled through the streets. Non-Hindus cannot enter but can admire the temple from the rooftops of nearby buildings.

Jagannath Temple

6. Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

One of Hinduisms seven Mokshapuris or cities of liberation, Varanasis Kashi Vishwanath Temple stands on the banks of the River Ganges. It glistens with over 800 kg of gold donated by devotees to the swayambhu (self-generated) Jyotirlinga of Shiva. This place is one of the best temples to visit in India, it will give you a break from the chaos of the outer world.

7. Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh

The worlds second-richest temple, Tirumala Venkateswara is dedicated to Vishnu, attracting 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily. It sits atop one of the seven peaks of Tirumala Hill, decorated with intricate carvings and laden with precious gems and jewels. Additionally, it is one of the most visited temples in India which believed to fulfil the wishes of the devotees.

8. Somnath Temple, Gujarat

Believed to be first among the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva, Somnath Temple has been destroyed and rebuilt sixteen times. One of the famous Indian temples, Somnath Temple ts soaring arrow-shaped tower offers panoramic views over the breathtaking coastline. A magnificent Shiv Lingam is enshrined in the inner sanctum.

9. Ramanathaswamy (Rameswaram) Temple, Tamil Nadu

Located on the island of Rameswaram, this renowned temple dedicated to Shiva has one of Indias largest and longest temple corridors stretching over 4000 metres with nearly 4000 intricately carved pillars lining it on both sides.

10. Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai, Maharashtra

One of the famous Indian temples dedicated to Ganesha, Mumbais Siddhivinayak Temple witnesses thousands of devotees flocking daily, especially on Tuesdays. Its imposing black stone dome is covered in an intricate mosaic of orange and yellow tiles featuring eight elephant arms pointing outwards.

11. Dwarkadhish Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat

Overlooking the Gomti river and Arabian Sea, the intricately carved Dwarkadhish Temple in Dwarka is dedicated to Krishna, who founded and ruled his kingdom here. It houses a black shrine and a 25 m high flag pole that dominates the landscape.

12. Konark Sun Temple, Odisha

Built in the 13th century in the shape of a giant ornamented chariot, the Konark Sun Temple is dedicated to the sun god Surya and famed for its elaborate stone carvings of celestial bodies, animals and dancers. Despite partial ruin from the seaside site, it remains a stunning architectural masterpiece.

13. Badrinath Temple, Uttarakhand

Badrinath Temple devoted to Vishnu sits royally between the snowy peaks of Nara and Narayan at over 10,000 feet above sea level. Considered the most sacred of the Chota Char Dham pilgrimage sites, it impresses with colourful gates and a gilded spire. It remained inaccessible for nearly six months due to extreme weather conditions. Those seeking best tours in India must include this divine place in their itinerary.

14. Khajuraho Temples, Madhya Pradesh

Famed for their erotic carvings, these 10th century Jain and Hindu temples display exquisite stonework, with deity figures and thousands of delicately sculpted jungle scenes, dancers, lovers and mythological creatures. They are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

15. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Kerala

With a seven-storey gopuram decorated in a fusion of the Dravidian and Kerala styles of architecture, this abode of Vishnu contains a phenomenal collection of temple treasures worth billions, revealed during an inventory in 2011. It is one of the ancient temples of India where only Hindus are allowed inside to view the 18-foot-long main deity.

16. Brihadeeswarar Temple, Tamil Nadu

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this 11th century temple dedicated to Shiva flaunts Indias tallest temple tower at 216 feet. The vimana or tower over the inner sanctum is carved from a single granite rock weighing 80 tonnes that was dragged to the top by a ramp over 6 km.

17. Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh

Dating back to the 3rd century BC, this Buddhist monument in Sanchi town has elaborately ornamented gateways making it the finest example of Buddhist art and architecture. It encloses the relics of Buddhas disciples and marks the establishment of Buddhism in India.

18. Hampi Temples, Karnataka

The group of monuments at Hampi, a UNESCO Site, constitute the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. These Hindu temples carved out of giant boulders date from the 14th century. Highlights include Vittala Temple and its iconic stone chariot.

19. Sabarimala Temple, Kerala

Nestled in the Western Ghats, this temple devoted to Swami Ayyappan sits atop a hill that requires a 4 km trek uphill. One of the religious places in India, it allows only male devotees owing to legends surrounding the resident deity. The temple sees over 50 million pilgrims annually during the festival period of November to January.

20. Amarnath Temple, Jammu & Kashmir

Every summer, thousands of Hindu pilgrims trek through challenging terrain to Amarnaths natural ice lingam formed by a stalagmite dripping water. Located in a Himalayan cave over 3,900 meters above sea level, it can only be reached on foot or pony when conditions allow. It is one of the most famous temples in India having an interesting story behind it.

21. Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya, Bihar

The UNESCO-listed Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya is one of the four holiest sites related to the life of Buddha, marking the location where he attained enlightenment beneath a bodhi tree. This beautiful temple dates back to the 6th century AD.

22. Dilwara Temples, Rajasthan

The five Dilwara temples near Mount Abu are a sacred pilgrimage place for Jains owing to the flawless white marble stonework on its ceilings, doorways and panels. Every inch is covered in exquisitely carved ornamentation, earning it the nickname Jewel in the Crown of Rajasthan.

23. Chennakesava (Belur) Temple, Karnataka

Built in 1117 AD on the banks of the Yagachi River, the ornately carved Chennakesava Temple was commissioned by King Vishnuvardhana of the Hoysala Empire as a Vaishnava temple. It took over 103 years to complete and remains an outstanding example of Hoysala architecture.

24. Shri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Tamil Nadu

This sprawling temple complex in Srirangam boasts seven prakarams or enclosures with 21 gopurams lavishly decorated with intricate carvings of deities, dancers and other figures from Hindu mythology. The inner sanctum is dedicated to Vishnu lying on the celestial snake Adisesha.

25. Sun Temple, Gujarat

Constructed in 1026 AD, the elegant sun temple at Modhera dates from the Solanki dynasty. Its pillars and interior walls feature detailed carvings of Hindu deities and geometric patterns. Solanki rulers emphasised solar worship, evidence of which is seen in positioning the temple to catch the suns rays at dawn.

26. Lakshman Temple, Rajasthan

Part of the Khajuraho Group of Monuments, this 10th-century temple is dedicated to Vaikuntha Vishnu. It stands out for its ornate exterior showcasing splendid carvings of over 600 deities around its base along with scenes from the Ramayana and columns covered in graceful apsaras.

It is one of the ancient temples of India which will take you back to the time when people used to excel in planning and construction without any advanced technology.

27. Virupaksha Temple, Karnataka

Located in the ancient Vijayanagara ruins of Hampi, the Virupaksha temple is still used for worship. Its nine-storey 52-meter-high gopuram dominates the landscape, dedicated to the patron deity of the Vijayanagara Empire, Shiva in the form of Virupaksha.

28. Sri Rangam Ranganathaswamy Temple, Tamil Nadu

Sri Rangam Temple in Tiruchirappalli is the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world spanning over 150 acres. Dedicated to Ranganatha, a form of Vishnu, it contains seven concentric walled enclosures with 21 gopurams covered in elaborate carvings of deities.

29. Lingaraj Temple, Odisha

A stunning example of Kalinga architecture, Bhubaneshwars 11th-century Lingaraj Temple is dedicated to Shiva. The towering 150 feet high deul or sanctum excellently showcases sculpted figurines of goddesses around its base alongside other parts of the temple.

30. Thanjavur Brihadeeswara Temple, Tamil Nadu

Constructed from granite in 1010 AD by Rajaraja Chola, the UNESCO site Brihadeeswara Temple has Indias tallest and largest temple tower at 216 feet high. Its vimana and intricate stone carvings still draw admirers today as a highlight of Chola architecture.

31. Kamakhya Temple, Assam

One of 51 Shakti Peethas, Kamakhya Temple honours the mother goddess Kamakhya, a symbol of female energy. It sits atop the Nilachal hill near the banks of the Brahmaputra River in Guwahati. The inner sanctum hosts the yoni-shaped stone symbolizing goddess Satis sacrifice.

32. Mehandipur Balaji Temple, Rajasthan

Dedicated to Hanuman, people flock to this Rajasthan temple to appease and ward off evil spirits and ghosts. Rituals involve devotees locking themselves in rooms overnight while priests chant mantras to purge them of malevolent forces.

33. Ranakpur Temple, Rajasthan

Hidden deep in a forested valley, 15th century Ranakpur Temple amazes with its intricate marble carvings covering every inch of its exteriors and interiors. With over 1444 marble pillars, each one etched uniquely, it is one of Rajasthans most prized architectural gems.

34. Ramanathaswamy Temple, Tamil Nadu

Located on Rameswaram island, this temple dedicated to Shiva has the longest temple corridor in India stretching 4000 meters. It comprises 48 exquisitely carved pillars along its passageways. Pilgrims bathe in 22 sacred tanks before worshipping in this holy shrine.

35. Kailasa Temple, Maharashtra

Carved out of one single rock, Kailasa Temple was commissioned in the 8th century by Rashtrakuta ruler Krishna I. Dedicated to Shiva, the monolithic structure imitates the real Kailasa mountain abode of Shiva in all its architectural grandeur and sculptural wonder.

Wrapping Up

This list offers just a glimpse into Indias thousands of holy shrines built across diverse eras and regional kingdoms. With their stunning architecture, sculptural mastery, colourful festivals, profound philosophies and living legacies, Indias temples provide endless inspiration for travelers seeking to experience its rich culture and heritage.

Discover the spiritual wonders of Indias Top 35 Famous Temples and plan your journey with the Best Tours in India today!