As one of the oldest ancient civilizations, India is widely known as a country with abundant cultural heritage, unique traditions, as well as tourism resources. India is also the source of Buddhism. Countless beautiful temples and magnificent mosques can be found all over the country, and some can be traced back several centuries, while others can be called modern architectural miracles. The temples are not only the reflection of rich cultural heritage but also an outstanding craft. Here is a list of the top 11 gorgeous temples to visit when traveling in India.
The temple of Kashi Vishwanath, one of the twelve Jyotirlingams of India, is located in the holy city of Varanasi on the western banks of the River Ganges and is one of India's most famous Shiva temples.
It was built in 1780 by the Maratha Monarch Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore. It is a temple of great importance to Hindus, as well as the residence of the supreme Shiva.
Due to the existence of the 15.5 meters high Golden spire, Kashi Vishwanath temple is called the Golden temple. It is believed that visiting Kashi Golden Temple can kill all evil souls and get salvation. It is considered a way to realize Mosha, which is said to be the ultimate liberation from rebirth through the law of karma.
Early arrival at Kashi Vishwanath before the crowd is strongly recommended to get an impressive spiritual experience of the peaceful darshan.
Jagannath Puri Temple
Jagannath Puri Temple was established by Raja Anantavarman on the coastal land of Orissa, India, in the 12th century to celebrate the movement of the monarch's capital from southern India to Orissa. Lord Jagannath is a symbol of universal love and brotherhood. He is worshipped on Ratnabedi, or the gemstone stage, together with Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshan, Madhaba, Sridevi, and Bhudevi.
Besides, there are 120 temples in the whole area, which worship different gods and Hindu goddesses. During the Rathyatra Festival in the monsoon, the temple was decorated with great splendor. Pilgrims from all over the world gathered in Puli to join in the carnival.
Tirupati Balaji Temple
Tirupati Balaji Temple is built with Dravidian architecture in Tirumala Mountain., and it is visited by more than 100000 believers every day.
Under special circumstances, the number will increase to more than 30 million. Solemn Brahmoz Festival is celebrated in Tirupati Balaji Temple, which lasts for 9 days every year.
The main complex of the temple houses the awe-inspiring idol of the Lord of the Seven Hills and is worshipped by millions of devotees all over the world. Throughout the year, believers donated huge amounts of money to Tirupati Balaji Temple, making it one of the richest temples in the world.
Vaishno Devi Temple
Vaishno Devi temple is perceived as one of the Shakti Peethas and is worshipped by Hindus. Vaishno Devi temple is located on a mountain near the town of Katra in Jammu and Kashmir, India, with an altitude of more than 5000 feet. It is very difficult to reach the temple. Tourists have to walk about 12 kilometers under extreme weather conditions to reach Vaishno Devi temple, making it the most sacred place for Hindus to make pilgrimages. however, nowadays it is possible to reach the mountain top on horseback or on the dolly, which is a seat carried by a porter. Once reach the temple, I’m sure you will be impressed by the amazing atmosphere and stunning view of the Kullu valley.
Meenakshi Amman Temple
Located in Tamil Nadu, India, Meenakshi Amman Temple is the most famous temple in South India. With a history of more than 1000 years, Meenakshi Amman Temple attracts people from all over the world with its lifelike and exquisite statues.
It is an outstanding representative of architecture, sculpture, painting, and other arts in South India, and pilgrims come here from all directions every day.
Meenakshi Amman Temple boasts 14 towers covered with 33,000 colorful sculptures. Its various minor quadrangular complexes, outstanding vimanas, hall of 1000 pillars, musical pillars, golden lotus tank, and parrot cage are some fascinating highlights of the temple. Whether you are a devotee or not, you will be stunned by these amazing artworks.
Siddhi Vinayak Temple
Siddhi Vinayak Temple is located in Mumbai, India, and was built in 1801. As one of the oldest temples in Mumbai, pujas are performed here every Tuesday, attracting queues of worshippers.
When visitors enter the temple, they will be impressed by the gilded roof. Eight pictures of the Ganesha are carved on the wooden door of Siddhivinayak Temple. There is a statue of the Ganesha, flanked by the goddesses Sidi and Lidi, representing the symbol of wealth and prosperity. Although sitting in the city area, you may enjoy the peace and divinity in Siddhi Vinayak Temple.
Mahabodhi Temple was built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century and is considered the place where Buddha was enlightened. It has been regarded as one of the most sacred places for Buddhists around the world. As one of the earliest brick and stone structure Buddhist temples in India since the late Gupta period, the temple complex of Bodhijaya demonstrates a large temple 50 meters height, a sacred bodhi tree where Buddha obtained enlightenment, and six other places related to Buddha's enlightenment. When you get there, don't forget to sit by the sacred bodhi tree and enjoy the spiritual enlightens.
The Somnath Temple is located in Gujarat on the west coast of Saurashtra and is one of the must-visit holy temples in India. The present temple complex has been rebuilt in Chalukya style, and it is extremely well maintained.
The name "Somnath" can be translated into "the protector of the moon god". It is believed that the Temple of God was built with the Moon God to commemorate the Somnath Temple.
The temple compound is nicely arranged and sits by the coast. Besides the beautiful darshan, temple gardens are a wonderful place to meditate or relax.
Ramnathaswamy Temple (Rameshwaram)
Situated on Rameshwaram Island in southern India, the holy Ramanataswamy Temple is a sacred paradise, where countless believers gather for Shiva.
Built-in the 12th century by the Pandya dynasty, Ramanataswamy Temple owns the longest corridor among all Hindu temples in India. The stone in the corridor is carved with Nayak-style patterns.
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is a holy place for Hindus. This Vishnu Temple covers an area of 60 hectares and is surrounded by seven tall and thick city walls. It is believed to be the largest temple in India. Its structure and layout are highly integrated, often used as a model of the Great Temple in South India. Although it was mentioned in the poetry anthology of ancient Tamil poets, the inscription in the temple only dates back to the 10th century, because the original temple was destroyed by Alauddin Khilji.
From an external view, it looks like an unbreakable castle, surrounded by seven walls, as if walking into a maze. Generally speaking, beggars and poor people stay beyond the periphery, the second wall is allowed for business people, and the Brahman with the highest social status is permitted into the third wall. The main temple complex is from the fourth wall. Non-Hindus may be able to walk to the sixth wall, that is, the holy room at the Golden Summit, which is forbidden for non-Hindus.
Shirdi Sai Baba Temple
Saibaba Temple has located about 270 km from Mumbai in India. Shirdi is known as the former home of revered spiritual leader Sai Baba, and it is a major pilgrimage site with a beautiful marble statue of Sai Baba, next to his tomb.
If you are tired of the huge crowds of temples, then I can say Shirdi Sai Baba Temple is the best choice. It offers more breathing space and enjoys the natural environment with statues like Shivan, Anjeneya, Ramar, Ganapathy, Durgai, Lord Murugan, Sani Peedam, Krishna, Gayatri devi, and meditation hall.
The statue of Saiba is located in an independent building with many seats for pilgrims to rest. The closer you get to the statue, the more sacred you feel. You can offer flowers to the gods or sit down to meditate and relax.
Sri Harmandir Sahib Temple
Sri Harmandir Sahib temple, known as the Golden Temple, is the holiest shrine of Sikhs. Located in Amritsar, India, it is visited by thousands of pilgrims. In addition, the establishment of this temple aims to provide a place for believers from all walks of life and religions to worship God on an equal footing. Every day, more than 100,000 people come to visit the sacred paradise.
Founded in 1577 by the fourth Sikh master Guru Ram Das, it is not only a central religious place of the Sikhs but also a symbol of human brotherhood and equality.
When you step into Sri Harmandir Sahib, you'll find it has a unique charm with Sikh architecture with the gilded buildings shining. And if you observe, you may see several glittering gemstones decorated on Adi Granth's silver canopy.
The trip with temples will be a good beginning to explore the diversified culture in India. In addition, it's a fantastic way to witness breathtaking ancient architecture while having this unique spiritual experience.
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