Top 30 Famous Temples in India - Hindu Temples

Top 30 Famous Temples in India - Hindu Temples

As said by our Father of our Nation, "Temple going is for the purification of the soul". A Hindu temple is truly a representative place, house and body of god. It is a structure designed to bring human beings and gods together, using symbolic analogy to express the ideas and beliefs of Hinduism. The idol and structure of a Hindu temple are rooted in Vedic traditions, using circles and squares mainly. It also symbolises recursion and equivalence of the universe and the microcosm by astronomical numbers and by particular alignments associated with the geography of the place and the considered linkages of the god and the devotees. A temple includes all elements of Hindu cosmos - showing the good, the evil and the human. Also, the components of the Hindu sense of cyclic time and the essence of life by symbolically representing dharma, kama, artha, moksha and karma - in Sanskrit Language.

The spiritual principles described in Hindu temples are presented in the ancient Sanskrit manuscripts of India such as Vedas and Upanishads, while their architectural rules are expressed in several ancient Sanskrit writings on Brhat Samhita, Vastu Sastras. A Hindu temple is a spiritual destination for many Hindus and other believers. It is also a landmark around which ancient arts, community celebrations and economy have flourished.

Thomas S. Monson, a great American religious leader said: "The blessings of the Temple are priceless". 

Today the whole world is practising yoga and Vedic cultures. India's rich and abundance of history on spirituality is prominent all around the world. People want to know more about Indian culture and Indian traditions, so we bring you this small blog of popular temples in India.

Here is a list of famous temples in India:

1. Akshardham:

It is also known as Swaminarayan Akshardham complex, it is a magnificent Hindu temple and also a spiritual-cultural campus located in Delhi, India. The complex exhibits utopias of traditional Hindu and great Indian culture, divine spirituality and incredible architecture.

It is dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan and you can also find other deities in the complex. It is one of the biggest temples in India, built-in 240,000 m² of area.

2. The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple:

Srirangam temple is referred to as the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world. The temple is located in Tamil Nadu. It dwells in an area of 631,000 m², this makes it the largest temple in India and one of the biggest religious structures in the world. The Ranganathaswamy Temple network with forty-nine temples, all devoted to Lord Vishnu. The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is so enormous that it is like a city within itself and its history dating back more than 1,000 years. The temple is bestowed by UNESCO Asia Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation Program for the category 'Award of Merit' in 2007.

3. Brihadeeswarar Temple:

Also known as The Big Temple, it was erected by Raja Raja Chola I in 1010 CE and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Big Temple is a magnanimous structure with its majestic vimana, carvings, architecture and frescoes. It also has a wealth and abundance of Tamil legends engraved on stone in superb calligraphy. The temple is declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Vimanam has 16 intricate stories and is taller then the main quadrangle. It has a monolithic Nandi about 25 tonnes and is about 12 ft high and 20 ft tall. The idol - lingam, is 12 ft tall.

4. Badrinath Temple:

Badrinarayan Temple is a popular Hindu temple found at Badrinath town in Uttarakhand, India and devoted to Lord Vishnu. The temple and town form one of the four holiest sites Char Dham and Chota Char Dham pilgrimage sites. It is also one of the 108 temples devoted to Lord Vishnu, which find naming in the works of great Tamil saints from 6th to 9th century.

This abode of Lord Vishnu, the ancient holy shrine and can be visited only between April to November.

5. The Konark Sun Temple:

The Sun temple is located in Konark town, in the Puri district of Odisha state. This wonder of architecture is devoted to Lord Sun was built in the 13th century by a king called Narasimhadeva. The temple has been constructed in the shape resembling Lord Sun's chariot, which has twelve wheels and is shown as being dragged by the seven horses.

The enthralling beauty of the site was best described by Rabindranath Tagore as: ‘Here the language of stone surpasses the language of man'.

It is one of the popular temples to visit in India.

6. Somnath Temple:

This is one of the oldest temples to be known in India and this holy shrine finds mention in the ancient books, like Shiva Purana, Skanda Purana and Shreemad Bhagvat. It is one of the most revered ‘jyotirlingas’ among the twelve sacred jyotirlingas of India. It is found in Prabhas Kshetra in Saurashtra, Gujarat. Prabhas Kshetra is known as the region in which it is believed that Lord Krishna left his mortal body.

Somnath temple was ruined and rebuilt many times. The temple place also houses attractions like Somnath Museum, Junagadh gate, beach and it also includes a sound and light show to entertain the pilgrims.

7. Kedarnath Temple:

Located in the Himalayan range of Garhwal region, Uttarakhand state. Kedarnath temple is one of the most pious Shiva temples in the world. It is believed that this holy abode of Lord Shiva is said to be built by the Pandavas for the sins they committed whilst battling Kauravas. The temple was restored by Adi Sankaracharya around the 8th century. Today the temple is encompassed by the glaciers and snow-capped peaks and rising at an altitude of 3,583 m, the temple is closed during winter season due to extreme cold conditions in the region. 

8. Sanchi Stupa:

Sanchi is a small village in the Raisen district, Madhya Pradesh. It is home to several Buddhist edifices built in between 3rd century BC to 12th century AD. Sanchi Stupa is the most significant among them, it is also known as the Great Stupa. A Stupa is the religious place of Buddhist, which is built in the shape of a dome that holds relics of Buddha. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a popular pilgrimage site in India which was established by the great emperor Asoka in the 3rd century BC. 

9. Rameshwaram:

Rameshwaram is a little island town in Tamil Nadu, India. It is one amongst four holiest pilgrimage places of the Hindus. The temple is known as the holiest site as it holds a great historical relevance. It is believed that Lord Rama along with his wife Sita first arrived onshore of Rameshwaram after destroying the demon Ravana who was also a Brahmin. To seek penance for killing a Brahmin, Lord Rama was insisted to built and pray to Lord Shiva in this place. Lord Rama along with Goddess Sita and Lord Hanuman built Shiva Lingas which are worshipped in different names today in the same place. It is one of the famous Temples in India.

10. Vaishno Devi Mandir:

After a trek of about 12 km from base camp - Katra, you can reach the holy cave, which is the dwelling of Maa Vaishno Devi and is positioned at an elevation of 5200 ft in a gigantic mountain named as Trikuta. It is located in Jammu and Kashmir, near Katra town. The holy temple is open all year round. Goddess Vaishno Devi is present here in the form of three rock heads, called the Pindies. It is strongly believed that only devotees with Goddess will to visit here can make it to this holiest Mandir. It is one of the famous temples to visit in India.

11. Siddhivinayak Temple:

This holy temple of Lord Vinayaka is found in Prabha Devi, Mumbai. Siddhivinayak Temple was constructed in the 18th century. Siddhivinayak(another avatar of Lord Ganesh) is the deity of the temple. It is well-known for being the first god to be worshipped before beginning any new work. On the wooden doors of the temple, Ashtavinayak (eight forms of Lord Ganesha) are embellished. Siddhivinayak temple holds one of the eight statues of God. Other distinct statues are scattered over seven temples located in Maharashtra. The Siddhivinayak temple is visited by the devotees all around the year but Tuesday is the day when the highest number of people come to pray to the Lord Ganesha for good luck and seek blessings.

12. Gangotri Temple:

The sacred origin of Goddess Ganga Maa (mother) is worshipped at Gangotri temple, which is located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand state. A partially sunk Shivling idol lying along the temple in the waters of Bhagirathi indicates the very place where God Shiva entangled Ganga in his hair. The temple was constructed in the 18th century from the white granite. The sacred temple of Gangotri is open for pilgrims from Akshaya Tritiya (usually falling in April or May). 

13. Golden Temple:

Located in Amritsar, Punjab. Sri Harmandir Sahib, otherwise known as Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple is the most sacred place of pilgrimage for Sikhism. The temple was built on the principles and values of universal brotherhood and equality. The four doors, opening in the four notable directions indicates it openly welcomes people from any religion or race to seek divine and spiritual happiness. The edifice, admired for its exquisite architecture, is constructed on a level lower than that of the immediate surroundings, signifying the value of humbleness.

The holy writing of Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib, was first put in Sri Harmandir Sahib after its collection and organising. 

It is the most popular temple in India and attracts numerous followers every year.

14. Kashi Vishwanath Temple:

Kashi Vishwanath Temple is found in the ancient and holy city of life and death Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Kashi Vishwanath temple is devoted to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva has dwelled here in the name Vishwanath or Vishweshwara, it means emperor of the universe. The city of Varanasi is also known as Kashi and hence the temple is popularly called Kashi Vishwanath temple.

The legendary temple has been visited by many great spiritual men like Adi Shankaracharya, Goswami Tulsidas, Gurunanak and Swami Vivekanand. The blessings received from visiting jyotirlinga at Kashi Vishwanath is equivalent to that gained from visiting the rest of the 11 jyotirlingas located in different areas in India. 

It is believed that a visit to the holy Kashi Vishwanath temple of Lord Shiva is to be one of the routes by which one can achieve ultimate liberation of the soul i.e, Moksha.

15. Lord Jagannath Temple:

Lord Jagannath temple is located in Puri, in the state of Orissa and is famously called Jagannath Puri. Constructed around the 12th century, the temple is devoted to Lord Krishna(one of the avatar's of Lord Vishnu). It is one of the four most religious places among the Char Dhams of India. Main temple holds the idol of Lord Shri Krishna implying Jagannath in between, the idols of Lord Shri Balabhadra (brother of Lord Shri Krishna) and Goddess Subhadra (sister of Lord Shri Krishna) are placed.

Lord Jagannath temple has prohibited non-Hindus entry to the holy premises of the Puri temple. However, they can get a good view of this majestic temple from the roof-top of the Raghunandan Library positioned opposite to the Puri temple. The yearly and world-famous Rath Yatra carried at Puri provides a chance to get a good sight of the Lord Jagannath with Balabhadra and Subhadra riding on the chariots. Millions of people pulling the holy chariot makes for a mesmerizing view. 

Puri Temple is visited by people around the world, it is one of the famous temples in India.

16. Yamunotri Temple:

Yamunotri temple was constructed around the 19th century in the Uttarkashi district in the state of Uttarakhand. The Yamunotri temple was damaged and reconstructed twice due to the damages struck by the natural disasters. As the name suggests, Yamunotri Temple is dedicated to River Yamuna, which is regarded to be the second most sacred river of India, following River Ganga. The Yamunotri temple is also a part of the four Chota Char Dham sites. Elevated at the high altitude of 3291 meters, the holy temple contains the idol of Goddess Mother Yamuna, which is made of black marble. The Yamunotri temple opens up on the day of Akshaya Tritiya and closes on the day after Diwali. 

The region around the Yamunotri temple does not have any motorable roads, the only way to reach the holy temple is by trekking for a few kilometres. The surroundings of the Yamunotri temple hold many hot water springs to the delight of the visiting pilgrims.

17. Meenakshi Temple:

This architectural marvel is located in Madurai, in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is devoted to Goddess Parvati (consort of Lord Shiva, famously known at Madurai in the name of Meenakshi) and her husband Lord Shiva. Madurai is one of the oldest continuously populated cities of the world. Madurai city is also the second biggest city of India. A holy dip in the Golden Lotus tank, located in the Meenakshi temple, is regarded auspicious and is customarily taken before visiting and seeking blessings from the main temple of the God Shiva and Goddess Parvati. As per an old saga, it is believed that the lake was formed by Lord Shiva and it is even older than the Meenakshi temple. The magnificent Meenakshi temple has a magnanimous hall, that holds 985 pillars and each pillar is uniquely and intricately carved. The 12th-century picturesque Madurai Meenakshi temple was one among the 30 nominees of the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’. It is the biggest temple in India and one of the most visited temples in South India.

18. Amarnath Cave Temple:

This holy cave of Amarnath is found at a high altitude of 3,888 meters in Jammu and Kashmir. Covered with ice-capped mountains, the cave is also coated with layers of snow most times of the year. 

In the summer season, from June to August, The Amarnath Cave Temple becomes accessible and it is this time of the year where the temple is open for the pilgrims and visitors.

The Amarnath cave is considered to be about 5000 years old. As per a famous legend, Buta Malik (a Muslim shepherd) met a holy man who gave him a bag full of coal. On reaching home, Buta Malik observed that the coal had turned into gold. Moved by this miracle event, the Buta Malik went in search of the holy man and instead found the divine abode of Lord Shiva. It takes a 5 day adventurous trek in the rough caves to visit and seek blessings of Lord Amarnath, under unpredictable climatic conditions and walk for 40miles, which is only possible by the brave and tough devotees of Lord Shiva.

19. Lingaraja Temple:

Lingaraja temple is one of the oldest known temples and is the largest temple of the ‘Temple City of India’ – Odisha. Soaked in the typical architectural style of Kalinga, the great Lingaraja Temple attracts thousands of religious devotees and also many historical buffs.

The idol of Lingaraj depicts Lord Shiva, but over here it signifies Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The united form of both the Gods is mentioned as Harihara(Hari-Lord Vishnu, Hara- Lord Shiva). A big lake called Bindu Sagar touches the temple from one side and is said to have healing powers. Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the premises of this temple, thus they can see the majestic structure from a platform outside the temple. Maha Shivratri is the main festival of the Lingaraja temple.

20. Tirumala Venkateswara Temple:

Positioned in the hilly town of Tirumala in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is popularly known as Tirumala Venkateswara temple. This divine temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara, who is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is the second richest sacred place with devotees offering money and gold to their Lord Venkateshwara running into millions, each day.

This ancient Tirumala Venkateswara Temple has been visited by the great rulers and emperors of many grand dynasties of Southern India. Thousands of people visit this spiritual place every day where you get free prasadam, food for all the pilgrims.

The laddoos (a kind of sweet made of jaggery, ghee, cashews and dry grapes), which are given in the form of prasadam in the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple are popular around the world for their unique delicious taste. It is one of the most famous temples in India and most visited temple in India. 

21. Kanchipuram Temple:

Kanchipuram is renowned as The City of Thousand Temples, located in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the seven most sacred religious places in India wherein the people believe one can attain ultimate liberation of the soul i.e, Moksha, according to Hindu religion. Every temple in Kanchipuram is a fascinating piece of architectural wonder. There are three major popular temples in Kanchipuram as mentioned below: 

Kamakshi Amman Temple: Goddess Kamakshi is one of the avatars of Goddess Parvati and unlike the standing postures in which we usually find her idols, the charming magnificent idol at Kamakshi Amman Temple is sitting in Padmasana, which is a yogic sitting posture.

Ekambareswarar Temple: This temple of Lord Shiva is also the largest temple among all the temples of Kanchipuram. The main lingam of the temple is made of sand and is said to be built by the Goddess Parvati.

Varadaraja Perumal Temple: It is one of the 108 temples of Lord Vishnu called Divya Desams. This temple along with the temples of Kamakshi and Ekambareswarar are collectively termed Mumurtivasam means the home of the trio.

22. Khajuraho Temple:

Khajuraho is a city in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is an abode of many ancient temples popular for its architectural design and structures. It was built between the 10th to 12th centuries and is spread across an area of 20 square kilometres. These sumptuous masterpieces of the town are identified as UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The Khajuraho temples are built of sandstone and devoted to the gods of Hindus and Jains. The Khajuraho temples are world-famous for the sensual cravings, which can be seen along other carvings depicting the activities of routine life. 

It is believed that there were over 75 temples in the region but right now about only 20 temples exist. The Khajuraho temples have been classified into three zones – Eastern Zone, Western Zone and Southern Zone. The Western zone consists of the most popular temples such as the largest temple of Khajuraho - Kandariya Mahadeva Temple comes under this zone. Khajuraho temple is one of the famous temples of India. 

23. Virupaksha Temple:

Established in the small village of Hampi, in the Ballari district of Karnataka state, around the 7th century. It is one of the most popular temples among the several other temples of Hampi. The world-famous Virupaksha Temple is renowned for remaining a functioning temple ever since it came into existence. All heritage sites of Hampi have been approved by UNESCO

This holy temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and known to be dwelling here in the name of Lord Virupaksha. The Virupaksha temple is a very powerful religious as well as the tourist destination. The pilgrimage centre has been developed in scale over some time. Lord Shiva in the form of Virupaksha is the consort of local goddess Pampa and that is the reason why the temple is also called Pampapathi temple. Various festivals take place in the temple celebrating the engagement and wedding of Lord Shiva and his consort. It attracts lots of tourists from India and overseas due to its centuries-old memorizing architectural beauty.

24.  Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir:

Constructed during the rule of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the mid 16th century. Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir is the oldest and most magnificent Jain temple in Delhi. It was built in the honour of the 23rd Tirthankara, Parshvanath. The temple is constructed of red sandstone.

Rising right opposite the Red Fort, the Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir consists of a charitable bird hospital, which has various rooms for distinct species, an extensive research laboratory and an intensive care unit. The hospital came in to being in the mid 19th century and represents one of the fundamental principles of Jainism, which says that all living beings, no matter how small or petty, have a right to freedom.

25. Gomateshwara Temple:

Gomateshwara temple is devoted to Lord Bahubali also popularly known as Gomateshwara. Gomateshwara temple is located in the Shravanabelagola town of Karnataka state. It was constructed in the early 10th century, it is one of the most significant pilgrimage places for followers of Jainism. The statue sparks wonder among people because of its unique structure. Rising at a gigantic length of 58.8 feet the statue is sculpted out of a single granite rock. This unified structure rises at such a great height without any external aid. The ground of the Bahubali idol has got writings written in three different languages namely Marathi, Kannada and Tamil.

The most significant event happens in the Gomateshwara Temple once every 12 years. It is termed as Mahamastakabhisheka and it is a very important festival for Jains. One this festival you can observe Lord Bahubali is bathed and smeared with several things like saffron paste, turmeric, sugarcane, milk and vermillion and offered many valuable stones and gold and silver coins.

26. Ranakpur Temple:

Ranakpur is a village in the Pali district of Rajasthan and befalls between Udaipur and Jodhpur. Ranakpur Temple is one of the very popular pilgrimage sites in India. The grand 15th-century ancient Jain temple is devoted to Lord Adinatha. It is included amongst the 5 major sacred religious sites of Jains.

The spectacular architecture of the Ranakpur Temple edifice brought it among the list of 77 nominees at the time of ascertaining the new Seven Wonders of the World. Entirely built from light-coloured marble, the extraordinary treasure is well sustained with the help of about 1400 superbly sculpted pillars. The Ranakpur Temple uses the natural light of the sun as the only means of illumination.

27. Shirdi Sai Baba Temple:

The holy temple of Sai baba was constructed in the mid 19th century, it is located in the Shirdi town of Maharashtra. Found about 296 km from Mumbai, the little town of Shirdi has gained fame due to its connection with Shri Sai Baba.

Sprawled in an area of 200 square kilometres, the holy temple was built over the Samadhi(mausoleum)of Shri Sai Baba. Every day around 25 to 30 thousand devotees come for Baba’s darshan and on festivals, the number of devotees rises into lakhs. Festivals such as Guru Purnima, Ram Navami and Vijayadashami are the important festivals that are celebrated with great enthusiasm and passion. The principles and teachings of Sai Baba like giving love, charity and forgiveness are spread throughout the land of Shirdi which makes this place holy and purify the souls of devotees.

28. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple:

Located in the capital city of Kerala that is Thiruvananthapuram. It is the place where one of the 108 Divya Desams, sacred abodes of Lord Vishnu, is dwelled in the form of Lord Sree Padmanabhaswamy.

Only Hindus are allowed to visit Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. There is a strict dress code to be followed while entering the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple for men and women, i.e dhoti without any kind of shirt for men and women must wear sari or skirt and blouse.

The rich classical and marvellous idol of Lord Vishnu is resting over a 5 hooded serpent called Anantha. The avatar of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy is very captivating as it represents the supreme Trimurti of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara (or Lord Shiva). Out of the navel of Lord Sree Padmanabhaswamy statue, a lotus is seen as coming out over which Lord Brahma is sitting. That is why Lord Vishnu is also called Padmanabha, i.e. lotus-navel. Under the right palm of the stretched out hand of Padmanabha, there is a Shiva lingam, completing all three powers into one. The protector (Lord Brahma), The Creator (Lord Vishnu) and The Destroyer (Lord Shiva) respectively. It is renowned as the richest temple in India and it is the biggest and it is one of the famous Temples in India.

29. Dwarkadhish Temple:

Dwarkadhish temple, the holy abode of Lord Krishna, is located in the Dwarka city of Gujarat state. It is popularly known as Jagat Mandir, the Dwarkadhish Temple has 2 doors for entry and exit for visitors. The entry door is described as Swarg Dwar (meaning doorway to heaven) and the exit door is described as Moksha Dwar (meaning the doorway to liberation).

It is a part of the Char Dham pilgrimage sites, the five-storied edifice of the Dwarkadhish Temple is raised with the aid of 72 pillars. Settled on the banks of River Gomti the Dwarkadhish Temple stands tall at the height of 51.8 meters and a staircase of 56 steps need to be taken to reach the Swarg Dwar. Inside the holy Dwarkadhish Temple, the Lord surprises his devotees by his statue built in black stone and stands up to 2.25 feet.

30. Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala:

Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala, the land of spirituality and devotion. It is one of South India’s most prominent and powerful religious landmarks with a history as old as 800 years. The main deity of the spiritual abode is Sri Lord Manjunatheshwara and has taken the form of a shiva linga and made righteous, the temple town of Dharmasthala since and forever. At Shree kshetra, Dharamshala you can witness that Lord Manjunatheshwara is being worshipped in a very unique way. 

As the name suggests, the word "Dharma" in its truest sense means righteousness, it is the manifestation of the world’s most supreme emotions in spite of one’s caste, creed or religion. 

Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala is one of the most famous and powerful temples in South India and over 10 lakhs of people gather here on main festival days and every day there will be a free meal for its pilgrims in the form of prasad.