India is a country with an ancient history and civilization. The country is rich in history that has determined the diverse communities, religions, and cultures that are in existence. A country that is rich in spirituality and is deeply rooted in traditions, customs, and beliefs, India is home to some of the finest religious pilgrimage sites. The country houses some of the most spiritual, powerful temples and finest examples of architecture that not only enrich the mind and soul but are equally healing.
Here is an insight into some of the most famous temples across India. Top 10 Famous Temples in India to Visit
1. Badrinath Temple
The Badrinath temple lies in Uttarakhand state in the Himalayas and is dedicated to Vishnu. The temple is one among the Char Dhams, the holiest temples in the country. The Badrinath temple is dedicated to Vishnu and is one among the 108 Divya Desams. The deity is considered by many Hindus to be one of the self-manifested deities of Vishnu.
Badrinath represents the north and sits in the Garhwal hills in the Chamoli district along the Alaknanda river. The temple sits 10,279 feet above sea-level and can be visited only in summer when the weather is less cold.
2. Rameshwaram Temple
The Ramanathaswamy Temple in Rameshwaram is the second among the Char Dhams and represents the south. The temple lies in the small Pamban island, separated from mainland India, and is located between India and Sri Lanka. The temple is dedicated to Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas.
Originally a thatched hut, the temple slowly grew over thousands of years. The temple was expanded in the 12th century by the Pandya dynasty. The temple houses the longest corridor among all other Hindu temples in India.
It is believed that the Lingam of Sri Ramanathaswamy, the presiding deity, was established and worshipped by Sri Rama.
3. Jagannath Temple
The Jagannath temple in Puri is located on the east coast and is the third of the Char Dhams. The temple looks over the Bay of Bengal. The temple is dedicated to Jagannath, a form of Vishnu.
King Indradyumna originally built the temple in the early Kali Yuga. The temple was rebuilt from the 10th century onwards.
The Jagannath temple is famous for its annual Ratha Yatra or chariot festival in which the three deities of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are taken on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars.
4. Dwarkadhish Temple
The Dwarkadhish Temple lies in the town of Dwarka along the coast of the Arabian Sea. The temple is the fourth of the Char Dhams and represents the west. This temple is dedicated to Sri Krishna and has 56 steps leading to the rear. The Dwarkadhish temple is ancient and goes back to 400 B.C.
The temple is also called Jagat Mandir, and archaeological findings suggest the temple is almost 2,200 years old. The temple was enlarged in the 15th -16th century. It sits near the river Gomti.
5. Sri Virupaksha Temple
The Sri Virupaksha temple lies in the town of Hampi, in the state of Karnataka. This temple is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and originates from the famous Vijayanagara empire that dates from 1336 – 1570 A.D. Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagara empire.
The temple is dedicated to Sri Virupaksha, a form of Shiva. The temple is renowned for its amazing and breathtaking architecture. The temple is very sacred and is believed to exist since the 7th century.
6. Brahmaji Temple
The Brahmaji temple lies in the northwestern town of Pushkar in the Ajmer district of Rajasthan. One of the highlights of Pushkar is the sacred lake here. Next to the lake lies the Brahmaji temple. Brahma is highly revered in the ancient texts but is rarely worshipped as a primary deity. The temple’s origin goes back to the 14th century.
Brahma, the God of creation, has very few temples as his work is considered complete. The temple was believed to have been originally built by Sage Vishwamitra. Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankaracharya visited this temple during his lifetime and contributed to its restoration. The existing structure of the temple was built during the reign of Maharaja Jawat Raj of Ratlam.
7. Kedarnath Temple
The Kedarnath temple lies in the Uttarakhand state in the Himalayas and is one of the most famous religious sites. This 8th-century temple is dedicated to Shiva and is situated at an altitude of 11,755 feet above sea-level. The temple lies near the Mandakini river. Pilgrims are required to make the 8-mile (14 kilometers) walk to the temple through the mountains, and one needs to be reasonably strong.
The temple is one among the 12 Jyotirlingas, the holiest Hindu shrines of Shiva. The temple is accessible in summer as winters are severe in this region.
8. Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Kashi or Varanasi, as it is called, is one of the oldest cities in the world and dates back to the 11th century B.C.
Varanasi is known to be the spiritual capital of India, and people from across the country come here to visit the temples and bathe in the holy waters of the Ganga, said to be a healing experience.
The Kashi Vishwanath temple is dedicated to Shiva. Hindus have the basic belief that a pilgrimage to the temple helps them attain Moksha (salvation). They are liberated from taking births again on account of karma.
9. Lingaraja Temple
The Lingaraja temple lies in Bhubhaneshwar, the capital of Odisha state. Shiva is worshipped here as a combined form of Shiva and Vishnu.
The deity is called Harihara. The temple dates back to the last decade of the 11th century and is one of the oldest temples in Bhubhaneshwar.
The famed lake Bindu Sagar lies behind the temple and is said to contain healing properties.
10. Amarnath Cave Temple
The Amarnath Cave Temple lies in the Himalaya mountains, up north. This temple is surrounded by snowy mountains and is accessible in summer. The temple lies at an altitude of 12,756 feet (3,000 meters) above sea-level and is considered one of the holiest shrines of Hinduism. The cave temple lies in Jammu and Kashmir and is ancient. The temple is believed to be 5,000 years old. Pilgrims are required to undertake a 40-mile (64 kilometers) long trip that takes five days.
Pilgrims need to be well prepared and in reasonably good health to undertake this pilgrimage.