India is home to numerous temples, and each of them has its own unique significance and history. Here are the top 10 famous temples to visit in India:
1. Vaishno Devi Temple: Located Vaishno Devi Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani. It is located in the Trikuta Mountains in Jammu and Kashmir, India. The temple is situated at an altitude of 5,200 feet and is approximately 12 kilometers from Katra town. It is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in India, with millions of devotees visiting the shrine every year.
The temple is accessible by a 12-kilometer uphill trek from Katra town, and visitors have to climb more than 5,000 steps to reach the shrine. Alternatively, one can hire a horse or a palanquin to reach the temple.
2. Golden Temple: The Golden Temple known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, is a Sikh temple located in Amritsar, Punjab, India. It is the holiest gurdwara of Sikhism and is considered one of the most spiritual and beautiful temples in the world.
The temple was built in the 16th century by Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the fifth Sikh Guru. The temple complex is surrounded by a holy lake, which is known as the Amrit Sarovar. The lake is believed to have healing powers and is considered sacred by Sikhs. The temple is famous for its unique architecture, which combines Islamic and Hindu styles.
3. Tirupati Balaji Temple: Tirupati Balaji Temple known as Sri Venkateswara Temple, is a famous Hindu temple located in the town of Tirumala in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
The temple is situated on the Seven Hills of Tirumala, and it is one of the most visited and richest temples in the world. The temple is managed by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which is a trust that is responsible for the administration and management of the temple.
4. Kashi Vishwanath Temple: Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous and sacred temples in India. It is located in the ancient city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and is dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the most revered deities in Hinduism.
The history of Kashi Vishwanath Temple dates back to ancient times, and it is believed to have been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries. The current structure of the temple was built by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore in 1780. One of the most significant rituals performed at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the Ganga Aarti, which is a daily prayer ceremony held in the evening to honor the sacred river Ganges.
5. Meenakshi Temple: The Meenakshi Temple known as the Meenakshi Amman Temple, is a historic Hindu temple located in the city of Madurai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati, and her consort Lord Sundareswarar, an incarnation of Lord Shiva.
The temple is also famous for its annual 10-day Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival, which attracts thousands of devotees from all over India. During the festival, the deities of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar are taken out in a grand procession, and various cultural programs and events are held.
6. Badrinath Temple: Badrinath Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and located in the town of Badrinath in Uttarakhand, India. It is one of the four Char Dham pilgrimage sites and is considered one of the holiest shrines in India. The temple is situated at an elevation of 10,248 feet above sea level on the banks of the Alaknanda River.
According to legend, the temple was originally built by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century. However, the current structure dates back to the 19th century and was built by the Garhwal Kings. The temple attracts a large number of devotees and tourists every year, especially during the Char Dham Yatra season. The temple is open from April to November, and during the winter months, the idol of Lord Vishnu is taken to the nearby town of Joshimath and worshipped there.
7. Somnath Temple: Somnath Temple is a famous Hindu temple located in Prabhas Patan near Veraval in Gujarat, India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is considered one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. The current structure of the temple was built in 1950 by the first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad. It is designed in the Chalukya style of architecture and is adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures.
The temple is also known for its beautiful location overlooking the Arabian Sea. It attracts a large number of devotees and tourists throughout the year. The Somnath Temple complex also houses other temples dedicated to various deities, a museum, and a light and sound show that narrates the history of the temple.
8. Akshardham Temple: Akshardham Temple is a Hindu temple complex located in Delhi, India. It was built in 2005 and is dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan, a 19th-century saint, and philosopher. The temple is spread over an area of 100 acres and is known for its stunning architecture, intricate carvings, and beautiful gardens.
The main monument of the temple complex is the Akshardham Mandir, which is a masterpiece of Indian architecture. The temple is made of pink sandstone and features intricate carvings of deities, animals, and flowers. It is a popular tourist destination in Delhi and attracts millions of visitors every year. It is also considered one of the most beautiful and modern temples in India.
9. Jagannath Temple: The Jagannath Temple is located in the coastal town of Puri, in the state of Odisha, India. It is one of the most famous temples in India and is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple is a part of the Char Dham Yatra, which is considered to be one of the most sacred pilgrimages in Hinduism.
The temple complex comprises of four main buildings: the Jagannath Temple, the Gundicha Temple, the Snana Mandap, and the Ananda Bazaar. The temple is known for its unique customs and rituals. It has four main deities: Lord Jagannath, his brother Lord Balabhadra, and their sister Subhadra. The temple is also famous for its prasad, which is known as the Mahaprasad, and is considered to be a divine offering.
10. Konark Sun Temple: Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century temple located in Konark, Odisha, India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most famous and impressive temples in India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Surya, the Sun God, and is designed in the shape of a chariot with twelve pairs of wheels, pulled by seven horses.
The temple was built by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga dynasty in the 13th century. The temple was constructed using a unique method of interlocking stones, without using any mortar or cement. Visitors to the Konark Sun Temple can also enjoy the nearby Chandrabhaga beach, which is known for its natural beauty and clear waters. The temple is a must-visit for anyone interested in Hindu mythology, architecture, or sculpture.