The vivid colours of the different religions residing in India give the country an admirable identity. This peaceful co-existence of these ideologically different communities gives birth to a veritably amicable environment devoid of any kind of disharmony. People of India enjoy the joyful freedom of following and celebrating their own religion without any constraints. This is the reason why in every corner of the country you would find a place of worship be it of any religion.
Hinduism has around 900 million followers around the world and thus finding Hindu Temples in abundance in the country shouldn’t be a surprise. There are lakhs of Hindu temples in the country. Some of them are as ancient as the land itself. Hindu temples have been built in a wide variety of styles that have amazed the onlookers. Worshippers have taken great care of their ancestral heritage and therefore, ages old these temples still stand unharmed by the ravages of time.
Considering the long list of temples in India, it is impossible to choose ten from the lot. Choosing the best can sometimes offend those whose favourite is not included in the list. Yet today, I have tried to jot down the names of ten temples, which according to me, can be regarded as the top ten owing to their popularity, strong faith, history and architectural importance. So, here it goes-
Famous Temples in India
1. Kashi Vishwanath
Location: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is one of the holiest temples of India. The temple was built by Ahilyabai in 1780 and today its holds utmost importance for the Hindus who believe that a bath in the Holy River Ganga can liberate one from all the sins.
2. Lord Jagannath Temple
Location: Puri, Odisha
Housing about 120 shrines in its huge structure, Lord Jagannath Temple is one of the oldest temples in India. It was built in the 12th century and is popular for its annual Rath Yatra. Pilgrims believe that Mahaprasad served here is scrutinized by Goddess Lakshmi and those who have it attain spiritual advancement.
3. Venkateshwara Tirupati Balaji
Location: Andhra Pradesh
With around 40 million annual visitors, Tirupati Balaji deems as the most visited temple in India. It is also the second richest temple of the country. It was built under the rule of Krishnadeva Raya. On special occasions, the number of pilgrims visiting the temple in a day mounts up to 5 lacs.
4. Vaishno Devi Temple
Situated at the top of a hill, it is one of the notable Hindu Temples in India. It is dedicated to Shakti and is the second most visited temple in the country with an annual footfall of around 8 million devotees.
5. Somnath Temple
Somnath Temple has been revered as the first jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva and it is said to have been built by the Moon God after Lord Shiva freed him from the curse of waning. The temple has been restored several times since then.
6. Kamakhya Temple
Dedicated to Goddess Kamakhya, this temple is one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Pithas. It is the most important pilgrimage for the Tantric Worshippers. As a form of worship, goats are offered to the Goddess by the devotees who believe that Kamakhya is the yielder of all desires.
7. Mahabodhi Temple Complex
This is the holy place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment and thus it stands as the most revered sites for the Buddhists. Recognized as a world heritage site by the UNESCO, the Mahabodhi temple is visited by both Hindus and Buddhists from all over the world.
8. Siddhivinayak Temple
Built in the year 1801, Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai is a prominent temple of Lord Ganesha. The inner roof of the temple complex is plated with gold and the wooden doors are carved with the images of Ashtavinayaka.
9. Ramnathaswamy Temple (Rameshwaram)
Location: Tamil Nadu
One of the most popular temples of the south, Ramnathaswamy temple is the abode of Lord Shiva. It is also among the twelve jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva in the country. There are two lingas inside the sanctum; one built by Goddess Sita and the other was brought by Lord Hanuman.
10. Shirdi Sai Baba Temple
It is the holy shrine of Sai Baba and the also the third richest temple of India. Shirdi is the land of Sai baba, therefore, it is considered to be a pilgrimage for his followers. Millions of devotees, irrespective of their religion, flock to the temple every year. Donations as high as Rs.350 crores are offered at the temple annually.
Since there are innumerable temples in India, this list is subject to differ from person to person. For suggestions about the list, please leave your comments below.