India’s Best Temples for Religious Tours

India is a confluence of diverse faiths, beliefs and religions. The pure source of spiritual energy, temples in India worship the divine in many forms.  Devotees, pilgrims and anyone who has faith in the divine embark on yatras that cleanse their body, mind and soul and grant them salvation. If you are wondering which are the India’s best temples for religious tours, we have enlisted the 20 top temples in India. Here are some temples that should be definitely considered to rendezvous with divine and to seek Almighty’s blessing.

Here are 20 of the India’s Best Temples for Religious Tours

Vaishno Devi Temple

Vaishno Devi Temple: India's Best Temples for Religious Tours

First on our list we have the Vaishno Devi Shrine. It is located at an altitude of 5200 feet above the sea level in Trikuta hills under Reasi district of Jammu & Kashmir. It is the place where Mata Vaishnavi spent some time while carrying out intense vows and penances. Vaishno Devi Shrine is one of the India’s best temple for religious tours with annual footfalls in millions.

Devotees have to trek around 14 km from Katra at the base of hill to reach this holy shrine. Those physically not equipped to undertake the trek could opt for pony ride as well as helicopter ride to reach Vaishno Devi Shrine.

Age – There is no fixed age criteria, anyone can visit.

Best Time – Throughout the year

Opening / Closing Time – Throughout the Day (Except Pooja timings)

Photography- Not allowed

Interesting Fact- Everyday 25000 Thousands pilgrims visit this temple.

Amarnath Cave

Amarnath cave

One of the most popular pilgrimage destination among Hindus, Amarnath cave is located in Kashmir at an altitude of 12000 feet above sea level. The place is said to be holy as Lord Shiva narrated the amarkatha (tale of immortality) to Mata Parvati here, hence the name Amarnath. Every year an ice-stalagmite in the form of lingam is formed inside the cave. The trek to the Amarnath cave is arduous. There are two routes to reach Amarnath Cave. The traditional route is via Pahalgam. However the Baltal route is the easier and shortest for Amarnath Yatra. Trek, helicopter Ride and palki ride from both routes (Sonamarg, Pahalgam) are three ways to reach the Amarnath cave.

[Amarnath Yatra Packages for 2016 Via Baltal / Pahalgam]

Age: Children below 13 years and adults above the age of 75 years are not allowed

Best Time: July-August

Opening/Closing Time – Open throughout the day.

Photography- Not allowed

Interesting Fact: In the Amarnath Cave, two immortal doves can be spotted. These birds had overheard the secret of creation and immortality disclosed by Lord Shiva to his consort, Goddess Parvati. The cave is their eternal home.

Baijnath Temple

Baijnath Temple

Baijnath Temple

Nestled in the misty mountains of Himachal Pradesh at 3,707 feet, Baijnath temple is one of the most famous temple in Himachal Pradesh, worshiping a form of Lord Shiva. The 100 year old temple Baijnath worships Lord Baidyanath, the Lord of all Physicians. The temple stands on the site where Demon King Ravana had placed Lord Shiva in the form of a lingam. The spiritual bliss gets amplified in the serene location.

Age- There is no age limit.

Best Time- Throughout the year, except the monsoon.

Opening/ Closing Time- 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM (all days of the week)

Photography- Not allowed

Interesting Fact- The temple respects Ravana too. His effigies are not burnt here though other places of India demolishes effigies on Dusshera. As the Demon King Ravana of Lanka was the biggest devotee of Lord Shiva he the ritual is not practiced here.

Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath Temple

Open only from May till October, Kedarnath shrine is among one of India’s best temples for religious tours. It is part of the chhota Char Dham yatra. One of the famous pilgrimage destination in Uttarakhand, Kedarnath temple is sited at an altitude of 3,583 m in the mountains of Uttarakhand. The Garba Griha housing the stone lingam is open for all pilgrims. One can take the blessings of the Lord and anoint the idol in pure ghee. The trek to the temple is tough and blissful. The Darshan of Kedarnath only can be in summer months.

Age- N/A

Best Time- April to November, except the rainy season.

Opening/ Closing Time- 4:00 AM-3:00 PM & 5:00 PM- 9:00 PM (all days of the week)

Photography- Not allowed

Interesting Fact- The temple is also the site of Shankaracharya’s samadhi (achievement of beatified afterlife).

Badrinath Temple

Badrinath Temple

Dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the form of Badrinath ji, the mountain temple in Uttarakhand is one of the best Hindu shrine for temple tour in Himalayas. Located on the banks of River Alaknanda, it is one of the 108 temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Divya Desams). The Himalayan temple is a vital part of the Chardham Yatra. It is blessed by the supreme divinity and to breathe in the air is as blissful.

Age- N/A

Best Time- May to October, except monsoon.

Opening/ Closing Time- 4:00 AM – 12:00 PM & 3:00 PM – 9:00 PM all days of the week

Photography- N/A

Interesting Fact- When the Badrinath Temple is closed in winters every year, a lamp in front of the idol burns by itself for six months. Even the flowers remain fresh when the temple is reopened.

Gangotri Temple

Gangotri Temple

The Gangotri temple is known as the sacred origin of Ganga Maa. It is situated at 3,415 m in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand along the river Bhagirathi in blissful natural beauty. A partially submerged Shiv ling is visible in the waters of the river which signifies the place where God Shiva entangled Ganga in his hair. The holy temple opens up on Akshaya Tritiya, usually April or May.

Age- N/A

Best Time- April to November, except monsoon.

Opening/ Closing Time- 6:15 AM to 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM to 9:30 PM (all days of the week)

Photography- N/A

Interesting Fact- The temple worships River Goddess Ganga in the form of an idol though the origin of The Holy Ganga is Gaumukh Glacier, 19 km away.

Yamunotri Temple

Yamounotri Temple

Located at the height of 3291 meters, the shrine of Mother Yamuna holds the idol of Goddess. The Yamunotri temple opens up on the day of Akshaya Tritiya and closes on the day after Diwali.  The temple was built in the 19th century in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. Picturesque beauty and the many hot water springs brings delight to the pilgrims.

Age- N/A

Best Time- May to October, except monsoon.

Opening/ Closing Time- 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM throughout the week.

Photography- N/A

Interesting Fact- The Yamunotri temple idol is made of exquisite black marble not easily found in the Garhwal hills of Uttarakhand.

[Checkout Packages for Char Dham Darshan by Helicopter / Road]

Golden Temple

Golden Temple

The Golden Temple in Amritsar is also known as the Harmandir Sahib Gurudwara. Coated in gold and nestled in the middle of the Sarovar, the temple is a holy shrine for all. The holy scripture of Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib, was first placed here. It is an oasis of spirituality open for people from any faith or race to seek religious contentment.

Age- There is no limit on age.

Best Time- Throughout the year.

Opening/ Closing Time- 3 AM–10 PM (all days of the week)

Photography- Not Allowed in the shrine, only in temple complex.

Interesting Fact- The name Sri Harmandir Sahib literally means the “Temple of God”. The shrine makes no distinction among His worshipers on the basis of cast, color, creed and religion.

Meenakshi Amman Temple

Meenakashi Amman Temple

The Meenakshi Amman Temple is an architectural wonder situated in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. It is dedicated to Goddess Parvati and her husband Lord Shiva. The 12th century temple is one of the oldest temple in south India. The Meenakshi Amman temple is a source of spiritual bliss. Feel the divine connection in the temple and marvel at the exquisite construction of the holy site.

Age- Age is no bar.

Best Time- October to May

Opening/ Closing Time- 5:00 AM – 12:30 PM & 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM (all days of the week)

Photography- Not allowed

Interesting Fact- The 2500-year old Meenakshi Temple was on the list of top 30 nominees for the “New Seven Wonders of the World” and has around 33, 000 sculptures.

Shirdi Sai Temple

Shirdi Sai temple

One of the popular temple in Shirdi District of Maharashtra, Shirdi Sai Temple was made over the Samadhi of Sai Baba. The temple dates back to 1922. The pure soul believed in one God and in principles like love, charity, forgiveness. The Shirdi temple is one of the most visited temples in Maharashtra. Devotees from all faiths and backgrounds come here to pay their respects.

[Travel to Shirdi and Shani Shingnapur with Special Packages]

Age- There is no age limit for visitors.

Best Time- Throughout the year

Opening/ Closing Time- 7:00 Am to 1:30 PM & 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Photography- Not allowed

Interesting Fact- Till date the fire kindled by Sai Baba has been kept burning. The ashes are taken as blessing by the pilgrims visiting the temple.

Shani Shingnapur Temple

Shani Signapur Temple

Shani Shingnapur Temple is dedicated to Lord Shani Dev who is the son of Surya Dev (Sun) and Chhaya (Suvarna) Known as one of the nine “Navagraha” by Hindu belief, Lord Shani Dev is the God of Justice. The temple houses a five and a half feet high black stone, the personification of the Lord kept in the open air. It is one of the most humble Hindu temple of western India.

Age- There is no age limit for pilgrims.

Best Time- July-August

Opening/ Closing Time- 5:00 AM to 11:00 PM (all days of the week)

Photography- No

Interesting Fact- Shani Shingnapur Temple idol is kept in open air as the Lord believes the sky to be the ultimate roof. The village of the same name have no doors or locks.

Tirumala Venkateswara

Tirumala Venkateswara Temple

The Tirumala Venkateswara temple is located in the hilly town of Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh. The temple is devoted to Lord Venkateshwara, who is popularly called ‘Balaji’ and is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The second most visited temple in India has visitors from all over the world. Experience the connection with the divine in the holy temple.

Age- There is no age limit for pilgrims.

Best Time- Throughout the year.

Opening/ Closing Time- 2:30 AM to 11:00 PM

Photography- Not allowed.

Interesting Fact- Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam is the home ground of one of the world’s richest temple trust. The range of Tirumala hills is said to reveal the face of Lord Balaji.

Gomateshwara Bahubali

Gomateshwara Temple

Situated in the Shravanabelagola town of Karnataka, Gomateshwara temple is a Jain temple and dedicated to Lord Gomateshwara Bahubali. Built in the 10th century it is one of the most religious destination for Jain community. The 58.8 ft. the idol is carved out of a single granite rock without any external support. Every 12 years a royal bathing ceremony takes place where the revered lord is bathed in milk.

Age- There is no age criteria for the pilgrims.

Best Time- October to March

Opening/ Closing Time- Open throughout the day.

Photography- Prior permission is needed.

Interesting Fact- The idol of Lord Gomateshwara Bahubali is 58.8 feet carved from a single granite rock. It is the tallest monolithic structure in the world standing without any support.

Lord Ayyappan Temple

Lord Ayyappan Temple

Sabarimala is one of the prominent Sastha temples in Kerala. The temple is dedicated to Sree Ayyappa. One of the most famous pilgrim centers in India, Sabarimala is situated on the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats at an altitude of 914 m above sea level. It is accessible only by foot from Pamba (4 km). The temple has been built in accordance to the instructions of the Lord himself.

Age- All men allowed, women between ages 10-50 are not allowed

Best Time- 14th November to 20th January every year

Opening/ Closing Time- 04.00 AM to 11.00 PM.

Photography- Not allowed.

Interesting Fact- Pilgrims, generally men and women between ages 10 to 50 have to follow fasting for 41 days to cleanse their minds before going to Sabarimala.

Sun Temple

Sun temple

The Sun Temple is located in the small town of Konark in Odisha. Dedicated to the Sun God, it is a marvel of architecture. The temple has been built in the shape of a chariot, which has twelve wheels pulled by seven horses. The details of the carvings are worth exploring. The idol of the Sun God is also brilliant. Even in its ruined state, its charm shines bright.

Age- There is no age limit for visitors.

Best Time- November to February.

Opening/ Closing Time- Sunrise to sunset.

Photography- Allowed

Interesting Fact- Sun Temple in Konark in the olden days housed a very strong magnet. The temple was sited right on the sea bank but now the sea has receded and the temple is on small distance from the beach. It was called as “black pagoda” because of its dark color and was used as a navigational attraction by ancient sailors to Odisha.

Rameshwaram Temple

Rameshwaram Temple

Rameshwaram Temple is situated in the island of Rameswaram, off the Sethu coast of Tamil Nadu and is reached via the Pamban Bridge across the sea. The huge temple is known for its long ornate corridors, towers and 36 theerthams. Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga represents the southernmost of the 12 Jyotirlingams of India and has been a time honored pilgrimage center.

Age- There is no age limit for the visitors.

Best Time- October to April

Opening/ Closing Time– 4:30AM to 1PM & 3PM to 8:30PM

Photography- Not allowed

Interesting Fact- Rameshwaram Temple is associated closely with the Ramayana and Rama′s victorious return from Sri Lanka. The first temple was said to have been built by Lord Rama himself.

Lord Jagannath Temple

Jaganath Puri Temple

The 12th century Lord Jagannath temple is situated in Puri, Orissa. Dedicated to Lord Krishna also known as Jagannath Puri, the temple is one of the four holiest places (Char Dhams) of India. Non-Hindus cannot enter the premises of the temple. The annual Rath Yatra conducted at Puri is a mesmerizing spectacle which starts from the Jagannath Temple.

Age- Hindu pilgrims of all ages can visit.

Best Time- July and August

Opening/ Closing Time- 5:00AM to 11:00 PM

Photography- No

Interesting Fact- No birds fly above the Jagannath Puri Temple. The shadow of the main dome of the temple is not visible, whatever be the time of day.

Somnath Temple

Somnath Temple

Somnath Temple is one of the oldest pilgrimage centres in India. According to a legend, Som (Moon God) got the temple built in the honor of Lord Shiva. It is one of the most revered ‘jyotirlingas’ among the 12 existing Jyotirlingas of India. The temple is located in Prabhas Kshetra in Saurashtra (Gujarat). It has been plundered a many times but has always risen from crisis.

Age- Hindus of any age can visit.

Best Time- Any time between October and March

Opening/ Closing Time- 6.00 AM to 9.00 PM

Photography- Not allowed in the shrine.

Interesting Fact- Somanth Temple is built on the shore of Arabian Sea, with no land area between the temple until the South Pole. Also, the same is seen on an inscription in Sanskrit, found on the Baan-Stambh erected on the sea-protection wall at the Somnath Temple. It is stated that the temple stands at the first point on land in the north to the south-pole on that particular longitude.

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Padamnabh Temple

Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams (sacred dwellings of Lord Vishnu). The elegant and splendid idol of Lord Vishnu is reclining over a 5 hooded serpent called Anantha. There is a strict dress code to enter the temple. As per belief the temple is located at a holy place that is considered as one of the seven Parasurama Kshetras.

Age- Hindu pilgrims of all ages.

Best Time- Throughout the year. Visit after sunrise as the temple is lighted in diyas.

Opening/ Closing Time- 3:30 AM to 12 Noon & 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Photography- Not Allowed.

Interesting Fact- Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple has a lake sounding the holy shrine. The  tank waters is the home of crocodile Babiya is the world’s only vegetarian crocodile which eats only rice Nivedyam (food first offered to the deity) of the temple.

Ranakpur Temple

Ranakpur Temple

Ranakpur in the Pali district of Rajasthan is among the very famous pilgrimage sites in India. The majestic 15th century Jain temple is dedicated to Lord Adinatha. The marvelous architecture is built from light colored marble. Supported with 1400 superbly-carved pillars, the temples uses natural light of sun as the only means of illumination.

Age- Pilgrims of any age can visit.

Best Time- Between October and March

Opening/ Closing Time- All days of the week 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Photography- Allowed at a nominal fee.

Interesting Fact- Ranakpur temple is truly an enchanting architecture. Light and shade on the nearly 1,500 pillars is wonderful. The temples are architectural marvels, as every pillar is different from the other in design. As the sun rays shift through the day the pillars color change from gold to pale blue.

[Browse our Pilgrimage Tour Packages in India]

A travel writer by profession and self-professed addict to literature, momos, dancing, music and travelling, Debasree Chakraborty has all interesting things to share. Go through her penned down travel experiences and collected intelligence in her write ups. Read on!

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