Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Of all the values and practices that string India together, there is one such quality that connects the dots to a deeper meaning of life, spirituality. This simple aspect has the biggest impact on India’s people, in a way that it has become a major part of their lives. It seems true, right? I think the same. Whenever you pay a visit to any part of India, you would find temples dotted on its land. These religious temples of India are not just a means to dive deep in spirituality but a way to connect to the Almighty. So now that the idea of planning a spiritual tour in India has come to your mind, why not travel with me.

In this blog, I take you to some of the famous temples in India and will tell you the stories behind them. Are you ready? Let’s go.

Temples in North India

1. Amarnath Temple, Jammu & Kashmir

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

A temple that adorns the very top of India’s map and my list of famous Hindu temples in India, is Amarnath. The Hindu shrine sits in a cave in Jammu and Kashmir and is one of the most spiritual sites in India. Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of a lingam which is a stalagmite formed by the drops of freezing water during the summer months.

In fact, Amarnath is a popular Hindu temple as it is one of the places where the body part of Goddess Sati fell. Which makes it a part of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas across the globe. Pilgrims make their way to this popular temple in India during the Amarnath Yatra which takes place in July-August annually.

Must Read: India’s Best Temples for Religious Tours

2. Brahma Temple, Pushkar

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Pushkar seems like the right place to begin your religious tour when in Rajasthan. I think I am somehow a little partial to the city maybe because my recent trip here was magical. When you pierce through the crowd of travelers you come across this most talked about temple of the Hindu creator God, Brahma.

What’s interesting to know is that this is one of the few Brahma temples in India. Moreover, it is also believed as per many legends that the Pushkar Lake was formed by the petals of Lord Brahma’s lotus (his weapon).

Suggested Read: 10 Most Famous Jain Temples in India

3. Kaal Bhairav Temple, Varanasi

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

As we shift our focus from Rajasthan, we slip into another land brimming with spirituality, Varanasi. Settled in the heart of Uttar Pradesh, this city is known for housing the famous Kaal Bhairav Temple, one of the oldest Shiva Temples in Varanasi. Upon making your way here, you come across the silver faced idol of Lord Shiva’s fierce form, Kaal Bhairav. The idol is adorned with peacock feathers and a garland of skulls. As some say, even death is afraid of this form of Lord Shiva.

4. Yamunotri Temple, Uttarakhand

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

This Hindu temple in India is as special to the pilgrims going on a Chota Char Dham as it is to Uttarakhand. This is the very place from where devotees begin their pilgrimage covering Gangotri, Badrinath and then Kedarnath. Yamuna River is worshipped as Goddess Yamuna here, who is the main tributary of the holiest river of Hindu religion, Ganga.

Yamunotri Temple houses two hot springs, Surya Kund which has water hot enough to boil rice and Gauri Kund with water suitable for taking a dip. To reach here, travelers have to trek for 13kms from Hanuman Chatti and for 6kms from Kali Chatti.

5. Gangotri Temple, Uttarakhand

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

After seeking blessings from the Yamunotri Temple, we next visit the Gangotri Temple. This is the second holy site visited on the Chota Char Dham Yatra. Gangotri is not only the abode of Goddess Ganga but also where the River Ganges begins its way. Moreover, this temple was carved out by the Nepalese general, Amar Singh Thapa. Gangotri Temple is one of the most important temples of Goddess Ganga.

This place of worship in Uttarakhand opens its doors to pilgrims from the month of May to the Hindu festival Diwali.

6. Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Another pride symbol of the Garhwal Himalayan range is the Kedarnath Temple. If you are taking the Chota Char Dham, this is the next pilgrimage site on the yatra. It is settled in a town by the same name in Rudraprayag district close to the River Mandakini. It is believed that Pandavas were the ones behind the construction of this pious Hindu temple. Besides, Kedarnath is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and a sacred shrine of Lord Shiva.

Another pride symbol of the Garhwal Himalayan range is the Kedarnath Temple. If you are taking the Chota Char Dham, this is the next pilgrimage site on the yatra. It is settled in a town by the same name in Rudraprayag district close to the River Mandakini. It is believed that Pandavas were the ones behind the construction of this pious Hindu temple. Besides, Kedarnath is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and a sacred shrine of Lord Shiva.

The doors of this famous Shiva temple are open from April to November for pilgrims and remain closed for winters. Furthermore, pilgrims have to trek for 14km to reach the abode of Lord Shiva.

7. Badrinath Temple, Uttarakhand

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Standing in all its glory in the Garhwal hills is the temple which is dipped in the worship of Lord Vishnu, Badrinath. Owning its name from the town it’s snuggled in, this is the last temple you visit on the Char Dham Yatra. And that’s not all, this pilgrimage site in India is also revered as one of the 108 Divya Desams devoted to Lord Vishnu.

Lord Vishnu is worshipped in the form of Badrinarayan who is present as a black stone statue. According to many Hindus, this statue is among the eight swayam vyakta kshetras (naturally arisen idol). Vaishnavites from across the globe ram here from April to November as that’s when the temple is open.

Read More: 21 Most Famous Shiva Temples in India

8. Golden temple, Amritsar

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Dressed like a golden beauty sits the most important and religious site of Sikhs, Sri Harmandir Sahib. It was the idea of the Fifth Nanak, Guru Arjan Sahib to carve out a place for all the Sikhs to come and remember the God in their ardas. Even the architecture was planned by Guru Arjan Sahib where he wished to excavate the Sarovar (holy pool) and also build a town settlement.

Moreover, the founding stone of the Golden Temple was laid by Hazrat Mian Mir Ji of Lahore, a Muslim saint. The whole construction of this pristine shrine was completed by 1601 and has ever since been the most revered place of worship for Sikhs.

9. Akshardham Temple, Delhi

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Delhiites don’t really have to look or rush to any other place of worship as they have the shining Akshardham Temple to themselves. Started on 6 November 2005, this temple finds its place on the banks of River Yamuna. The literal translation of this temple is “The divine abode of God”. If your heart wants to find solace and peace then you should pay a visit to Akshardham.

The temple is inspired by Yogiji Maharaj who was the fourth successor of Swaminarayan. The temple follows the path of Swaminarayan Hinduism and displays culture and devotional traditions through its fine architecture. Apart from the main shrine, there are exhibits namely Nilkanth Darshan (Theatre), Sahajanand Darshan (Hall of Values), and Garden of India. Moreover, travelers can also spend some time on a boat ride or sightsee the Musical Fountain, the largest step well in India.

10. Baijnath Temple, Himachal Pradesh

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

It’s time to end the list with this beautiful Hindu temple which is a pride possession of Himachal Pradesh. Baijnath is a Nagara style built temple which finds its place back in 1204 A.D. It is believed to be built by Manyuka and Ahuka who were two local merchants. Devotees that visit the Baijnath temple, sing chants in the name of Lord Shiva who is present here as Vaidyanath (Lord of physicians). Further, the inscriptions of this temple indicate that a Lord Shiva temple existed before the present one was built.

Temples in South India

11. Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Coming all the way down to South India, the first temple we pay a visit to is the Ramanathaswamy Temple. This shrine is a part of the Char Dham Yatra, and also one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. Legend has it that the lingam that is worshipped here was built by Sita, the consort of Lord Rama. The Lord wanted to get rid of the sin he committed during his war with Ravana at Sri Lanka.

This famous temple in South India adorns the Dravidian style of architecture and houses two lingams. One which was brought by Lord Hanuman and one which was built by Goddess Sita. There are 64 Tirthas in the temple, out of which 22 are counted as the important ones. A dip in these 22 tirthas is a major ritual of the pilgrimage to Rameshwaram which is equivalent to penance.

12. Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Sitting close to the southern bank of River Vaigai is the Meenakshi Temple, which is also known as Meenakshi Amman. It is an ancient Hindu temple which is the glory symbol of Madurai, the historic city of Tamil Nadu. Meenakshi Temple is devoted to Goddess Parvati as Meenakshi and Lord Shiva as Sundareshwar. Moreover, in some narratives, there is a mention of Vishnu in the form of Meenakshi’s brother.

Meenakshi Temple is regarded as one of the important pilgrimage sites in the Shaivism tradition. Besides, planning a vacation during the Meenakshi Thirukalyanam festival is a good time as you get to witness the divine marriage of Meenakshi. The celebration takes place for 12 days during the Chithirai month of the Tamil calendar.

13. Arunachaleswar Temple, Thiruvannamalai

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Out of all the Shiva temples in South India, Arunchaleshwar boasts of being different. Snuggled on the foothills of Arunachala that falls in the town of Thiruvannamalai it is one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalams. Which means the five temples of Lord Shiva that symbolize one natural element each namely air, water, land, sky, and fire.

Arunchaleshwar is where Lord Shiva appeared as a column of fire. The lingam is worshipped as Agni Lingam which denotes virtue, self-sacrifice, and relief from the ascetic life with the end of the Agni Kalpa. Besides, the temple is decorated all around the year with festivals taking place. Brahmotsavam, are the four main festivals which are celebrated for 10 days in the Karthikai month.

Must Read: Top 5 Magnificent Temples In South India

14. Brihadeswara Temple, Thanjavur

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Brihadeswara Temple is one of the largest temples in South India which is seen lauding the name of Lord Shiva. It is also a great marvel in terms of architecture, as it follows the Dravidian style of building Hindu temples. Built by the Raja Raja Chola I, Brihadeswara Temple is mentioned in the “Great Living Chola Temples” which is a UNESCO Worlds Heritage Site. 

15. Kanyakumari Temple, Kanyakumari

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Singing prayers of Goddess Sati are the devotees coming to this popular pilgrimage site, Kanyakumari Temple. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, which are the most sacred shrines in Shaktism. According to various legends, it is said that the spine of Goddess Sati’s body fell here when Lord Shiva was performing the Tandava. Moreover, devotees come here in numbers to seek blessings from Devi Kanyakumari who is the goddess of penance and virginity.

16. Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

This is another Lord Shiva temple that is gifted to the city of Chidambaram by the Chola dynasty. Nataraja Temple also known as Chidambaram Nataraja Temple worships the Lord of dance, Shiva and is a great representation of arts and spirituality. According to major legends, it is believed that a temple existed here when the town was named Thillai. Interestingly, the literal meaning of Chidambaram is an ‘atmosphere of wisdom’ which is well showcased by the architecture of Nataraja Temple.

Something that you should surely notice when here are the wall carvings which has all the karanas (postures) from Bharat Muni’s Natya Shastra. These 108 karanas are the founding step of Bharatnatyam.

17. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

As we move to Tiruchirapalli, we come across this glorious temple which worships the name of Lord Vishnu. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple is best known as the one of the 108 Divya Desams. These are the temples which are found in the works of Alvars, South India’s Tamil poet-saints.

The temple beautifully adopts the Dravidian style of architecture. It is also one of the most eminent Vaishnava temples in South India with a rich historical background.

Suggested Read: Top Temples in South India

Temples in East India

18. Tripura Sundari Temple, Tripura

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Now that we are in East India, let’s start our spiritual tour with the fine sight of Tripura Sundari Temple. Situated in the city of Udaipur, the temple bows down head in the worship of Goddess Tripura Sundari. The goddess is one of the Mahavidyas and is an embodiment of Parvati. She is regarded as the supreme power of the universe. Even the state derives its name from the goddess.

Legend has it that the leg of Goddess Sati fell here and hence Tripura Sundari temple is one of the 51 Shakthi Peethas. Moreover, the architecture of this temple in Tripura is influenced by Bengali Ek-ratna style and was built by Maharaja of Tripura Dhanya Manikya.

19. Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Shifting your focus from Kolkata, next we enter the peaceful and calm aura of Mahabodhi Temple. This temple is East India’s oldest surviving brick structure and a representation of Indian brickwork. The architecture of this temple proved to be really influential in the upcoming traditions.

The temple is honored as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site which is believed to be the place Buddha gained enlightenment. Mahabodhi is settled in Bodh Gaya which sits at a short distance from Patna. Moreover, the pilgrimage site is swarmed by Buddhists as the site is blessed with the successor of the Bodhi tree where Buddha supposedly attained enlightenment. 

20. Kalighat Kali Temple, Kolkata

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

This is another temple which is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, the sacred pilgrimage sites in Shaktism. Kalighati Kali Temple is one of the most visited shrines in Kolkata where the toes of the right foot of Sati fell when Lord Shiva performed Rudra Tandava. As per many religious beliefs, the Kalighat was a Ghat that worshipped Goddess Kali close to the Hooghly River. As years went by, the river moved far from the temple. At present, Kalighat sits on the banks of Adi Ganga, a small canal.

21. Jagannath Puri Temple, Puri

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

There is never a day when Odisha doesn’t take pride in being home to the Jagannath Puri Temple. Seated in the holy city of Puri, this pilgrimage site is a part of the Char Dham Yatra. The temple is named and soaked in the worship of Lord Jagannath, a form of Vishnu. It is believed that devotees visit Jagannath in order to attain salvation by washing their sins.

Another reason that makes Jagannath a famous temple in India, is the annual chariot festival. As part of the celebrations, the three main deities of the temple, Jagannath, Balarama, and Subhadra are carried out on a chariot for a public procession.

22. Lingaraja Temple, Bhubaneswar

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

I think Odisha has taken over the list like a storm as it is up with another prismatic temple, Lingaraja. Finding its place in Bhubaneswar, it is the largest and one of the oldest temples in the city. The presiding deity of the temple is Harihara which is a worships the name of Lord Shiva and Vishnu in the form of Harihara, a combined form of Lord Shiva and Vishnu.

Lingaraja temple is carved with the Kalinga style of architecture and is believed to be built by the royal kings of Somavamshi dynasty. Moreover, a few changes were made here and there by the Ganga rulers. Legend has it that a dip in the Bindusagar Tank heals spiritual and physical illness. The water in the tank comes from an underground river that springs from the Lingaraja Temple. Worshippers come here to take a bath in the holy water during festivals like Shivratri which are extravagantly celebrated in the temple.

23. Konark Sun Temple, Konark

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

I hope you now realize the fact about Odisha that I just mentioned in the temple above. Coming back, just imagine admiring the classical dancers using the stunning background of a temple like Konark. Would you like to miss this chance? I don’t think so. Konark Sun Temple is a 13th century CE marvel, which kneels in the worship of Lord Surya (Sun God). Along with that, this temple is the backdrop of the 5 days long Konark Dance Festival. 

What might leave you amazed is probably the chariot like structure of this temple. The view is enhanced more by the stone-carved huge wheels and horses. The 12 pairs of the wheels are symbolic of the 12 months of the Hindu calendar.

24. Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

It’s time to fly into Guwahati and set your foot in the beautifully set up Kamakhya Temple. This sacred place is devoted to Kamakhya, the tantric goddess of desire who is also known as ‘Bleeding Goddess’. Moreover, Kamakhya is not just one of the 51 Shakti Pithas but a mysterious temple in Assam.

As per many beliefs, it is said that the vagina and mythical womb of goddess Shakti find its home in the sanctum of the temple. And that’s not all, as, during the month of Ashaad (June), the River Brahmaputra tends to turn red as the goddess menstruated during that period.

Temples in West India

25. Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, Shirdi

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Whenever you pay a visit to Maharashtra, you would instantly be pulled to Shirdi, a quaint town in the state. Why you would think, well it is because of the presence of a 19th-century marvel, Shirdi Sai Baba Temple. Dedicated in the worship of Sai Baba, the temple is built on the Samadhi the spiritual saint. The temple is spread over an area of 200 sq. km and is a part of pilgrimage tour of Maharashtra.

Additionally, Shirdi is becoming a famed attraction in the state, the half share of which goes to the Shirdi Sai Baba Temple. The spiritual saint’s simplicity and high virtues like devotion to God and guru, forgiveness, helping others, contentment and charity made him popular among people.

26. Modhera Sun Temple, Modhera

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

There is something special about which takes some share of charm from the Pushpavati River. Enveloped in the Modhera village of North Gujarat, Modhera Sun Temple was built during the rule of Chalukya dynasty’s Bhima I. Surya, the Sun God is the presiding deity of the temple.

At present, the temple is a protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India. As for the architecture, the temple complex is divided into three segments namely Sabhamandapa (assembly hall), Gudhamandapa (shrine hall) and Kunda (the reservoir).

27. Stambheshwar Mahadev Temple, Jambusar

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Counted among one of the popular temples in Gujarat, Stambheshwar Mahadev is its unique link with Bay of Cambay and shores of the Arabian Sea. Snuggled in the town of Kavi Kamboi, the temple is famous as it submerges during high tide and reappears during low tide. This is one reason that travelers love to pay a visit here and laud the name of Lord Shiva. If we go by the sayings, then it is said that performing pooja at this temple brings in good health and prosperity.

28. Shree Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple, Somnath

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

What’s special about this temple in Gujarat is that it is the first of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. Nestled in Prabhas Patan in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat, this temple is regarded as one of the important pilgrimage sites worshipping Lord Shiva. It is believed that Lord Shiva appeared here in the form a fiery column of light.

Even after the whole area was shattered time again by the Muslim invaders, the Somnath temple that you see today was rebuilt in 1951. Chalukya style of architecture is followed for building this fine religious site here.

29. Dwarkadhish Temple, Dwarka

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Dwarkadhish temple is a popular pilgrimage site in Gujarat which is part of the Char Dham Yatra. Devotees come here to shower their love on Lord Krishna, who is present here in the form of King of Dwarka or Dwarkadhish. Besides, the Dwarkadhish became a part of Char Dham circuit when Adi Shankaracharya visited the temple. As per Hindu beliefs, a tour here helps in attaining moksha (enlightenment).

As per many beliefs, it is said that the temple was built on the actual resident of Lord Krishna, hari-griha by his own grandson Vajranabha.

30. Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Dating back to the 18th century is this famous Indian temple which is surrounded by the worshippers of Lord Ganesha. Siddhivinayak Temple seated in Prabhadevi, Mumbai is one of the richest temples in India. Moreover, Siddhivinayak has come a long way as it was just a small construction with a stone carved idol built by Laxman Vithu and Deubai Patil. What we see now is a six-storeyed temple swarmed by devotees from across borders.

31. Shani Shingnapur Temple, Shingnapur

Top 31 Famous Temples in India

Revering Lord Shani is the Shani Shingnapur Temple located in the state of Maharashtra. As per Hindu mythology, Shani is the god of Justice and the one who gives benefits depending on the deeds. This temple houses a black rock set up in the open-air platform where devotees offer oil, water, and flowers. That being said, Amavasya (no moon day) is considered the right time to seek blessings from Shani.

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Spiritual Tourism in India

Tanisha Sharma is that odd head in the crowd of travel writers who calls architecture to be her muse. When not traveling, she could be found daydreaming about all the architecture or food in the world. It won’t be wrong to say that writing, music, novels and dogs have taken over and become an essential part of her life.

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