Top 50 Famous Temples in India
“In religion, all other countries are paupers. India is the only millionaire” – Mark Twain
India has been a subject of wonder for the entire world due to its ancient, unique and rich heritage. It has over 1000 rationalised mother tongues, an array of religions and mystic number of traditions, practices, foods and attires. Temples of India display the variety in architectural styles the country has contained to date.
Out of its more than 6 lakh temples, here is a crisp list of top 50 famous temples in India revered as the most popular and prominent (in no particular order).
Badrinath temple is a part of both Chota Char Dham and Char Dham yatra. Hindu devotees have considered this temple of Uttarakhand a pious pilgrimage by Hindu devotees since ages. Badrinath is a small temple town located in Garhwal, Uttarakhand. Furthermore, the majestic River Alaknanda flows beside the temple. Two peaks surround the temple – Nar and Narayan. Apart from the immense religious importance associated with this temple, the scenic beauty of its location also attracts overwhelming number of pilgrims each year.
This beautiful temple makes an easy entry into top 50 famous temples in India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is believed to have been constructed in the era of Lord Rama. Centuries ago the rulers of the Pandya Dynasty expanded it. Furthermore, its prominence derives from the fact that it is a part of Charm Dham as well as the 12 Jyotirlingas. While it is an ancient temple, it has such a beautiful architectural style that it stands at par with the beauty of modern architecture.
In the beautiful land of Jammu Kashmir is this famous temple of Vaishno Devi. Since it is on the peak of a Trikuta mountain, most pilgrims trek 13 km to reach the temple. This temple is in the form of a cave. Many believe that Vaishno Devi is the most prominent Shakti Peetha. It is the most visited shrine in Northern India which definitely makes it one of top 50 famous temples in India.
Kedarnath Temple is a part of Chota Char Dham. It is also one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and devotees worship Sri Kedareshwar avatar of Lord Shiva here. Also one of the Paadal Petra Sthalams, the temple is close to the holy river Mandakini. According to belief, the establishment of this temple dates back to the era of Mahabharat.
Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib is very famous, stunningly beautiful and the holiest Sikh shrine. Since it is one of the very few monuments built with something as precious as gold, the beauty of this temple is legendary. The golden dome of the temple weighs 750 kg. Sikh gurus built this temple for a message of peace and acceptance to all religions.
Amarnath Yatra is one of the most difficult and yet it is one of the most famous temples in India. Amarnath cave is at an altitude of 3888 meters (12760 feet) in the Himalayan mountain range known as the Chandanwari Hills. The shrine receives more than 4 lakh pilgrims in a 45-day visiting period during the month of Shravan and the Shravani Mela.
Situated in Odisha, the Jagannath Puri temple is a very celebrated temple. It is also a part of Char Dham shrines. It is one of the most sacred Vaishnavite Pilgrimage sites. The temple’s deities are Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra. The idol of Lord Jagannath is wooden, which is unconventional. Another feather in the cap of this temple is that its kitchen is the largest kitchen in the world!
Meenakshi Temple of Goddess Parvati and Lord Sundareshwara has an estimated 33,000 sculptures in the temple. An ancient masterpiece of Dravidian architectural style, it is one of most famous temples in India. The Linga of Lord Sundareshwara is one of the 68 Swayambhu Lingas in India.
In the town where the holiest of the rivers- the river Ganga- originates, Gangotri is one of the most famous temples in India. The temple is also dedicated to the river Ganga and is at an elevation of 3048 meters above the sea level. While the location makes the journey to this revered temple difficult, it is always worth it. The beautiful scenic beauty adds to its significance.
Another temple in Devbhumi (Land of the Gods) Uttaranchal is Yamunotri Temple. Often cited in close association with Yamunotri, it is the origin of a sacred river too- Yamuna. The Temple of Goddess Yamuna is at an altitude of 3291 meters. Dense forests of the Himalayan ranges surround the temple. It is one of the 4 temples that constitute the Chota Char Dham.
Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple is one of the most popular and sacred Vaishnavite temple in the world. Devotees worship Lord Venkateshwara in this temple. The Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple is at the peak of Tirumala hill also known as Venkatadri. It is a beautiful, ancient temple and one of the most famous temples in India.
Khajuraho temples are a group of Hindu and Jain temples- exhibiting India’s cultural diversity. They are precious UNESCO World Heritage sites. Once spread over an area of 20 square kilometers, they are now a group of 20 surviving temples. The temples are extremely beautiful. Some of the notable ones are Matangeshwar, Devi Jagdambi and Kandariya Mahadeva.
The stunning architecture of this temple 2000-2200 years old, as the archaeological findings suggest. Hence, it is one of the oldest and most famous temples in India. Hindus believe that Sri Krishna’s grandson Vajranabha constructed the temple. Dwarka is composed of two words – “Dwar” meaning the Gate and “Ka” meaning Brahma or Moksh.
The internationally famous Swaminarayan Akshardham temple was established on 2nd November 1992. There is a 7 feet gold leafed idol of Lord Swaminarayan in this temple. In addition, there are three exhibitions about Indian culture with light and sound shows. The temple is at the center of a beautiful 23 acre complex.
Siddhivinayak means “one who grants wishes”. It is situated in Mumbai and is very popular all over India. Like the word Vinayak in its name suggests, it is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The Temple was constructed in late 1801. The Temple is one of the richest temple complexes in Mumbai city, receiving patronage from politicians, Bollywood and businessmen.
This ancient temple is preserved by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the temple’s Trust Board. The temple is one of the most famous temples in India and has 150 smaller shrines inside its huge courtyard. It has a captivating ancient architectural style. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva but Lord Vishnu is also worshiped here.
Shirdi Sai Baba Temple is one of the richest temples of India owing to the offerings bestowed by Sai Baba’s followers. A great personality loved by all religions, Sai Baba continues to be popular in the nation. Many stories of him performing miracles are known. The Shirdi Sai Baba Temple Complex also has Khandoba Temple, Gurusthan, Samadhi Mandir, Dwarkamai, Chavadi and The Lendi Gardens.
Iskcon Temple has two more names – ‘Sri Sri Radha Parthasarathy Temple’ also known as ‘Hare Krishna Temple’. The temple is built to inspire people about Sri Krishna and his teachings. Since its establishment in the year 1998, the temple has become one of the most famous temples in India.
According to the Garuda Purana, Haridwar is one of the seven holiest places or Moksha Sthalas. Next to the holy river Ganga, this temple sees numerous devotees from all over the country. Moreover, the city is also the gateway of the famed Chhota Char Dham pilgrimage. Haridwar also hosts other famous temples.
Konark Temple is a jewel in the crown of Indian architecture. As a result, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its name forms from kon” meaning “angle” and “Ark” meaning “the sun”. King Narsimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty constructed it in 13th century.
This temple is not only one of the most famous temples in India but also one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in the world. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Sastha, popularly known as Lord Ayyapan. The Sabarimala Temple is located at the peak of a hilltop named Sabarimala. It is believed that the installation of the deity Lord Ayyapan was done by Parashurama himself on orders of Lord Dharmasastha.
This temple is one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalas- the five Shiva temples, each dedicated to the five elements. The Tiruvannamalai Arunachalam Temple construction dates back to 9th century AD, by Chola Kings. It is the largest Shiva temple in India. The area is concentrated with several ashrams and samadhis dedicated to saints and spiritual leaders from all over India.
A World Heritage Site, the Pashupatinath Temple is not only a sacred temple, but also an attraction for tourists. The Shivalinga of this holy place of worship consists of eight faces. Thousands of pilgrims pay a visit to this temple every day.
Although its name suggests Durga as the deity, the word in the temple name means “Durg” or “fortress”. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Durga Temple Aihole came into existence between the 7th and 8th century by the Chalukya dynasty. It is well maintained and visiting this temple is like a beautiful time travel.
Lepakshi Veerabhadra Temple has three shrines of Hindu Gods Shiva, Vishnu and Veerabhadra. There are about 70 pillars at this fabulous 16th-century temple of stone in Vijayanagar style. Its shiva linga has a unique design. Many believe that it is the largest Nagalinga in India.
Kamakhya Temple is a Shakti Peeth. Furthermore, there are ten small sized temples around the premise of the main shrine. These are with respect to the ten avatars of Maa Kali. Many stories about this temple are popular. The devotees call the goddess as ‘Kameshwari’ who is also called as the ‘Great goddess of illusion’.
Maa Kalka, an avatar of Goddess Durga, is the main deity of Kalkaji Mandir. This temple is made up of marble and black pumic stones. This temple is always crowded with devotees but the apex point is during the festival Navratri. The temple has been in existence since 1764.
The beautiful Somnath Temple is one of the most famous temples in India. Its history dates back to 649 BC. However, it was attacked and rebuilt several times before reaching its present state. It is the first of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva.
Naina Devi Temple is a Shakti Peeth. It is based on the mythological story of Godess Sati. Shri Naina Devi Temple is the place where eyes of Goddess Sati fell down. Famous land marks of Bhakra Dam,Anadpur Sahib and Govind Sagar lake surround the temple. The temple is on a triangular hill which offers a great view of the foothills.
Sahil Varman built the Lakshmi Narayana Temple in 10th century AD. It is the main temple of Chamba town, and has Shikhara style architecture. The ‘garbhagriha’ or the innermost shrine houses a mandapa (altar) but it is not for public access. In conclusion, it is a great experience to visit this temple.
Two regional merchants of Himanchal Pradesh constructed Baijnath Temple in early 13th century. It is an architectural marvel and its shiva linga and Himalayan location attract thousands of devotees. According to legends Lanka Ravana wanted to take away the lingam with him. Since it is a fine example of extremely attractive ancient architecture, it is one of the most famous temples in India.
The Hoysaleswara Temple of Halebeedu is another masterpiece of Indian temple architecture. The temple worships Lord Shiva and exhibits Hoysala style of architecture. While built in the 12th century, it has beautiful intricate carvings. There is also a museum within the temple complex.
The Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur is a replica of the original Tirupati Temple. Its construction completed in 2003 after decades of work. It occupies 10 acres of land and Sahyadri hills enclose the beautiful complex. The entrance of the shrine is huge and has beautifully stone-crafts.
Ekvira Aai Temple is not only a beautiful cave temple, but also one the country’s most popular ones. As per the legend, the Pandavas constructed the temple during their banishment period in the forest. The presiding deity of the temple Goddess Ekvira Aai is the family deity for the Agar Koli people.
Ozar Ganpati is an Ashtavinayak Temple. Furthermore, its construction dates back to the period of the Peshwa reign. Since Lord Ganesh defeated demon Vighnasur at this place, the Lord is called Vighneswar Vinayak – one who removes obstacles. Also, people believe that the Vighneshwar Vinayak idol is self-manifested and is covered in vermillion.
Saptashrungi is a Shakti Peeth and one of the most popular and religious places for pilgrims. In addition, the image of the Devi is huge-about 10 feet tall with 18 hands, holding various weapons. Since the temple is on a mountain, one has to climb around 500 steps to reach the shrine. Moreover, there are several other shrines close to it.
Aundha Nagnath Temple in Maharashtra is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is known as Lord Nagnath in this region. Most of all, it is the first Jyotirlinga on Earth. Mythology says that Yudhistra first built this majestic temple during exile of the Pandavas. A stone called Dwaraka Shila is used for the Shiva Linga.
Pushkar temple is the not only a legendary temple, but also most prominent of the few dedicated to Lord Brahma. Pushkar city is also famous for yearly Pushkar camel fair in Kartik Poornima. Pilgrims visiting this temple have a lot to see in nearby regions of Rajasthan.
Kanchipuram’s Varadharaja Perumal Temple is a popular shrine of Lord Vishnu. The Cholas built it in 1053; however, the great Chola kings Kulottunga Chola I and Vikrama Chola expanded it. As a result, it is spread on a 23 acres complex. Furthermore, this popular shrine is famous for its sculptures.
Deo Krishna Mandir is one of the most sacred sites as per the beliefs of Hinduism. The site on which the shrine has been constructed is believed to be the exact spot where Lord Vishnu manifested himself as the eighth avatar of Lord Krishna. The oldest mention of Mathura can be traced back to the age of the epic Ramayana.
Annavaram is the second most popular pilgrimage after the Tirupati Temple in Andhra Pradesh. Annavaram temple’s presiding deity is Lord Satyadeva who sits with his consort Shri Anantha Lakshmi on a side and Lord Siva sits on the other side. The main temple is in the form of a chariot that has four wheels at each corner.
This is one the Five Powerful Temples of Lord Shiva which are known as “Pancharamas” in Andhra Pradesh. The literal translation of Draksharamam is ‘Abode of Daksha Prajapathi’, the father of Sati and the father in law of Lord Shiva. Furthermore, there are many smaller shrines inside the main temple.
The Mallikarjuna Linga is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. He is supposed to have appeared in a fiery column of light. The Linga is also supposed to be self-born in nature. The Brahmaramba temple is one of the eighteen Shakti Peethas in India. It is believed that the neck of the Sati Devi fell here when her corpse was cut through by the Sudarshana Chakra in the Daksha Yoga episode.
The Chattarpur Mandir is spread over 70 acres of sprawling greens and comprises over 20 small and large temples. The sixth avatar of Durga, Katyayani was the one who slayed the evil demon Mahishasur. Also, The stunning white marble architecture with serene surroundings makes the Chattarpur Mandir all the more divine and admirable.
Sarangpur Hanuman Temple is one of the sacred and holy temples in Swaminarayan Sampraday. It is a belief that the statue of Lord Hanuman was found in this well before about 350 years and the temple was constructed at the same place. This temple is the place to get rid of the evils and is one of the most famous temples in India.
Sheetala Devi Mandir, Gurugram is in the suburb of Guru Dronacharya’s birth place in the state of Haryana. During the month of Chaitra (March-April), this place looks like a Kumbh-Mela. Also, Sheetala is a sanskrit term which means ‘one who cools’. Tantric and Puranic literature have clear mentions of Goddess Sheetala. Since people from not only India but various other countries visit it, it is one f the most famous temples in India.
Jwalamukhi Temple is a famous Shakti Peetha where Goddess Sati’s tongue fell. The temple consists of a copper pipe from where natural gas emits. Then, priests of this temple lit it to produce a flawless blue flame where worshipers pay respects to this flame- a menifestation of Goddess Sati.
The presiding deity of Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravathi is Lord Narasimha. He is the protector of humankind and destroyer of demons and evil spirits. The temple has Hoysala architecture style. Soapstone makes up this temple; hence, there is a soapy feeling upon touching its walls.
The Chalukya dynasty constructed the Badami Cave Temples during the 6th to the 8th century. There are four primary caves, namely, Cave 1, Cave 2, Cave 3 and Cave 4. Furthermore, two more caves were discovered. The 5th cave is a Buddhist cave. Each cave tells a different concept and story and is a precious Indian heritage.
Pandharpur Temple receives the largest number of devotees in Maharashtra. Lord Vitthal or Vithoba (form of Lord Krishna) along with his consort Rakhumai or Rukmini preside the holy shrine. Furthermore, the earliest inscriptions of the Temple are the era of the Yadava dynasty in the 12th & 13th century. The Dindi Yatra is a unique feature of the Temple.
Read about other famous temples in India here