5 Most Famous Temples in India
India is known as the land of temples. With thousands and thousands of temples all across the country, it’s really difficult to shortlist just a few. With intricate decorations and carvings, there are many temples which are an architectural marvel. Some temples are famous for their architecture while some for their historical significance. Here’s a list of the most famous temples in India which are immensely popular due to their rich history, architecture and faith:
1. Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kashi Vishwanath temple at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh is one of the holiest and most famous temples in India. It was built by Ahilyabai Holkar in 1780. The temple is one of the twelve jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva and is located on the western bank of the holy Ganges. The main deity in the temple s known as Vishvanatha or the ruler of the universe. It is said that visiting this temple and a bath in the holy Ganges can liberate a person of all sins. Its 15.5 meters high gold spire and three domes made of pure gold lend an exquisite beauty to the temple.
2. Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri
One of the oldest temples in India, Lord Jagannath Temple at Puri, Orissa is a revered place for the Gaudia Vaishnavas. Animportant pilgrim destination, the temple is one of the four great char dhams.The temple was built by Raja Anantvarman Chodaganga Deva during the twelfth century. The temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath is famous all over the world for its annual Ratha Yatra or Chariot Festival which is attended by millions of pilgrims every year. During the Ratha Yatra, the three principal deities of the temple are brought out of the temple and pulled on huge, decorated carts. Unlike the deities in other temples whichare generally made of metal or stone, the deities in the temple are carved out of wood and are ceremoniously replaced every twelve or nineteen years by exact replicas. The temple houses 120 shrines & temples encompassed by a fortified wall. The mahaprasad served at the temple is believed to be under the scrutiny of Goddess Lakshmi and is said to bring spiritual advancement to those who have it.
The common man, if he has no time to worship the Lord, may at least engage his hands for a few seconds in washing or sweeping the Lord's temple. Mahārāja Pratāparudra, the greatly powerful king of Orissa, was always very busy with heavy state responsibilities, yet he made it a point to sweep the temple of Lord Jagannātha at Purī once a year during the festival of the Lord. The idea is that however important a man may be, he must accept the supremacy of the Supreme Lord.— Srila Prabhupada
3. Venkateshwara Tirupati Balaji Temple, Andhra Pradesh
Venkateshawara Temple is a Vaisnavaite temple which is located in Tirumala at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.The second richest temple in India is visited by 40 million people every year. Built during the reign of Raja Krishnadeva Rai, the temple is built in Dravidian architectural style. It is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara who is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and is believed to have appeared here to save mankind from the impending troubles during Kalyuga.During the festivals & special occasions, an estimated 5 lac people visit the temple in a day.
4. Somnath Temple, Gujarat
One of the oldest pilgrimage centres in India, Somnath temple at Prabhas Patan in Saurashtra region of Gujarat is said to be built by ‘Soma’, the Moon God in the honour of Lord Shiva when the Lord cured him from an illness resulted from his father-in-law’s curse. It is one of the 12 jyotirlingas. The temple was invaded and destroyed by the foreign invaders many times and has been restored several times. The present temple was constructed in Chaulukya architectural style and was completed in May 1951.
5. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
Meenakshi Sundareshwar templelocated on the southern bank of Vaigai river at Madurai, Tamil Nadu is an exquisite temple dedicated to the Goddess Meenakshi (Parvati) and her consort Sundareshwar (Lord Shiva). The temple is the heart and lifeline of the 2500 years old temple city of Madurai. This 12th century temple is a brilliant example of Dravidian style and houses fourteen gopurams painted in bright colors & bejeweled with figures of Gods, demons and animals. A dip in the Golden Lotus tank situated in the temple is considered to be very auspicious. The temple has a hall with 985 pillars each of which is intricately carved with different designs. The temple attracts 15000-20000 visitors in a day and receives donations worth 60 million rupees annually. Around 33,000 sculptures are there in the temple. The annual 10-days long Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival which is celebrated during April and May, attracts over 1 million visitors.
Ratha Yatra -- The Chariot Festival at Jagannath Puri, Orissa, India
© 2017 Shaloo Walia