Travelling is not limited to only mountains, valleys, waterfalls and beaches but it is something incomplete without religious travel.
India has been full of cultural heritage because of its glorious history, from north to south-east to west our country is full of traditions because of the peoples and the rulers who ruled in India. Many of them built several temples all across the country and here we bring you the 20 best temples to visit in India for your holistic travel.
1.Badrinath Temple or Badrinarayan temple
One of the four Char Dhams temples( 4 holy abodes of Hinduism ) in India situated in the Chamoli District of Uttrakhand on the banks of Alaknanda river, here Lord Vishnu is worshipped as a form of Lord Badrinath. It is believed it is one of the 108 Divya Desams sites which are dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
2 famous festivals which are celebrated over here are Mata murti ka Mela, mother of Lord Badrinath is worshipped in September. The other one is Badri Kedar festival which is celebrated in the month of June.
Best time to reach:-April to November
Nearest railway station: Kotdwar(146km away)
Nearest Airport: Dehradun(146km away)
The richest temple in India.Another 108 Divya Desams where Lord Vishnu is worshipped as a form of Lord Padmanahaswamy, where the idol of Lord Vishnu could be seen in reclining position of Ananthan.Temple name comes from the lotus which comes out from the navel of Lord Statue (Padmanabha) on which Lord Brahma is sitting.
Built-in the Dravidian architectural design the temple has more than 90000 crores with which include gold, idols made of gold, brass, silver and many more and the temple administration is done by the royal family of Travancore. A strict dress code should be followed by men(Dhoti without a shirt) and women(Saree or skirt with Blouse).
The temple is situated in the hearts of Trivandrum which is well connected by Rail, Road and Air.
3.Shree Jagannath Temple
The 2nd Char Dham Site of India. One of Best temples to visit in India, situated in Puri also known as the Purushottam Kshetra famous for its unique cultural heritage and the annual Chariot festival (also known as the Rath Yatra), Lord Jagannath which is another incarnation of Lord Vishnu is worshipped here along the with their siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. This temple is only limited to Hindu and people from no other religion are allowed to enter.
Puri has its own railway station and is well connected to different parts of India through trains. The nearest airport is in Bhubaneshwar around 64 Km and the best time to visit during Rath Yatra in the month of June and July.
Please read the detailed article about this temple here
One of the sacred temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, situated in the Himalayan range in Garhwal area of Uttrakhand. It is said that the temple is built is by the Pandavas to recompense for their sins during the war with Kauravas. This temple was later restored by Adi Shankaracharya during the 8th century.
Situated between the snow-capped mountains at an altitude of 3583 mtr. It requires a 14 km trek from Gauri Kund to reach Kedarnath. The temple often remains closed during the winters and the idol of Lord Shiva is shifted to Ukhimath during the harsh winters.
It is 216 km away from Rishikesh which is well connected by road and Train.
5.Sri Venkateshwara temple Or Tirupati Balaji
Also known as the Tirumala Venkateshwara temple or also know as the Tirupati Balaji temple. Situated in a hilly town of Tirumala 22 km away from Tirupati. Lord Venkateshwara also is known as “Balaji” another incarnation of Vishnu is worshipped here. The 2nd richest temple in India. one can see around 50,000 footfalls of pilgrims in a single day.
Brahmotsavam is a major festival celebrated over here for a span of 9 days in the month of September and October where the number of pilgrims shot up to around 5 lacs. It is said that rulers of major dynasties of the south Chola, Pallava, Pandian’s and Vijaynagar empire have contributed to the wealth of this temple. The temple architecture is again is a form of Dravidian Architecture and one of the best temples to visit in India
This temple is just 22 Km away from Tirupati which has its own railway station and the nearest international airport is in Chennai just 100 km away.
Dedicated to Lord Ganesha situated in Prabhadevi Mumbai. Built-in 18th century by Laxman Patil and Deubai Patil. The wooden door of the temple consists of images which are carved of Lord Ganesha(Ashtavinayaka) and the temple has one of the 8th images of Ganesha and other distinct images are spread across different temples in Maharashtra.
7.Ramanathswamy Temple at Rameshwaram
The 3rd of the Char Dham sites in India(4 holy abodes of Hinduism), situated in Pamban Island in Rameshwaram. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. This temple is auspicious because it is believed that Lord Rama and Sita first reached after defeating Ravana. Lord Rama wanted to pray to Shiva to seek atonement for his sin of killing a Brahmin.
There are 2 Shivalinga established here one is Ramalingam which was established by Sita and the other one Vishwalingam which was brought by Lord Hanuman from Mt Kailash. This temple was established by the Pandya Dynasty in the 12th century and built-in rich Dravidian architectural design which you could see in most of the southern temples and this temple is visited by millions of devotees of each year and certainly one of the best temples to visit in India.
Rameshwaram is well connected by both Rail and Road network and the nearest airport is in Madurai which is 174 km away from Rameshwaram.
8.Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Kashi Vishwanath temple is situated in the ancient and holy city of Varanasi situated on the banks of River Ganges. Varanasi is also known as “Kashi”.The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and also known as Vishwanath Lord of Universe.
This temple has a huge Shivalinga of 60 cm tall and 90 cm wide and the tower of the temple is plated with 800 kg of gold and has a well inside its premises known as Jnana Vapi which can be only visited by Hindus. It is said that visiting the temple and taking a bath in the holy river of Ganges is a way to achieve Moksha.This temple is visited by renowned holy men Adi Shankaracharya, Swami Vivekananda Tulsidas.
Somnath Temple is located in the Saurashtra region in Gujarat comes in the list of best temples to visit in India dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India.
This temple is an architectural masterpiece and one of the ancient temples in India. The temple is dedicated to “Moon God”.The temple history could be mentioned in various ancient books like Skanda Puran, Shreemad Bhagwat, Shivpuran.
Somnath means “Protector of Moon God” according to beliefs it was Som who built for Shiva, when he cured his illness which was passed on to him due to his father in law curse.
Situated on the shores of Arabian Sea this temple has been attacked many times and rebuilt during the past and has a museum and a Junagadh Gate to attract pilgrims.
It is well connected by rail and road. The nearest airport is Diu Airport which is 63 km away.
10.Vaishno Devi Temple
Situated in foothills of the Himalayas at an altitude of 5300 ft in the Katra district of Jammu & Kashmir. Visiting to the holy place requires a 12 km trek. One can take a helicopter or a horse ride also. The temple is dedicated to Maa Vaishno Devi.
One of 51 Shakti Peeths there is no statue over here instead Vaishno Devi is worshipped in the form of 3 rock heads known as Pindies. Every year millions of devotees come to visit the holy shrine and the footfall increase during the time of Navratra.
Nearest Railway station to Vaishno Devi is Katra railway station and the nearest airport is in Jammu around 64kms away.
One of the ancient and a Dravidian architectural marvel built by the Pandya dynasty situated near the banks of river Vaigai in the temple city Madurai and one of the best temples to visit in India especially in Southern India.
Dedicated to Maa Parvati(Known as Meenakshi) and Lord Shiva. According to legends the Golden Lotus tank in the temple premises is built by the Lord Shiva way before the temple was built and a holy bath taken in this is said to be auspicious.
The temple has around 985 pillars on which carving is made on each pillar is way different to that of another pillar. It also has 14 gopurams 33,000 sculptures Vimana and a museum which captures the artefacts of around 2500 years old history. Meenakshi temple was one of the nominees of 7 wonders of the world.
It is just 1 km away from Madurai Junction.
12.Sai Baba Temple at Shirdi
Located in the small town of Shirdi around 270 km away from Mumbai.The samadhi of the spiritual saint Sai baba. The temple has a beautiful marble statue of Sai baba along with the tomb.
The temples see around 30,000 devotees each year and the turnout increase to lakh during the major festivals of Ramnavami, Vijaydashmi and Guru Purnima. The famous principles of Sai (love, charity and forgiveness) could be seen amongst the people in Shirdi.
Shirdi has its own railway station but the nearest airport is around 270 km away in Mumbai.
The 4th Char Dham site in India, dedicated to Lord Krishna situated on the shore of the Arabian Sea and river Gomti in the city of Dwarka in Gujarat comes in our list of Best temples to visit in India.
It is believed that the temple is 2500 years old also known as Jagat Mandir, one of the Divya Desam sites dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The 5 storey temple is supported by 72 pillars. There are 2 doors in the temple for the entry and exit of the pilgrims. The entry door is Swargdwar (door to heaven) and the other is the Mokshadwar(doorway to liberation).
The 2.25ft idol of Lord Krishna is made of black marble and the height of the temple is around 51 metres.
Nearest railway station to Dwarka is the Okha which is around 28 km away and the nearest airport is the Jamnagar airport around 45 km away.
14.Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple
One of the controversial temples in India as menstruating women are not allowed to enter into the temple earlier but now the govt of India lifted all the restriction, situated in Sabarimala in between the Periyar national park. The temple is surrounded by 18 hills and is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa who practised celibacy.
Pilgrims who are coming to worship over here have to follow a strict routine and fasting which include forbidding alcohol, tobacco, non-veg food, sexual activities for 41 days and have to visit in a specific colour code of black or blue.
The temple name comes from Shabari from Ramayan, it is believed that the she used to live in these 18 hills.
Nearest railway station to Sabarimala is Chenganoor around 30 km away and the nearest international airport is Cochin International Airport around 104 km.
A UNESCO world heritage site located in the city of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. One of the finest example of Dravidian architecture built by Raja Raja Chola I from Chola Dynasty in 1010 AD and one of the best temples to visit in India. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Cholas are known for their architectural design and marvel. This temple shows no shadow during the day. The fortified walls around the temple were built-in 16th century and the temple tower is 66m tall. The Kumbam (the bulb structure on the top of the temple) weighs around 80 tons and is made of a single rock.
The structure of Nandi(sacred bull) which is 4.9 m on and 4.0 m high is carved out of single rock and the temple is built with Granite. The nearest railway station is Thanjavur which is just 2 km away and the nearest airport is Trichy airport which is 61 km.
16. Shri Ranganathswamy Temple Srirangam
One of the largest temples in India spread across 156 acres of land this temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and one of the Divya Desam and UNESCO world heritage sites and certainly the best temples to visit in India.
This temple is dedicated to Lord Ranganatha – a reclining incarnation of Lord Vishnu, it is the largest functioning temple in the world and the largest temples in India, again a Dravidian architectural marvel. The temple has 21 gopurams, 39 pavilions, 9 sacred pools and 50 shrines, the main tower is 236 ft in height which is second largest in India.
This temple is also known as Thiruvaranga Tirupati and is built on a riverine Island.made by Kaveri and Kollidam River. It is said that the temple was worshipped by Rama and was handed over to King Vibhishana after the victory over Ravana. On his route to Lanka, Lord Vishnu appeared in front of Vibhishana and desired to stay there as Ranganatha.
This temple is just 12 km away from Trichy which has its own Railway station and airport.
17.Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple
Situated on the banks of the river Yamuna in New Delhi. This temple is dedicated to Swaminarayan an Indian yogi who existed in the 18th century. This temple made its mark to Guinness book of world record for a largest comprehensive Hindu temple.
This temple is built on the principle of Pancharatra Shastra and Vastu Shastra and displays the uniqueness of Indian culture in its architecture. It has been built using Rajasthan pink sandstone and Italian Carrara marble. The temple is 141ft high and 316 ft wide with 234 carved pillar, 20,000 sculptures of various spiritual personalities, 9 domes.
One can enjoy a musical light show in the evening or stroll out in 60 acres of a garden area over here and one of the best temples to visit in India and in the Capital of Delhi.
Also known as Kamrup Kamakhya situated in Nilachal hill of Guwahati. The temple is dedicated to bleeding Goddess “Kamakhya”.It is one of oldest amongst 51 Shakti peeths.
This temple name is derived from the God of Love Kamadeva. The deity of Kamakhya Devi was installed to pay tribute to Shakti to lend back Kamadeva his potency after he lost his virility due to curse. It is believed, it’s the place where Shakti’s womb fell after being cut to 108 parts.
Some say in the month of June, Brahmaputra turns red and it is believed that the goddess menstruates during this time. The temple is built during the Mlechchha Dynasty during the 8th century and was renovated many times till the 17th century.
A UNESCO world heritage site in a small town of Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, which has numerous temples in the complex, built between 10th to 12th century , these temples are dedicated to deities of Hindus and Jain for the acceptance of diverse religious views.
Built during the Chandella dynasty during the reign of Yasovarman and Dhanga out of 75 only 20 are left now. These temples are segregated into 3 zones and the largest temple Kandariya Mahadeva temple lies in this zone only. The Khajuraho temple is built-in Nagara architectural designs and has erotic sculptures.
It is said the temple architecture is based on Hemavathi who cam in the dreams of her son in law when she passed.
Khajuraho has its own airport and railway station also Mahoba is one of the connection railway stations.
The holy town of Vrindavan where Lord Krishna spent his childhood. One could see many big and small temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. This place is religious hotspots for Hindu pilgrimage and millions of people visit each year. Holi and Janmashtami are 2 special occasions on which are is a tremendous footfall of visitors.
Famous temples are:-
Banke Bihari Temple -Dedicated to Lord Krishna one of the most revered Shrines of Krishna.
Prem Mandir-A massive temple built by Shri Jagadguru Kripalu Maharaja dedicated to Lord Krishna and Radha as well as Ram Sita.
ISKCON Temple -(International Society for Krishna Consciousness) also known as Krishna Balarama Mandir built-in 1975 Swami Prabhupada(founder of ISKON) wanted a temple to create where both Balaram and Krishna played.
One can easily reach Vrindavan from Mathura. For detailed info about Vrindavan temples please read this article
One of the 12 Jyotirlingas dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is situated in on the banks of river Shipra.
Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of Mahakal which is the fierce form of Shiva. It is one of the 18 Maha Shakti peeths. The Idols of Ganesh, Parvathi , Kartikeya and Nandi has been established at west , north , east and south.
The temple traces could be founded in Shivpuran and the Bhasma aarti is most important ritual followed in the temple and the Nageshwar Temple only opens during the Nag Panchami day.
Ujjain has its own railway station and nearest international airport is in Indore around 55 km
Kanchipuram -also known as the city of 1000 temples, it is said the Kanchipuram is the second most sacred city after Varanasi and has some best temples to visit in India.
Some of the best temples over here are:
Ekambareswarar Temple:- Largest temple among the Kanchipuram , dedicated to Lord Shiva built by the Pallava dynasty and the temple is around 59 metre in height. A 10-day festival known as Panguni Bhramotsavam is celebrated in March -April each year.
Kamakshi Amman Temple:-built by Pallavas is dedicated to Goddess Kamakshi, the temple also have annual chariot temple during the Tamil month of Masi( between February and March).
Vardaraja Perumal Temple:- One of the Divya Desam sites in India, this temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It has around 350 inscriptions related to all major dynasties and has 100 pillared hall.
Nearest railway station to Kanchipuram is Arrakonamm around 28 km and the nearest airport is in Chennai 67 kms away.
23.Lingaraja Temple Bhubaneshwar
Dedicated to Lingaraj, here Lingaraj refers to Lord Shiva and Vishnu. Lingaraja temple is situated in the Temple city of Bhubaneshwar. Only Hindus are allowed to enter into the temple. The temple is around 180 ft high and one of the finest examples of Kalinga Style architectural design.
On the north side of the temple, there is 1300*700 ft lake known as the Bindusagar lake on its Western banks there is a garden known as Ekamra Garden.
Mahashivratri is the main festival of this temple. The city of Bhubaneshwar has its own railway station and airport.
EndNote:-India is not only limited to only these temples but there are thousands of temples spread all across our country.Out of which we have brought some best temples to visit in India , which all of us should plan to visit once in our lifetime.
With the foundation of Ram mandir is getting laid on 5th August 2020 there would be one more addition to the list.
My favourite was the Ranganathswamy temple what’s yours ?? post it in our comments section.
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