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India's Ten Magnificent and Most Popular Temples

Travel, especially the pilgrimage are the great pleasure for Sunil Kunnoth. He loves to wander with his spiritual sojourns.

'Incredible India' is an ad tagline used for the promotion of tourism potentiality of country India. But any traveller who happened to visit this land would cheerfully agree one thing: India is really incredible!

India offers a grand experience to a tourist. ‘Unity in Diversity’ is what makes the nation a different and vibrant one. It has everything to please a traveller. Fine beaches, mountains, hill stations, dessert, forest, wildlife, rivers, snow and a rich history the country has everything. This is a country where all religious people such as Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists, and Jews live together harmoniously. And don’t be surprised when knowing that India houses the largest population of Hindus and the second largest population of Muslims in the world. My earlier article “Religious Diversity of India-A Study“ discusses the religious features of India in detail. You can read the same for more details.

Here what I present before you are some of the magnificent and popular temples of the country. These great shrines lure millions of pilgrims and tourists and offer them an unforgettable experience in their lifetime. The great architectural beauty of the ancient time, classic features of the old monuments and simply described these are nothing but poetry on the rocks. And now, let’s begin our great journey from the most famous and ancient Kashi Vishwanath Temple at Varanasi (Banaras) in Uttar Pradesh, a great religious hub of Hindus. This journey will take you through the length and breadth of India.



Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh


The dream land for every Hindus, Kashi (also known as Varanasi or Banaras) is the place they wish to make a visit before their death. Kashi Vishwanath Temple is situated on the banks of the holy river Ganga and dates back to 1766. For the Hindus, the Ganga is not mere a river; it is their Goddess. The city Varanasi got fame thanks to the presence of this temple and holy Ganga. Millions of people visit the religious city and the temple every year. ‘Kumbamela’ is a great festival held here every 12th year attracting millions of believers and non-believers alike.


For more details, please read: Travel-to-Varanasi-and-the-Ganges



Siddhi Vinayaka Temple, Mumbai, Maharashtra


Siddhi and Vinayaka are the other names of Ganesha, the God of Obstacle Remover. Built about two centuries ago at a place called Prabhadevi area, the temple has 2.5 feet idol of Lord Ganesha in black stone. Here Ganesha’s trunk is on the right side as against the usual style of the left trunk. This temple attracts a large crowd every day and is one of the main attractions of Mumbai city. Famous Bollywood personalities are great devotees of Ganesha and they visit the temple usually. It is believed that prayers are easily answered (fulfilled) from here. The serpentine queue can at times be seen stretched to a distance of two kilometers. About 1.5 to 2 lakhs people visit the temple every Tuesday since Tuesday is being considered as an auspicious day for Ganesha pooja. For initiating every new venture, Hindus first worship Ganesha as he is the God of Obstacle Remover.

Siddhi Vinayaka Temple, Mumbai

Siddhi Vinayaka Temple, Mumbai


Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, Shirdi, Maharashtra


Sai Baba was a great saint India had ever seen. He lived and preached in Shirdi, a small village in Maharashtra and nearby regions during the late 19th and early 20th century. He stood for communal harmony and respected all faiths. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and all other religious people worship him.

The temple was built in 1922 after his ‘Samadhi’ on October 15, 1918. Shirdi is in Ahmed Nagar district of Maharashtra. Shirdi is a new hot spot on the religious map of India and the number of visitors is increasing every day. Revenue of the temple also is showing an increasing trend.


Shrdi Sai Temple, Shrdi, Maharashtra

Shrdi Sai Temple, Shrdi, Maharashtra


Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu & Kashmir


This beautiful shrine is in Katra town in the beautiful state of Jammu and Kashmir. You need to climb to an altitude of 5300 feet to reach the spot, which is roughly 12 km away from Katra. (Katra is 45 km from Jammu). After Tirupati Tirumala Venkateshwara Temple, this is the most visited pilgrim centre. Every year about 8 million pilgrims reach here. The shrine contains three idols of Maha Saraswati, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Kali. The scenic beauty of the surrounding area is superb. Temperature is so cold most of the time and you need to carry the protective gears for smooth and trouble less journey. Now railway access is available till Katra from Udhampur. Nearest Airport is in Jammu.

For a detailed study, please read: Pilgrimage-to-Vaishno-Devi-Few-tips-to-make-your-journey-more-convenient


Vaishno Devi Templel, Jammu & Kashmir

Vaishno Devi Templel, Jammu & Kashmir


Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh


After the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, the temple often called Tirupati is the second richest temple in India. It is in Andhra Pradesh, a southern state of India. The temple is also known as ‘The Temple of Seven Hills’. Chennai is the nearest main city (138 km) and Bangalore is 291 km away.

The temple is situated on a hilltop, 853 m above sea level. Lord Venkateshwara is the presiding deity. The God is also known as Balaji, Govinda and Srinivasa. What makes Tirupati a vibrant temple is the large flow of pilgrims as well the great flow of income. Pilgrims offer cash and gold lavishly. No shrines of any faiths in the world receive such a huge sum as revenue as Tirupati does. One of the most popular rituals of the temple is hair tonsuring. The hair is exported to foreign countries. The income from this source amounts to approximately $ 6 million annually.


Tirupati Venkateshwara Temple, Andhra Pradesh

Tirupati Venkateshwara Temple, Andhra Pradesh


Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab


Golden Temple is one of the most beautiful temples in India and the most sacred place for Sikhs. It is considered as a symbol of the magnificence and strength of the Sikhs all over the world. All religious people can visit the temple. There is but a condition for admission. You need to cover your head using a towel or cloth or cap. The beauty of the temple cannot be described through words as it is such a magnificent one. It has to be experienced. The whole building has golden coating. The shrine lies in the middle of the Sarovar (tank).

The architecture of the temple reflects a unique harmony between the Muslims' and Hindus' way of construction work. The temple building is often considered as the best architectural specimen of the world. A specialty of the temple is the serving of 24 hours free meals. The food is served to all people irrespective of their religion and nationality. It is approximately calculated that 40,000 visitors share the meals every day

For a detailed study, please read the article: A-Visit-To-The-Golden-Temple-Of-Amritsar-India

The Enchanting Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab

The Enchanting Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab


Akshardham Temple Complex, Delhi


Akshardham is a Hindu temple complex and a modern wonder built in 2005. Situated in Delhi, the complex attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists every day. Some people even observe this building more beautiful than the world famous Taj Mahal. The former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited this modern architectural wonder a few years back and commented: Akshardham is not only a unique place in India but in the whole world. It is even more beautiful than what I had imagined. Taj Mahal is definitely beautiful but this place, along with beauty, has a beautiful message.

The building is made of Rajasthani pink sandstone and Italian Carrara Marble. The 141 ft high building a delight to eyes and the visitors fell in love with the marble marvel. It is the biggest hand carved structure in the world. The temple complex is located near the banks of river Yamuna. Don’t forget to visit this ‘modern wonder’ when you reach Delhi, the Capital City of India.


Akshardam Temple Complex, Delhi, A Modern Marvel

Akshardam Temple Complex, Delhi, A Modern Marvel


Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, Kerala


The most favorite temple of Keralites is Guruvayoor Sri Krishna Temple. But when it comes to the number of pilgrims and revenue collection, Sabarimala stands first among the temples in Kerala. During the ‘Mandala Pooja’ (from Mid November to December end) millions of devotees reach the temple. Pilgrims are mainly from the four Southern states-Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. What makes Sabarimala very different from the rest of the temples in India is its strict ritual practice. The devotees have to observe a lot of harsh penance for making the pilgrimage. You also need to observe a dress code also during the pilgrimage. This temple holds the world record for receiving the most number of pilgrims during a particular season (Mandala Pooja).

For more information about the temple, you can read my article “Sabarimala-Ayyappa-Temple-Kerala-South-India-A-Unique-Hindu-Shrine-in-the-World“.

Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, Pathanamthitta, Kerala

Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, Pathanamthitta, Kerala


Maha Bodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya, Bihar


A UNESCO World Heritage site and a great Buddhist destination in India, the Maha Bodhi Temple is in Bodh Gaya in Gaya district in the state of Bihar. It is 96 km away from Patna, the capital of Bihar. Buddhists from across the world reach this holy place. All religious people can visit the temple and there is no restriction to anyone. The holiest Buddhist tree is there next to the temple and is one of the main attractions. Buddha is believed to have got enlightenment under the tree. The temple has diamond throne (Vajrasana) to mark the historic event. This is one of the earliest temples built in brick and still exists. Buddhist Emperor Asoka was the man behind the establishment of this holy shrine, approximately during 250 BCE.

Maha Bodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya, Bihar

Maha Bodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya, Bihar


Somnath Temple, Gujarat


This temple has got a great mention in history texts. This is one of the twelve ‘Jyotirlingams’ as mentioned in the ‘Shiva Purana’. The temple was attacked several times by the Muslim rulers and was renovated in the 11th century. In 1950, it was rebuilt. It is one of the greatest attractions of Gujarat.

People from across the country and outside visit the shrine. Nearly seventy to eighty lakhs (7,000,000 to 8,000,000) devotees visit the temple annually. Kartika Purnima, Shivaratri and Diwali are the great festivals being celebrated here.


Apart from the above ten temples, there are two more very famous and popular temples in India on its eastern coast. iPuri Jagannath Temple, Puri and Konark Sun Temple, Konark, Orissa are these great shrines. I have done a detailed story on these temples and titled: "What-Makes-Odisha-A-Different-Travel-Destination-in-India". Please read the same by clicking the above link to update your knowledge on the topic: Indian Temples..


Wish you all a happy journey!

My Articles on the Sacred Places of Other Religions

  • The World's Most Popular and Sacred Seven Pilgrimage Centers
    Pilgrimage is a great experience with prayer and pleasure. All religions have important pilgrimage centers. Religious people visit these places, pray and find solace. The world's most famous pilgrimage sites of major religions are discussed here.

© 2013 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth

Comments

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on June 26, 2015:

Thank you for stopping by and leaving some comments here. Glad to know that you love these places and my article is informative.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on June 25, 2015:

Very beautiful places. Thank you for this succinct and informative travelogue. Great hub.

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on February 10, 2015:

@aesta, Oh! it so nice to hear that you have been to India several time and have some Poona temple experience. Poona is where Osho Rajneesh lived. Thank you for reading my post and leaving some comments. I request you to make a visit to Kerala, my home state, also known as 'The God's Own Country'.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 10, 2015:

I have been to India several times and once, in Poona, our local friends brought me to the Temple. It was a very memorable experience for me to be part of the life of the Temple.

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on February 05, 2015:

Yes, you need to stay here at least one month here as India is such a vast country with some unique features, the temples being the most striking ones. Thanks for the visit, comments and sharing.

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on February 05, 2015:

Thanks for sharing a great hub about India's most magnificent and popular temples. I have never been to India, but definitely would like to visit during my lifetime. I guess I would have to spend a month in India to see all of these temples. Voted up as interesting and useful. Sharing with HP followers and on Facebook.

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on December 04, 2014:

C.V. Rajan Sir,

Sir, you are right that the list of 10 is too small to showcase the grand Indian temple. I have picked some popular one only and have omitted some great one. Tanjore and Guruvayur I have separately covered in my hubs. Kashi photo, I will check and do the needful. Thank you for your great advice and support. God bless you Sir.

Disillusioned from Kerala, India on December 02, 2014:

Pl check. The photo of Kashi Viswanath temple is that of the new one (Birla mandir) and not the original temple.

I am afraid a list of 10 is too small to showcase the grand Indian temples. You have left out very many grand temples of Tamil Nadu unfortunately (Madurai Meenakshi, Tanjore Bruhadeeswara temple etc). How can you miss Guruvayurappan in your own land!?

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on April 16, 2014:

@AliciaC

Glad to know that my hub is of interest to you. Thanks for your visit and nice comments. Please do visit these places and enjoy when you have time and means.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 15, 2014:

This is a very interesting hub! Thank you for creating it. I loved looking at the photos of the temples and reading the descriptions.

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on February 25, 2014:

I have written hub on Mahashivaratri and hope you will find it. Thank you for notifying me.

Aditya Soni from India on February 25, 2014:

http://www.mahashivaratri.net/2014/02/maha-shivara...

A Good Read for Maha Shivaratri Fest

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on February 07, 2014:

That's wonderful to note that you had a nostalgic childhood memory about India. I have done a couple of hubs on India especially about its temples, architectures and culture. Hope you will find it and read. Thank you for your visit and fine comments. Love to hear more about your India experience. Please share through a hub.

Twilight Lawns from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. on February 07, 2014:

A useful and interesting hub.

I lived in Maharashtra province near Poona (Pune) as a child, and would love to return and see temples and architecture that I missed.

Thank you.

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on December 17, 2013:

Thank you Radhakrishna Sir for your compliment and encouragement. Hope you will find my other works as well.

radhakrishnan ac on December 17, 2013:

good work sunil. go ahead..!!

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on December 15, 2013:

MsDora

Thanks for stopping by and leaving some fine comments. To answer your queries, please note that once India was so rich in all aspects. Intellectually, culturally and on all counts India was so superb. The history text will give you enough information regarding this point. That time the intelligent and wealthy kings made these kinds of great monuments reflecting the proud heritage of the nation and its architectural marvel. Of course it reflects people's admiration for their religion also well. Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism had great growth on this soil and the people were living in communal harmony that time. I have done a couple of hubs highlighting all these positive points and you can read the same for more information. Thank you for your comments and concern.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 15, 2013:

Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos and the facts about them. Seems like they belong to another world. Do they, in any way reflect the wealth of India, or are they an indication of people's admiration for their religion?

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on December 12, 2013:

Perspycacious

So surprised to note your memory. Also glad to know that you keep a tab on my progress. As you said I have achieved something worth here thanks to God's grace, support from people like you and of course a little bit of hard work from my part. It is true by now I have found my niche and keep on working to serve my readers more. It is so kind of you to express your feel so frankly. I hope your support will continue. Thank you for stopping by and leaving some precious comments. Hope to hear more from you as ever. Wish you all the best dear.

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on December 11, 2013:

When we were last in contact you had published two Hubs and had at least one follower! Now look at what you have accomplished. You are right to focus on what you know best and to use HubPages to broaden our knowledge and understanding (even our fascination) of India. You have found your niche. This article is a tribute to the religious harmony which is so badly needed in our world today. That India can continue to foster and preserve such harmony is my prayer.

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on December 10, 2013:

@Reginald Boswell

You have said it right that India has diverse culture and is the birth place of four major religions in the world. Thanks for stopping by and leaving some interesting observation. It is glad to know that my hub is of interest to you in some way. Thank you.

Reginald Boswell from Huntsville, Alabama on December 10, 2013:

Thanks for sharing! These monuments are a testament of the indominable spirit of India's people. India is characterized by a diverse religious tradition and is the birth place of four of the world’s major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. 90% of the inhabitants of India adhere to some religion and faith.

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on December 09, 2013:

Oh, that is wonderful you watch a Bollywood movie, India has such a lot of beautiful temples and other pilgrimage centers. I will introduce all of them step by step. It is nice to note that my hub gave you some interesting reading as well help. Thank you very much for your visit and fine comments dear.

Viet Doan from Big Island, Hawaii on December 08, 2013:

I recently watched a wonderful Bollywood movie called Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. There's a beautiful temple in the middle of a lake featured in the movie, now I know it's the Golden Temple of Punjab, thanked to your hub! I really want to visit this temple and other ones you listed in this excellent hub. Thank you!

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on December 07, 2013:

Thank you for the kind words, I am glad that you liked my hub.

Dr Pran Rangan from Kanpur (UP), India on December 04, 2013:

I liked it. Good work.

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on December 04, 2013:

Phyllis Doyle

So glad to read your encouraging comments. Also glad to know you liked my hub and photos. Thank you very much for positive response. Please read my other hubs as well to get more idea on the topic.

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on December 04, 2013:

MG Singh

Thanks for stopping by and leaving comments.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on December 04, 2013:

Sunil, I so admire and appreciate beauty in architecture -- you have delighted my senses with these lovely photos. You are so right that beauty this incredible must be seen in person to fully appreciate, yet you have done a great job with your words of description. All up votes.

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on December 04, 2013:

DDE

So glad to note your encouraging comments. I am happy that you find time to read and comment on my hubs. Thanks for your visit and vote.

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on December 04, 2013:

srsddn,

Thank you very much for your visit and encouraging comments. Thanks for your vote also.

MG Singh from UAE on December 04, 2013:

Nice post. India is a land of Temples

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth (author) from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on December 04, 2013:

thumbi

Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your comments.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 04, 2013:

India's Ten Magnificent and Most Popular Temples are indeed extraordinary and I like visiting temples. You have lovely photos and I enjoyed reading another informative hub from you. Voted up, useful interesting and awesome.

Sukhdev Shukla from Dehra Dun, India on December 04, 2013:

sunilkunnoth2012, you have made a great choice of temples. In view of so many famous temples in the country, it was a difficult choice. I have visited only two of these and had been getting a glimpse of Akshardham Temple many times when I go to Dehli. Very well presented. Voted up and useful.

JR Krishna from India on December 04, 2013:

Very nice collection. I have pinned some of the images

Thanks for sharing

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