Famous Temples in India
1. Kashi Vishwanath in Varanasi Kashi Vishwanath is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. It is located at the western bank of the holy river Ganga in the Varanasi city of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is also known as Vishweshwara which means emperor of the universe. It was built in 1781 by Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar of the Indore and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that one can get rid of sins by taking a dip in the holy water of the river Ganga flowing beside this temple. In the past, Kashi Vishwanath temple is visited by many great religious persons like Swami Vivekanand, Adi Shankaracharya, Guru Nanak, Goswami Tulsidas. The gold which was used to cover the two domes of the temple was denoted by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab. It is believed that one who sees this Jyotirlinga at Kashi Vishwanath get blessings that are equal to the blessings received from the rest of the eleven Jyotirlingas. It is also believed that by visiting this temple one can attain Moksha.
2. Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha Jagannath temple is located in the Puri city of Odisha and is one of the four Char Dham Pilgrimages in India. It was built in the 12th century. Although this temple is devoted to Lord Krishna, the idols of Lord Balabhadra (brother of Lord Krishna) and Goddess Subhadra (sister of Lord Krishna) can be seen in this temple. The idols of the Jagannath Temple are unique and very appealing. They have big eyes, unique complexions and are made by a special kind of wood called Daru Brahma. The temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra (chariot festival), which is the main festival celebrated here. During Rath Yatra, all three idols are placed on the chariots and taken on a ride. Millions of pilgrims participate in this Yatra from all over the country and world.
3. Vaishno Devi in Katra, Jammu: Vaishno Devi temple is located in the Katra town of the Jammu and Kashmir state of India. It is situated at an altitude of 5200 ft. from the sea level on a mountain called Trikuta and is devoted to the goddess Shakti which is also known as Mata Rani, Vaishnavi, and Trikuta. It is in the form of a shrine and is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas. It has three rock heads (natural rock formations), which as known as Pindies, as idols of different forms of the goddess Shakti. Every year more than 10 million devotees visit this sacred shrine of Ma Vaishno Devi to take her blessings. It is also a religious trekking destination as to reach the sacred shrine one has to walk around 13 km uphill. Navratri is the main festival of this temple.
4. Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Andhra Pradesh: Tirumala Venkateswara temple is located in the hill town of Trimala at Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh state of India. It is devoted to Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of Vishnu. It is one the most visited temples of India; Apart from religious belief, the Dravidian architecture and inscriptions of various empires on its walls attract the devotees. It is also known as Tirupati Temple, Tirumala Temple, Tirupati Balaji Temple. Lord Venkateswara is also known by some other names; Govinda, Balaji, and Srinivasa. In the premises of the temple, devotees can be seen performing many unique rituals such as Thulabharam, Head Tonsuring, Arjitha Seva, etc., to please the god. The festivals which are celebrated here include Ramanavami, Janmashtami, Rathasaptami, Vasanthotsavam, and Brahmotsavam. Out of these festivals, Brahmotsavam is the main festival which is celebrated annually with full devotion and zeal.
5. Ramanathaswamy Temple in Tamil Nadu: Ramanathaswamy Temple is located on Rameswaram to the east of the Pamban Island in the Tamil Nadu state of India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples. The meaning of Ramanathaswamy is “The Master of Rama”. It is believed that this temple is established by Rama to absolve the sins created during the war against Ravana and killing him (a Brahman) in this war.
6. Badrinath Temple in Uttarakhand: Badrinath Temple is located at the Badrinath town in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state of India. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is located close to the Alaknanda River. It is one of the Char Dham pilgrimages in India. It is also one of the Chota Char Dham pilgrimages in India. The temple is located at the height of 10279 feet above the sea level and is surrounded by snow-covered Himalaya. It has a hot water spring called Tapt Kund which is believed to have medicinal values. The famous festivals of this temple are Murti Ka Mela and the Badri Kedar Festival.
7. Somnath Temple in Gujarat: Somnath temple is believed to be the first Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. It is located in the Prabhas Kshetra in the Gujarat state of India. Som means ‘Moon God’, thus the meaning of Somnath is ‘Protector of the Moon God’. It is also believed that it is built by the Moon God after Lord Shiva freed him from his father-in-law’s curse of waning. It is mentioned in many ancient scriptures and books like Shivpuran, Skandpurana, and Shreemad Bhagvat Geeta.
8. Kedarnath Temple in Rudraprayag: Kedarnath Temple is located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand amidst snow-covered peaks at an elevation of 3583 meters from the sea level which makes it the highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas. It is one of the most sacred temples devoted to Lord Shiva and is also a part of Chhota Char Dham Yatra in the state of Uttarakhand, India.
9. Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai: Siddhivinayak Temple is located in Prabha Devi, Mumbai city of the state of Maharashtra, India. It was built in the 18th century by Deubai and Vithu Patil. It is the most famous temple in Mumbai. This temple is devoted to Lord Ganesha. The Lord Ganesha is known as Vighnaharta (the terminator of impediments) so devotees usually come here to offer prayers before starting any new work or assignment. It is one of the eight Ashtavinayaka temples in Maharashtra. On Tuesday devotees come here in huge numbers. At special occasions, thousands of devotees come here such as at Diwali, New Year, and Ganesh Chaturthi. Images of Ashtavinayaka are carved on the wooden doors of the temple. In this temple, the idol of Lord Ganesha has its trunk on the right side, whereas other idols have their trunks to the left side. And, it has four hands holding different things which are prayer beads, a small axe, a lotus, a bowl of modaks. You can also see the statue of Mushak (rat), which is Lord Ganesha’s vahan (vehicle), in the temple. It is believed the wishes come true if someone whispers it into the ears of mushak.
10. Akshardham Temple in New Delhi: Akshardham means abode of God. It is located in the New Delhi, India. It is inaugurated on 6 November 2005 by late APJ Abdul Kalam, who was a great scientist and also served as the president of India. This temple is devoted to Swaminarayan and reminds us of the tradition, culture, architecture, and spirituality of ancient India. It also holds the Guinness World Record for being the largest comprehensive Hindu temple in the world. Around 11,000 artisans and thousands of Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) volunteers are involved in the construction of this temple. There a lots of special things inside the temple such as The Sahajanand Darshan (Hall of Values); it represents the ideals of honesty, harmony, and non-violence and events from Swaminarayan’s life. It also has the world’s smallest animatronics robot as a Ghanshyam Maharaj, which is the child form of Swaminarayan. Boat ride is also available. A theatre is also built in the temple which is called Nilkanth Darshan and show a 40-minute film.
11 Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati: Kamakhya Temple is one of the most famous temples in India which is located on the Nilachal Hill in the Guwahati city of Assam, India. It is dedicated to goddess Kamakhya and is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas of the goddess Shakti. According to Hindu religion, when Shiva was performing tandav (dance of destruction) holding body parts of Sati, the body parts of Sati fell on the Earth at different places in India. At these places, temples devoted to Sati, are built and are known as Shakti Peethas. Kamakhya temple is built at the place where her yoni fell. The temple does not have any idol of the goddess; a stone that looks like yoni and has a natural spring flowing over it is worshipped by the devotees. The annual festival, Ambubachi Mela, is the main festival of this temple that is celebrated in the month of June. Many tantric worshippers from different parts of the country come here during this festival.
12. Meenakshi Temple in Madurai: Meenakshi Temple is built on the banks of Vaigai River in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. It is devoted to goddess Parvati as Meenakshi and Shiva as Sundareshwar. The construction of the temple is based on Shilpa Shastra, which is an ancient Indian building manual about arts and crafts. It is believed that it was built in the 6th century by the survivors of Kumari Kadam, a lost continent. But, according to Hindu scriptures, the shrine in the temple was built by Lord Indra to atone his wrongdoings. The Meenakshi temple was looted and destroyed by Malik Kafur in the 14th century, a Mughal Commander, but the shrines of Sundaresvara and Meenakshi remained intact. So, in the 16th century, it was rebuilt by Vishwanathan Nayakan, a Nayak ruler.
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