Apart from its vibrant and colorful culture, India is also known the world over for its numerous beautiful temples, many of which have surpassed the boundaries of time to become prominent places of worship to this day.
“India has two million gods, and worships them all. In religion all other countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire.” – Mark Twain
#1: Konark Sun Temple, Konark, Odisha
Built in 13th-century CE by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty, this temple has been a living shrine ever since its inception till today.
Konark Sun Temple is an architectural marvel in itself. It resembles Lord Sun’s chariot with seven horses and stone wheels, which actually rotate.
#2: Brihadeeswara Temple, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
Built between 1003 and 1010 AD by Tamil king Raja Raja Chola I of the Chola dynasty, this is the most famous temple and a popular tourist attraction in Tamil Nadu.
It is an impressive granite complex spread over 100 acres of land and is dedicated mainly to Lord Shiva. It is adorned with many murals and inscriptions from the ancient period.
#3: Meenakshi Temple, Madurai Tamil Nadu
This magnificent temple complex was built in the 12th century and is a major center of worship even today.
Dedicated to the Goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva’s consort, it is famous for its hall comprising 985 intricately carved pillars, each of which is different from one another.
#4: Modhera Sun Temple, Modhera, Gujarat
Built sometime after 1026-27 CE during the reign of Bhima I of the Chalukya dynasty, this magnificent structure appeals to the senses the moment one sets foot in the complex.
However, the beautiful stepwell in the complex is an architectural masterpiece.
The place is no longer in worship since it was destroyed by Islamic invaders in the medieval era.
#5: Tungnath Temple, Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand
Literally meaning “Lord of the Peak”, Tungnath is one of the highest Shiva temples in the world, located at an altitude of 3,680 m.
Tungnath forms part of the pilgrimage route of the Panch Kedar temples, the five most important Shiva temples for the Hindus.
#6: Hadimba Devi Temple, Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Locally known as Dhungari Temple, this is an ancient cave temple dedicated to the demon goddess Hidimbi, wife of Bhima, one of the five Pandavas in the Mahabharata.
This is the only known temple dedicated to Hidimbi in the world, which is not only in worship by the locals, but is also a popular tourist attraction.
#7: Virupaksha Temple, Hampi, Karnataka
Built in the 7th century and a living shrine ever since, this Shiva Temple is locally known as the “Pampapathi Temple”.
This temple forms part of the group of monuments in Hampi, which have found a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
#8: Mahakal Temple, Darjeeling, West Bengal
Perched on the top of the Observatory Hill on the picturesque hill station of Darjeeling, this Shiva shrine is the place of worship for both Hindus and Buddhists.
The temple has been built on the historic site of a Buddhist Monastery named 'Dorje-Ling', which is why the place is sacred for both the religions.
#9: Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu
This is a very unique shrine dedicated to Lord Nataraja, the divine dancer form of Shiva.
The present edifice was constructed in the 10th century and has been in worship ever since. The temple architecture is symbolic and depicts the divine connection between art and spirituality.