India is the birthplace of spirituality and extensive religious practices. With the religions in this country having gathered people of faith all around the world, shrines and temples are the most significant part of a lot of lives. India is home to millions of temples, famous and unknown. Though with these many temples, there are some that stand out the most for a number of reasons. The popular temples in India have a charm and allure of their own, so here’s a list of the 7 most well-known temples in India that nearly every Hindu in the world is aware of.
1. Golden Temple, Amritsar
More commonly known amongst the Sikhs as Harmandir Sahib, the Golden Temple in Amritsar has a distinct quality that makes it immensely popular. Known as the holiest of temples in Sikhism, Harmandir Sahib gathers devotees from all over the world throughout the year. Devotees bathe in the holy water of the shrine and then pay their respects at the temple. A dome made of gold bearing inscriptions and heavenly architecture is known to have attracted tourists just as well as pilgrims. Harmandir Sahib is crowded the most during the annual festival of Baisakhi.
2. Jagannath Temple, Puri
One of Hindu religion’s most important temples lies in Orissa’s town of Puri. The Lord Jagannath temple is dedicated to the Hindu God Krishna. It is also home to the idols of Lord Krishna’s brother Balbhadra, his sister Subhadra. The temple attracts devotees throughout the year but most of them arrive during the time of the grand festival of Rathyatra that takes place in the town. A chariot pulled by thousands of devotees in Puri creates a very intriguing picture that depicts how much devotion the people hold for their deity. The temple only allows Hindus to enter but tourists can get a good look at the exterior of it from a few locations in Puri.
3. Tirumala Venkateshwara, Tirupati
Situated in Andhra Pradesh, the Tirumala Venkateshwara Temple or the Tirupati Balaji temple is the most sacred one for the people of southern India. The temple offers Prasad in the form of ‘laddoos’ a sweet that is known all over the world for its distinct taste. The temple attracts millions of devotees through the entire year, with long queues waiting at the Lord’s doorstep for hours to end. Tirumala is considered to be one of the holiest locations in India for the Hindus.
4. Vaishno Devi Temple, Katra
Thousands of devotees trek up to the temple of Vaishno Devi in Katra of Jammu-Kashmir every year. The Vaishno Devi Temple is the second most visited temple of India, and it is a highly popular one amongst worshippers of the Goddess Maha-Lakshmi. Hindus consider this temple to be a most auspicious one as it is known to fulfil the wishes of many devotees. Pilgrims believe in taking a trip to Vaishno Devi at least once in their lives.
5. Badrinath Temple, Uttarakhand
Another one of the most significant temples of Hindu religion, the Badrinath Temple is the shrine of Lord Vishnu. It is possibly the most popular pilgrimage location in India as it comes under the ‘Chaar-Dham Yatra’ that devotees undertake to visit the four holiest destinations of Hindu religion. The temple is only open to devotees during April to November since the weather and the route to it is too treacherous during the rest of the year.
6. Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh
Situated in Raisen of Madhya Pradesh, the Sanchi Stupa is a shrine significant to the Buddhist religion in India. Relics of the Buddha reside within this great holy temple, and it has garnered Buddhist devotees from all over the world who come to pay respects to their lord. Sanchi Stupa is the creation of Emperor Asoka in 3rd Century BC, and it has also been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Sanchi Stupa is one of the most significant Buddhist shrines in the world.
7. Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi
Varanasi is considered to be one of the holiest cities in India as it is home to the great Kashi Vishwanath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. As Varanasi is also home to the holy River Ganges, it is all the more important and sacred a destination for Hindu devotees. Pilgrims from all corners of India have visited the temple at least once, and even some great personalities like Swami Vivekananda, Gurunanak, Adi Shankaracharya among others have paid their respects to Lord Shiva.
There are a lot more temples in India that have gained popularity over the centuries, but the above few stand out having gathered more devotees than most shrines in the country.
Rohit is an enthusiastic traveller who has seen and gained knowledge of many popular places in India, and he shares his experiences on TransIndiaTravels.com through regular blogs.