The top temples in India



After toying with the thought of going for a long time, and never feeling quite ready for it, I have finally made up my mind: I am going to India next week! I am incredibly excited at the idea, and a bit nervous as I feel I will have a bit of a cultural shock. India was not in my travel plans for 2016, but I was given a chance to go and I couldn’t pass out on this one. Besides, there are some really good Dubai to Kolkata flights around, making the overall trip quite cheap for me.

Check out my post “Ten places I would like to visit in 2016” to find out what my travel plans for 2016 used to be at the beginning of the year.

One of the thing that scares me the most about it is that India is the country with the highest population density. I was already shocked to see the amount of people in Indonesia, the first country I visited in Asia, so I can only imagine how it will be like in India!

Find out more about Indonesia on my post “Fantastic things to do in Indonesia.”

Yet, I know that India is full of marvelous temples that deserve a visit, dedicated to each of the different faiths that make up Indian religious beliefs. But since it would take a lifetime to tour every one of the thousands of temples dotted around this vast country, here are a selection of the ones that I will try to visit.

Le grand stūpa de Sanchi, face arrière du Torana ouest (Inde)

The Sanchi Supa – photo courtesy of Jean-Pierre Dalbéra (flickr)

Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh

This Buddhist temple can be found in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. The Great Stupa (a dome-shaped Buddhist shrine) is the oldest stone structure in India. Madhya Pradesh is the first state I will be visiting, so this will be my introduction into Indian temples.

Kumbakonam, Kumbeshwara Temple

Adi Kumbeswarar, Tamil Nadu

Whereas Tungnath appears quite modest from the outside, Adi Kumbeswarar is an extraordinary construction covered with colourful sculptures of the deities. Another Shiva temple, it consists of four gateway towers and is in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. I am very curious to check this out.

Dilwara Jain temples, Mt Abu

The intricate carvings of the Dilwara Jain temples – photo courtesy of Rakhee (flickr)

Dilwara Temples, Rajasthan

The Dilwara temples are sacred to Jain worshippers, and comprise five temples. Each one is full of stunning carvings, with one (Vimal Vasahi) carved out of marble). Dilwara is in the north-western state of Rajasthan. I will be touring Rajasthan, so I won’t miss out on this one.

IMG_5980.jpg

The Badami Cave Temples – photo courtesy of Harsha Vardhan Durugadda (flickr)

Badami Cave Temples, Karnataka

Religious buildings often pop up in the most inventive locations, and the Badami Cave Temples are (not surprisingly, given the name) carved into sandstone hills. Located in the south-western state of Karnataka, the caves present some of the earliest known instances of Hindu temples.

Stone Chariot - The Icon of Hampi

The Vittala Temple – photo courtesy of Mahesh Telkar (flickr)

Vittala Temple, Hampi, Karnataka

Also in Karnataka lies the temple of Vittala. It is famed for its ‘musical pillars’, each of which makes a different musical note when tapped. The area once held a horse market, and this history is represented in the temple’s sculptures.

Ramanathaswamy Temple

The Ramanathaswamy Temple – photo courtesy of Ryan (flickr)

Ramanathaswamy Temple, Tamil Nadu

Another stunning temple in Tamil Nadu, Ramanathaswamy is one of the main holy sites for Hindus. It is associated with Lord Rama and his wife Sita, who built temples here in order to atone for Rama killing the demon Ravana, a fellow Brahmin.

Tugnath Temple, Uttarakhand

I had never heard of the Hindu epic the Ramayana until I went to Bali last year, and saw a representation of it in a Kecak show. It was fantastic.

Check out why I think watching the Ramayana is one of the main attractions in Bali on my post “Things to do in Bali in one week.”

Anyways… Tungnath is the highest Shiva temple in the world, and according to the poem it is where Lord Rama meditated. Unlike many others, the temple is tiny and therefore limits the number of visitors allowed in at any one time. But its unusual location (12,000 feet above sea level) makes it worth seeing. Tungnath is also in Tamil Nadu.

The altitude may affect me, so I will make sure to also have a good travel insurance in case I need any medical assistance as being air lifted to the capital will not be cheap. A top tip from a traveler like me: it is worth looking into taking out annual travel insurance which could actually help save money.

Morning light on the Golden Temple. IMG_7241

The Golden Temple – photo courtesy of bookchen (flickr)

Sri Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple), Punjab

In the north of India lies the Golden Temple, the holiest site for Sikhs. The temple projects out onto the river, making it an impressive site even without the golden colouring that gives it its name. This gold plating was added in the 19th century, but the temple dates back to the 16th century.

Akshardham, New Delhi

The Akshardham, New Delhi – photo courtesy of Gaurav Trivedi (flickr)

Akshardham Temple, New Delhi

Unlike many other Indian temples, Akshardham is a very recent addition to India’s rich heritage of religious buildings. Built of pink sandstone, it was opened in 2005 and is dedicated to the Swaminarayan sect. Akshardham offers light shows and many educational exhibitions on the Swaminarayan beliefs.

Sure enough, I can’t wait to explore India!

This article is written in partnership with Direct Travel. 


 

 

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Hi, my name is Claudia. One day I packed my life and started travelling... except I packed too much. Follow me as I fill my life with dreams, drop the weight and inspire you to live your dreams. Learn more about me here...

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