There are many incredible temples in India.

Scattered around the country, you will see many gorgeous temples that reflect the incredible cultural and religious variety of India. You won’t be able to visit them all – India is a massive country after all. But it’s good to have an idea of what you can expect and to know where the temples you may want to visit are located. 

In this post I highlight the top temples in India and share some tips that will help you make the most of them. 

Khajuraho temples

Khajuraho temples

The Most Beautiful Temples In India

Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh 

*Credit to Sapna Kapoor of My Simple Sojourn

Khajuraho groups of temples are situated in Madhya Pradesh and among the most stunning temples in India. These temples are popular due to their erotic sculptures on its outer walls. There are three groups of temples but the western groups of temples are the most beautiful and well maintained.

The western groups of temples are in an enclosed compound and surrounded by are well-maintained gardens. Most of the temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. These temples are not used for praying and opened for everyone. Since these temples are not living so there are no dress restrictions. The temples are UNESCO world heritage site and maintained by ASI. 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple complex remains open from sunrise to sunset. It is best to visit during the winter months because it gets very hot in the summer. It’s advisable to visit the temples in the morning because there are lesser tourists. Another thing is that these temples are east facing so light is best at that time for photography. Admission is 600 Indian Rupees (around $8 USD)

Also, watch the light and sound show in the evening in the western group of the temple compound. In this show, you will get all the information regarding the making and history of temples.

Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh

This is one of the most beautiful and unique temples in India. It is a Buddhist temple that can be found in Sanchi, a small village very close to Bhopal, in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. The Great Stupa (a dome-shaped Buddhist shrine) is the oldest stone structure in India. This UNESCO World Heritage site was first built upon orders of Emperor Ashoka, of the Maurya dynasty, in the III century BC.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple is open from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. Admission is 250 Rupees (around $3.50 USD).

Dakshineswar temple

Dakshineswar is one of the most unique temples in India

Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata, West Bengal

*Credit to Trijit Mallick of BudgetTravelBuff

Dakshineswar Kali Temple was built in 1855 by Rani Rashmani on the eastern bank of Hoogly river. The temple is located at a distance of 13 km from the city center of Kolkata. The popularity and mysticism of this historic Kali temple make it one of the most visited temples in India. The stunning Navaratna Structure attracts pilgrims and tourists every day from all over India. The main Kali temple premise is around 46 sq ft.

Apart from the main shrine, there is a beautiful Natmandir, a large courtyard and 12 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva along the riverfront. The great Lord Sri Ramkrishna and Swami Vivekananda was the priest of this Kali temple in Dakshineswar. Not only the Indian devotees, but people from Western countries also come here to worship the Goddess Kali.

Practical Information: The main temple is open from 7:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 3:30 to 9:00 pm. Don’t miss the chance to see Sandhya Aarti that starts at 7:00 pm. There is no entry fee.

Dakshineswar Kali temple is a sacred place of the Hindus. Try to dress properly while visiting. Visit in the morning to avoid the long queue at the entrance.

Temples in India

Shiv 108 is one of the most unique temples in India

Naba Kailash Kalna (108 Shiv Temple), West Bengal

*Credit to Indrani Ghose of I Share These

108 Terracotta Temples constructed in 2 layers of circles; they look like beads of a necklace from high above! This unique cluster of temples is in Bardhman district of West Bengal. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is also called Naba Kailash Temple and was built in 1809 by Maharaja Teja Chandra Bahadur.

The facade of the temples is covered with terracotta panels with beautiful designs. The outer ring has 74 shrines and the inner ring of temples has 34 shrines. Each of the shrines is a single room terracotta temple and has a Lingam – phallic symbol, a universal sign of Lord Shiva. You will notice that the outer temples have black and white lingam alternately depicting good and bad of the world. With spiritual cleansing you reach the inner ring of temples which has only white lingam.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple is open from 5:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 4:00 to 9:00 pm every day. The best time to visit is in the morning, to avoid the heat of the day. Please maintain the decorum of dressing properly – no bare shoulders or knees. You have to leave your footwear outside the temple compulsorily.

Great Living Chola Temples

Great Living Chola Temples is one of the prettiest temples in India

Adi Kumbeswarar, Tamil Nadu

One of the most colorful temples in India is the temple of Adi Kumbeswarar, located in the city of Kumbakonal. This is an extraordinary construction covered with finely carved and painted sculptures of the deities. Another Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, it consists of four gateway towers and is in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple is open daily from 6:00 am to 12:30 pm and from 4:00 to 9:30 pm.

The Great Living Chola Temples, Tamil Nadu

*Credit to Madhurima Chakraborty of Orange Wayfarer

The Living Chola Temples of Thanjavur are some of the finest temples in India, if not the world! One of the most beautiful and safe places to visit in India, these thousand years old Chola temples are world UNESCO heritage site and remains off the beaten path of the regular tourist trail. The Living Chola temples are revered among the locals and regular worship takes place. 

The Living Chola Temples are a cluster of three temples spread across a region of 80 KM. Needless to say, countless smaller temples adorn the nearby villages, each astounding with iconic Gopuram (the crowned entrance). However, the three temples mentioned here are the most elegant of the lot with an impressively large structure. Together, they stand as an apostle of iconic Dravidian art and architecture.

Brihadisvara Temple temple at the Thanjavur is the oldest of the Living Chola Temples. Built by the king Raja Raja 1, the temple houses one of the largest Shiva Linga, a Nataraja statue (the dancing pose of Shiva), incredibly detailed inscriptions, murals and corridors. The Shikhara of the temple is carved out of a single rock. Brihadisvara temple had been one of the largest temples in the world at the time of its construction and proudly harbours the tallest Shikhara of South India till date.

Close to it there is the Airavatesvara Temple. Though significantly smaller than the first one, Airavatesvara Temple is often termed as “Poetry written on the stone” for its beautiful illustrations of the temple wall. Airavatesvara means the Elephant God and you will find multiple elephant motifs here.

Gangaikonda Cholapuramis the last addition to the temple complex, with a humongous Nandi (the Bull worshipped as Shiva’s Bahan) and elaborate design. 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple is open daily from 8:30 am to 9:00 pm. There is no entry fee.

Ramanathaswamy Temple, Tamil Nadu

Another stunning temple located in the state of 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.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temples opens every day from 4:30 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:00 to 8:30 pm. There is no admission fee but you will have to pay a 25 Rupees fee to use your camera. Modest clothing is recommended – on occasions, even jeans are not allowed. 

Temples in India

Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Chennai is one of the nicest temples in India

Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

*Credit to Priya Vin of Outside Suburbia
 
Kapaleeshwarar Temple is located in the middle of the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu and easy to get to. It is probably one of the most visited temples in the city but still a very peaceful place.
 
The famous Kapaleeshwarar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is one of the nicest temples in India, and a gorgeous example of Tamil architecture, The temple was built somewhere in the 7th century. Built in Dravidian style, it is one of the oldest temples in Chennai. The temple complex consists of several mandapas, gopuras and halls with carved pillars, and a waterbody just outside the temple walls. 
 
The temple mandapam features intricately sculptured deities. There are separate temples for Lord Ganesha, Murugan, Shaniswer and goddess Parvathi inside the complex.
 
Devotees come for Puja Services which occurs several times during the day – Kala Santhi in the morning, Uchchikala at Mid-day and Sayamkala in the evenings.  Late nights there is Ardhajama puja performed before the gates are closed. The aarathi consists of the waving of lights and sounds of bells.
 
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple is open from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm Tuesdays to Sundays. There is no admission fee.
 
GOOD TO KNOW: While non-Hindus are not allowed inside the main shrine, if you are visiting as a tourist you can walk in the temple premises admiring the beauty of the temple from outside. You can take photos of the temple from the outside but not inside the shrines.
 
Madurai

Madurai is one of the nicest temples in India

The Meenakshi Temple of Madurai, Tamil Nadu

*Credit to Elisa of World in Paris

The Meenakshi Temple is a religious complex located in the city of Madurai, in Southern India. The origins of this temple are complex but go back 3500 years ago when the god Indra built a small tower over a natural form with a shape of lingan, as a sign of devotion to Shiva. Other gods followed this worship and witnessing such a miracle the local king decided to build a temple on this site.

Today the religious complex is as big as a town in India, bordered by high walls and numerous towers. The Meenakshi Temple hosts 2 main sanctuaries and many shrines dedicated to different gods. Even if the origins of the temple are much older, most of the current constructions were built during the 16th and 17th century

At the Meenakshi Temple there are spaces for everyone: quiet corners, busy halls and sacred spaces accessible only by Hindus. There’s also a water tank or reservoir for ritual bathing.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The Meenakshi Temple is open every day from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.

Arunachalesvara Temple

Arunachalesvara Temple is one of the largest temples in India entirely dedicated to Shiva

Arunachalesvara Temple, Tamil Nadu

*Credit to Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan
Arunachalesvara Temple is located in the city of Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu and is also known as Annamalaiyar Temple. It’s the largest temple in India that’s dedicated to Shiva, and at this temple, he is worshiped in the form of a column of fire. Every month on the night of the full moon, devotees perform a moonlit pilgrimage where they circumambulate the hill behind the temple at night.The biggest celebration of all is the Karthikai Deepam festival, which is celebrated during the full moon in the month of Karthikai, which falls in November or December. On this date, a fire is lit on the top of the hill to represent Shiva. According to legend, this is where he appeared in the form of a column of fire in order to give light to Earth once again after Parvati playfully closed his eyes and inadvertently cast the world into eternal darkness.

Even if you aren’t able to visit during a full moon celebration, it’s worth coming at any time of year to see the impressive temple’s architecture. Its most important features are the four gateway towers (gopurams) standing at each of the four points of the compass. Not many foreign tourists come here, but you are welcome to visit as long as you dress conservatively (cover your knees and shoulders).

 
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple is open daily between 5:30 am and 12:30 pm and from 3:30 to 9:30 pm. Tiruvannamalai is easy to reach by train or by car and makes a convenient stop in between Bangalore and Pondicherry. 
 
TIP: It’s best to come in the early morning or late afternoon, as the midday heat makes the paving stones unbearably hot on your bare feet, and neither socks nor shoes are allowed in the temple. 

Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

*Credit to Soujanya Rai of The Spicy Journey

Kashi Vishwanath temple, located in Varanasi is one of the holiest of Shiva temples in India. In fact, according to Hindu legend, taking a bath in the holy river Ganga and offering a prayer at this temple is believed to lead a person on to the path to moksha (liberation). Among all the places to visit in Varanasi, the ancient holy city, visiting the Kashi Vishwanath temple aka the golden temple (due to the gold plating on the spire) is at the top of the list.

The temple is located in Viswanath gali between the Dashashwamedha ghat (where the famous evening Ganga aarti is performed) and the godowlia market. 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple is open 24 hours but it gets crowded during the morning and afternoon so the best time to visit would be early in the morning around sunrise, to beat the crowd and to avoid the overbearing heat. Since the temple is a religious site, it is advised to wear clothes that cover the knees and shoulders. 

GOOD TO KNOW: There are two Kashi Vishwanath temples in Varanasi – the old one in Vishwanath gali and the new one inside Banaras Hindu University. The old temple has tight security and restricts the use of electronic items following an unfortunate incident in 2006. The other temple in BHU, though, allows photography inside the premises.

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. The temple is set in incredibly beautiful, lush surroundings, making it a fantastic place to visit not only for worshippers. It’s a popular tourist attractions in the are. 

Dilwara is located in the north-western state of Rajasthan, near Mount Abu, the only hill station in the entire state, and at about 185 km from Udaipur. 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The complex is open 24 hours.

Make sure to also read this useful Rajasthan guide.

Rat Temple in Rajastan

Karni Mata is also known as the temple of rats and it certainly is one of the most unique temples in India

Karni Mata Temple, Rajastan

*Credit to Nisha and Vasu of Lemonicks

One of the must do things in Bikaner is visiting Karni Mata temple. One of its kind, it’s situated at Deshkote, at about 30 km from Bikaner, in Rajasthan. It is known for being the home of around 22,000 rats. Also known as Temple of Rats, it is dedicated to Karni Mata. The holy rats are called kabbas or “little children,” and are fed grains, milk, and coconuts shells in large metal bowls.

The temple attracts curious visitors from across the country for blessings, as well as curious tourists from around the world. It is designed in Mughal style with beautiful marble façade consisting of doors made of solid silver. It was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh.

One of the legend is, that when someone dies in the Charan community, he is reborn as a rat and when a rat dies, a human baby is born in a Charan family.

Walking in the temple with around 22 thousand rats around you is tricky. So be careful. And by all means don’t expect the floor to be clean. Another saying is that if a rat dies under your foot even by mistake, you must replace it with one made of solid silver!

Two big fair are held in this temple, one in March-April and the other one in September-October.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple is open from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm. You have to remove shoes before entering the temple, socks are allowed. Make sure to dress modestly.

TIP: Go early in the morning to avoid crowd.  

Ranakpur

Ranakpur is one of the most beautiful Jain temples in India

Ranakpur, Rajasthan

*Credit to Julie Laundis of Wandering Sunsets 

The Ranakpur Jain Temple in Rajasthan is one of the most unique and spectacular temples in India. If you are driving between Jodhpur and Udaipur it is the perfect opportunity to stretch your legs and explore the temple.

Ranakpur is famous for its gorgeous architecture and carvings, as the three-story building is made up entirely of white marble. There are over 1,444 pillars holding up the ceiling and incredibly detailed carvings all over the temple. The temple features 4 principal shrines, 4 assembly halls and 84 big and small shrines or Devakuikas. As you enter the temple, you’ll notice the four entrances leading the inside chambers. The entrances symbolize Chaumukha who is the main deity of the temple: the idol of Chaumukha Adinatha resides in the main hall. Ranakpur is truly a must see when visiting Rajasthan!

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: Ranakpur Temple is open everyday and you are allowed to tour the temple from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. There is no entry fee but there is a small photography fee of 100 Indian Rupees.

TIP: To avoid crowds, plan to arrive before it opens to tourists at 12:00 pm so you can be one of the first people in! Please note that there is no electricity inside the temple and natural light shines through from all angles: if the light is too harsh on the white marble it can be tricky to get a great shot. 

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.

The temples date back to the 6th century, where they were erected by the banks of a man-made lake. There are four temples in the complex, which means it will take you a while to visit. Cave four is actually a Jain temple. 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temples are located at about 5 km from Badami, which can be reached by train from Bangalore. The site is open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm daily and it costs 500 Rupees (around $7 USD) to get in.

TIP: There are lots of monkeys roaming around the temple, so make sure not to carry any food with you and to hold on to your belongings. Also watch out for your sunglasses! 

Iskcon Temple

The lovely Iskcon Temple in Bangalore

Iskcon Temple, Bangalore, Karnakata

*Credit to Penny Fernandes of Globe Trove

There are many different temples in India and if you have traveled extensively through the country, you will have noticed that the architecture changes according to the region that you are in. You will also notice that the architecture changes depending on when the temple was constructed.

One iconic temple that ranks high on everyone’s itinerary in Bangalore is the ISKCON temple. Located in the heart of the city, this temple has the signature peaked roof that is commonly seen in the temples in south India. Unlike the other temples however, this one is painted white instead of a myriad of colors.

The temple is really large and is dedicated to the Hindu deities Radha and Krishna. You will find separate areas for prayer as you walk up the flights of stairs to the main prayer area. 

One intriguing thing that you will notice upon visiting in this temple is that it has a mall attached to it. The mall area consists of vendors selling ‘prasad’ or ‘food that has been offered to the Gods’. Everyone and anyone can buy the prasad and you don’t have to be a Hindu to do so.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple is open every day. There is no entry fee. Like all Hindu temples, you do have to leave your footwear outside or in your car.

Chennakesava Temple

Chennakesava Temple is one of the most unique ones

Chennakesava Temple, Karnakata

*Credit to of Uprooted Traveler

Hidden amongst dense jungles, the town of Belur provides several stunning examples of the impressive craftsmanship and architecture present throughout southern India. One of the town’s finest examples is the extraordinarily photogenic Chennakesava Temple, one of the most beautiful temples in India.

No visitor here will be surprised that it reportedly took over 100 years to erect the shrine to completion in 1117 A.D.- every single surface is covered in impossibly intricate carvings into soapstone, with a seemingly endless number of beautiful sculptures flanking each building.

To enter this temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, you will pass through a 100-foot gateway with rows and rows of carved idols soaring above your head. Before you leave, make sure to check out the 645 elephants carved at the bottom of the temple’s outer wall- no two elephants are the same!

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple is generally uncrowded, but be sure to mind the hours the public may access the temple from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm and as always, it’s best to dress modestly, with your shoulders and knees covered. Despite the temple’s relatively remote location, this gorgeous temple is one hundred percent worth the adventure to see it.

The bull TEMPLE

The Bull Temple

The Bull Temple, Karnakata

*Credit to Nikki of She Saves She Travels

One of of the best temples in India is the Bull Temple. Also known as Sri Doddabasavanna Temple, which is dedicated to the Lord Shiva. It’s a unique temple of the massive granite bull inside. It’s also one of the things that Bangalore is known for.

The legend behind this bull is very interesting. Hundreds of years ago, the area was farmland, and a bull was a nuisance to the farmers. It grazed on the peanuts and groundnut crops. So one day a farmer beat it over the head with a stick. The bull sat down, turned to stone and grew day by day.

Worried, the farmers prayed to Lord Shiva for help. A trident was placed on the bull’s forehead which made it stop growing. A temple was built right on the spot. The impressive bull still rests inside, at 4.5 meters (14.7 feet) high and 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) long.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple, built in Dravidian style, is free to enter and open to the public from  6:00 am to 8:00 pm. As you approach the temple, you’ll see a marketplace where many items are available to purchase. Peanuts are popular for sale and many are purchasing, based on the significance to the Bull Temple.

Hampi, Karnataka

*Credit to Ellis of Backpack Adventures 

Hampi is famous for its 14th century temples when it was the capital of the Vijayanagara kingdom. Hundreds of temple ruins and other impressive archeological sites remain, but the Virupaksha temple stands out. Not only because it is older than most temples in Hampi, but also because it is the only still active temple for Hindus.

Since the 7th century the temple attracts hundreds of people that come to worship Shiva. Therefore Virupaksha is one of the few temples that actually predates the Vijanagara empire.

It was a small shrine back then and it is not known who exactly built the first structure. Throughout the years different people made it into a large complex.

When Hampi was destroyed by Muslim armies in 1565 the temple was also damaged, but even then worshipping continued. Nowadays it attracts both tourists and pilgrims and it is considered the most sacred temple in Hampi

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple is open to visitors from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is free and photography is allowed inside. When visiting the temple, dress modestly and beware of the cheeky monkeys and Laxmi, the temple elephant. To avoid the crowds and the heat of the day it is best to visit early morning or late afternoon. 

TIP: Make sure to also visit Vittala, close to the banks of the Tungabhadra River and dating back to the 15th century. It is famed for its ‘musical pillars’, each of which makes a different musical note when tapped making it one of the most unique temples in India.

Pattadakal Temples

The beautiful Pattadakal Temples

Pattadakal Temples, Karnakata

*Credit to Mar Pages of Once in a Lifetime Journey

The cluster of Temples of Pattadakal is a beautiful UNESCO-listed complex in Karnataka that was built in the 8th century. The compound of Jain and Hindu temples sits equidistant between Aihol and the Badami Cave along the banks of the Malaprabha River. The area is considered holy as the river turns upward towards the Himalayas and Mount Kailash.

What makes Pattadakal one of the most beautiful temples in India and most appealing is its architecture which is a blend of Northern and Southern Indian methods and styles and is a really good spot to snap some photos for the ‘Gram. In fact, there are 150 monuments built in red rock to choose from in the spacious and sparse grounds. Some, like Galaganatha temple, are small and in ruins while others, like Virupaksha temple, are well preserved and much larger.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The site is open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm daily, but monsoon season times may differ depending on the weather. Due to monsoons in the summer, the best time to visit is during winter from October to March. There is a nominal entrance fee of 30 Rupees. As locals come to pray and make offerings, you will need to dress appropriately by covering your shoulders and legs.

There are a few facilities in the area like squat toilets (bring your own tissues), signs stating the availability of Wifi, and a few stalls outside selling snacks and drinks. 

Tungnath Temple, Uttarakhand.

Tungnath is the highest Shiva temple in the world, and according to the Ramayana 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 – it’s one of the most unique temples in India.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple is open daily from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm. There is no admission fee. Visiting can take up to 3 hours.

Check out why I think watching the Ramayana is one of the main attractions in Bali on my post “17 Cool Things To Do In Bali.”

temples in India

The Golden Temple in Amritsar

Sri Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple), Punjab

*Credit to Disha Smith of Disha Discover

There are many beautiful temples in India. I spent three months traveling through India and saw many temples. The Golden Temple, also known as the Sri Harmandir Sahib, in Amritsar will leave you speechless.
It’s the holiest temple (Gurdwara) for Sikhs and is the most important pilgrimage site of Sikhism. As its name suggests, the temple is covered in gold foil.This gold plating was added in the 19th century, but the temple dates back to the 16th century.
 

It also has the largest kitchen in the world. Volunteers cook tirelessly for 100,000 people daily. The purpose of this is to symbolize that everyone, regardless of their religion and caste, can sit together and eat.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple is open from 4:00 am to 11:00 pm daily. Factor in around 2 hours for your visit. If you go during the day you may be able to experience readings from the holy books and prayers. You should visit early in the morning around 4:30 AM to avoid the crowds. The temple is also worth seeing at night as it is illuminated so beautifully.

When visiting, make sure your knees and shoulders are covered. Men and women will need to cover their heads with a scarf or handkerchief.These are sold by street vendors around the temple. You’re also not allowed to wear shoes in the temple.

A guide isn’t needed but highly recommended so you can learn the history behind it.  

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. It may be a good place to visit for families traveling to Delhi with kids.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple is open every day but Monday from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm. Admission fee is 170 Rupees (little over $2 USD).

Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh

Located just out of Tawang City is one of the largest temples in India. This is the largest monastery in the country and the second largest Buddhist monastery in the world. It is perched in the mountains close to the border with Buthan, in a unique, beautiful setting. The monastery was first built in 1680, originally as a fort and upon orders of the 5th Dalai Lama. 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The monastery is open daily from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Make sure to check out this guide for backpacking in Arunachal Pradesh. 

Dwarkadesh Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat

*Credits to Mariellen Ward of Breathe Dream Go

The drive to Dwarka, on the eastern edge of Gujarat, where the state meets the sea coast, is flat and featureless. But as you approach this remote seaside town, the spires of Dwarkadesh (Krishna) Temple rise up like the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz.

Though a small town, Dwarka is awash in temples, new and old, grand and modest. They are everywhere. But the 5,000 year old Dwarkadesh Temple in the centre of town towers over all of them. Like a medieval cathedral town, everything revolves around Dwarkadesh Temple, which emanates an ancient, deeply reverent feeling.

Dwarkadesh is one of the most important Hindu temples in India, and one of the most important Krishna Temples. Among other things, this temple is famous as the place where the 16th century mystic-saint Mirabai mysteriously disappeared in front of crowds of people, while singing in the temple. All that was left was her sari, wrapped around the Krishna murti (statue) and the devotees felt she had dissolved in love and merged with her beloved Krishna.

Though not on the usual tourist trail, Dwarka would be an interesting place to visit due to the antiquity of the Dwarkadesh Temple and it’s location on the coast. Gandhi’s birthplace, Porbandar, is just about 70 kilometres down the coast. 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple is open from 6.30 am to 1:30 pm and from 5:00 to 9:30 pm. It’s a highly reverent place and a respectful attitude and modest dress is required. Please read this to find out what you should wear in India.

Babulnath Temple, Mumbai

*Credit to Devashree Sanghvi of The Crazy Indian Foodie

The Babulnath Temple in Mumbai is one of the cities oldest temples and is home to Lord Shiva, a popular and powerful deity in Hinduism. 

Originally built in the 12th century by a Hindu King, this temple was destroyed and later rebuilt after some of its idols were discovered and unearthed. The structure we see today was built in the late 1800’s and later revamped over the years. This beautiful temple is located on a small hill in the heart of the city where devotees trek up to seek blessings of the sacred shivling. 

The temple itself is adorned with intricately carved walls, massive hallways with paintings depicting life of Lord Shiva and ceilings that have magnificent carvings featuring elements of Hindu mythology. It’s a delight to the eyes and will leave you spellbound. There are also other deities like Lord Ganesh and Parvati with small mini temples along the trek to the main shivling. 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The temple is open from 4:30 am to 11:00 am every day. It’s better to visit on weekdays (except festivals) to avoid the crowds. The dress code isn’t rigid and there’s no need to cover your head, but it’s better to be modestly dressed.

Hatu Temple

Hatu Temple

Hatu Temple, Himachal Pradesh

*Credit to Umang Trivedi of Travel Max

India is a cauldron of religious sites such as temples. Every temple has a story and it gets even more interesting when intertwined with a beautiful engulfing landscape.

The Hatu Temple in the Himalayas is one such temples in India. Nestled atop Hatu peak in the mountainous area of Himachal Pradesh State, Hatu temple not only provides a beautiful vista to marvel at, but also a calm sense of being.

Hatu temple is situated 2 hours away from the famous destination of Shimla. In summer time, the traffic can roll up right to the temple’s entrance. However, in winters, you might have to trek for 6-7 kms due to the snowfall. I

n fact, I’d recommend to visit Hatu temple in winters. It’s much less crowded and you can enjoy snowfall. The surrounding landscapes are stunning and the snowy touch makes the range look even more fascinating. In case you want to stay around this surreal place, you can also consider a beautiful homestay by the name of Agyaat Vaas. Hatu peak and the temple atop is just around an hour’s hike away.

The temple is open every day from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. There is no entry fee. Modest clothing is recommended. 

Konark Sun Temple

Konark Sun Temple

Konark Sun Temple, Odisha

*Credit to Agni and Amrita of Tale of 2 Backpackers

Konark Sun Temple is one of the most beautiful and architecturally significant temples in India. Also known as the Black Pagoda, the Konark Sun Temple was built in the form of a chariot having 12 pairs of decorated wheels and driven by 7 horses. The temple was built in the mid-13th century by King Narasingha Deva-I. The Sun Temple is considered to be the finest examples of Kalinga architecture.

As the name suggests the temple is dedicated to the Sun God who is believed to be the master of time. The seven horses in the temple represent the seven days of the week and the 24 wheels denote the 24 hours in a day. There are beautiful and intricate carvings on the entire temple. The Sun Temple is also known for the highly erotic sculptures on the stones.

The temple was not able to withstand the ravages of time and a major part of it is in decay. But whatever remains of the temple reminds of a majestic and grand era. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: Konark Sun Temple is located at Konark in Puri District of Odisha. The temple remains open on all days from 6.00 am to 8.00 pm. The Entry Fee is Rs40 for Indians and SAARC citizens and Rs600 (around $8 USD) for foreign tourists. There are no dress codes for visiting the temple, but it is advised to wear modest clothes. 

Further readings about India

Make sure to read my other posts about India:

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Discover the best temples to visit in India - via @clautavani

 

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