50 Famous Temples in India Having Historical Importance

India is a land rich in cultural and historical diversity, and one of the most prominent embodiments of its heritage is its numerous temples. These sacred structures stand as testimony to the country’s ancient civilizations, reflecting the beliefs, architectural marvels, and artistic brilliance of their respective eras. Understanding the importance of different temples and their histories is crucial for several reasons, as they provide insights into India’s religious and cultural fabric, architectural advancements, and societal values.

“Art and Culture” is one of the most important topics asked in the General Studies and General Knowledge” Section of many competitive exams like UPSC CSE, State PCS, CDS, NDA, FSSAI, SSC, and Others. we are providing students important topics that are the favourite to most of the examiners while framing questions. “Important Temples in India” is a part of this series and in this post, we are providing students with comprehensive notes on this topic. Sources of our notes are different government portals like “cultural India“, “Incredible India, “Ministry of Culture” for the latest updates and many competitive books like NIOS, IGNOU, NCERT, the National Museum site for pictures and Wikipedia for static parts.

Famous Temples in India

Temples in India serve as symbols of religious and spiritual significance. Each temple is dedicated to a specific deity, representing the diversity of religious practices and beliefs in the country. From the majestic temples of South India like the Brihadeeswara Temple in Thanjavur to the intricate architecture of the Sun Temple in Konark, each shrine has a unique story to tell. Learning about these temples and their religious contexts helps us appreciate the deep-rooted spirituality that has shaped Indian society for centuries.

Furthermore, these temples stand as cultural repositories, showcasing the evolution of art, music, dance, and other forms of expression that have thrived in different regions over time. The sculptures, carvings, and paintings within the temples narrate myths, legends, and historical events, fostering an understanding of India’s cultural heritage and artistic achievements. Here we are providing a list of 50 most famous and historical important Temples in India:

Ancient and Famous Temples in India List

Temple NameLocationFounderYear of EstablishmentMain Deity
Badrinath TempleUttarakhand, IndiaAdi Shankaracharya~8th Century CELord Badrinath
Lord Jagannath TemplePuri, Odisha, IndiaAnantavarman Chodaganga12th Century CELord Jagannath
Rameswaram TempleRameswaram, Tamil Nadu, INRama~12th Century CELord Ramanathaswamy
Dwarkadheesh TempleDwarka, Gujarat, IndiaVajranabha (according to legend)~2,500 years agoLord Dwarkadheesh
Sukreswar TempleGuwahati, Assam, IndiaAhom Kings~18th Century CELord Sukreswar
Angkor Wat TempleSiem Reap, CambodiaSuryavarman II12th Century CEHindu Deities
PrambananYogyakarta, IndonesiaRakai Pikatan9th Century CETrimurti (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva)
Gomateshwara TempleShravanabelagola, Karnataka, IndiaChavundaraya981 CELord Gomateshwara (Bahubali)
Amarnath TempleJammu and Kashmir, IndiaNot Available~5,000 years agoLord Shiva
Kamakhya Devi TempleGuwahati, Assam, IndiaNot AvailableNot AvailableGoddess Kamakhya
Sri Digambar Jain MandirVaranasi, Uttar Pradesh, INNot AvailableNot AvailableLord Mahavir
Swaminarayan Akshardham TempleDelhi, IndiaPramukh Swami Maharaj2005Lord Swaminarayan
Ranakpur TempleRajasthan, IndiaDharanashah15th Century CEAdinath (Jain Tirthankara)
Somnath Temple (Saurashtra)Gujarat, IndiaKing Bhimdev~5th Century CELord Somnath (Shiva)
Sanchi StupaMadhya Pradesh, IndiaEmperor Ashoka3rd Century BCEBuddhist Stupa
Khajuraho TempleMadhya Pradesh, IndiaChandela Dynasty950 – 1050 CEHindu Deities
Siddhivinayak TempleMumbai, Maharashtra, IndiaLaxman Vithu and Deubai1801Lord Ganesha
Konark Temple (Sun Temple)Odisha, IndiaKing Narasimhadeva I13th Century CESun God (Surya)
Brihadeshwara TempleThanjavur, Tamil Nadu, IndiaRaja Raja Chola I1010 CELord Shiva
Nataraja TempleChidambaram, Tamil Nadu, INChola DynastyNot AvailableLord Nataraja (Shiva)
Ramanathaswamy TempleRameswaram, Tamil Nadu, INNot Available~12th Century CELord Shiva
Meenakshi TempleMadurai, Tamil Nadu, IndiaKulashekarar Pandyan7th Century CEGoddess Meenakshi
Kanchi Kamakshi TempleKanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, INNot AvailableNot AvailableGoddess Kamakshi
Sripuram Golden TempleVellore, Tamil Nadu, IndiaNarayani Amma (Narayani Peedam)2007Goddess Mahalakshmi
Tirumala Tirupati BalajiTirupati, Andhra Pradesh, INNot AvailableNot AvailableLord Venkateswara
Marundeeswarar TempleChennai, Tamil Nadu, IndiaNot AvailableNot AvailableLord Shiva
Virupaksha TempleHampi, Karnataka, IndiaDevaraya II (Vijayanagara Empire)7th Century CELord Virupaksha (Shiva)
Pashupatinath TempleKathmandu, NepalNot AvailableNot AvailableLord Pashupatinath (Shiva)
Borobudur TempleCentral Java, IndonesiaKing Samaratungga9th Century CEBuddhist Stupa
Kedarnath TempleUttarakhand, IndiaAdi Shankaracharya~8th Century CELord Kedarnath (Shiva)
Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple)Amritsar, Punjab, IndiaGuru Arjan Dev1604Guru Granth Sahib
Markandeshwar TempleMaharashtra, IndiaNot AvailableNot AvailableLord Shiva
Hadimba TempleManali, Himachal Pradesh, INMaharaja Bahadur Singh1553Hadimba Devi
Birla MandirVarious locations in IndiaBirla FamilyVariousVarious Deities
Dilwara TempleMount Abu, Rajasthan, IndiaVastupal and Tejpal11th – 13th Century CEJain Tirthankaras
Sabarimala TempleKerala, IndiaNot AvailableNot AvailableLord Ayyappa
Vishwanath TempleVaranasi, Uttar Pradesh, INNot AvailableNot AvailableLord Shiva
Mahabodhi TempleBodh Gaya, Bihar, IndiaEmperor Ashoka3rd Century BCELord Buddha
Dakshineshwar Kali TempleKolkata, West Bengal, IndiaRani Rashmoni1855Goddess Kali
Belur MathKolkata, West Bengal, IndiaSwami Vivekananda1899Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
Kandariya Mahadeva TempleKhajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, INVidyadhara (Chandela Dynasty)11th Century CELord Shiva
Kalabhairaveshwara TempleAdichunchanagiri, Karnataka, INAdi Shankaracharya~8th Century CELord Kalabhairava
Sri Dharmasthala Manjutheshwara TempleDharmasthala, Karnataka, INBirmanna Pergade16th Century CELord Manjutheshwara
Ramappa TempleWarangal, Telangana, IndiaRudra Samani13th Century CERamalingeswara
Brahma TemplePushkar, Rajasthan, IndiaVishwakarmaNot AvailableLord Brahma
Vadakkunnathan TempleThrissur, Kerala, IndiaParasuramaNot AvailableLord Shiva
Lingaraja TempleBhubaneswar, Odisha, IndiaNot Available11th Century CELord Lingaraja (Shiva)
Mahabalipuram TempleMahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, INNarasimhavarman I7th Century CEVarious Deities
Nellaiappar TempleTirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, INNot AvailableNot AvailableLord Shiva
Jambukeshwar TempleTrichy, Tamil Nadu, IndiaKocengannan (Cholas)Not AvailableLord Shiva
Temples in India List
Please note that some information, such as founders and exact years of establishment, may not be available for all temples due to the antiquity of the temples and the limited historical records.

Temples History in India

The history of temples in India is vast and dates back thousands of years. Temples have been an integral part of India’s cultural, religious, and architectural heritage. The evolution of temples in India can be categorized into several significant periods:

1. Prehistoric and Indus Valley Civilization: The origins of temple worship in India can be traced back to prehistoric times and the Indus Valley Civilization (c. 2600–1900 BCE). Though not much is known about their religious practices, some archaeological findings suggest the existence of early shrines.

2. Vedic Period (c. 1500–500 BCE): The Vedic period marked the emergence of Hinduism as a significant religious and philosophical tradition. During this time, sacrificial rituals were prominent and simple wooden or thatched structures served as places of worship.

3. Early Temple Architecture (c. 500 BCE – 300 CE): The Maurya and Gupta dynasties witnessed the rise of early temple architecture. These temples were primarily made of wood and perishable materials and have not survived to the present day.

4. Dravidian Temple Architecture (5th–18th centuries): The Dravidian style of temple architecture developed in South India, characterized by its pyramid-shaped towers (gopurams), elaborate carvings, and vast temple complexes. Prominent Dravidian temples include Meenakshi Temple in Madurai and Brihadeshwara Temple in Thanjavur.

5. Nagara Temple Architecture (6th–13th centuries): The Nagara style of temple architecture emerged in North India and is characterized by its curvilinear towers (shikhara). Notable Nagara temples include the Sun Temple in Konark and Kandariya Mahadeva Temple in Khajuraho.

6. Chola and Vijayanagara Period (9th–17th centuries): The Chola and Vijayanagara dynasties in South India were patrons of art and architecture. Many grand temples were built during this period, showcasing intricate carvings and colossal structures.

7. Islamic Influence (12th–18th centuries): With the advent of Islamic rule in India, architectural influences changed, resulting in the development of Indo-Islamic styles. Some temples were modified into mosques, while others were built with a blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural elements.

8. Mughal Period (16th–18th centuries): The Mughal emperors also contributed to temple architecture. Akbar adopted a policy of religious tolerance and supported the construction of Hindu temples.

9. Maratha Period (17th–19th centuries): The Maratha rulers, like the Chhatrapatis of Maharashtra, built beautiful temples and made significant contributions to temple art and architecture.

10. Colonial Era and Post-Independence: During British colonial rule, some temples faced neglect and deterioration. After India gained independence in 1947, efforts were made to restore and preserve historical temples.

Today, temples in India continue to be centers of worship, pilgrimage, cultural activities, and tourism. Many ancient temples are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and attract millions of visitors from around the world, contributing to the rich tapestry of India’s cultural and religious diversity.

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City of temples in India

The city that is often referred to as the “City of Temples” in India is Bhubaneswar, the capital of the state of Odisha. Bhubaneswar is renowned for its vast number of ancient temples that showcase exquisite architecture and intricate artwork. These temples reflect the rich cultural and religious heritage of the region.

Some of the prominent temples in Bhubaneswar include:

  1. Lingaraj Temple: One of the most significant and majestic temples dedicated to Lord Shiva in Bhubaneswar. It is known for its towering spire and intricate carvings.
  2. Mukteswar Temple: A gem of Odishan architecture, this temple is famous for its arched gateway and elaborately sculpted torana (entrance arch).
  3. Rajarani Temple: Renowned for its beautiful ornate carvings and its unique name, as it lacks any presiding deity.
  4. Ananta Vasudeva Temple: Dedicated to Lord Krishna, this temple is known for its unique amalgamation of Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain architectural styles.
  5. Brahmeswara Temple: An 11th-century temple known for its pyramid-shaped tower and exquisite carvings depicting various mythological scenes.
  6. Parasurameswara Temple: One of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar, dedicated to Lord Shiva, and known for its remarkable sculptures.
  7. Vaital Deul Temple: Known for its unique shape, resembling a beehive, and its image of the Tantric goddess Chamunda.
  8. Ram Mandir: A modern temple dedicated to Lord Rama, famous for its vibrant architecture and peaceful ambiance.
  9. Lingaraj Vihar: A unique temple complex consisting of multiple shrines dedicated to various deities.

The presence of so many temples has earned Bhubaneswar the title “City of Temples.” These temples attract tourists, pilgrims, and art enthusiasts from all over the world, making it a significant cultural and religious destination in India. The city’s historical significance and architectural marvels contribute to its charm and cultural allure.

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Ancient Temples in India

India is home to a multitude of ancient temples that hold significant historical, cultural, and religious importance. Many of these temples date back centuries and are marvels of architectural and artistic achievements. Here are some of the most renowned ancient temples in India:

Konark Sun Temple (Odisha)

Built in the 13th century, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is dedicated to the Sun God and features intricate carvings and a massive chariot-like structure.

Brihadeshwara Temple (Tamil Nadu)

Brihadeshwara Temple image

Also known as the Thanjavur Periya Kovil, this 11th-century temple is a prime example of Dravidian architecture and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Khajuraho Temples (Madhya Pradesh)

Dating back to the 10th and 11th centuries, these group of temples are renowned for their intricate and erotic sculptures, representing the Nagara-style architecture.

Kailasa Temple, Ellora Caves (Maharashtra)

Kailasa Temple

Carved out of a single rock in the 8th century, this monolithic temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and showcases remarkable rock-cut architecture.

Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple (Tamil Nadu)

Constructed in the 8th century, this temple is an excellent example of early Dravidian architecture and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Meenakshi Amman Temple (Tamil Nadu)

Meenakshi Amman Temple Image

Situated in Madurai, this 17th-century temple is dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi (Parvati) and Lord Sundareswarar (Shiva) and is known for its grand gopurams (tower gateways).

Dilwara Temples (Rajasthan)

These Jain temples in Mount Abu were built between the 11th and 13th centuries and are renowned for their intricate marble carvings and stunning architecture.

Shore Temple (Tamil Nadu)

Shore Temple Image

Located in Mahabalipuram, this 8th-century temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Somnath Temple (Gujarat)

One of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines, this temple is believed to have ancient origins and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Ajanta and Ellora Caves (Maharashtra)

These cave complexes house Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain temples and monasteries carved out of rock, dating back to the 2nd century BCE to the 10th century CE.

These ancient temples not only serve as places of worship but also offer valuable insights into the rich history, culture, and architectural achievements of ancient India. They continue to be important pilgrimage sites and are popular tourist destinations, attracting visitors from all over the world.

Indian temples are more than just religious and architectural structures; they serve as invaluable historical archives. Many temples depict scenes from epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, offering insights into ancient legends, historical events, and societal norms. The inscriptions found in these temples are written in various ancient scripts and languages, aiding in the deciphering of historical information and enabling a deeper understanding of bygone eras.

By studying these historical narratives, we gain a comprehensive view of India’s past, including its rulers, dynastic changes, trade links, and cultural interactions with other civilizations. This knowledge helps us form a holistic perspective of the evolution of Indian society and its impact on the world.

FAQs on Temples in India

Q: What is the significance of temples in India?

A: Temples in India hold immense religious, cultural, and historical significance. They are considered sacred places of worship, where devotees seek blessings and spiritual solace. Temples also serve as cultural hubs, showcasing intricate architecture, sculptures, and artworks that represent India’s rich heritage.

Q: How are temples in India built?

A: Temples in India are constructed using various architectural styles, depending on the region and the historical period. Traditional temple construction involves a team of skilled artisans, including stone sculptors, masons, and craftsmen. Temples are usually made of stone or brick, and the construction process involves intricate carvings and detailed ornamentation.

Q: Why do people visit temples in India?

A: People visit temples in India for various reasons, including seeking blessings from deities for their well-being and prosperity. Temples also serve as places of meditation, spiritual contemplation, and religious festivals. Many temples are associated with specific traditions or beliefs, attracting devotees from all over the country and the world.

Q: How do people worship in Indian temples?

A: Worship in Indian temples usually involves a series of rituals and ceremonies. Devotees offer prayers, flowers, incense, and other offerings to the deity. Some temples have priests who perform special rituals on behalf of the devotees. Different temples have their unique customs and practices based on the deity and the local traditions.

Q: What are the major festivals celebrated in Indian temples?

A: Indian temples celebrate various festivals throughout the year. Some of the major festivals include Diwali (Festival of Lights), Navaratri (Nine Nights festival), Holi (Festival of Colors), Makar Sankranti, and Janmashtami (Lord Krishna’s birthday). Each festival is associated with specific deities and religious narratives.

Q: How are temples maintained and preserved in India?

A: Temples in India are usually maintained and preserved by religious authorities or government bodies. Regular maintenance includes cleaning, repainting, and repairing any damages. Additionally, archaeological departments and heritage organizations play a crucial role in preserving ancient temples and protecting their historical and cultural value.

Q: Are non-Hindus allowed inside Indian temples?

A: While most temples in India are dedicated to Hindu deities, many temples allow non-Hindus to visit and experience the cultural and architectural aspects. However, there are some temples with strict entry restrictions for non-Hindus, particularly at certain inner sanctums and sacred areas.

Q: How do temples contribute to India’s tourism industry?

A: Temples are significant contributors to India’s tourism industry. They attract millions of domestic and international tourists each year who come to explore the rich cultural heritage and religious diversity of the country. Temple towns often have a thriving tourism ecosystem, including hotels, restaurants, and local markets.



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