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Top 5: Hindu Temples of India

by Akhil Kalepu

Oct 25, 2015

Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India © Samrat35 | Dreamstime

Asia

India, the birthplace of Vedic culture and Hinduism, is home to about 1 billion adherents, making up 80.5 percent of India and 15 percent of the world’s population. With that many Hindus, there will also be a lot of temples, so we’ve narrowed them down to the Top 5.

 

Somnath Temple, Gujurat, India © Aleksandar Todorovic | Dreamstime 22537065

Somnath Temple, Gujurat © Aleksandar Todorovic | Dreamstime

 

Somnath, Gujurath

Located on the coast of Gujurath, Somnath is believed to be the first of the 12 jyotirlingas where Shiva was said to have appeared in a column of fire. Its name translates to Shiva’s title as “Lord of the Soma,” referencing the ancient, hallucinogenic beverage whose main ingredient is still unknown.

 

Brihadeeswarar Temple, Tamil Nadu, India © Dmitry Rukhlenko | Dreamstime 34113722

Brihadeeswarar Temple, Tamil Nadu © Dmitry Rukhlenko | Dreamstime

 

Brihadeeswarar Temple, Tamil Nadu

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the “Great Living Temples” built by the Chola Dynasty. Rajaraja Chola I was commanded to build the temple in a dream, which was built with Tamil’s unique Dravida architecture. Brihadeeswarar celebrated its 1,000th birthday in 2010.

 

Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Uttar Pradesh, India © Hecke01 | Dreamstime 41101555

Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Uttar Pradesh © Hecke01 | Dreamstime

 

Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Uttar Pradesh

Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, and home to Kashi Vishwanath, located on the western banks of the Ganges, India’s holy river. It was originally built more than 1,000 years ago, destroyed by invading kings and rebuilt several times during its history.

 

Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India © Saiko3p | Dreamstime 50518611

Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh © Saiko3p | Dreamstime

 

Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Madhya Pradesh

This complex is a collection of religious sites dedicated to Hindu and Jain philosophy, indicating the region’s respect for diverse religious views. Only 20 of the original 85 temples are still standing, but the surviving work is filled with detailed, Nagara-style architectures. Khajuraho is also famous for its erotic and sexually-themed artwork.

 

Venkateshwara Tirupati Balaji, Andhra Pradesh, India © Shivangi Agarwal | Dreamstime 59665268

Venkateshwara Tirupati Balaji, Andhra Pradesh © Shivangi Agarwal | Dreamstime

 

Venkateshwara Tirupati Balaji, Andhra Pradesh

Located in the small hill town of Tirumala, this temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, incarnation of Vishnu. It is one of the most venerated temples in India, taking in up to 100,000 pilgrims a day. On religious occasions, that number shoots up to 500,000, making Tirupati the most visited holy site in the world.

 

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