Let’s face it, a trip to India isn’t complete without visiting a temple or two. There are thousands of temples across India, ranging from smaller structures found between hilltops to sky-high towers with intricate carvings. Some are modest, while others have erotic sculptures. Some are consumed with colour, while others are simply made from rock.
Are you planning a trip to India and feel overwhelmed? Don’t know where to start? We’ve made it easier for you! Here’s our guide to the most beautiful temples in India to make your journey extra colourful:
1. Somnath Temple, Gujarat
The Somnath Temple, also coined ‘The Eternal Shrine,’ stands at a staggering 155 feet tall with 7 stories. Made from red sandstone, it is a statement of fine architecture, representing a sacred pilgrimage site for Hindus. It is a site of marvel with its tallest structure facing the open ocean.
2. Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
Dedicated to Shiva, the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is the most famous Hindu temple of the temple group located at Khajuraho. This is because it is the largest and most intricately carved, stemming from India’s medieval period (about 1017-1029). Raised on a platform, its steep rising structure mimics that of mountains, grandiosely embodying its definition: “the Great God of the Cave.”
3. Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, New Delhi
The Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple is a force to be reckoned with. A more modern construction representing wealthy Hindu culture and Indian heritage. The majestic temple with grand arches dawns over 100 acres of land, decorated with ostentatious water fountains and extensive lawns.
4. Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu
The Meenakshi Amman Temple, with over 1500 vibrant sculptures, dominates as a towering spectacle of colour. Not only is the temple enclosed with huge walls, but it encloses a huge history, dating back to the 1st century C.E. Today, it continues to be an important temple, especially showcasing the prime of southern Indian architecture.
5. Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand
On the bank of the Mandakini river, you’ll find a sight of beautiful stone architecture encircled by imposing peaks. The Kedarnath temple is a sacred pilgrimage spot requiring a long journey. But once you reach the top, time stops, and you’ll feel a sense of appreciation for the fresh air and mesmerising views.
6. Badami Cave Temples, Karnataka
The Badami Cave Temples overlook the stillness of the blue green Agasthya Lake. It’s stone columns, engravings, sculptures, and murals carved out of soft red sandstone, stem back to the 6th century. All four caves that make up the Badami Cave temples are superior examples of rock-cut architecture.
7. Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab
Sat in the centre of a pool beckons the Golden Temple. As its name illustrates, the temple’s exterior is ostentatiously coated in gold leaf. It is not only a scenic sight, but a spiritual site of Sikhism. Even the surrounding water is considered to have purifying elements.
8. Virupaksha Temple, Hampi, Karnataka
The Virupaksha Temple, is another stunning landmark hand carved from stone and making up a layered tower. Dating back over 1000 years the temple has continuously remained intact in pristine condition, magically avoiding any destruction. As a result, it’s believed to be one of India’s oldest running temples.
Fancy experiencing some of these incredible temples for yourself? Check out our India tours!