India boasts some of the world’s largest temples. Let’s check out 15 of them.
1. Meenakshi Amman Temple In Madurai:
In the beautiful temple city of Madurai, Meenakshi Amman temple stands 170 feet tall and has 14 gopurams. This magnificent temple is also known as MeenakshiSundareswarar Temple which are alternate names of Parvati and Shiva respectively. Madurai, the temple city came to existence 25,000 years back with this holy structure. Over the shrine of the deities, there are two golden structured vimanas installed. As per statistics, it is said that 15,000 visitors visit the temple everyday an on Fridays, the number exceeds to 25,000. The temple is known for its 30,000 sculptures.
2. ThillaiNatarajah Temple At Chidambaram:
ThillaiNatarajah Temple at Chidambaram, in Tamil Nadu, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is one of the largest temples in India. Since 12th century, ThillaiKoothan or Natarajh has been the presiding deity of the temple. The temple was the beginning of all Saivite temples. Chidambaram represents one of the five classical elements called Aakash(aether) which is known as the PanchaBoothaSthalams. The temple celebrates many different festivals throughout the year.
3. Brihadeeswarar Temple In Thanjavur:
The Brihadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur is one of the largest temples in India built by emperor Raja RajaChola I in 1010 AD. The prime deity of the Brihadeeswar temple is Lord Shiva. It also has the idols for Ashta-dipaalakas or guardians of the directions such as Indra, Agni, Yama, Nirrti, Varuna, Vayu, Kubera and Isana. A big statue of Nandi or sacred bull carved out of a single rock is present at the entrance of the temple.
4. Angkor Wat In Cambodia:
Angkor Wat in Cambodia is a temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world. It transformed into a Buddhist temple by the end of 12th century. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is one of the best preserved temples of India. It is a Khmer classic architectural style beauty and has a symbol of Cambodia appearing on its national flag. The temple is known for its grandeur, extreme bas-reliefs and numerous devataras adorning its walls.
5. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple In Srirangam:
Sri Ranganathaswamy temple is situated in Srirangam and is one of the largest functioning temples in India. It is enclosed by seven concentric walls or prakarams and have 21 enclosed gopurams. It has 49 shrines, all dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The entire temple is not used for religious purposes though. Out of seven concentric walls, three are used for private commercial establishments such as restaurants, hotels, residential homes and more.
6. Belur Math In Kolkata:
Belur Math is located on the west banks of Hooghly River in Belur, just in the outskirts from the city of Kolkata which is the headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Mission founded by Swami Vivekananda, one of the chief disciples of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. It is notable for its architecture which fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity among all religions.
7. Nellaiappar Temple In Tirunelveli:
Nellaiappar temple or Arulmigu Swami Nellaiappar and ArultharumKanthimathi temple is located in the ancient city of Tirunelveli. It was built around 3000 years ago and is known for its musical pillars and other brilliant sculptural splendours. It was built by Muluthukanda Rama Pandiyan and has SomavaraMandapam which is 1000 pillared hall. The temple hosts the oldest car festival in the world.
8. Annamalaiyar Temple In Thiruvannamalai:
Annamalaiyar temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in the Annamalai hills in the city of Thiruvannamalai. It is considered as the second largest temple in terms of area used for religious purposes. On its four sides, it has four stately towers and four high stone walls just like the rampart walls of a fort. It has a Rajagopuram which is an eleven tiered highest eastern tower. The temple has fortified walls pierced with four gopura entrances.
9. Sripuram Golden Temple In Vellore:
Sripuram Golden temple is a spiritual park located at the foot of a small range of green hills in a small town called Malaikodi in the city of Vellore. It is situated at the southern end of Vellore, a place called Tirumalaikodi. The golden temple of Sripuram is the Laxmi Narayan temple or Mahalakshmi temple whose ‘Vimanam’ and ‘ArdhaMandapam’ are coated with gold both inside and outside.
10. Jagannath Temple In Puri:
Sri Jagannath temple is located in the coastal town of Puri and is a very famous Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath or Lord Vishnu. It is an important pilgrimage for the Hindus as it falls under the Char Dham pilgrimage spots. It was built in the 12th century and the presiding deities are the central forms of Lord Jagannath and Balabhadra along with goddess Subhadra. The temple’s annual RathYatra or Chariot festival is hugely popular.
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11. Jambukeswarar Temple In Thiruvanaikaval:
Jambukeswarar temple or Thiruvanaikaval temple is located in Tiruchirapalli and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple was built around 1,800 years ago by one of the early Cholas, Kocengannan. It is one of the major Shiva temples in Tamil Nadu which represent the Mahabhuta or five elements and particularly, this temple resembles neer or water.
12. VaitheeswaranKoli Temple In Sirkazhi:
VaitheeswaranKoli temple is situated 7 kms away from the city or Sirkazhi in Tamil Nadu. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is worshipped as Vaitheeswaran or the God of healing or medicine. It is one of the nine Navagraha or nine planets temples associated with the planet Mars. A holy dip in the holy waters of Siddhamirtham tank which contains nectar is said to cure all diseases.
13. Birla Mandir In Delhi:
Birla Mandir is located in the capital city of the country, Delhi. It is also known as Laxminarayan temple and is dedicated to the same Goddess. It is built in the honor of Goddess Lakshmi or the Goddess of wealth and her consort Narayana or Vishnu. It was built in 1622 and renovated in 1793. It is known to have been accredited by Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation. He made a rule to allow an entry to the temple irrespective of religion.
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14. Akshardham In Delhi:
Delhi Akshardham or SwaminarayanAkshardham is located in the capital of India, Delhi. The temple complex displays the array or traditional Indian and Hindu culture spirituality and architecture. The temple was officially inaugurated in 2005 by Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam. It rises 43 m high, spans 316 foot wide and extends 109 m tall.
15. TiruvarurThyagarajaswamy Temple in Tiruvarur:
Sri Thyagarajaswamy temple is located in Tiruvarur and is ancient. It is dedicated to Somaskanda aspect of Lord Shiva. Shrines dedicated to Vanmikanthar, Tyagarajar and Kamaalamba are found in the temple complex which covers an area of 20 acres alone. It has a temple tank called Kamalalayam covering 25 acres which is one of the largest in India. The temple chariot is the largest in the state of Tamil Nadu.
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