Temples

Top 14 Largest Temples In India With Highlights

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The Indian sub-continent is the birth place of many religions, Hinduism being the prominent one. Temple construction in Indian started in caves around 400 BC. These stone temples slowly evolved into brick and wood constructions. The ancient Indians worshipped Gods like Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The paintings of these deities were found in these cave temples, which reveal that the tradition of worshipping idols is as old as the religion. Gradually, with changing times, these idols were worshipped with different names in different forms in various parts of India. Temples in ancient India were hubs of social and cultural activities. They had large acres of land dedicated for temples and some of them had a land area of 155 acres. These temples have several enclosures called ‘Prakarams’ that encircle the inner sanctum of the temple. This article focuses on some of the largest temples in India.

List Of Largest Temples In India with Pictures:

Table of content:

1. Meenakshi Amman Temple In Madurai.
2. Thillai Natarajah Temple At Chidambaram.
3. Brihadeeswarar Temple In Thanjavur.
4. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple In Srirangam.
5. Belur Math In Kolkata.
6. Nellaiappar Temple In Tirunelveli.
7. Annamalaiyar Temple In Thiruvannamalai.
8. Sripuram Golden Temple In Vellore.
9. Jagannath Temple In Puri.
10. Jambukeswarar Temple In Thiruvanaikaval.
11. Vaitheeswaran Koli Temple In Sirkazhi.
12. Birla Mandir In Delhi.
13. Akshardham In Delhi.
14. Tiruvarur Thyagarajaswamy Temple in Tiruvarur.

1. Meenakshi Amman Temple In Madurai:

largest temples in india

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 Meenakshi Sundareswarar 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.

Highlights:

  • Address: Madurai Main, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
  • Timings: 5 AM to 12.30 PM, 4 PM to 9.30 PM
  • Dress Code: Strictly Traditional wear.
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 2-3 Hours
  • How To Reach: It is located 2Km from Madurai Railway station.
  • Temple Website: N/A
  • Best Time To Visit: Navarathri and all important Hindu festivals.
  • Other Attractions: Golden Lotus Tank and Museum.

2. Thillai Natarajah Temple At Chidambaram:

Thillai Natarajah Temple At Chidambaram

Thillai Natarajah Temple at Chidambaram, in Tamil Nadu, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is one of the largest temples in India. Since 12th century, Thillai Koothan 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 Pancha Bootha Sthalams. The temple celebrates many different festivals throughout the year.

Highlights:

  • Address: Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu 608001
  • Timings: 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Dress Code: Strictly Traditional wear
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 2-3 Hours
  • How To Reach: Nearest Airport is Puducherry which is 51 Km away. Chidambaram also has a railway station and you can get cabs easily to temple
  • Temple Website: N/A
  • Best Time To Visit: Arudra Darsanam
  • Other Attractions: The temple has amazing sculptures and ancient Thillai trees

3. Brihadeeswarar Temple In Thanjavur:

Brihadeeswarar Temple In Thanjavur

The Brihadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur is one of the largest temple in India built by emperor Raja Raja Chola 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.It is also the largest Shiva temple in India.

Highlights:

  • Address: Membalam Rd, Balaganapathy Nagar, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu 613007
  • Timings: 6AM–12:30PM, 4–8:30PM
  • Dress Code: Traditional wear
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 2-3 Hours
  • How To Reach: Nearest Airport is Puducherry which is 138 Km away. Thanjavur railway station has good number of trains connecting. You can also opt for buses to Thanjavur junction.
  • Temple Website: N/A
  • Best Time To Visit: Mahasivarathri Night Dance Festival
  • Other Attractions: Apart from visiting temples, make sure to take back home the famous Thanjavur dolls.

[See More: Temples in South India]

4. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple In Srirangam:

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.

Highlights:

  • Address: Srirangam, Tiruchirappalli – 620 006.
  • Timings: 3 AM to 10 PM
  • Dress Code: Traditional Wear
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 2-3 Hours
  • How To Reach: Srirangam has a railway station and a number of connecting buses from all major cities.
  • Temple Website: https://srirangam.org/
  • Best Time To Visit: Jestabhishekam, Oonjal, Pavithrotsavam
  • Other Attractions: This temple offers delicious food to 200 devotees each day

5. Belur Math In Kolkata:

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.

Highlights:

  • Address: Belur, Howrah, West Bengal 711202
  • Timings: 6AM–12PM, 4–9PM
  • Dress Code: Traditional wear
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 2-3 Hours
  • How To Reach: 25 Minute drive from Kolkata airport
  • Temple Website: https://belurmath.org/
  • Best Time To Visit: All important Hindu festivals
  • Other Attractions: Ramakrishna Samadhi, Museum and Many other sub shrines

6. Nellaiappar Temple In Tirunelveli:

Nellaiappar Temple In Tirunelveli

Nellaiappar temple or Arulmigu Swami Nellaiappar and Arultharum Kanthimathi 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 Somavara Mandapam which is 1000 pillared hall. The temple hosts the oldest car festival in the world.

Highlights:

  • Address: 162, E Car St, Tirunelveli Town, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu 627006
  • Timings: 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m
  • Dress Code: Traditional wear
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 1-2 Hours
  • How To Reach: Tuticornis the nearest airport which is 49 KMS from the temple
  • Temple Website: N/A
  • Best Time To Visit: Generally suggested to visit between October to February. Thirukkalyanam,
  • Other Attractions: Beautiful architecture and inscriptions on the temple.

[See More: Temples In North India]

7. Annamalaiyar Temple In Thiruvannamalai:

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.

Highlights:

  • Address: Pavazhakundur, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu 606601
  • Timings: 5:30AM–12:30PM and 3:30–9:30PM
  • Dress Code: Traditional wear
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 2 – 3 Hours
  • How To Reach: Chennai airport is around 200 KMS from the temple
  • Temple Website: http://www.arunachaleswarartemple.tnhrce.in/
  • Best Time To Visit: Karteekamasam
  • Other Attractions: Ramana Maharshi Aashram

8. Sripuram Golden Temple In Vellore:

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.

Highlights:

  • Address: Sri Narayani Peetam, Sri Puram, Thirumalai Kodi, Vellore, Tamil Nadu 632055
  • Timings: 4:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m
  • Dress Code: Traditional wear
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 1-2 Hours
  • How To Reach: Tirupati is the main city which is 137 KM by road. There are also many direct trains from Tirupati to Vellore.
  • Temple Website: www.sripuram.org/
  • Best Time To Visit: Navarathiri Maha Utsav
  • Other Attractions: Beautiful landscape of the temple

9. Jagannath Temple In Puri:

Jagannath 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.

Highlights:

  • Address: Puri, Odisha
  • Timings: 5:00 a.m. to 6:30p.m
  • Dress Code: Traditional wear
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 1-2 Hours
  • How To Reach: It is 60 km away from Bhubaneshwar airport
  • Temple Website: www.jagannathtemplepuri.com
  • Best Time To Visit: Rath Yatra
  • Other Attractions: Food which is served inside the temple.

[See More: Temples In Tirupati]

10. Jambukeswarar Temple In Thiruvanaikaval:

Jambukeswarar 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.

Highlights:

  • Address: Sannathi St, Thiruvanaikoil, Srirangam, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu 620005
  • Timings: 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Dress Code: Traditional wear
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 1-2 Hours
  • How To Reach: Trichy is the nearest railway station which is 9km from the temple
  • Temple Website: http://www.thiruvanaikavaltemple.tnhrce.in
  • Best Time To Visit: Brahmotsavam, Aadi Pooram
  • Other Attractions: SreemathTheertham

11. Vaitheeswaran Koli Temple In Sirkazhi:

Vaitheeswaran Koli

Vaitheeswaran Koli 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.

Highlights:

  • Address: No: 25 Taluk Vaitheeswaran Koil, South Madavilagam, Sirkazhi, Tamil Nadu 609117
  • Timings: 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Dress Code: Traditional wear
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 1-2 Hours
  • How To Reach: This temple is located 25 KM from Chidambaram and 1.3 KM from Vaitheeswaran Railway station
  • Temple Website: N/A
  • Best Time To Visit: Annual temple festival held in April
  • Other Attractions: Temple Tank which has healing powers.

12. Birla Mandir In Delhi:

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. And 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.

Highlights:

  • Address: Mandir Marg, Near, Gole Market, New Delhi, Delhi 110001
  • Timings: 4:30 am – 1:30 pm 2:30 pm – 9:00 pm
  • Dress Code: Traditional wear
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 1-2 Hours
  • How To Reach:14 Min drive from Delhi airport
  • Temple Website: NA
  • Best Time To Visit: Janmashtami
  • Other Attractions:Small subshrines within the temple

13. Akshardham In Delhi:

Akshardham In Delhi

Delhi Akshardham or Swaminarayan Akshardham 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.

Highlights:

  • Address: Noida Mor, Pandav Nagar, New Delhi, Delhi 110092
  • Timings: 9:30AM–6:30PM
  • Dress Code: No Dress Code
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 2-3 Hours
  • How To Reach: 34 Min drive from Delhi airport
  • Temple Website: https://akshardham.com/
  • Best Time To Visit: Janmashtami,Diwali, Navaratri
  • Other Attractions: Three cultural exhibitions within the temple.

14. Tiruvarur Thyagarajaswamy 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.

Highlights:

  • Address: Sannathi Street, Thiruvarur, Tamil Nadu 610001
  • Timings: 5.00 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.
  • Dress Code: Traditional Wear
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 2-3 Hours
  • How To Reach: 34 Min drive from Delhi airport
  • Temple Website: http://www.thiyagarajaswamytemple.tnhrce.in/
  • Best Time To Visit: Annual Chariot Festival
  • Other Attractions: Many sub shrines within the temple

Expert Question and Answers:

1. Heard about ‘Prakarams’ Inside The Temples. What are They and What is Their Importance?

A ‘Prakaram’ is a space built around the inner sanctum of the temple to circumambulate round it. It is usually the first ritual done in a typical Hindu temple before visiting the main deity. Large temples have more than one Prakaram. Sri Ranganatha Swamy temple has the highest number of Prakarams with 7 enclosures and the longest Prakaram in India is the 3rd enclosure in Rameshwaram temple.

2. Are There any Specific Dress Codes to Follow While Visiting These Temples?

South Indian temples, particularly those in Tamil Nadu prescribe decent dressing for both ladies and men. While some temples are rigid about wearing sarees and lungis, other temples like Meenakshi Amman temple requests its visitors to wear decent Indian clothing and make sure their bodies are fully covered. It is best to follow the rules of the temples to ensure complete sanctity of your visit.

These temples are prominent sites for both archeology and religion. They were not only centers of spirituality, but also were major cultural hubs, which promoted art and architecture. These temples also operated as hospitals, charitable institutions, educational centers and entertainment forums. Most of them were not open to non-hindus, who could only enter into the first few sanctums. The inner sanctum was called the ‘Garbha Griha’, which means the ‘Womb of the temple’. This is the holiest place in temple and with idols being worshipped for so many centuries, they are the most sacred places. These temples are sure to leave us in awe considering their huge size and prominence.