Temples

15 Famous Oldest Temples In India With Details

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The history of India is incomplete without the mention of its incredible temples. No doubt why this country is called the “Land Of Temples”, with more than 6,00,000 lakh shrines, big and small, spread across. Among them, the ancient temples have caught the attention of both national and international tourists for withstanding the tests of time. Some of these magnificent temples have survived more than 1000 years and now stand as living examples of the gone by era. Not only do they promote tourism, but also are important monuments to help us study the lifestyle and history of our predecessors. Come, discover these old historical temples in India and get ready to be amazed with their incredible architecture.

Ancient Heritage Temples In India:

Read on to learn about the Indian old temple history of 15 most prominent shrines. Check out these old temples in India with names.

TABLE OF CONTENT:

  1. Konark Sun Temple, Odisha.
  2. The Golden Temple, Amritsar.
  3. Laxminarayan Temple, Delhi.
  4. Dilwara Jain Temples, Mount Abu.
  5. Dakshineswar Temple, Kolkata.
  6. Tirupati Balaji, Andhra Pradesh.
  7. Badami Cave Temples, Karnataka.
  8. Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, Maharashtra.
  9. Amarnath Cave Temple, Jammu and Kashmir.
  10. Brihadeeswara Temple, Tanjore.
  11. Tugnath Temple, Uttarakand.
  12. Jagatpita Brahma Mandir, Rajasthan.
  13. Vittala Temple, Hampi.
  14. Lingaraj Mandir, Bhubaneshwar.
  15. Kailash Temple, Ellora.

1. Konark Sun Temple, Odisha:

Konark Sun Temple, Odisha

One of the oldest temples offering its worship to the Sun God, Konark sun temple in Odisha has been listed as one of the seven wonders of India. Built at the time of Eastern Ganga Dynasty by Narasimhadeva I, the unique part of this temple is its architecture that resembles an extravagant sculpted chariot with stone carved wheels and pillars. In Sanskrit, ‘kona’ meant corner while ‘arka’ meant the sun.It is one of the most oldest temple in India.

  • Address: Konark, Odisha 752111
  • Timings: 6 AM to 8 PM
  • Dress Code: No Dress Code
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 2 Hours
  • How To Reach: 35 KM From Puri and 64 KM From Bhubaneshwar airport
  • Temple Website: http://www.konark.nic.in/
  • Best Time To Visit: There is no specific day to visit this temple as it has no idol of worship
  • Other Attractions: You can get a number of artifacts outside the temple to buy as souvenirs.

2. The Golden Temple, Amritsar:

The Golden Temple, Amritsar

Darbar Sahib of Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, Punjab is a temple painted in soft dewy gold but that is not the only reason why we recognize this as ‘ the golden temple’. The dome to this compact structure is gilded with 750kg of pure gold as the temple opens up on four sides portraying openness to all people, any caste, any religion. Constructed by the fourth Sikh Guru, the milky white marble passageways and the temple itself is a serene embodiment of rich Sikh religion.

  • Address: Golden Temple Rd, Atta Mandi, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab 143006
  • Timings: 3 AM–10 PM
  • Dress Code: Strictly traditional wear with scarf over the head for both men and women
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 2 Hours
  • How To Reach: It is just 2 minute drive from Amritsar Railway Station
  • Temple Website: http://sgpc.net/sri-harmandir-sahib/
  • Best Time To Visit: Baisakhi, Guru Purab, Basant Panchami etc
  • Other Attractions: It has the largest free kitchen in the world which serves delicious food

3. Laxminarayan Temple, Delhi:

Laxminarayan Temple, Delhi

Set in the busy city of Delhi, the Laxminarayan temple is also referred to as the Birla Mandir, being built by B.R Birla and Jugal Kishore Birla themselves. The veteran freedom fighter, Mahatma Gandhi himself inaugurated the temple which is now spread across 7.5 acres including fountains, gardens and beautiful scenic structures. This temple is a constructed for Lord Vishnu, the adjacent temples including Buddha and lord Shiva.

  • Address: Mandir Marg, Near, Gole Market, New Delhi, Delhi 110001
  • Timings: 4:30 AM – 1:30 PM and 2:30 – 9:00 PM.
  • Dress Code: Traditional wear
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 1-2 Hours
  • How To Reach: The temple is at a distance of 16KM from Delhi railway station.
  • Temple Website: N/A
  • Best Time To Visit: All important Hindu festivals
  • Other Attractions: Many sub-shrines inside the temple

4. Dilwara Jain Temples, Mount Abu:

Dilwara Jain Temples, Mount Abu

The Dilwara temple in Mount Abu, Rajasthan uses the best of architecture that a human hand could offer integrating extravagant and grandiloquent hand structures etched across marble stones and pillars, ceiling and floors. The interior to the temple is a real treat with five major sections dedicated to five Jain Saints.

  • Address: Delwara, Mount Abu, Rajasthan 307501
  • Timings: 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Dress Code: Traditional Wear
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 1-2 Hours
  • How To Reach: The temple is at a distance of 2.5 KM from Mount Abu. You can hire a cab to reach the location
  • Temple Website: N/A
  • Best Time To Visit: All important Hindu festivals
  • Other Attractions: Hot water is available for taking bath before darshan.

5. Dakshineswar Temple, Kolkata:

Dakshineswar Temple, Kolkata

Set against the banks of River Hooghly, the age old ancient temple devoted to Goddess Kali stands looming high and tall. Thousands of people flock to this magnificent temple that has twelve shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, Goddess Kali’s better half as the nine spired temple opens its doors to people from all walks of life.

  • Address: Dakshineswar, Kolkata, West Bengal 700076
  • Timings: 5:00 AM to 8 PM
  • Dress Code: Traditional Wear
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 2 Hours
  • How To Reach: It is located 21 Min away from Kolkata airport
  • Temple Website: http://www.dakshineswarkalitemple.org/
  • Best Time To Visit: Mahasivarathri and Navarathri
  • Other Attractions: There are many small temples inside the campus.

6. Tirupati Balaji, Andhra Pradesh:

Tirupati Balaji, Andhra Pradesh

Also known as the Tirumala Venkateshwara, the Tirupati Balaji temple in the hill town of Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh was constructed as a sign of devotion to Lord Venkateshwara or ‘Balaji’ who is a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. Other than the crowd, this temple is famous for its palatable ladoos that are passed on as a religious offering.

  • Address: Tirumala, Tirupati temple Andhra Pradesh
  • Timings: 2:30 AM to 1:30 AM (In between break darshans)
  • Dress Code: Strictly Traditional Wear
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 2-3 Hours (Depending on the queue it might take even longer)
  • How To Reach: It has connected buses from all states and cities. Renigunta and Tirupati junction are the nearest railway stations. Tirupati also has an airport from where you can hire a taxi to go up the seven hills.
  • Temple Website: www.tirumala.org/
  • Best Time To Visit: Brahmostavams and other important festivals. However, it can get really crowded and the best season is March-April.
  • Other Attractions: Many famous temples like ISCKON, Padmavati Ammavari temple etc.

7. Badami Cave Temples, Karnataka:

Badami Cave Temples, Karnataka

Located in the Bagalkot District of Karnataka, Badami caves form a caved enclosure of four main temples each constructed as a devotion to different Gods. The temple is set against an artificial green water lake, the cave itself made of soft brown sandstone color. The first cave is devoted to Lord Shiva and the next two for Lord Vishnu. The fourth temple is concocted for Jainism and the presence of another natural cave at the side is reserved for Lord Buddha.

  • Address: Badami, Karnataka 587201
  • Timings: 9 AM to 5:30 PM
  • Dress Code: No Dress Code
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 2 to 3 hours
  • How To Reach: 106 KM from Hubli airport and 5 KM from Badami Bus Stop
  • Temple Website: N/A
  • Best Time To Visit: July to September is the ideal time to visit Badami
  • Other Attractions: Agastya Lake

8. Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, Maharashtra:

Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, Maharashtra

Located almost 296 km from Mumbai is Shirdi that has one of the most eloquent rich Sai baba temples of all time. Thousands of devoted followers find themselves at the foot of the temple every year. The temple was built in 1922 and is one of the most visited temples in India after Tirupati Balaji.

  • Address: Temple Road, Mauli Nagar, Shirdi, Maharashtra 423109
  • Timings: 4:00 AM to 11:30
  • Dress Code: No Dress Code
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 2 hours
  • How To Reach: Kopergaon railway station is the nearest to this temple which is 16 KM away. A number of taxis help you reach the location
  • Temple Website: https://www.sai.org.in/
  • Best Time To Visit: Guru Purnima
  • Other Attractions: Museum, Dhuni, Dwarakamayee temple

9. Amarnath Cave Temple, Jammu and Kashmir:

Amarnath Cave Temple, Jammu and Kashmir

A caved temple with a natural ice stalagmite, elegant, gracious and ravishingly beautiful is the last to our list of ancient temples in India. The Amarnath cave is located in Jammu Kashmir inside a hollow cave that attracts a huge crowd every year.It is located at an altitude of 12, 756 ft above sea level and requires a treacherous trek to reach the place.This is the oldest Shiva temple in India.

  • Address: Baltal Amarnath Trek, Forest Block, Anantnag, Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir 192230
  • Timings: 6:00 am to 3:00 pm
  • Dress Code: Woolen Wear and proper gear to trek the mountains
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 1 hours
  • How To Reach: It involves a trek on the mountains with prior permissions
  • Temple Website: http://www.shriamarnathjishrine.com/
  • Best Time To Visit: May to September
  • Other Attractions: The Himalayan landscape around

10. Brihadeeswara Temple, Tanjore:

Brihadeeswara Temple, Tanjore

Also called the Tanjai Periya Kovil, this Shiva temple is one of the largest temples in South India. It was also declared as a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple was built in the 11th century and the Vimana tower is the highest in South India. It was constructed during the Chalukyan era and is one of the most popular temples in Tamil Nadu and is one of the oldest temples in South India.

  • 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.

11. Tugnath Temple, Uttarakand:

Tugnath Temple, Uttarakand

This ancient temple is said to be atleast 5000 years old, making it one of the oldest Hindu temple in India. Located at an altitude of 3.460 m, the temple is the highest Shiva shrine in the world. It even has a close mythological association with Mahabharata and is said to be built by the Pandavas. It is also believed that Ravana worshipped Lord Shiva in this very place, during his stay here. The temple remains closed during winter due to harsh weather conditions.

  • Address: Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand 246419
  • Timings: 6AM–4 PM
  • Dress Code: No Dress Code
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 1 Hours
  • How To Reach: It is located 2 KM from the Chandrasila Peak and one can reach the temple by walk
  • Temple Website: N/A
  • Best Time To Visit: April-November
  • Other Attractions: Chandrasila Peak

12. Jagatpita Brahma Mandir, Rajasthan:

Jagatpita Brahma Mandir, Rajasthan

This 14th century temple is one of the most visited shrines in Rajasthan and is situated close to Pushkar Lake. The temple is constructed with marble and granite stones. It is dedicated to the worship of Lord Brahma, the creator, which is rare to find. It is believed that the temple has been originally built by Sage Viswamitra after performed a yagna to Brahma. Later Adi Shankaracharya renovated this temple.

  • Address: Brahma Temple Rd, Pushkar, Rajasthan 305022
  • Timings: 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Dress Code: No Dress Code
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 1 Hours
  • How To Reach: It is located 14 KM from Ajmer. You can hire a taxi to reach the temple
  • Temple Website: N/A
  • Best Time To Visit: Entire Kartheeka Masam
  • Other Attractions: Many beautiful temples in the vicinity

13. Vittala Temple, Hampi:

Vittala Temple, Hampi

The Vittala temple is the ruined temple of Lord Vittala, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It was built in the 15th century during the rule of Sri Krishna Devaraya and is one of the grandest structures ever constructed. This temple is an architectural marvel and displays the dexterity and creativity of the Vijayanagara sculptors. The place is also famous for its iconic Stone chariot, whose image is now printed on the 50 Rupee note of Indian currency.

  • Address: Vittala Temple, Hampi
  • Timings: 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Dress Code: No Dress Code
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 2-3 Hours
  • How To Reach: It is located 14 KM from Ajmer. You can hire a taxi to reach the temple
  • Temple Website: N/A
  • Best Time To Visit: November to February
  • Other Attractions: The temple is famous for its Maha Mantapa, Stone Chariot, and Musical Pillars.

14. Lingaraj Mandir, Bhubaneshwar:

Lingaraj Mandir, Bhubaneshwar

The Lingaraj mandir is one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar, and is also the largest. It is built in the style of Kalinga architecture by the rulers of Somavamsi. It is the temple of Lord Shiva , along with his consort Bhuvaneswari. As per some texts, a part of this temple was built in the 6th century and components like the Natya Mandapa were later added in the 11th Century. It is one of the most visited temples in the city with more than 2,00,000 visitors per year.

  • Address: Rath Rd, Lingaraj Nagar, Old Town, Bhubaneswar, Odisha 751002
  • Timings: 5:00 AM – 9:00 PM.
  • Dress Code: No Dress Code
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 2-3 Hours
  • How To Reach: It is located about 4KM from Bhubaneswar Airport.
  • Temple Website: N/A
  • Best Time To Visit: October to March
  • Other Attractions: Dhauli Shanti Stupa, Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves

15. Kailash Temple, Ellora:

Kailash Temple, Ellora

Located in the Ellora caves, this temple is the largest rock-cut constructions in India. It was constructed by chiseling one single rock and is truly a marvel. Among the 32 cave temples in Ellora, Kailasanath is the largest and most spectacular. It is believed to be constructed during the reign of King Krishna I from the Rashtrakuta dynasty. However, due to the extra large of the temple and the complex technique of excavating in downward direction, it is believed that the construction must have been done by kings of different dynasties who showed a profound influence on the architecture. Ellora is a very oldest temple in India

  • Address: Ellora, Maharashtra 431102
  • Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Dress Code: No Dress Code
  • Approx. Visit Duration: 3-4 Hours
  • How To Reach: Aurangabad railway is the nearest to the temple which is located 30 KM away. One can hire a taxi to reach Ellora
  • Temple Website: N/A
  • Best Time To Visit: October to March and June to September
  • Other Attractions: Other Ellora Cave temples

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers:

1. Are There any Significant Ancient Temples in West Bengal?

West Bengal, particularly the city of Kolkata has always been synonymous for the famous Kali temple. However, there are many more ancient temples in the state like the Terracota temples in Bishnupur, which are the oldest Indian shrines constructed with brick. They are a group of temples like Rasmancha temple, Jor Bangla temple, Madanmohan, Lalaji and Panchratan temples.

2. What is The Mystery Behind The Musical Pillars in Vittala Temple of Hampi?

The Vittala temple in Hampi has 56 pillars which when tapped at a specific location on them, produces the sound of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. Each pillar is enclosed by a group of 7 small pillars and emit different sounds like ringing bells, stringed instruments etc. when tapped by thumb. Studies suggest that it could be because of the presence of large amounts of silica inside the pillar. However, they still continue to amaze us with their science defying architecture.

3. Which is The Oldest Ganesh Temple in India?

One of the oldest Ganesh temples in India is Karpaga Vinayagar Temple, Pillaiyarpatti of Tamilnadu. The temple is believed to be 1600 years old and is a stone cut construction. It has a 6 feet idol of Ganesha and makes for a wonderful sight when adorned with gems and jewelry.

We hope these ancient beauties have left you amazed with their incredible architecture. Not only do they defy all laws of science, but also challenge the digital generation with their mysteries. Using simple materials like brick, jaggery, sand and limestone, these structures have managed to survive for so many centuries and still continue to do so. Each of these temples are not only religious places, but also engineering marvels, which inspite of the modern machinery and equipment are almost impossible to achieve. If you have visited any of these temples and have gathered more information about their mysteries, do let us know in your comments.