The northern part of India consists of states such as Uttarakhand, UP, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir and Haryana. It is the loosely defined northern part of the Indian subcontinent boasting of the Indo-Gangetic plain and the majestic Himalayas. Wildlife sanctuaries, glittering glaciers, historical fortresses and rich palaces – you name it and this region has it all, making it a beautiful area to explore and a top entry on your travel bucket-list. The colourful mix of different cultures in the region makes it even more enchanting to tour through – think about the spicy food of Rajasthan area and their sparkly embellished outfits and vibrant glass bangles to the simple attire and trekking trails of the Himachal.
Lush green valleys, mountain peaks covered with fleeces of white, refreshing waterfalls and little streams flowing by…what’s more? North India is not only a must visit for its unparalleled beauty and rich typography. It is in fact, one of the most significant areas of the country for those looking for a truly spiritual trip and in search of the divine. Multitude of faiths and gods and goddesses are worshipped in the region, however it houses amongst the most popular (not only in India but even across the world) pilgrimage sites that devotees are attracted to year on year thronging the gates of these historical temples that bring us closer to our ancestral past and to India’s heritage in general.
From the world-famous Golden Temple, Badrinath and Amarnath, to the Vaishno Devi – these names need no introduction and one and all adorn this blessed region of the country. Ready for a breathtakingly beautiful pilgrimage journey? Here is us sorting you out with this well thought out list of the 9 most significant temples of North India that you need to start planning your visit towards now!
1. Birla Mandir In Jaipur, Rajasthan:
Birla Mandir is located on an elevated ground at the base of Moti Dungari hill in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The fairly new construction built in 1988 by Birla Group of Industries looks magnificent when brightly lit at night. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. The temple has three stunning huge domes. The marble structure is grand, to say the least. It is surrounded by lavish green gardens and one can enjoy the sight of nature with the colourful flowers all around. The walls are full of carvings and writings from the great poets and the like. It is truly one of the main landmarks of Jaipur city and a must-visit by the religious pilgrims and tourists alike.
- Address: Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg, Tilak Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302004
- Timings: 8 Am – 12 noon and 4 Pm – 8 PM
- Dress Code: No dress code as such but respectful attire is always suggested for temples in this area. Light cotton wear is ideal for the Summer heat or something warmer and woollen if visiting in the winter season.
- Approx. Visit Duration: 30 minutes – 1 hour
- How To Reach: It is located in Jaipur city itself. Use public transport (taxi or auto) to reach this temple from any part of the city.
- Best Time To Visit: Morning and evening aarti time on weekdays (to avoid the rush). Diwali day is beautifully celebrated here and a magical experience not to miss.
- Other Attractions: This temple is unique as it promotes love and acceptance for all religions. The three domes actually represent the three religions that first emerged in the country. The complex also has great shopping for buying trinkets and also a museum where the Birla family’s ancestral arte facts and clothes etc are displayed. You can visit the Ganesh Mandir, Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal after the Birla Mandir.
2. Golden Temple In Amritsar, Punjab:
One of the most famous temples in north india, the Harmandir Sahib Temple is popularly referred to as the Golden Temple (known so because of its scenic look and gold coating). Yes, the temple’s upper floor is actually covered with gold. However, it’s not significant only due to its rich appearance but it is actually considered the holiest Sikh Gurudwara of the world. Every Sikh aspires to and mostly does come here at least once in their lifetime. It is located in Amritsar, Punjab. It was founded by the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das in 1574. The Golden temple has four doors of the entrance which symbolizes that all people and religions are welcome inside. Guru Granth Sahib, the holiest text of Sikhism is present in the Gurudwara during the daytime. It has a free community kitchen and meal or Langar which attracts 100,000 people every day. Thus the temple is also known as the world’s largest free kitchen. Its architecture is absolutely mesmerizing and depicts a perfect harmony of the Hindu and Muslim styles of
construction coming together to shine and create magic.
- Address: Golden Temple Rd, Atta Mandi, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab 143006
- Timings: 8 Am – 7 PM
- Dress Code: No strict dress code but certain guidelines such as your shoulders must be covered (so don’t wear sleeveless) and avoid shorts or dresses that are above your knee level. You have to cover your head on entering the temple so carry scarves/handkerchiefs and chunris.
- Approx. Visit Duration: 3 hours
- How To Reach: Public transport can be conveniently used such as taxis and autos to reach the temple. Some also hire private cars for the same. The temple trust has also laid out free bus services to the location from the Amritsar railway station.
- Temple Website: http://sgpc.net/sri-harmandir-sahib/
- Best Time To Visit: Vaisakhi (second week of April) is the main festival here. Guru Nanak Jayanti is also grandly celebrated. Visit on Diwali for an even more illuminated beauty and firework display.
- Other Attractions: The temple is built in the centre of the mystical Amrit Sarovar from which the city of Amritsar took its name. This tank around the temple is famous all around the world for its healing powers. Join in with the millions from all around the world who come here to dip in these sacred waters. You can view a collection of the sacred Sikh weapons inside the premises and there is also a Sikh museum inside for a glimpse into how the Sikhs were tortured at the hands of the Mughals.
3. Amarnath Temple In Anantnag, Jammu & Kashmir:
The Amarnath temple is high up around 3888m and 45 Kms from Pahalgam, Kashmir and is popular mainly due to its natural formation of a Shiva Linga from snow. The stalagmite formed inside the 130 ft. high Amarnath cave due to the freezing of water drops is considered as Shiva Linga by the Hindus. It is one of the ancient temples in north india. It consists of the holy Amarnath cave which is considered as one of the holiest shrines of Hinduism. People believe it to be the home of Lord Shiva on earth. According to the legend, Shiva entered the cave with Parvati to share the secret of creation and immortality with her. Humungous crowds of devotees indulge in the annual holy Amarnath yatra in the months of June and August. Pilgrims from all over the world visit the place to worship the Shiva Linga during the 45 day season of Shravan Mela in July-August. It is believed that Lord Shiva calls out to his devotees to come to visit this pious snow clad cave where he can shower them with his love and blessings. The beautiful setting of the snowy surrounding mountains shall leave you with an enhanced touch of serenity and divine bliss. However be aware that trekking up here is not exactly hassle free and one should come well-stocked and prepared for the extreme weather conditions and topography.
- Address: Baltal Amarnath Trek, Forest Block, Anantnag, Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir 192230
- Timings: 9 Am – 5 PM
- Dress Code: Comfortable woollen clothes are a must as you trek here and it is always cold. Monkey caps, raincoats, gloves etc are a must.
- Approx. Visit Duration: >3 hours
- How To Reach: There are two routes, one from Baltal and one from Pahalgam. Baltal is only 14 km from the Cave, which can be covered by road and by helicopter. Pahalgam is 47 km from the cave and the starting point of the trek. Both the starting points are well connected with Srinagar. Srinagar is the nearest airport and Jammu the nearest rail station.
- Temple Website: http://www.shriamarnathjishrine.com/
- Best Time To Visit: Amarnath Yatra only takes place in July and August. Advisable to skip the first week of the yatra which may start in June end and be messier.
- Other Attractions: Pahalgam is a scenic town to explore that shall leave you mesmerized. Shri Shankar Acharya temple is also relatively near.
4. Vaishno Devi in Trikuta Mountains, Jammu & Kashmir:
Vaishno Devi temple located at the Trikuta mountains of Jammu & Kashmir is dedicated to Mother Goddess Mahalakshmi. The holy shrine is visited by over 10 million people every year. The idol of Mahalakshmi rides on a tiger and holds trident, bow, arrow, lotus, mace and sword in seven of her arms. The eight-arm is in the gesture of abhaya. The cave is situated at an altitude of 5200 ft. and the yatris trek to the cave from the base camp at Katra which is at a distance of 14.5 km. More well known as ‘Moonh Maangi Muradein Poori Karne Wali Mata’ is sure to help you achieve all that you’re aiming for. It hasn’t been determined for sure as to when the pilgrimages to this site started. However, the rock caves themselves have been studied to be around a million years old.
- Address: Katra-Reasi Rd, Bhavan, Katra, Jammu and Kashmir 182301
- Timings: 5 Am – 12 PM and 4 PM – 9 PM
- Dress Code: light woollen clothes for summers and heavy woollens for winters is suggested. Wear canvas shoes and avoid fancy footwear especially if reaching by foot.
- Approx. Visit Duration: >3 hours
- How To Reach: Jammu airport is 50 km away. By train, Udhampur railway station is nearest and by road state-run, J & K buses take you to and fro from Katra.
- Temple Website: https://www.maavaishnodevi.org/introduction.aspx
- Best Time To Visit: Festival of Chaitra and Navratra is extremely popular and a very auspicious time if you’re in for queuing up for extreme hours (as the crowd is insane at such times). If you want a more comfortable darshan, try planning in winters (leaving the monsoons and new years) to avoid the crowd.
- Other Attractions: Ardh Kuwari Cave and Bhairavnath Temple are must visits when already here. Street shopping in the area can fetch you a few souvenirs to take back for friends and family.
5. Jwalamukhi Devi Temple at Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh:
Jwalamukhi Devi Temple situated at Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh is dedicated to Goddess Jwalamukhi, the deity of flaming mouth. The deity is worshipped in the form of flames which come out from the crevices of the rock. She is considered a form of Durga Mata. The sacred flames in the pit are generally offered milk and water and the deity is offered bhog or rabri. Havan and Aarti are performed daily and portions of Durga Saptasati are recited. The temple was built by Raja Bhumi Chand Katoch. It is identified as one of the 52 Shakti Peethas and a significant one too. What’s more? Its location is beautifully picturesque with the Dhauladha hills gazing on to it.
- Address: Jawala Ji Temple Road, Jawalamukhi, Himachal Pradesh 176031
- Timings: 6 AM – 5 PM
- Dress Code: No dress code as such.
- Approx. Visit Duration: 1 – 2 Hours
- How To Reach: The Nearest airport is at Gaggal (50 Km). The nearest station is 20 Km. Public transport such as direct buses and cabs can be used to reach the temple from Dharamshala, Gaggal etc.
- Temple Website: https://jawalaji.in/
- Best Time To Visit: During the Jwalamukhi mela (colourful fairs with tons of fun and religious fervour)
- Other Attractions: Gyuto Monastery is 2.8 Km away.
6. Lotus Temple in New Delhi:
The Bahai temple, also known as the Lotus temple is one of Delhi’s finest and unique temples. This temple is shaped like the lotus flower and looks brilliant when it is lit up at night. The garden that surrounds this temple is also quite picturesque and serves as a great spot for picnics. Its construction costed a whopping $10 million. This stunning architectural piece in the shape of a lotus flower serves as the Mother Temple of the Indian subcontinent. It’s a Bahá’í House of Worship which means is open to all regardless of religion. According to the Bahá’í laws, people can chant only the holy scriptures of Bahá’í faith or any other religion. No ritualistic practice can be performed inside the temple. It has become one of the most visited places of worship in the world with 8,000 to 10,000 devotees coming in every day. It is a must-visit specimen of modern north indian temple architecture.
- Address: Lotus Temple Rd, Bahapur, Shambhu Dayal Bagh, Kalkaji, New Delhi, Delhi 110019
- Timings: 9 AM – 5:30 Pm in winters and 9 AM – 7 PM in summers. Mondays are closed.
- Dress Code: No dress code as such.
- Approx. Visit Duration: 1 – 1: 30 Hours
- How To Reach: Nearest Metro Station: Kalkaji Mandir
- Temple Website: http://www.bahaihouseofworship.in/
- Best Time To Visit: During winters so as to escape the scorching Delhi heat.
- Other Attractions: Auditoriums show films about religious faiths and the Bahai faith as well. Concerts are also held here. You can explore the bustling Nehru place region or visit the nearby ISKON temple.
7. Mansa Devi Temple in Haridwar, Uttarakhand:
Mansa Devi temple is located a top the Bilwa Parvat on the Sivalik hills in the holy city of Haridwar, Uttarakhand. It is one of the five pilgrimages within Haridwar. The temple is a holy abode of Manasa and is a Siddh Peetha which signifies the places of worship where desires get fulfilled. The north indian temple offers the beautiful views of the River Ganges. The temple is most visited during Navratra and Kumbh Mela. Initially to reach the temple, one only had the option to trek all the way up using the stairs route. However, recently a ropeway was established to bring visitors to and fro from the temple. The ropeway is chargeable, however sliding through the forests and mountains of this pure location is stunning to the mind and soul. Why Manasa? The temple is said to be present due to the thinking and mind of the sage Kashyap and hence is termed like that.
- Address: Haridwar, Uttarakhand 249401
- Timings: 8 AM – 5 PM.
- Dress Code: Respectful clothing suggested.
- Approx. Visit Duration: 2 Hours
- How To Reach: Nearest Airport is Dehradun (around 50 Km) and cabs are easily available from there onwards. If you’re taking the train, get down at the Haridwar station just 2 Km from the temple. Direct buses are also available from Delhi etc. Once in the region, you can take a cable car up to the temple.
- Temple Website: https://haridwar.nic.in/
- Best Time To Visit: Navaratri is the biggest festival here and the Kumbha Mela Haridwar time, of course, is an experience of a lifetime.
- Other Attractions: Tourists consider it auspicious for the fulfilment of their wishes. You can tie a thread signifying a wish and untie it later when it is fulfilled. Explore the Haridwar holy town by foot offering not only the best temples but also lip-smacking street food. Maya Devi temple is also nearby to visit.
8. Sthaneshwar Mahadeva Temple In Thanesar, Haryana:
This one is extremely significant due to its ancient legendary association with Hindu culture and mythology. It actually is around 5000 years old! The legend goes that it was here that god Brahma first laid the Shiv Lingam. Thus it is said that Shiva was actually first worshipped at this holy place. This is also the temple where the Pandavas along with Krishna prayed to Lord Shiva after winning the battle of Mahabharata. Thus it enriches the north indian temples history and takes it to yet another level. It is situated in the holy town of Thanesar in the Kurukshetra district of Haryana. According to popular beliefs, the waters of the tank adjoining the temple are holy. Sthaneswar temple is the abode of Lord Shiva.
- Address: Kuber Colony, Thanesar, Haryana 136118
- Timings: 6 AM – 8 PM.
- Dress Code: No dress code as such but conservative clothing suggested.
- Approx. Visit Duration: 2-3 Hours
- How To Reach: Nearest Airport is Delhi (160 Km) and Chandigarh (90 KM). nearest airports are at Delhi (160kms) and Chandigarh (90 km). Taxi, bus and train are available to Kurukshetra from Delhi & Chandigarh. If you’re taking the train the Kurukshetra Junction is just 3.5 km from the temple. You can also use private cars, buses or taxis if coming by road from other parts of UP.
- Temple Website: N/A
- Best Time To Visit: Shivratri is celebrated with utmost fervour here
- Other Attractions: Light and sound show of the temple is an add-on attraction. Also, the surrounding waters (temple tank) is considered extremely auspicious to dip in.
9. Badrinath Temple In Badrinath, Uttarakhand:
Badrinath temple Uttarakhand is one of the four Char Dhams. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu who is worshipped as Badrinath. It is situated along the banks of Alakananda River and is one of the most visited pilgrimage centres of India. The black stone statue of Vishnu is 3.3 ft. tall and is considered as one of the eight swayamvyaktakshetras. The most prominent festival celebrated here is Mata MurtiKa Mela. The temple is only open for 6 months every year (April-Nov). Due to its Himalayan location, extreme weather conditions in the other months don’t permit it to be functional at all times. The temple is after all at a height of 3133 m above sea level. It’s recorded to have one of the maximum visits amongst the other pilgrimage sites.
- Address: Badri to Mata Murti road, Badrinath, Uttarakhand 246422
- Timings: 7:30 AM – 1 PM and 4 PM – 9 PM
- Dress Code: Winter wear and comfortable shoes would be ideal.
- Approx. Visit Duration: 3Hours – half day
- How To Reach: buses to and fro can be taken to the nearest stand (Narayan Palace Road) 1 Km away. Many people also hire private cars to reach the temple. Taxis are also available for the same however once in the town, try exploring its beauty by walk. You can also take a helicopter from Dehradun to reach here.
- Temple Website: http://uttaranchaltourism.org/
- Best Time To Visit: Mata Murti Ka Mela time.
- Other Attractions: take a dip in the Tapt Kund and. Adventure junkies can take a scenic trek down to Neelkanth, Satopanth, and Charanpaduka Mountains base camps.
Do write in to us with accounts of just how much you loved touring through the temples outlined above and your North India experiences in general. I hope this list helps you plan your future pilgrimage and we shall be more than happy to receive feedback about the same. Happy travels and may the divine always be with you.