22 Incredible Ancient Temples In India

India is the land of Temples, there are thousands of temples throughout India. Some of the temples are 1000 years old, 2000 years old, or even older.

There are many iconic and famous Ancient Temples in India that will make you mesmerized with their beauty, architecture, and of course, legends around them.

India has a vibrant and colourful history, and religion has been a very important part of it.

India’s rich traditions and religious beliefs are very deep-rooted and part of day to day life of almost every Indian

India is a land of many Historical and Cultural sites. But for anyone visiting India here is a list of glorious Ancient temples that one should definitely visit.

1. Mundeshwari Devi Temple – Oldest Hindu Temple in India

Mundeshwari Devi Temple in Bihar is the Oldest Hindu Temple in India

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) recently dated the temple structure to 108 CE. It has been a protected monument since 1915.

The temple is dedicated to the goddess Durga in the form of Devi Mundeshwari.

oldest hindu temple
Mundeshwari Devi Temple

The Archaeological Survey of India’s findings have revealed that Mandaleshwar the Lord Shiva temple was the main Shrine. Also, there was a religious and educational centre spread across the hill.

The main deities in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple are the Devi Mundeshwari and Chaturmukh (four-faced) Shiva Linga.

The temple is located at Ramgarh village in the Mundeshwari Hills of the Kaimur district of Bihar. It is considered one of the oldest functional Hindu temples in India.

The temple is built in the Nagara style of temple architecture and is the earliest exhibit of Nagara architecture in the state of Bihar.

The construction of the temple in an octagonal shape is in itself very rare.

A big annual fair is held nearby during the Navaratra. It is visited by a large number of pilgrims each year, particularly during the festivals of Ramnavami and Shivratri.

How to reach Mundeshwari Temple

Temple can be reached by road via Patna, Gaya, or Varanasi.

The nearest railway station is at Mohania – Bhabua Road railway station from where the temple is 22 km by road.

Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Varanasi is the nearest airport, located at a distance of 102 km from the Temple.

Read More: Oldest Temple in India – Mundeshwari Devi Temple

2. Shore TempleMahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

Shore temple in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu is a complex of shrines. It is one of the oldest temples in southern India.

Shore Temple was built during the 8th century AD. It is the finest early example of medieval southern Indian temple architecture. The temple is constructed using cut stones instead of being carved out of caves.

The majestic Shore Temple is locally called Alaivay-k-kovil.

Shore Temple is one of the Ancient temples in India
Shore Temple – Mahabalipuram (Source: Wikimedia)

The complex of the temple consists of three separate shrines. Two are dedicated to Lord Shiva and one to Lord Vishnu. The Vishnu shrine is the oldest and smallest of the three shrines.

The Shore Temple was built by the Pallava Dynasty, King Rajasimha also known as Narasimhavarman II, and later by the Cholas who ruled Tamil Nadu after defeating the Pallavas.

But the main credit for the architectural elegance of the temple complex goes to King Narasimhavarman II.

Shore Temple has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.

Sunrise and sunset add scenic charm to the temple and therefore it should be visited during dawn and dusk.

The best time to visit the Shore temple is during the months of October to March.

Indian Dance Festival-Mamallapuram

The Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) Dance Festival is held every year from Dec-Jan in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, organized by the Department of Tourism, Govt. of Tamil Nadu.

This month-long vibrant festival of dance is enjoyed by a large audience.

Artists of Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Odissi, Mohini Attam, and Kathakali from all around the country take part in this festival and perform against this magnificent backdrop of the Pallava rock sculptures.

How To Reach Shore Temple

Hiring regular buses or taxis from anywhere in Tamil Nadu will easily get you to Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram.

Mahabalipuram is well connected to Kanchipuram, Pondicherry, and other nearby tourist areas.

3. Brihadishvara TempleThanjavur, Tamil Nadu

Brihadishvara Temple in Tamil Nadu is one of the largest Hindu temples in India. The temple is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu.

Brihadishvara Temple is a Hindu Dravidian-styled temple dedicated to the God Shiva. It is located on the banks of the Cauvery River in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India.

Brihadishvara Temple most visited tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu
Brihadishvara Temple – Thanjavur (Source: Wikimedia)

The temple was originally known as Peruvudaiyar Kovil and was also called Rajarajeswaram. It is locally known as Thanjai Periya Kovil.

Built by Chola emperor Rajaraja I between 1003 and 1010 CE, the temple is called Dakshina Meru or the Meru of the south.

The temple is built using granite and the vimana tower above the shrine is one of the tallest in South India.

The temple is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Great Living Chola Temples”, along with the Chola dynasty era Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple and Airavatesvara temple.

Brahan Natyanjali Festival – Brihadishvara Temple – Thanjavur

The Brihasdishvara Temple is the site of the annual dance festival Brahan Natyanjali around February around the Hindu Festival of Mahashivratri.

Major classical Indian dance form artists and some regional teams and artists perform at this Brahan Natyanjali festival for over 10 days.

How To Reach Brihadishvara Temple

Thanjavur does not have an airport but the nearest airport is Tiruchirapalli. From Tiruchirapalli, one can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Thanjavur.

Thanjavur is well-connected to many cities of Tamil Nadu by road. Regular buses and taxes can be hired from cities like Tiruchirapalli, Coimbatore, Pudukottai, etc.

Thanjavur is connected to nearby places through railways. Superfast and fast mail and express trains along with Jan Shatabdi have stoppages here.

4. Lad Khan Temple – Aihole, Karnataka

The Chalukya Shiva Temple earlier known as Lad Khan Temple is dedicated to God Shiva. The temple is known to be one of the most ancient temples in Karnataka.

Earlier it was dated to the 7th or 8th century, but now it is dated to about the 5th century. The Lad Khan temple is located to the south of the Durga temple in Aihole.

Lad Khan Temple one of the most ancient temples in Karnataka
Lad Khan Temple – Aihole (Source: Wikimedia)

The temple’s name comes from LadKhan, a Muslim general from the Bijapur sultanate who stayed in the temple during their invasion of the region. He had turned the temple into his own residence for a short period of time.

The temple is built in Panchayatana style, originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Now the main shrine houses a Shiva Linga with Nandi.

How to reach Lad Khan Temple

Belgaum Airport is the nearest domestic airport to Aihole, situated at a distance of about 162 km.

Bagalkot railway station is the nearest railway station to Aihole located at a distance of about 34 km.

Many frequent buses run to Aihole from places such as Badami, Pattadakal, and Bangalore.

Read More: 10 Famous Ancient Temples in Tamil Nadu

5. Sri Ranganathaswamy TempleLargest Hindu Temple in India

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Ranganatha (a form of Vishnu) and located in Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India.

The Ranganatha Swamy Temple at Srirangam is known by different names Periyakovil, Srirangam TirupatiThiruvaranga Tirupati, Bhoologa Vaikundam, and Bhogamandabam.

Mentioned in Tamil literature of the Sangam era (6th century BCE to the 4th century CE), including the epic  Silapadikaram.

The temple has the unique distinction of being the foremost among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to the god Vishnu.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple - Largest Hindu Temple in India
Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple, Srirangam (Source: Wikimedia)

The Ranganatha Swamy Temple is one of the largest Hindu temples in India and is often listed as one of the largest functioning Hindu temples in the world

The Srirangam temple was constructed in the Hindu architectural style and occupies an area of 155 acres (63 ha).

The temple was first built by the Chola ruler, Dharmavarma, and later by Chola King Killivalavan rebuilt the temple complex as is present today as the Kaveri river flood destroyed the temple Vimanam.

The annual 21-day festival is celebrated between December and January (the Tamil month of Margali).

The temple complex has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is on UNESCO’s tentative list.

How to reach Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

Public transport or private taxis/cabs can be hired from Mysore. The distance between Mysore and the temple complex is 16 km.

The Srirangapatna Railway Station is just behind the temple complex. Devotees can walk from the station to the temple.

Read More: Top 10 Famous Temples in Kanchipuram

6. Chidambaram Temple, Tamil Nadu

The Chidambaram Temple is a Hindu temple located in Tamil Nadu. The is also referred to as Thillai Nataraja Temple or Chidambaram Nataraja Temple.

The present temple was built in the 10th century by the Chola dynasty when Chidambaram was their capital. The name of the city Chidambaram literally means “stage of consciousness”

Chidambaram Temple 10th century temple by the Chola dynasty
Chidambaram Temple (Source: Wikimedia)

The Chidambaram Nataraja Temple is dedicated to Nataraja as the main deity – a form of Lord Shiva – as the lord of the dance.

Thillai Nataraja Temple is one of the ancient temples in India and a Shiva shrine existed at the site when the town was known as Thillai.

The Chidambaram Temple is one of the very few temples where Lord Shiva is represented by an anthropomorphic murti rather than the classic, aniconic Lingam.

Lord Shiva is portrayed as the master of Koothu-Bharata Natyam in the golden hall of the shrine Pon Ambalam performing the Ananda Tandava (“Dance of Delight”)

The Chidambaram Nataraja Temple is one of the ancient surviving temples in India and an active temple complex in South India.

Most of the temple’s surviving plan, architecture, and structure are from the late 12th and early 13th centuries

The architecture of the Chidambaram Temple illustrates a great relationship between the arts, spirituality, creative activity, and the divine.

The wall carvings of Chidambaram Nataraja Temple display all the 108 karanas from the Natya Shastra by Bharata Muni, and these postures form a foundation of Bharatanatyam an Indian classical dance 

How to reach Chidambaram Temple

Tiruchirappalli is the nearest airport to Chidambaram. You can easily hire a taxi from the airport.

It is also well connected by rail to the temple towns of Rameswaram, Thanjavur, and Kumbakonam.

Read More: Chidambaram Nataraja Temple – Journey to the Abode of Nataraja

7. Dwarkadhish temple – Dwarka, Gujarat

The Dwarkadhish temple occasionally spelled as Dwarakadheesh is one of the most ancient Hindu temples in India. It is also referred to as the Jagat Mandir dedicated to Lord Krishna.

The temple became part of the Char Dham pilgrimage considered sacred by Hindus in India.

Dwarkadhish temple Char Dham pilgrimage
Dwarkadhish temple, Dwarka (Source: Wikimedia)

The Dwarkadhish temple is located in Dwarka city in the state of Gujarat.

It is believed that the original temple was built by Lord Krishna’s grandson, Vajranabha, over the Hari-Griha (Krishna’s residential place).

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) findings point out that the original temple was built 2000 years ago at the earliest. The temple was enlarged in the 15th- 16th century

The Temple is a Pushtimarg temple and it follows the guidelines and rituals created by Vallabhacharya and Vitheleshnath.

Adi Shankaracharya, the 8th-century Hindu theologian, and philosopher visited the shrine. A memorial within the temple is dedicated to his visit even today.

Mahmud Begada destroyed the original structure of the temple in 1472 but it was subsequently rebuilt in the 15th-16th century by Raja Jagat Singh Rathore.

The triangular-shaped flag is hoisted at the top of the temple which has symbols of the sun and the moon which signify that Lord Krishna would be there till the Sun and Moon existed on Earth. 

The flag is changed up to five times a day.

How to reach Dwarkadhish temple

Direct State Buses are available from Jamnagar, Gandhinagar, Porbandar, Rajkot, and Ahmedabad.

Regular trains are available from major cities such as Jamnagar, Rajkot, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, and Kochi.

The nearest airport is Jamnagar which is 137 km away from the temple.

8. Badrinath Temple, Uttarakhand

Badrinath Temple is a Hindu temple situated in the town of Badrinath in the Uttarakhand state of India. The temple is also called Badrinarayana Temple.

The temple is located in the Garhwal hill tracks in the Chamoli district along the banks of the Alaknanda River.

The Badrinath Temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

 Badrinath Temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Lord Vishnu
Badrinath Temple (Source: Wikimedia)

There are no historical records about the Badrinath temple, but there is a mention of the presiding deity Badrinath in Vedic scriptures and Hindu texts.

The temple was a Buddhist shrine till the 8th century when Adi Shankara visited it and revived the shrine and again converted it to a Hindu temple.

The architecture of the temple resembles that of a Buddhist Vihara (temple) and the brightly painted facade which is atypical of Buddhist temples leads to the argument.

Some accounts say that it was originally established as a pilgrimage site by Adi Shankara in the ninth century. It is believed that Shankara resided in the place for six years from AD 814 to 820.

The temple is open for six months every year between the end of April and the beginning of November, because of extreme weather conditions in the Himalayan region.

The Badrinath Temple is one of the most visited pilgrimage centres in India, having recorded 2.8 million (28 lakhs) visits in just 2 months in 2022.

How to reach Badrinath Temple

The Badrinath Temple is in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The temple remains open for six months of the year from the end of April or early May to the start of November. 

Helicopter services are also available for Badrinath from Sahastradhara Helipad in Dehradun.

The nearest railway station to Badrinath is Haridwar, taxis or cabs can be easily hired from Haridwar.

💡 Travel Tip: Rameswaram Temple – South India’s Spiritual Heritage

9. Chennakeshava Temple – Belur, Karnataka

The Chennakeshava Temple is also referred to as the Keshava, Kesava, or Vijayanarayana Temple of Belur. The temple is a 12th-century Hindu temple in the Hassan district, Karnataka. It is 35 km from Hassan City and about 200 km from Bengaluru

The temple is dedicated to the god Vishnu and has been an active Hindu temple since its founding. It is reverentially described in medieval Hindu texts and remains an important pilgrimage site in Vaishnavism

Chennakeshava Temple one of the 12th century ancient temple in india
Chennakeshava Temple, Belur (Source: Wikimedia)

It was commissioned by King Vishnuvardhana in 1117 CE, on the banks of the Yagachi River in Belur also called Velapura, an early Hoysala Empire capital.

The temple was built over three generations and took 103 years to finish.

The Chennakeshava Temple was repeatedly damaged and plundered during wars, and repeatedly rebuilt and repaired over its history.

The temple is remarkable for its architecture, sculptures, reliefs, and friezes as well its iconography, inscriptions, and history.

The temple artwork depicts scenes of secular life in the 12th century, dancers and musicians, as well as a pictorial narration of Hindu texts such as the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Puranas through numerous friezes.

💡 Read More: 15 Must-Visit Historical Places in India

The Chennakeshava temple is a testimony to the artistic, cultural, and theological perspectives in 12th century South India and the Hoysala Empire rule.

The Belur temple complex along with the nearby Hindu and Jain Temples at Halebidu have been proposed to be listed under UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

How to reach Chennakeshava Temple

The temple can be easily reached by bus from Hassan (39km), Halebid (16km), and Chikmagalur (23km).

The nearest Airports are Bangalore and Mangalore from there buses and taxis are available to Hassan.

The nearest railhead is Arsekere connected to Bengaluru, Mysore Mangalore.

10. Airavatesvara Temple – Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

The Airavatesvara Temple is a Hindu temple located in Kumbakonam, Thanjavur District, Tamil Nadu.

The temple is one among a cluster of eighteen medieval-era large Hindu temples in Kumbakonam. It is dedicated to the god Shiva and also reverentially displays Vaishnavism and Shaktism traditions of Hinduism.

The Airavatesvara temple was built by King Rajaraja Chola II in the 12th century and was built in the Dravidian style of architecture.

Airavatesvara Temple - Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
Airavatesvara Temple – Thanjavur (Source: Wikimedia)

The Airavatesvara temple was much larger than it is now. It had sapta veedhis (seven streets) and seven courts, similar to the Srirangam temple, according to the inscriptions.

All are gone, except the one court with the main temple that survives. There are ruins of gopuram and some structures at some distance from the current visitor premises confirming that the site was badly damaged at some point like the other major Chola-era temples and various Chola cities including the capital Gangaikonda Cholapuram.

The reasons for this destruction are unclear. 

The Musical steps of the Airavatesvara temple

The seven steps of this balustrade staircase correspond to the seven musical notes. It is said that walking up and down the stairs or even tapping them produced those melodious notes. A few years back, they were open to a demonstration. However, owing to vandalism, they have not been caged and restricted.

The temple’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, and the Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram are referred to as the Great Living Chola Temples.

How to reach Airavatesvara Temple

Airavatesvara Temple is just 5 km outside the city of Kumbakonam. It can be reached easily in hired taxis- cabs, autos, or state-run buses. 

The nearest airport with regular services is Tiruchirappalli International Airport.

The nearby cities of Tiruchirapalli and Chidambaram are connected daily to other major cities by the network of Indian Railways and Tamil Nadu bus services.

💡Travel Tip: Ekambareswarar Temple – Kanchipuram – Tamil Nadu

11. Brahma Temple – Pushkar, Rajasthan

Brahma Temple also known as Jagatpita Brahma Mandir is a Hindu temple situated at Pushkar in Rajasthan. It is located very close to the sacred Pushkar Lake. 

The temple is one of the very few existing temples dedicated to the Hindu creator-god Brahma in India and it is the most prominent and well-known among them.

Brahma Temple also known as Jagatpita Brahma Mandir
Brahma Temple, Pushkar (Source: Wikimedia)

The temple is said to have been built by the sage Vishwamitra after Brahma’s yagna (ritual). It is also believed that Brahma himself chose the location for his temple.

It is believed that the 8th-century Hindu philosopher Adi Shankara renovated this temple.

However, the temple’s current medieval structure dates to Maharaja Jawat Raj of Ratlam. He made additions and repairs to the Brahma Temple in the 14th century but the original temple design is retained.

The temple is made of marble and stone slabs. It has a distinct red pinnacle (shikhara) and a hamsa bird motif. The temple sanctum sanctorum holds the image of four-headed Brahma and his consort Gayatri (goddess of Vedas).

On Kartik Poornima, a festival dedicated to Brahma is held when large numbers of pilgrims visit the temple, after bathing in the sacred lake.

How to Reach Pushkar

Pushkar is in the state of Rajasthan and is located 14 km away from Ajmer city. Pushkar has a good network of roads connected to Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Bikaner.

The Nearest airport from Pushkar is Jaipur which is 142 km away. Taxis or cabs can easily be hired from there.

Pushkar does not have a railway station. However, Ajmer, which is only 14 km away from Pushkar, does have a railway connection.

12. Adi Kumbeswarar Temple – Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Shiva and is located in the town of Kumbakonam in Thanjavur Tamil Nadu.

God Shiva is worshipped as Adi Kumbeswarar and is represented by the lingam. His consort Parvati is depicted as Mangalambigai Amman.

Adi Kumbeswarar 9th century ancient temple of India
Adi Kumbeswarar Temple – Thanjavur (Source: Wikimedia)

The Adi Kumbeswarar Temple was built by the Chola dynasty in the 9th century and the later expansions are attributed to Vijayanagar rulers of the Thanjavur Nayaks of the 16th century.

The temple has numerous shrines with those of Kumbeswarar and Mangalambigai Amman being the most prominent.

The temple complex covers an area of 30,181 sq ft (2,803.9 m2) and houses four gateway towers known as gopurams.

The tallest is the eastern tower, with 11 stories and a height of 128 feet (39 m)

The temple complex houses many halls; the most notable is the sixteen-pillared hall built during the Vijayanagar period that has all 27 stars and 12 zodiacs sculpted in a single stone.

The Mahamaham festival takes place once every twelve years during the Tamil Month of Masi (February–March) when lakhs of pilgrims from various parts of India visit Kumbakonam to take a holy bath in the sacred Mahamaham tank which is located in the heart of the town. 

Read More: 10 Famous Ancient Temples in Tamil Nadu

How to reach Adi Kumbeswarar Temple

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is situated on Thanjavur’s main road in Kumbakonam City. It is just 2 km from Kumbakonam Bus Terminal and 2.5 km from the railway station.

Tiruchirappalli International Airport is the nearest to Kumbakonam from where you can get a bus or cab to reach the city easily.

Kumbakonam has a major railway station from where you can find trains to reach Bangalore, Chennai, Tiruchirappalli, and various other cities.

The road network is spread widely and connects to all major cities of Tamil Nadu via state and national highways and also regular buses are available for nearby cities, including Pondicherry and Trichy.

13. Kailasha Temple – Aurangabad, Maharashtra

The Kailasha temple is one of the largest and most amazing cave temples in India. It is located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

The Ellora caves were carved out of the vertical basalt cliffs of the Sahyadri Hills. There are 34 cave temples and monasteries and collectively these are known as Ellora Caves.

Kailasha temple cave temple
Kailasha Temple – Aurangabad (Source: Wikimedia)

The Kailasa temple located in cave 16 was built by King Krishna I in AD 760 to represent Mt Kailasa, Shiva’s Himalayan abode.

This astonishing temple is known as one of India’s greatest monuments due to its massive size, amazing architecture, and mind-boggling detailed carvings.

The Kailasa temple is 300 feet long and 175 feet wide, and it is carved out of a scarp that is over 100 feet high. Contrary to many other ancient rock structures, this temple complex was built from top to bottom rather than bottom to top.

How to reach Kailasa temple

The closest airport is Aurangabad Airport which is just 15 km from the Kailasa temple. It is well connected to major cities of Maharashtra and India.

Aurangabad is the nearest railway station to reach Kailasa temple which is situated around 30 km from the temple. There are direct trains available from the major cities.

💡 Travel Guide: Top 10 Spiritual Destinations in India

14. Arunachalesvara Temple – Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu

Arunachalesvara Temple also known as Annamalaiyar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Shiva. It is located at the base of Arunachala Hill in the town of Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu.

The temple is significant to the Hindu sect of Shaivism as one of the temples associated with the five elements, the Pancha Bhoota Stalas, and specifically the element of fire, or Agni.

Arunachalesvara Temple also known as Annamalaiyar Temple
Arunachalesvara Temple – Thiruvannamalai (Source: Wikimedia)

Shiva is worshipped as Arunachalesvara or Annamalaiyar and is represented by the lingam, with his idol referred to as Agni lingam. His consort Parvati is depicted as Unnamalai Amman.

The present masonry structure was built during the Chola dynasty in the 9th century, while later expansions are attributed to Vijayanagara rulers of the Sangama Dynasty (1336–1485 CE), the Saluva Dynasty, and the Tuluva Dynasty (1491–1570 CE)

The temple complex covers 10 hectares and is one of the largest in India.

It houses four gateway towers known as gopurams. The tallest is the eastern tower, with 11 stories and a height of 66 meters (217 ft), making it one of the tallest temple towers in India built by Sevappa Nayakkar (Nayakar dynasty).

The temple has numerous shrines, with those of Arunachalesvara and Unnamalai Amman being the most prominent.

The temple complex houses many halls; the most notable is the thousand-pillared hall built during the Vijayanagar period.

How to reach Arunachalesvara Temple

The nearest town to reach Arunachalesvara Temple is Thiruvannamalai which can be reached by all three modes of transportation from air to rail to the road easily.

Many bus services are also available from Chennai, Salem, Madurai, Tirupathi, and other important cities of Tamil Nadu.

The Thiruvannamalai is located, on the railway route of Katpadi and Villupuram.

The nearest airport is Chennai which is 185 km away from the temple by road.

15. Chausath Yogini Temple – Mitawali, Madhya Pradesh

The Chausath Yogini Temple also known as Ekattarso Mahadeva Temple is located in Mitawali, Morena district of Madhya Pradesh.

The 11th-century temple is one of the few well-preserved Yogini temples in India.

The temple is formed by a circular wall with 65 chambers, apparently for 64 yoginis and the goddess Devi, and an open mandapa in the centre of a circular courtyard, sacred to Shiva

Chausath Yogini Temple also known as Ekattarso Mahadeva
Chausath Yogini Temple, Mitawali (Source: Wikimedia)

According to an inscription dated to 1323 CE (Vikram Samvat 1383), the temple was built by the Kachchhapaghata king Devapala (r. c. 1055 – 1075)

It is said that the temple was the venue of providing education in astrology and mathematics based on the transit of the Sun

The temple is in the Seismic Zone III region and has survived several earthquakes, seemingly without any serious damage.

This fact was cited when the issue of safety from the earthquake effect of the circular Parliament House, its design supposedly based on the Mitawali temple, was debated in the Indian Parliament.

How to reach Chausath Yogini Temple

The nearest airport is Gwalior. From there, you need to take a taxi or a private car.

The Gohad Road railway station is the nearest railway station to Mitawali. The distance from Mitawali to Gohad Road railway station is around 18 km.

The nearest bus station is also at Morena, but you still need a private taxi or car to reach here.

Read More: Sapta Puri- The Seven Holy Cities of India

16. Ambarnath Shiv Temple, Ambarnath

The Shiv Mandir of Ambarnath also known as the Ambreshwar Shiva Temple is a historic 11th-century Hindu temple.

The temple is located in Ambarnath near Mumbai and is known locally as Puratana Shivalaya

The word ‘Ambernath’ translates as ‘the king of the sky.’ Ambarnath Shivalaya is constructed out of local black stone and lime. 

Shiv Mandir of Ambarnath or Ambreshwar Shiva Temple is a historic 11th-century Ancient Hindu temple.
Ambarnath Shiv Temple (Source: Wikimedia)

The temple was built in 1060 AD and was probably built by Shilahara King Chhittaraja and it may also have been rebuilt by his son Mummuni.

Some locals also believe that the temple was built by the Pandava brothers in just one night out of a massive single piece of stone.

Lord Shiva is the presiding deity of the temple which appears in the form of a Linga in the sanctum as well as a Harihara idol. There is no roof over the sanctum.

This temple is a fine example of the Vesara style that was predominant in the central parts of India.

Vesara style is essentially a tasteful blend of two schools of architecture, the Dravidian style, and the Nagara style, in simple words, a mix of the north Indian and south Indian styles of temple making.

How to reach Ambarnath Shiv Temple

Ambernath is well connected by railways which fall under central railways, from railway station its 2km. You can get a shared auto from Ambernath East railway station.

Mumbai airport is the nearest airport which is 50 km from the temple.

Read More: Top 12 Famous Temples in India

17. Konark Sun Temple, Odisha

Konark Sun Temple or Surya Mandir is a 13th-century Sun Temple at Konark located on the eastern shores of the Indian subcontinent. It is about 35 kilometres northeast of Puri on the coastline of Odisha, India.

Konark Sun Temple, dedicated to the Hindu Sun God, Surya is a masterpiece of creative genius and is one of the outstanding examples of architecture, art, and craftsmanship.

The Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore wrote about Konark“Here the language of stone surpasses the language of human.”

Konark Sun Temple or Surya Mandir is a 13th-century Sun Temple
Konark Sun Temple, Odisha (Source: Wikimedia)

Surya Temple of Konark was built by Narasimha Deva I ruler of the eastern Ganga dynasty in the middle of the 13th century. To build this architectural marvel, artistic and engineering magnificence 1200 artisans worked for 12 years (1243-1255 A.D.). 

The Sun Temple is considered a chariot for the Sun God, Surya, and was designed in the form of a massive decorated chariot mounted on 24 wheels and drawn by seven mighty horses.

The name Konark is made from two Sanskrit words Kona meaning corner or angle and Arka meaning the Sun. So when combined it becomes the ‘Sun of the Corner‘.

Konark is also known as Arka Kshetra. There are three images of the Sun God on three different sides of the temple, positioned in the proper direction to catch the rays of the sun in the morning, noon, and evening.

Sun temple of Konark is a masterpiece of Orissa’s medieval architecture and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. It is a great attraction for tourists. The temple is also known as Surya Devalaya.

How to reach Konark Sun Temple

The closest airport is the Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneswar, which is 64 km away from Konark. One can travel to Konark by either bus or taxi from there.

Konark has no railway station of its own and the closest railway stations are in Bhubaneswar and Puri. The Bhubaneswar railway station is 61.7 km from Konark while the one in Puri is 35.3 km away. 

Several buses regularly connect Konark to other towns and cities within Odisha. Private buses can be boarded at Bhubaneswar or Puri.

Read More: Top 10 Ancient Sun Temples in India

18. Durga Temple – Aihole, Karnataka

The Durga temple in Aihole, Karnataka has been dated between the late 7th century and early 8th century of the early Chalukya dynasty.

The temple is the most prominent attraction in Aihole for tourists and scholars. It is part of a pending UNESCO World Heritage Site application

Durga temple in Aihole, Karnataka  dated between the late 7th century and early 8th century
Durga Temple – Aihole (Source: Wikimedia)

The temple was originally dedicated to Surya, but it is now named Durga because a durg or fortified lookout was constructed on top of it after the 13th century during the wars between Hindu kingdoms and Islamic Sultanates.

The Durga temple has the most embellished and largest relief panels in Aihole depicting the artwork of Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Shaktism, and Vedic deities.

Apart from its fine carvings, it is notable for its apsidal plan – a rare example among early Chalukyan Hindu temple architecture.

How to reach Durga Temple Aihole

The nearest airport to the Durga Temple of Aihole is the Belgaum Airport. It is located approximately 189 km from Aihole.

Aihole is easily accessible from the major cities of Karnataka. It is located 17 km from Pattadakal, 44 km from Badami, and 490 km from Bangalore. 

The nearest railway station to the Durga Temple of Aihole is the Hubli- Sholapur meter gauge line. It is located approximately 34 km from the city.

19. Jageshwar temple, Uttrakhand

Jageshwar Temples are a group of 125 ancient Hindu temples. These temples are dated between the 7th and 14th centuries.

The Jageshwar Valley Temples are located 36 kilometres (22 mi) northeast of Almora in Uttarakhand

The valley has two major clusters of Hindu temples and a number of roadside shrines.

Jageshwar temple, Uttrakhand
Jageshwar temple, Uttrakhand (Source: Wikimedia)

Of these, some 151 temples have been numbered by ASI as protected pre-12th-century monuments.

The two largest groups are locally called the Dandeshwar group temples (Dandeshwar Samuh mandir, 15 temples) and the Jageshwar group temples (Jageshwar Samuh mandir, 124 temples)

According to the ASI, some belong to the post-Gupta or the second half of 1st millennium while others belong to the 2nd millennium.

Some colonial-era guesses attribute them to the Katyuri or Chand hill dynasties but there is no textual or epigraphical evidence to support or refute these proposals.

Another prevailing theory is that Adi Shankara built some of these temples, but once again there is no textual or epigraphical evidence to support this claim.

How to reach Jageshwar Temple

The nearest airport to Jageshwar temples is Pantnagar Airport in Udhamsingh Nagar which is around 150km from the Jageshwar Valley temples.

The closest railway station to reach Jageshwar is Kathgodam which is 125 km from the Jageshwar Dham. Kathgodam is well-connected to major cities New Delhi, Lucknow, Mumbai, etc.

Jageshwar is well-connected via motorable roads, buses, and taxis/cabs can be hired from Almora, Haldwani, and Kathgodam.

Read More: Top 10 Places to Visit in Varanasi

20. Murugan Temple – Saluvankuppam, Tamil Nadu

The Murugan Temple located at Saluvankuppam in Tamil Nadu is dedicated to the Tamil Hindu deity Murugan.  

Murugan Temple located at Saluvankuppam in Tamil Nadu
Murugan Temple – Saluvankuppam (Source: Wikimedia)

The temple was unearthed in 2005 and has two layers. A brick temple believed to be constructed during the Sangam period (the 3rd century BCE to the 3rd century CE) and a granite Pallava temple dating from the 8th century CE.

The Archaeological Survey of India believes that the granite Pallava temple is constructed on top of the brick shrine making it the oldest temple in India.

Artefacts from two phases, the Sangam phase as well as the Pallava phase, have been found during the excavations.

The Murugan temple faces north, unlike most Hindu temples.

Sangam period (the 3rd century BCE to the 3rd century CE)
Murugan Temple – Saluvankuppam (Source: Wikimedia)

It is also believed to be one of only two pre-Pallava temples to be discovered in Tamil Nadu, the other being the Veetrirundha Perumal Temple at Veppathur.

How to reach Murugan Temple

Chennai Airport (52 km) is the nearest airport to Mahabalipuram, which is well connected to all major cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, and Kolkata.

Chengalpattu Junction railway station is the nearest to the temple almost 22 km.

At a distance of 5 Km from Mahabalipuram, the Murugan Temple is situated in a coastal Saluvankuppam village on the Kovalam Road. Mahabalipuram Town is well connected to the cities in and around Chennai and Tamil Nadu via both private tourist buses. 

21. Meenakshi Temple – Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Meenakshi Temple situated in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu is dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi, a form of Parvati, and her consort, Sundareshwarar, a form of Shiva.

Meenakshi Temple
Meenakshi Temple, Madurai (Source: Wikimedia)

The temple is also known by the names Shri Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Temple and Arulmigu Meenakshi Amman Temple, located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River

The goddess Meenakshi is the principal deity of the temple, unlike most Shiva temples in South India where Shiva is the principal deity

Though the temple has historic roots, most of the present campus structure was rebuilt after the 14th century AC, further repaired, renovated, and expanded in the 17th century by Tirumala Nayaka.

In the early 14th century, the armies of Delhi Sultanate led by Muslim Commander Malik Kafur plundered the temple, looted it of its valuables, and destroyed the Madurai temple town along with many other temple towns of South India

Meenakshi Temple, Madurai (Source: Wikimedia)

The temple was rebuilt by the Hindu Nayaka dynasty ruler Vishwanatha Nayak in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Nayaka rulers followed the Hindu texts on architecture called the Shilpa Shastras in redesigning the temple city plan and the Meenakshi temple.

How to reach Meenakshi Temple

Madurai Airport is located around 12 km away from the city centre. You can easily find a taxi that will drive you to the temple in some 90 minutes.

Madurai Junction Railway Station connects Madurai with the rest of India through an extensive rail network. Many direct trains connect Madurai with major cities and towns of the country. 

Madurai is connected by state and national highways. Inter-city and inter-state buses ply between Madurai, other major cities of Tamil Nadu, and nearby states on a regular and frequent basis.

💡 Travel Tips: Top 10 Tourist Places to Visit in Madurai

22. Venkateswara Temple – Richest Temple in the World

Sri Venkateshwara Temple is situated in Tirumala town in the Tirupati district of Andhra Pradesh.

The temple is also known by other names like Tirumala Temple, Tirupati Temple, and Tirupati Balaji Temple.

The Temple is dedicated to Venkateswara, a form of Vishnu, who is believed to have appeared on the earth to save mankind from the troubles of Kali Yuga.

Venkateswara Temple - Richest Temple in the World
Sri Venkateshwara Temple (Source: Wikimedia)

Hence the place has also got the name Kaliyuga Vaikuntha and the Lord here is referred to as Kaliyuga Prathyaksha Daivam.

Venkateswara is known by many other names Balaji, Govinda, and Srinivasa.

The Temple is constructed in Dravidian architecture and is believed to be constructed over a period of time starting from 300 CE

The first recorded endowment was made by Pallava queen Samavai in the year 966 CE.

She donated many jewels and two parcels of land (one 10 acres and the other 13 acres) and ordered the revenues generated from that land to be used for the celebration of major festivals in the temple.

The Pallava dynasty (9th century), the Chola dynasty (10th century), and Vijayanagara pradhans (14th and 15th centuries) were committed devotees of Lord Venkateswara.

It is one of the richest temples in the world in terms of donations received and wealth.

How to reach Sri Venkateshwara Temple

The closest airport to Tirumala is near Renigunta, which lies 16 km from Tirupati and 39 km from Lord Venkateswara Temple, Tirumala. Direct flights to major Indian cities like New Delhi, Hyderabad, Vishakapatnam, and Bengaluru operate from their airport.

The nearest railway station is Tirupati, which is about 26 km from Tirumala.

Tirumala has direct bus services from Tirupati with a frequency of a bus every 2 minutes. It also has direct buses from Chennai, Bengaluru, and Vellore.

Top 10 Most Visited Monuments in India 2023 Top 12 Famous Temples in India Sapta Puri- The Seven Holy Cities of India