India is a land of beautiful temples and boy, are they really ancient! Apart from carrying religious significance, these temples have exquisitely beautiful architecture. No heritage lover can stay away from these, once they catch a glimpse of them. Here is a list of some of the best heritage temples in India. Fascinating and serene, find out more:
9. Brihadeeswarar Temple
Situated in the state of Tamil Nadu, the Brihadeeswarar Temple turned 1000 years old in 2010. It was built by Rajaraja Chola I. Declared as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO; it is one of the best architectural achievements of India during the reign of the Cholas.
The walls which surround it were probably made during the 16th century. The temple is also considered to be the tallest in the India, standing at a height of 216 feet. This Shiva temple is in one word: exquisite.
8. Ram Raja Temple
The Ram Raja Temple is situated in a place called Orchha in Madhya Pradesh. This is the only temple in India where Ram is worshipped as an emperor, and what more, he is also given a Guard of Honour by the police every day. Millions of devotees gather every year to offer prayers.
It is a norm here that invitation for weddings in each household starts with an invite to Ram Raja first. Ram’s thumb in his left foot is worshipped every day. Its view is supposed to bring prosperity.
7. Chennakesava Temple
The Chennakesava Temple or the Vijayanarayana Temple is situated in Belur in Karnataka. This is again a marvel of a creation by the Hoysala ruler Vishnuvardhana. A proposal has been sent to the UNESCO to list this temple under the World Heritage Sites. There’s actually no reason why it should not be there.
The sculpture of the Shilabalika or the celestial maiden is something your eyes will not miss. If you are acquainted with Hoysala art and architecture you’ll know why this temple is not overtly decorated. Their style had reached a point of subtlety at that time. The pillars are also exquisitely carved.
6. Badami Cave Temples
The Badami Cave Temples are situated in Badami in Karnataka and are known to have been constructed by the Chalukyas in the 6th and 7th centuries. Rock cut architecture is followed in these temples which is characteristic of India as well as of the Chalukyas. The four caves are made out of sansdtone from Badami.
The architecture of the caves will leave you spellbound. While you proceed, you’ll get to experience wonderful sculptures on the pillars. They are depictions from legends and religion.
5. Tungnath Temple
Uttarakhand has a host of Shiva temples, and among them the tallest is the Tungnath Temple. Natural beauty and religiosity could never have melted so beautifully. It is placed on the highest peak of the Kedar Ranges. The temple is believed to be a 1000 years old.
4. Sun Temple Modhera
The Sun Temple in Modhera, Gujarat is one among a hundred of them. The Sun God Surya is worshipped here. Prayers are stalled here due to the Archaeological Department of India’s supervision. King Bhimdev, who belonged to the Solanki Dynasty, built this temple in the year 1026 AD.
You might visit the Surya Kund which is a large area that was used to store pure water. The building architecture shows how scientifically and geometrically it was made. No heritage lover should miss out on this.
3. Chausath Yogini Temple
The Chausath Yogini Temple in Jabalpur is one its greatest attractions. It is a temple of the Goddess Durga who is surrounded by 64 yoginis (from which the temple derives its name). These yoginis are supposed to be many forms of the Goddess herself. It was built in the 11th century, but maintenance has been poor.
It is said that the Mughal invaders had destroyed and deformed most of the temple. The temple is placed at a steep height and it offers you a spectacular view of the Narmada and the landscape around. The yoginis in different positions are the best works of sculpture in Jabalpur.
2. Terracotta Temples
The Terracotta Temples are situated in West Bengal. There are many of them in the district of Bankura (in a place called Bishnupur). These temples were built in the 17th and 18th century by the Vaishnavites and the Malla rulers. There are 20 temples built from laterite stone which is known as terracotta.
The temples bear the colour of brick and have meticulous architectural detail on the walls. The ek-ratna style is dominant in these temples.
1. Hoysaleswara Temple
Among all the prestigious temples in India, Hoysaleswara Temple is situated in Karnataka. It was built as early as in the 12th century by the then king of the Hoysala Empire, Vishnuvardhana. It has extensive sculpture on its walls and architectural beauty. The walls are decorated in ornate design depicting humans and animals. One attraction of this temple is surely its pillars.
The sculpture that will grab your attention is that of the dancing Ganesha. You must visit this Shiva temple for the beauty surrounding it.