Temples are the sacred places where gods receive human offerings.Many temples have great architecture that resembles a palace for god.Generally, temples are dedicated to one primary god, but few temples are dedicated to more than one god.Temple walls are decorated with stone carvings that depicts the story or history regarding the god being worshipped.People entering the temple must remove their shoes to pay respect to the god within the temple.The innermost area contains the idol of god and the priests offer prayers to god.India is a land of temples and the list of top ten temples are mentioned below.
1) Khajuraho Temple in Madhya Pradesh
The Khajuraho group of monuments are one the UNESCO world heritage sites in India.Because of the famous sculptures and large number of Hindu and Jain temples, tourists from various parts of the country visit this place.These temples were built by Chandela kings during the period of 950 to 1050 A.D.The Hindu temples in Khajuraho are dedicated to Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and also different goddesses.These temples are mainly famous for their wonderful carvings.The carvings on the external walls are bold artistic type, but the carvings inside the temples are decent and represent simple facts of life.Most of the carvings on the walls show the everyday life of a common man at that time when they were made.
2) Somnath Temple in Gujarat
The Somnath temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva with a moon on his head.This temple is situated in Saurashtra.There is a saying that the Moon God Somraj has built this temple himself by using gold.This is a Hindu temple, but has Jain influences in the architecture.This temple has one of the 12 jyothirlingas and faces the east direction.This temple has the biggest dome that is ever made in this century.The temple has a large central hall with entrances on three sides.The sculptures and carvings speak about the artistic taste of the craftsmen of that century.It is believed that till now 200 priests have served this temple.The first temple of Somnath existed before the Christian era, the second was built by Maitraka kings, the third Somnath temple was built by Pratihara king.This temple was destroyed six times and re-constructed.The present temple was built and taken care by Shree Somnath trust.
3) Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi
It is one of the most famous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.There is a belief that every Hindu, at least once in his lifetime, must visit the holy place.Hindus believe that mixing ashes of the deceased in the Ganges will make the soul rest in peace.This temple is situated on the western bank of the Ganges and is one among the 12 jyothirlingas. During religious occasions like Shivratri, no person is allowed to enter the temple till the priest offers prayers to god.
4) Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri
Puri Jagannath temple is one of the biggest temples in Orissa.This temple is established in the 12th century and is dedicated to Lord Jagannath.The temple foundation was laid by Raja Ananta Varman Chodaganga Dev.From Bhubaneswar, the temple is located at a distance of 60 kilometers.The king Indradyunna saw Lord Jagannath in his dreams and constructed this temple to fulfill the Lord’s wishes.The pillars of the temple are decorated with pictures that depict the life of Lord Krishna.Ratha Yatra that is organized once a year is one of the major attractions of the temple.
5) Venkateshwara Tirupati Balaji, Andhra Pradesh
Tirupati is one of the most visited temples in India and second most visited temple in the world.This temple is situated on the seventh hill in Chittoor district and is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara.It is one of the richest temple in the world.Many facilities are available to visit this temple either by plane, train or by bus from almost all parts of the the country.It is one of the most visited pilgrimage by Hindus.
6) Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
Meenakshi temple is one of the holy Hindu temples and is located in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.The temple has 14 magnificent Gopurams, including two golden Gopurams.The temple is one among the 51 shakti peethams.The golden lotus tank in the center is surrounded by corridors and the walls of them are covered with paintings that depicts the miracles of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati.
7) Siddhivinayak Temple, Maharashtra
Lord Ganesh is worshipped in this temple.It is built in 18th century and is located in Mumbai, Maharashtra.The present temple was re-constructed five years ago.The idol of Ganapathi is also known as Chaturbhuj as the idol has four arms.The idol of Lord has lotus in the upper right hand and a small axe in the upper left hand.The lower right hand has a jampala and the lower left hand has modaks.On some special Tuesdays, the queue for Darshan will be about 2 kilometers long.
8) Akshardham Temple, Delhi
Akshardham is a massive temple with more than 20,000 statues, arches and carved pillars.This temple was constructed in the year 2005 and was dedicated to Swaminarayan.The temple has a unique architecture and represents Indian culture.The temple has more than 100 acres decorated with water fountains and beautiful constructions.The amount spent on this massive structure was 2 billions and it took nearly two years to complete.The fountain dance is one of the major attraction of this temple.
9) Golden Temple, Amritsar
The Golden Temple in Amritsar is one of the major pilgrimage place for Sikhs and one of the well known tourist destination.Until 2005, it is called as Golden Temple and later it was officially renamed as Harmandir Sahib.The temple has a great historical and architectural interest.Every year, many visitors from different places around the world visit this place.
10) Brihadeshwara Temple, Thanjavur
Brihadeshwara temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.This temple was built by the Chola king Raja Raja 1.This temple is declared as one of the world heritage sites by UNESCO.The temple has a Mahalingam of 4 meters height and another major architectural attraction of this temple is the Nandhi chiseled out from a single rock.This temple depicts the Chola architecture because of the style of construction and the carvings on the pillars.