Top 10 Richest Temples to Visit in India
“India has two million Gods , and worships them all. In religion all other countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire” – Mark Twain.
Our country has been praised by many scholars time and again for the UNITY IN DIVERSITY reflected in its customs and beliefs. The constitution of India states that ours is a secular country, which means that the people of India are free to practice and preach the religion of their choice. All the religions are treated equally by the state. Freedom of Religion has been declared to be a Fundamental Right.
Though four major religions of the world have originated in the Indian sub continent, namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. India today houses almost 90% of the global Hindu population. Also it is the birthplace to most Hindu saints. Various bhakti movements and historical events have carved India’s socio-cultural history and has modeled it to its present scenario.
Therefore, it is but quite natural that most of the temples and shrines in India belong to Hinduism.
About the Temple in India
Rejection of the formless and easy acceptance of the corporeal is an inherent characteristic feature of most of the human mind. Temples therefore area projection of the physical form of God easily accepted and revered by the humans.
The architecture of a temple, is the synthesis of art, principles of dharma, beliefs and ways of life and long cherished ideals of Hinduism along with the cosmic elements such as fire and water, feminism and masculinity, various deities, karma and artha, eternal nothingness and universality.
Loaded with variety, the basic nature of Hindu temple architecture remains the same, with an inner sanctum or Garbhagriha where the idol of the deity is placed. The chamber is surrounded by other buildings and on the exterior it is topped by a tower called sikhara or the vimana. There may be other temples connected or detached in the compound.
There is a plethora of temples which can be included in the list if one is desirous of intimating with the true cultural heritage of Hinduism.
Here is the list of famous richest temples are mentioned below:
1. The Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Kerala
Located in Thiruvananthapuram , Kerala, the temple is a merger of the two architectural styles namely the Kerala and Tamil styles characterized by high walls and a 16th century gopuram, being a duplicate model of the Adikesava Perumal temple in the Kanyakumari district.
The deity, Padmanabhaswamy or Vishnu is incorporated in the Anantha Shayanam posture or the Yogic Sleep , on the cosmic serpent, Sheshnag. The deity is the guardian of the royal family of Travancore, and the Maharaja of Travancore, Rama Varma is the trustee of the temple. The temple rituals are followed strictly as only followers of Hinduism are allowed with a strict dress code. The named of the city Thiruvananthapuram is derives its meaning from Malayalam meaning City of the Lord Ananta, the deity.
A number of festivals are held , the major ones being by-annual. They are Alpashy and the Panguni festivals which last for 9 days each. The biggest festival is Lakshadeepam meaning one lakh mano which commences once in every six years.
2. Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai
Being one of the richest temples of India, it has immense importance . The temple is dedicated to Sri Ganesh and is located in Prabhadevi, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
The temple is characterized by a small sanctum with interiors plated in gold, and wooden riots leading to the sanctum with carvings of Ashtavinayak or Right manifestations of Sri Ganesh.
The deity is said to grant a prayer when prayer genuinely.
3. Golden Temple Amritsar
Also known as the Harmandir Sahib, the temple is considered to the holiest pilgrimage of Sikhism. It was named The Golden Temple due to the fact that its sanctum was laid with gold foil by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
An open house for people originating from all walks of life and religion, the temple is built around a man made look, and is located in the city of Amritsar.
It round a langar or open kitchen feeding thousands of people everyday.
One of the important festivals celebrated here is Baisakhi, on the 2nd week of April. On Diwali, the temple is lit with lamps rendering a spiritual ambiance.
4. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
The main deity Meenakshi, a form of parvati resides here with her consort, Sundareshwar, a form of Shiva. It is an ancient historical temple located on the banks of the river Vaigai, in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.
Bulit in the Dravidian styles of architecture, the temple is the result of the rebuilding undertakings by the Vijaynagara Empire with 14 gopurams and numerous sculptured pillared halls. Other vedic deities also reside here, following Shaivism. The main festival celebrated here is Thirukalyanam, a procession during the month of April – May.
5. Jagannath Temple, Puri
One of the four Dhams, the Puri Jagannath Temple is located on the east coast of India in Odisha. The main deities are Jagannath, a form of Vishnu, Balabhadra, a form of Sesh Naag , Subhadra, a form of Yog Maya and Sudarshan Chakra are placed on a decorated platform or Ratna vedi.
They are adorned in different traditional garments and jewellery depending on the season. The idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are made of a sacred been wood that is identified by the priests through a secret ritual. The most renowned festival of this temple is the Rath Yatra or the pulling of the three chariots of the deities.
The temple follows vaishnavism and is strict about its rituals.
6. Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of India , is the holiest of the shiv temples. Located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, this temple is situated on the western banks of river Ganga. The name Vishwanath means ruler of the universe.
The Vishwanath jyotirlinga has a unique significance in the spiritual history of India. Many of the revered Hindu saints were associated with this temple. The Manikarnika that is another hoy place in the vicinity. Legend says that during in Kashi or abode of Shiva can lead to salvation. A regular spectacular event here , is the Ganga Aarti on the Dashashwamedh ghat on the banks of Ganga.
7. Somnath Temple, Gujarat
Located on the western coast of Gujarat, the temple is said to be the first among the twelve jyotirlingas in India. Rebuilt and destroyed several times, the temple is constructed in the Chalukya styles of architecture.
Due to the various legends connected with it, the temple is considered to be sacred. Somnath means Shrines of the Eternal.The temple seashore and Antarctica is connected in such a way that there is no landscape between them in a straight line.
8. Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, Delhi
Also termed as Akshardham, the temple stands on the banks of Yamuna, in New Delhi, the capital of India. It is a cultural and spiritual center of the city and shows decades of traditional Hindu culture, architecture and spirituality.
The main attraction is the temple with massive length, breadth and height and intricately carved with flora, fauna, dancers, musicians and deities.
The temple is bulit from pink sandstone and italian Carrara marble and has no ferrous support.
The idol of swaminarayan is seated in abhayamudra and is made of Panch Dhatu or five metals. The temple reflects ancient Hindu culture of non violence, vegetarianism, perseverance, prayer, values etc. If you are planning to explore the temples of Delhi and worry about how to reach the destination. There is always a Palace on Wheels luxury train option are available.
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9. Guruvayurappan Temple, Kerala
The temple is located in the village of Kerala with a same name and is dedicated to Lord Shri Krishna. The temple is often said to be the Earthly abode of Lord Vishnu.
The main deity is Guruvayurappan or a four handed Shri Krishna with the Panchajanya the conch, the Sudarshan, Kaumodaki, the mace and the lotus with basil garland holding in all the four hands. This was the form in which the appeared before Devaki and Vasudev in Mathura at the time of his birth.
The rituals are followed strictly according to the rules laid down by Adi Shankaracharya and the temple is known as Dwarika of the South.
10. Mahalakshmi Temple Kolhapur Maharashtra
It is one of the 108 shakti peethas mentioned in the Hindu Scriptures and is said to be the river is Mokhsha or freedom from the cycle of rebirth. It is located on the banks of Panchganga river, Pune. The deity is Lakhsmi, a four armed goddess adorned with gemstones and is said to reside here with her consort Vishnu. She is said to bestow both spiritual and material prosperity.
The main festival Kirnotsav is celebrated with pomp when the rays of the sub call directly on the deity. It is said the sub pays his homage to Lakshmi Devi for three days in the year.
The architectural excellence of the bygone eta is still to be marveled at.
Indian culture revolves around spirituality, and this is reflected even in the architecture of the temples.
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