Famous, ancient, mysterious! There is no dearth of famous temples in India. Largely because of the sheer number of gods in the Hindu religion.

There are 33 known gods and goddesses even though the number is pegged at 330 million. Each has innumerable avatars. Even so, the total number can indeed be mind-boggling. Thus, ancient rulers spared no effort in constructing the most intricate and beautiful structures to honor the ones they worshipped.

This practice continued through the ages and persists to date. As a result, you will find some of the most amazing temples in India. All in different styles and with pretty cool stories to them, too! Here’s our pick of some of the most interesting temples in India.

Ancient mesmerising carvings Tourists admiring the artwork on the temples (Photo Credit – Aleksandr Zykov)

1. Sun Temple, Konark

Built-in the 13th century CE, for the sun god, Surya. In 1984, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s in the form of a chariot with 24 carved wheels.

Each of which is nearly a whopping 12 feet in diameter. It is also one of the most famous temples in India and a major pilgrimage site for Hindus. The Chandrabhaga Mela around the month of February is when devotees arrive here by the thousands. This makes it one of the most interesting times of the year to visit.

Club this with: You can visit the Sun Temple as part of a trip to the east of the country, and see Puri and Bhubaneswar as well.

Konarak Sun Temple, Ancient carved Sundails Beautifully carved wheel with sundials from stone

2. Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple, Kanchipuram

Built during 685-705 CE, it is one of the ancient temples in India. The first built for Smartha worship, inclusive of the shrines of the 5 deities. They are Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Surya, and Parvati; as equals.

It is undoubtedly one of the most amazing temples in India. The architecture is an inspiration for some of the famous temples in India. Mahashivratri, in the month of February/March, is the best time to visit this temple. During which, devotees throng here in large numbers to carry out their rituals and gain blessings.

Club this with: Kanchipuram is a few hours’ drives from Chennai and is also well-known for its handloom industry. It produces high-quality silk sarees renowned for their traditional designs and intricate gold embroidery.

Strong language carvings Borers walls carved (Photo Credit – Shrini)

3. Kailasa Temple, Ellora

A marvel of architecture, the Kailasa Temple easily qualifies as one of the most amazing temples in India. The vertical excavation method was used to carve it from a single rock with around 200,000 tons of rocks removed. Can you even imagine that!

Built-in the mid-8th century CE, it also makes it to the list of ancient temples in India. One can visit anytime. Though the weather’s probably the most conducive in the winter months, between December and March.

Club this with : Ellora and Ajanta are about 100 kms apart and are commonly visited together. They’ve both got a whole lot of ancient cave temples that are worth seeing. This can be combined with a visit to Aurangabad and Mumbai. The Deccan Odyssey, a luxury train, also makes a stop here! Find out more about that route here.

Delicate carvings Carvings depicting the history and mythical stories

4. Lotus Temple, Delhi

A Baháí House of Worship, the Lotus Temple is widely acclaimed for its sheer beauty. It has 27 free-standing marble-clad ‘petals’ designed to resemble a lotus flower that is partially bloomed.

Thus, it is surely one of the must-visit temples in India. Open to all, regardless of faith, it also can be visited throughout the year.

Club This With: The temple is worth adding into your Delhi or larger North India itinerary. If only for an insight into a different, newer religion.

Lotus Temple, Temples in India, Delhi Night views of the Lotus Temple (Photo Credits – Lo van den Berg)

5. Golden Temple, Amritsar

Also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib. This is the most important pilgrimage site for members of the Sikh religion. This is one of the most famous temples in India and is most visited.

Originally constructed in 1577, it was repeatedly rebuilt after being destroyed by invading armies. The reconstruction done in 1830 saw the entire sanctum coated with gold foil. Baisakhi, celebrated in the 2nd week of April. This is the best time to visit this temple to experience it in all its glory.

When you’re here, don’t forget to stop by for the langar – the free meal that volunteers prepare for anyone who wishes for a hot meal! Sign up to volunteer to help out with the food preparation. It’s a good way to get a better understanding of the tenets of the religion!

Club this with: The Golden Temple and Amritsar can easily be visited on a route across North India, especially if you also want to see Shimla and the rest of Himachal Pradesh.

Best places to visit in North India - Golden Temple A sheer gem in the city of Amritsar that draws travellers from across the globe to marvel at this beauty

6. Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Kerala

This temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is considered one of the most mysterious temples in India. Not known when it was constructed, although said to be mentioned in the Sangam period of literature, dated between 500 BCE and 300 CE.

The temple is considered the wealthiest place of worship in the world. With 8 known subterranean vaults containing immense treasures! The value of gold, diamonds, rubies, and other precious stones found in 5 vaults is conservatively estimated at US$ 17 billion.

Vault B still lies unopened, and is said to contain more treasure than all the other vaults combined. Adding to the claim of it being one of the most mysterious temples in India is the belief that this vault can only be opened by chanting an unknown incantation.

Club this with: The Padmanabhaswamy Temple is in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala, and makes a great stop on any trip in the southern parts of the state.

Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Temples to visit in Kerala, India The Padmanabhaswamy Temple (Photo Credit – Reji)

7. Mundeshwari Devi Temple, Bihar

A small, un-ostentatious temple, Mundeshwari Devi Temple would not make it to the list of most amazing temples in India. However, it is believed to be the oldest temple in India, dating back to 233 BCE.

According to the Archaeological Survey of India. For that alone, this temple dedicated to Shiva and Shakti warrants a visit.

Club this with: This temple doesn’t really fall on any traditional travel routes, but is under hundred kilometers outside the holy city of Varanasi, and can be visited from there.

Varanasi Spirituality (Photo Credit – 白士 李)

Want to plan a temple trail across India? We’ve got some great suggestions – get in touch and we’ll find the right options for you!
Harsh Sonawala

About Harsh Sonawala

Harsh Sonawala is the co founder of India Someday and since his childhood, he has travelled to different parts of India and the world. The thrill of travelling and sharing his experiences with others was the reason behind starting India Someday. Other than the office where he is conjuring up marketing ideas, he can be found scuba diving in the Andamans or relaxing in a chalet in the Himalayas.