If you’re an Indian you must have been to a number of temples since childhood. But have you ever seen how brilliant the architecture of those temples can be? Our forefathers for sure must have been lovers of art, beauty, and excellent architecture. And, that is why they created such wonders where there is not only the peacefulness that we look for in temples, but we can also find an amazing place from the design point of view to explore and appreciate!
If you have a bucket list of outstandingly designed temples in India to visit, here’s a long list of addition to it, a gift from us to you explorers. Enjoy!
1. Akshar Dham, Delhi – Grandeur at its best!
This huge temple was built completely in solid rock according to ancient Sthaapatya Shastra style by 11,000 great artisans who worked for 12,000 man-hours each to define every corner of this sacred temple.
2. Somnath, Saurashtra – An Artistic marvel
Located on the shore of Arabian Sea, this beautiful temple is believed to have been made of sandalwood in the Chalukya style by Gujarat’s artistic masons, and is 15 metres in height with an 8.2-metre tall flag pole on the top!
3. Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) – The richest Hindu Temple in World!
Built in the Dravidian architectural style with really high walls and a 16th-century Tower. It also has a Kulasekhara Mandapam with fantastic stonework, which has 28 pillar balustrades, which can produce musical notes in all four corners when tapped!
4. Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwar – The one with a 12*9 feet high Nandi!
A typical Dravidian style temple with spires touching the skyline, this temple has the largest hallway of all. It has a 4000-feet long pillared corridor with over 4000 pillars.
5. Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai – The most Exquisite example of Traditional Dravidian Temple Architecture
It has total 12 really tall gopurams (towers), the tallest one being as high as 50 metres. You can climb it and view the entire city of Madurai.
6. The Jagannath Temple, Puri – The temple with wooden statues!
214 feet and 8 inches high, this temple has 5 segments with a curvilinear spire. And the most interesting thing is that the Jagannath idol here is not made of metal, but of wood!
7. The Terracotta Temples of Bishnupur, Bankura (West Bengal) – The Terracotta will enthral you
These temples were built by the Mallya Dynasty around the 17th century. The architecture resembles the thatched huts of rural Bengal and looks beautiful with the intricately carved terracotta panels.
You’ll be charmed by the amazingly done walls that depict mythological stories through the artistic terracotta.
8. The Virupaksha Temple, Hampi – The fifteenth century Temple of Hampi
Decorated with Vijayanagar-style bas-relief sculptures and murals, the temple has a 9 tiered gateway, a pillared walkway, entrance gateways, shrines, courtyards and several other brilliantly created structures in and around it.
9. The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam – The Architectural genius of old times!
Spread in 156 acres, the temple has 21 outstanding towers, of all types (prakaras), making it a beautiful and extraordinary architectural wonder.
10. Sun Temple, Konark – The 13th century Odisha temple architecture
This is one of the most brilliantly done traditional architectures of the world. The temple is in the shape of a 7-horse chariot with 24 wheels, carrying the Sun.
11. Hidimba Devi Temple, Manali – The fascinating 400-year-old cave temple
Built over a huge rock protruding from the ground, this temple has a really intricate design carved on the wooden doors, and a 24-meter tall wooden tower on top of the sanctuary.
12. ISKCON Temple, Bangalore – A Modern yet Traditional Temple
This wonderful temple has been made with a unique combination of glass and Gopuram (tower). It is a blend of mesmerising traditional structures and modern construction.
13. Shree Shantadurga Temple, Kavlem (Goa) – That mesmerizing temple with the giant dome
The temple in Ponda has a brilliant fusion of Indo-Portuguese architecture with pyramidical shape ‘shikaras’ and a giant dome visible from a distance. The colour of the temple is so unique you will never forget it. The temple is surrounded by local flora and trees which mesmerize the visitors.
14. Sun Temple, Modhera (Gujarat) – Another architectural masterpiece for Lord Surya!
This unique temple is based on the look of an inverted lotus. It has been designed with 3 separate, axially aligned and integrated elements, a rectangular step-well called Surya Kund, a pillared hall called Sabha mandap, and a sanctum sanctorum, Guda Mandap.
15. Harmandir Sahib/Golden Temple, Amritsar – The Majestic Golden Gurdwara
This exquisite example of Sikh architecture, has 4 entrances and many shrines, 3 holy trees, the Darshani Deori Arch, Akal Takht, and the pool of nectar (Amrit Sarovar). The top of the temple is covered with gilded copper.
16. Jain Temples, Dilwara – The Five Unique Temples of Dilwara
The temples have minutely carved ceilings and pillars with ornamental details on marble. It was built in a time when no roads or transport was there, by bringing huge marble blocks on elephant backs!
17. Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh – The 12 storey complex at 3.6 km above sea level!
It is on a hill slope, so the storeys have been arranged in ascending order of importance. Painted in red, ochre, and white, it has a 15 metre high Maitreya Buddha statue which took 4 years to craft with clay, gold, and copper.
Given how beautiful these temples are, there mustn’t have any reason left for you to not go and explore them. These temples are works-of-art that nobody deserves to miss! Let us know your experiences if you’ve been to these temples.