From the arresting Himalayan ranges in the North, to Kanyakumari in the South, India is suffused with famous temples which date back to ancient times. The adornment in these traditional temples is one of the world’s primary artistic legacies. Today they are a paradigm of how life was earlier and that how the worshiping has been after years of passing.
Have a look at some of the most famous ones.
Khajuraho Temples- Khajuraho temple is situated in Madhya Pradesh. The Khajuraho temples are internationally famous for the erotic sculptures that enrich the walls. Architecturally these temples are unique. They are built on high platforms, several meters off the ground in a combination of light sandstone and granite. Each of these temples has an entrance hall or mandapa, and a sanctum sanctorum or garbha griha. The roofs of these various sections have a discrete form. The porch and hall have pyramidal roofs which are made of several horizontal layers. The inner roof is a conical tower, a massive load of stone made of minute towers called Shikhara.
Meenakshi Temple-.The Meenakshi temple has distinguished and elegantly carved towers, dedicated to Goddess Meenakashi in Madurai (Tamil Nadu). Considered as the south gateway, the Meenakshi temple consists of identical temples of God Shiva and Goddess Meenakshi, each one as high as about nine storeys. The temple is an outstanding example of sculpture and architecture. The Meenakshi temple has grandiose stonewalls and towers. The image of Goddess Meenakshi is said to be carved out of a lone emerald. The temple was refurbished many times adding corridors and grand sculptures to it. According to the legend of this temple the marriage of the goddess Meenakshi to Shiva took place in Madurai and is still celebrated every summer with grand gusto.
Sun Temple –The wonderful Sun temple is a living monument of Orissa’s splendid past. The Sun Temple of Konark is regarded as the crest of art and architecture of the ancient Kalinga era. The entire temple was designed in the form of a mammoth chariot drawn by seven spirited horses on twelve pairs of elegantly carved wheels. Each of the wheels is nearly 10 feet in diameter. The studies represent the imposing parade of the Sun God. The temple holds the distinction of being one of the few UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.
Golden Temple- The temple is in the capital city of Punjab (Amritsar). It was built by the fifth guru of the Sikhs and is located on a small island in the centre of a pool called the amrit-sar (‘pool of nectar’) and is linked to land by a marble walkway. The golden colour comes from the cover of gold foil. The architecture of the temple is considered as an epitome of creativity and it represents a unique accord between the Muslims and the Hindus. Symbolically, it has entrances on all four sides to show that it is open to worshippers of all castes and creeds.
Mahabodhi Temple- The fifty meter high Mahabodhi Temple is located in Bihar in the city of Gaya. The temple is an evidence of the history of Buddhism. It is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Lord Buddha, particularly the attainment of Enlightenment. This temple is located near the spot where Gautama Siddhartha had attained salvation. The temple is considered as one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick. The sculpted stone balustrades are an outstanding example of stone. The four towers on the corners rise gracefully. Delimited on all four sides by stone railings, Mahabodhi Temple bears railings of two types, the older railings are made from sandstone and the other railings are of unrefined granite.
Ajanta Ellora Caves- The famous caves of Ajanta and Ellora are situated in the state of Maharashtra. These caves are regarded as a world heritage site and were dug out from a solid rock. They symbolize the three faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. They are placed in a horseshoe shape. Out of the total 34 caves, 12 caves to the south are Buddhist, the 17 in the centre are dedicated to Hinduism, and the 5 caves to the north are dedicated to Jainism. These caves are divided into ‘Chaitya-Grihas’ (stupa halls) and ‘Viharas’ (dwelling halls). The carvings and the paintings in the caves portray the life of Lord Buddha. Along with this, several types of human and animal figures are also carved out of the rocks. Aurangabad is the closest city from these cave temples. These caves are a famous heritage site of India.
Dilwara Jain Temples- Dilwara Jain temples, Mount Abu are sacred pilgrimage place of the Jains. The temples are a mix of simplicity as well as delicacy. They are five in number all of which are built in white marble. The two most famous of these are Vimala Vasahi and Luna Vasahi. The Vimala Vasahi is dedicated to the 1st Jain Tirthankara (saint). The entrance to the temple is from the east through a arched porch which leads to a six-pillared pergola with a three-tiered smosan (representation of the holy mountain of the Jains) in the center. The smosan is surrounded by 10 statues including that of the founder Vimala and his family, each seated on a beautiful elephant made out of a single block of white marble, about four feet high. The Luna Vasahi is dedicated to the 22nd Jain Tirthankara (saint). It is slightly smaller then the Vimala Vasahi. The eight pillars of Luna Vasahi assembly hall are of different types. The emphasize is on the ceiling with superbly carved figures of dancers, animals and parade of horsemen.
The Indian temples portray a true intermingling of different cultures of India. The Indian temples are a perfect example of Unity in Diversity, because there is hardly any city, town or village in the country that does not have temples. The Indian temples depict the different sects’ prevalent here. Thus the Hindu temples are amongst the finest in India that are spread almost in every segment.