India is a land of rich and varied culture. What makes us so is that we are probably the country with most hospitable and kind-hearted people that exists here in plenty. This kindness comes to us naturally simply because we have faith and belief in our religion, and we are spiritually enlightened people, at least most of us. That huge faith is probably the indication that our country has the most number of temples made by different and classy architects and decorated with a touch of royal feeling. These temples are our assets which are worth its weight in Gold. Not only the temples are known for worshipping and spiritual clarity but there are few interesting facts associated with them too:
- In the Venkateshwara Temple, at Andhra Pradesh, the human hair is accepted as a sacrifice to Lord Vishnu and then it is sold to foreign countries.
- In the Kal Bhairav Nath Temple, at Varanasi, where Lord Shiva is worshipped, the only offering made to God here is alcohol, it can be whiskey or wine.
- At the Mehendipur Balaji Temple, in Rajasthan it is believed that one can get rid of evil through exorcism, thousands of followers gather here on a particular day and by hanging from the ceiling, tying themselves in chains and doing all kinds of painful acts try to get away the evil as they believe this is the only way possible. Here it is also assumed that one should never look back after leaving this temple as it may be the start of misfortune in doing so.
Temples exist everywhere, right from the Himalayas to the hills of Ladakh and the forgotten towns of Tamil Nadu to the caverns of Maharashtra or else in the deserts of Rajasthan. Here are the list of 25 such popular and very rich temples that exist in India:
This temple has been built after one of the 108 avatars of Lord Vishnu. In fact, the city where this temple is located, Thiruvananthapuram, was named in resemblance to the name of Lord Vishnu. This temple is known to be the richest in India and one of the richest in the World for the fact that, it has about 1,00,000 crore assets that include precious stones, gold and silver coins, crowns that are studded with stones, highly expensive stone made idols etc. Earlier the Tirumala Tirupati Venkateshwara Temple was the richest but with the recent discovery of the Padmanabhaswamy, it has come down to second place.
Another vastly rich temple that is filled with treasure is the Tirupati Balaji that is located in the district of Chitoor, Andhra Pradesh. The God that is worshipped here is Lord Venkateshwara who is another form of Lord Vishnu and is worshipped with true devotion. About 5,00, 000 visitors come here during the festivals and occasions. Human hair sacrifice is a unique feature of this temple. As a matter of fact, the human hair is first offered to the Lord as a sacrifice and then it is sold as a sacred symbol of God’s blessings. In terms of wealth, this temple receives about US $120 million cash, and gold tons each year. The property value of this temple is estimated to be worth US$11 billion.
(3)Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, Shirdi, Maharashtra:
Considered to be an extremely rich temple, the Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, located at Shirdi, is believed to be governed by none other then Sai Baba himself , the heavenly figure who believed and preached to people that “All of us is controlled by only the one almighty” as his famous quote would say “SAB KA MALIK EK HAI”. Irrespective of all ages, be it 8 or eighty, disciples and his followers from all across the globe come in huge numbers to get a glimpse of his iconic ancient figure. Officially, the net wealth of this temple that includes ornaments and jewelry is more than 32 crore which is approximately 320 million rupees and other investments alone are Rs.420 crore roughly.
(4)Jagannath Temple, Puri:
Located in Puri, Orissa, the Jagannath temple is one of the most sacred temples in India. Being one of the oldest temples in ancient India. Known as one of the most ancient worshippers of Lord Krishna and Vishnu, the temple is known for its large number of devotees, that gather from far and wide from the different parts of the world. Especially during the famous Rath Yatra, that is held annually. The Jagannath Temple is considered as one of the “Char Dham Yatra” four cardinal centers of pilgrimage, that the Hindus must complete at least once during their entire lifetime. Thought as one of the temples with riches, the Jagannath Temple is the highest among all other temples of Orissa. Built in the one of the finest era’s of Odishan architecture, this temple is expected to touch Rs.150 crore rupees in terms of its net wealth.
(5)Kashi Vishwanath Temple:
This sacred temple is located on the banks of Ganga towards the east of the city of Varanasi, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. However the main God of this temple is Vishweshwara, means the one who rules all the universe. It is very firmly believed that if you take a bath in River Ganga here, you will definitely attain the “Moksha” or liberation. This temple is also very famous for the Shiva Jyotirlinga that is inside the temple which is also known as the Vishveshvara Jyotirlinga that marks a significant model of ancient Indian History.The interiors of this temple resemble the Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu that is in South India. The most significant factor of this temple is that there are approx.3000 visitors that visit here every day which on festivals and occasions can exceed more than 10 lakhs. During the accounting year 2013-14, the net wealth of this temple was officially Rs.14,66,83,000 making it a very rich and popular temple in India.
This enchanting temple is located in the reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir in the town called Katra. One of the remarkable pieces of Indian architecture, this temple is located 5300 feet height. It is believed as per Hindu mythology that when Lord Shiva carried the dead body of his wife Maa Shakti, or Maa Sati in sorrow, all over the world then her body parts fell in different places and those places are known as the Shakti Pitha’s. The Vaishno Devi Mandir is one of 51 such Shakti Pitha’s and is one of the most ancient, popular and richest temples in India.Seeking for the blessing’s of Maa Vaishno Devi, hundreds and thousands of devotees and followers visit the temple every day, every year. Since this temple is situated at a high altitude, traveling at times at such a high place becomes difficult. People use ponies, palanquins and also helicopters to reach this place. However despite all such troubles, there is no lack of followers, instead, it continues to grow rather than diminish. The bet annual revenue of this Mandir is about 500 crores.
(7)Golden Temple, Amritsar:
Considered as the most sacred place in the Sikh religion, the Golden Temple is marked as a legendary architectural creativity of India. Situated in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, this temple is called the Golden Temple due to its color that resembles dazzling and glittering gold. The temple was built following the architecture that has the Indo-Islamic or the Indo-European touch. Known earlier as the Darbar Sahib or Harmandir Sahib, the walls and the domes of this temple are covered with gold. This is regarded as one of the most sacred temples not only in India but also in Asia. Built by the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Anjan, the ceiling of this temple is made of precious stones and heavily expensive jewellery. It is also visited my many followers all over the world. And almost 40,000 followers share the meal here every day.Loaded with invaluable jewellery, precious stones, this temple is certainly one if not the most expensive temple in India.
(8)The Meenakshi Temple at Madurai:
It is one the oldest temples in Indian history that was built way back in the 7th century. The Meenakshi temple is situated in banks of the River Vaigai, and the Goddess worshipped here is Meenakshi, who is also known as an incarnation to Goddess Parvati, and also Lord Shiva or the Sundareswarar, this is considered as one of the biggest in India. Known for its remarkable architecture, this temple is covered with fourteen gopurams, and a significant feature of this building is the Hall of Thousand Pillars. Almost 15,000 visitors visit here every day and especially, a separate puja is held where more than 25,000 devotees attend it. One of the main attraction here is the festival’s like the Avani Moola Maha Utsavam, which is a 10-day festival, and others like the Navaratri, Shivaratri, Ther Thiruvizha, Theppa Thiruvizha etc are held here. Annual income here is about 60 million INR.
(9)Somnath Temple, Gujrat:
For all religious and dedicated followers of the Almighty, a visit to the Somnath Temple is a must. Dedicated to the mighty Lord Shiva, this temple is located in the coastal area of the western part of Gujarat, and it is known as one of the 12 Jyotirlinga’s that is present in India. Designed following the Chalukya architecture, the main feature of this temple is a tomb present here called the Shikara which is about 150 feet in height. The name ‘Somnath’ if translated into English can be termed as the ‘The Protector of the Moon God.’ Unfortunately, this enthralling masterpiece has been invaded by several rulers of the past and at the same time it has been reconstructed several times as well ultimately leading it loose its original sculpture and work of art. In the year 1951, this temple was reinstated by Sardar Vallav Bhai Patel. Although not exactly figured, the net wealth of this temple is more than 11 crores.
(10)Guruvayurappan Temple, Kerala:
Dedicated to Lord Krishna, this is also one of the oldest and richest temples in India. Located in the southern part of India, Kerala. The idol worshipped here is Guruvayoor, who is another form of Lord Krishna and is believed to possess powers that are magnetic as well as medicinal. This temple is also called the Dwarka of South India. A noticeable factor in this temple is that there is a strict dress code to be followed while entering in the temple. For Men, the need to wear the mundu, which is something like the dhoti, or lungi that is worn wrapping around the waist and there back should remain bare. However, women can care long skirts, sari’s, salwars or any other ethnic wear. As many as 40,000 to 50,000 visitors come here each day to pay their offerings. Collection on this temple amounts to almost rupees 400 crores corpus and hundi being collected approximately 2.5 crores rupees.
(11)Sabarimala Sree Dharamsastha Temple:
Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, which is popular among all the Kerala Satha Temples is known to worshipping Lord Ayyappa. The temple is located on a hill area (about 3000 feet above sea level known as Sabarimala in Pathanamthitta region.The distinctiveness accumulates its speech, as the temple is available to all, regardless of caste, creed or spiritual beliefs. Another exciting truth is that it does not start all season long. It starts for puja only during the times of Mandalapooja, Makaravilakku and Chitra Vishu. It is said that the pilgrims have to adhere to going on a fast for 41 times to detoxify their thoughts before going to Sabarimala. The trip to the temple is to be taken through challenging routes in the woodlands as the automobiles can go only up to Pampa. Visited by people in close proximity to 40 50 million followers year after year, Sabarimala Temple records the biggest number of people who all come here and also will overtake Tirupati temple, on the subject of income. Only men are considered to participate in the holy journey which will happen each year starting with mid-December. During the 2016 – 2017 pilgrimage year, the temple had earnings revenue collected up to 245 Crores.
Located in the state of Jammu Kashmir, India, this exotic temple also called the Amarnath Cave, is located approximately 12.760 ft above the hills and is situated 141 kms from Srinagar. This temple is known to be dedicated for the worship of Lord Shiva. The place is covered with thick ice throughout the year and an interesting fact about this shrine is from topmost part of the cavern, normal water gradually trickles down that gets frozen to make ice, that when developing an excellent platform begins getting make up the form or the sign of Lord Shiva and it gets the whole form on Purnima. It’s been described in Hindu scriptures that Lord Shiva described to his dearest spouse, Parvati the “Amar Katha.” However reaching the place is never easy, and due to high altitude, travel here can lead to breathing problems, that’s why army and CRPF jawans are posted here for assistance. In spite of this, millions of people continue to visit every year.
(13)Kamakhya Temple, Assam:
Known as one of the seven wonders of India, this temple is another richest and popular temples in India. Located in the Neelachal hill that is found in Guwahati, Assam. Kamakhya temple is one of the 108 Shakti Pitha’s and is known to worship the tantric devi’s or goddesses. Apart from the deity Kamakhya Devi, the substance of the temple homes ten other virtual representations of incarnations of Kali namely Dhumavati, Matangi, Bagola, Tara, Kamala, Bhairavi, Chinnamasta, Bhuvaneshwari and Tripura Sundari. Believe it or not, it is heard that during the month of June, the deity bleeds and as a result, the Brahmaputra River turns into reddish color. During that time the Kamakhya temple remains closed for 3 days and the holy water is distributed among the followers. Although there is no valid proof of blood in the water.
(14)Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, Delhi:
The main center of attraction of this place is the Akshardham Temple which in other terms means the ‘House of God’. It represents amazing Hindu religious information, brilliant devotional customs and historical structure all are echoed in its art and structure.The mandir is a modest honor to Bhagwan Swaminarayan, the virtual representations of personnel, devas and excellent sages of Hinduism. Main attractions of this temple include the open gardens, water bodies, and stylish courtyard. The entire shrine is crafted efficiently with sandstone and marbles and more than 8000 people were involved in its making. Situated in banks of River Yamuna, this mandir signifies the rich breed of India’s ancient culture. More than thousands of visitors come to pay a visit every year to see 234 delicately designed support beams, 9 beautiful domes, a plinth of stone monsters known as the Gajendra Pith along with sculptures of famous Indian Sadhus and religious individualities.
(15)Mahalaxmi Temple in Kolhapur:
The Shri Mahalakshmi Temple of Kolhapur in Maharashtra, India, as cited in the Puranas is one of the 108 shakti pitha’s present.The temple is of unique religious importance and is regarded as being a position where Shakti (goddess of empowerment) exhibits and as one of only six holy homes of Shakti where worshipers can either be released from or provided their longings.Located on financial institutions of the Panchganga Stream, about 140 kilometers south of Pune, the Kolhapur Shakti Peetha requires its name from Lakshmi, the four-armed, gemstone-adorned goddess of excellent luck. Lakshmi is gifted with six heavenly features, among them success (spiritual and material).It is regarded that the heavenly residing place of Lakshmi and Vishnu. The idol of the primary deity is made of dark rock and is decorated with valuable and precious jewels. According to a review, the complete earnings of this forehead came to Rs. 14,66,83,000 during the accounting year 2013-14.
(16)Siddivinayak Temple, Mumbai:
The Shri Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir is one of the wealthiest wats or temples in Mumbai. It is devoted to Lord Ganesha and was designed by Laxman Vithu and Deubai Patil. It is one of the most popular wats of India and major political figures and Bollywood superstars visit here frequently looking for the deity’s delights. This temple has a little shrine to the idol. The inner ceiling of the sanctum is coated with silver and the wood made gates built in the area have designed pictures of Ashtavinayak or eight symptoms of Lord Ganesha. There is a Hanuman Mandir too located near the Siddhivinayak temple. Many individuals believe that Siddhivinayak as an important part of their temple’s trip schedule as a result huge number of followers travel here from all over the world. The Siddhivinayak gets contributions of around 100 thousand (US$1.6 million), 150 thousand (US$2.3 million) every year, which creates it Mumbai town’s wealthiest temples to have lived in.
(17)Lingaraj Temple, Odisha:
It is believed that this is the oldest temple and one of the largest and most popular temples in India.Located in the city of Odisha and dedicated to Lord Shiva this temple is named after “Linga” which is Lord Shiva’s another name. The amazing architecture of this temple reminds of Kalinga dynasty. The visual statues look at their top in this structural display. Constructed in red sandstone, Lingraj Temple has the rock of the pitch-dark colour. The high spire of the forehead reaches the peak of 55 metres and basically, rules the sky line of Bhubaneshwar. The huge courtyard consists of 50 small shrines that are devoted to several Gods of the Hindu pantheon. The large marble rock ‘Linga‘ statue is washed with water, dairy and bhang each day. Millions of visitors flock together in this place every year for spiritual satisfaction.
Rameswaram is a place located on Pamban Island, Tamil Nadu which is situated in the South-Eastern part of India. It’s reputed for Ramanathaswamy Shrine, an Indian pilgrimage spot with corridors that are elaborate, significant sculpted support beams and religious water storage tanks. The followers take a sacred bath in the holy waters of Agni Theertham, there are lots of beach areas of the temple. Gandamadana Parvatham is a hill with Snowdonia views. There is a wheel found here that is said to have some sort of imprint with the feet of Lord Rama’s feet. Legends say that it is this holy place where Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva after he killed Ravan in Lanka and returned. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temples bears a rich heritage and culture of India and is known to attract a huge number of visitors all over the globe.
(19)Mahabodhi Temple Complex,Bihar:
This is believed to be the most peaceful place in the world. Established by the Great King Ashoka in 260 BC, this is the sacred place where it is believed that Gautam Buddha attained erudition when he sat under a peepul tree. He, earlier known as Prince Siddhartha, meditated under this day for 3 days and 3 nights and got all the answers to his queries which he felt was troubling him. This temple was built in the Mauryan dynasty and was the first Buddhist temple that was entirely built on brick structure. The main structure of the Mahabodhi Complex is around 55 m high. It has been remodeled several times through the Nineteenth millennium and is enclosed by four more compact lofted pillars. Declared in 2002 by UNESCO as a world heritage site, this spot also attracts visitors due to presence of several antique structures like the lotus pond and other ancient stupas. All in all it’s must-visit pilgrimage spot in someone’s tour diary.
The Lotus temple is located in the Bahapur village in the capital city of India, New Delhi. Certainly one of the expensive and most popular temples in India, the Lotus Temple was built with a total cost of US$ 10 million. Built in one of the finest Iranian architectural design by Fariborz Sahba, this temple looks resembles the beautiful flower lotus that gives it a fine look. House is composed of 29 free-standing marble-clad “petals” specified in groups of a three to form nine sides, by using nine gates opening upon a key hall through height involving slightly around 40 metre distances and a ability of 2,500 people. The average number of people visited the temple was about 70 million people by late 2001 which exceeded 100 million by the year 2014 as per the data by Government of India. This temple is one of the most frequently visited place in the planet.
(21)Sun Temple, Konark:
The Sun Temple is another gem from the rich mines of Indian architectural history. It was built as early as in the 13th century and is one of the masterpieces of Oriya architect. Based at comfortable distance from the place of Lord Jagannath, Puri approx 35 km’s; the brow is around 63 kms in the capital city of Bhubaneshwar.The Konark entereza is an collegialism of not one but two words–Kona that means corner plus Arka this means the Sun. In ancient times, the European sailors named this place as “The Black Pagoda”. As the name suggests, the main God that is worshipped here in the Sun God. It is believed by the people there as the Sun is the supreme power and controller of the Universe. This is also another world heritage site as declared by UNESCO.
Above all it is one of many holiest shrines of Hinduism. Also area of the Char Dham and the Chota Char Dham. This small Char Dham has it is followers coming from across the all over of the region.Along with the Badrinarayan temple, the particular Kedarnath temple, Gangotri, and also Yamunotri site form the ChotaChar Dham. In the 16th millennium, the King Garhwal moved the deity to the present temple.This shrine has a cupola on top is roughly 50 ft high protected with a silver gilt ceiling.It is constructed of rock, with curved windows where the primary entry has wide stairs. The structure appears like a Buddhist vihara (temple), with the vibrantly coloured act also more common of Buddhist temples. Just inside is the mandapa, a large pillared area that results in the garbha griha, or primary shrine area. If one visits Badrinath, it will surely be one outstanding experience and is just like falling inside the arms of our mother nature.
Built in the year 1992 in the city of Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad is one of the largest temples in Gujarat. The temple is dedicated to worship Lord Swaminarayan and is remarkable piece of ancient Indian architectural class that is a mixture of art, education, architecture, exhibitions and research. The unique feature of this temple is the deity of which is seven feet tall. Created by using loads of red stones, Akshardham temple is among the most magnificent edifices of modern Indian. It steps 240 ft in length, 131 feet wide and 108 feet high. This intricately carved grand structure appears regally among the green backyard. Within the temple, lies an attractive garden referred to as Sahajanand Van. On one hand, wherever its elegance lends this the look of the garden and the other that serves as any park for children. It has a herbal yard, lake along with a waterfall. If one wishes to relax through the rush then Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar certainly is a spot to be in.
Situated near the banks of River Mandakini, in the state of Uttarakhand. It is said that the legend of the Pandava’s built this temple and it was reinstated by the great saint Adi Sankaracharya. This temple is solely dedicated to worship Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga’s that can be found in India. If someone is planning for the Chardham Yatra then one of the must visit a place is this temple as it is considered as one of the dham’s is a very sacred place. Situated at approximately 223kms from Rishikesh, this place is surrounded by snow almost throughout the year and hence the road leading to this place is quite arduous to reach. This temple being one of the richest in India, has many attractive tourists locations like the Gaurikund, Gandhi Sarovar, Triyuginarayan, Vasuki Tal, Sonprayag, Agastyamuni Temple and Deoria Tal are few to mention. Many Hindu pilgrims and followers visit this temple every year in large numbers to offer their prayers and seek blessings of the almighty. One place that should not be missing the tour diary.
(25)Iskcon Group of Temples:
Known as the “The International Society for Krishna Consciousness”, the ISKCON temples or the group of temples are solely dedicated to worship the divine Lord Krishna. It was founded way back in the year 1966 in the city of New York by A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who was believed to be the Guru of spirituality. The devotees of the ISKCON follow or chant the maha-mantra which is also called the “Hare Krishna” mantra as it is quoted like “Hare Rama Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare” Its is believed that the devotees follow the principle’s that were narrated in the “Shrimad Bhagvat Gita” by Lord Krishna to Arjuna during the war of Kurukshetra as it is believed that these are commandments of life. These group of temples is located in around 650 locations worldwide with its headquarters in Mayapur, India. In India, the center’s are in Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Vrindavan etc. The famous RATHYATRA is held a the unique feature of this temple. Strictly non-vegetarian meal followers this organization attracts huge followers all over the world still today.
These are few historical spots that are not only spiritually enlightening us but still carrying the legacy of ancient Indian history.