Hindu religion is considered to be one of the most ancient and rich religions in the entire world and owing to the rich economic conditions of the olden times, many kings, rulers and emperors constructed various temples that were both architecturally stellar and really colossal in size. These temples were the centre of attraction for many people not only in the early ages, but even now. These temples not only aided in the economic prosperity of the country but also helped the people in forwarding the knowledge and teachings of the Hindu religion through the ages.
Hindu Temples have been constructed not only in India but throughout the world, with some of the largest Hindu Temples being outside the Indian sub-continent.
Most of the ancient Hindu Temples were constructed by the dynasties like the Pandyas, Chalukyas, Pallavas, Rashtrakutas etc. They were really prosperous dynasties and had amazing architecture which till date, never ceases to amaze people. Most of the South Indian Temples were built in the Dravidian style of architecture, the North Indian temples were usually built in the Nagara style and the Central Indian Temples were built in the Vesara style of architecture. Dravidian style of architecture being the most famous one.
Hindu Temples outside India are spread in countries like Cambodia, Indonesia, Australia etc. In this article we will take a look at 10 Largest and Popular Hindu Temples in the World.
1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat, which literally translates to “Capital Temple” is in Cambodia and is one of the largest temples in the entire world, constructed on a site measuring 162.6 hectares or (1,626,000 m2; 402 acres). It was built as a Hindu temple devoted to the God Vishnu for the Empire of Khmer, and gradually it transformed into a Buddhist temple arounf the late 12th century. It was constructed by King Suryavarman in the early years of the 12th century in Yaśodharapura, present-day Angkor, which is the capital of Khmer, as was his state temple and eventually, mausoleum. Splitting from the Shaiva tradition of their predecessor kings, Angkor Wat was dedicated to God Vishnu. As the best-maintained temple at the site, it is one of the biggest to have remained a major religious centre since its foundation. The temple is at the pinnacle of the high classical style of the Khmer architecture. It has now become a symbol of Cambodia, and also appears on its national flag, and it is the country’s major attraction for tourists.
2. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Karnataka
Ranganathaswamy temple which is generally referred to as “Sri Ranganathaswamy” in Srirangapatna, and in the Mandya district of the Karnataka state, of India, is devoted to the Hindu god Ranganatha who is considered to be a manifestation of the god Vishnu. It is one of the 5 most important pilgrimage sites of Sri Vaishnavism along with the river Kaveri for the devotees of God Ranganatha. These five holy sites all are together known as Pancharanga Kshetrams in South India. Since, Srirangapatna is the initial temple starting from the upstream of Kaveri, the deity is called Adi Ranga which translates to “first Ranga”. The city of Srirangapatna, also derives its name from this very temple, and is situated on an island in the Kaveri River.
3. Akshardham, Delhi
The Akshardham Temple is located on the banks of the Yamuna River in the capital of India, Delhi. It spans over in almost 100 acres of land. This temple is a mixture of Hindu religion and art. There are many statues of Gods you will find right in the centre section of the temple like Shiv Parvati, Radha Krishna, Sita Ram and Lakshmi Narayanan. The entire temple is made up of sandstone and marble. It also has a pith called Gajendra pith that constitutes all the animal kingdom. It has 148 full sized carved elephants, 42 carved birds and 125 carved human sculptures that have been made in pink stone. The temple consists of 200 sculptured stone figurines of India’s famous sages, Acharyas, monks and Godly incarnations. It also consists of 234 elaborately carved pillars, 9 decorated domes and 20,000 statues of holy figures of India.
4. Thillai Nadaraja Temple, Tamil Nadu
The Thillai Nadaraja Temple is located in Chidambaram town of Tamil Nadu state. The temple has been devoted to Lord Shiva in the “Ananda Tandava” pose or Nadaraja pose. It stretches over many acres of land. The temple contains images of Shiva and the Goddess Parvati. The temple was restored by the many different dynasties like the Pallava, Chola, Pandya, and Chera etc. Every Gopuram has about seven storeys with almost 50 carved sculptures and there are five different sabhas in the temple: Chit Sabha, Deva Sabha, Nritya Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
5. Belur Math, Kolkata
Belur Math is one of the most exquisite and one of the largest Hindu temples in the city of Kolkata. It is also the centre of Ramakrishna Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda. The distinguished part about it is that it has been built in such a way that it looks like a mosque, temple and church from every view. It is actually an amalgamation of Buddhist, Rajput, Hindu, Islamic and Christian architecture.
6. Annamalaiyar Temple, Tamil Nadu
The temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and is one of the biggest temples in India. The Shiva Linga of this temple is known as Agni Linga. It is also called Arunachaleswarar, that also means one of the many forms of Shiva. It spans in approximately 25 acres of land. The temple was constructed by the Chola rulers in the late 9th century. The temple has various halls and four big gateways. There is also a massive hall with a 1000 pillars constructed by King Krishna Devaraya.
7. Ekambareswarar Temple, Tamil Nadu
The Ekambareswarar temple is the biggest temple in the city of Kanchipuram, in Tamil Nadu. The Temple is devoted to Lord Shiva. It spans over an area of 23 acres. The temple was constructed by Paranthaka Chola in 650 A.D. The temple was built in a way that in the months of March and April the sunrays fall directly on the main Shiva Linga. The inner walls of this temple have 1008 Shiva Lingam.
8. Jambukeswarar Temple, Tamil Nadu
The Jambukeswarar Temple is situated in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu. It is one of the panchabhoota sthalams which means one of Shiva’s Temples that represent five elements of water, air, land, fire, and sky. The temple is devoted to water. The temple has an underground stream of water. The temple has an amazing archaeological design. It is one of the most influential Shiva temples in Trichy constructed around 1,800 years ago.
9. Meenakshi Temple, Tamil Nadu
The Meenakshi Temple is an exquisite sample of Dravidian architecture. The temple represents two Gods: Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati or Meenakshi. It spans over an area of 17.3 acres. The temple was named after the Goddess Meenakshi also called Parvati. The temple was constructed by King Jayavarman Kulasekara Pandyan in 13th century. The temple was restored by a Nayak ruler Viswanatha Nayakar in the late 16th century.
10. Vaitheeswaran Koil, Tamil Nadu
The temple Vaitheeswaran Koil is devoted to Lord Shiva. It is situated in Tamil Nadu state of India. The remarkability of the temple is that some of the Shivalingas inside the temple have been worshipped by Lord Ram, Lakshman and the Vulture King Jatayu. It is also believed that the holy water of this temple has the ability to cure all diseases.