India is a land of diversity. It is a land where varied cultures are in practice. The vivid colors of the different religions or cultures residing in India give the country an admirable identity. This peaceful co-existence of these ideologically different communities gives birth to a veritably amicable environment devoid of any kind of disharmony. And then India is a land of temples.

From the hilly areas of Himalayas to the mountains of Ladakh to the forgotten villages of Tamil Nadu to the caves of Maharashtra or else in the deserts of Rajasthan. Temples are everywhere. Every street in India has temples. From smaller ones to bigger ones. People in India are very religious and most follow their religion avidly. The geographic land of India has several marks of faith spread all across its length and breadth. Certain structures have several centuries of devotion backing them, granting more authenticity and reverence.

Here is the list of the most famous Indian temples that are the most magnificent part of the country and show us the architectural brilliance of craftsmen in those days. So, here it goes.

    Situated close to the Alaknanda River, the abode of Lord Badrinath is located in the Chamoli district, a small town of Badrinath (Uttarakhand). This holy shrine of Lord Vishnu forms a part of the four holiest sites (Char Dhams) in Hindu religion. It is also one of the four Chota Char Dham pilgrimage sites. It is one of the 108 temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu , which find mention in the works of Tamil saints who existed from 6th to 9th century. The ancient abode of Lord Vishnu can be visited only between April to November as in the rest of the months the weather is too harsh for undertaking a pilgrimage journey.
    Lord Jagannath Temple is one  of the oldest temple in India. It was built in the 12th century and is situated in Puri (Orissa) and is popularly called Jagannath Puri. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, the temple is one of the four holiest places (Char Dhams) of India. It houses about 120 shrines in its huge structure. Pilgrims believe that Mahaprasad served here is scrutinized by Goddess Lakshmi and those who have it attain spiritual advancement. Non-Hindus cannot enter the premises of the temple. They can get a good view of this magnificent temple from the roof-top of the Raghunandan Library located just opposite to the temple.
    Golden temple or the Harmandir Sahib is considered as the holiest shrine in Sikhism.The temple was built on the values of universal brotherhood and equality. The four doors, opening in the four prominent directions, openly welcome people from any faith or race to seek religious and spiritual contentment. The structure, revered for its superb architecture, is built on a level lower than that of the immediate surroundings, symbolizing the value of humility. It is the home for the largest free eatery, or more commonly known as Langar where people from any religion irrespective of their caste, creed, poor or rich can come and eat for free.
    Situated in the Himalayan range of Garhwal area (Uttarakhand), Kedarnath temple is one of the most sacred Shiva temples in the world. This holy abode of Shiva is said to be built by the Pandavas to atone for their sins committed during their battle with Kauravs. It requires a pilgrim to walk a distance of 14 kms over the hilly surface. One can make use of a pony or manchan to simplify the journey. Surrounded by the glaciers and snow-covered peaks and standing at a height of 3,583 m, the temple is closed during winters due to severe cold conditions.
    Mata Vaishno Devi Temple is one of the most visited temple in India. This is dedicated to Mata Vaishnav Devi. After a trek of about 12 km from Katra (base camp), one reaches the holy cave, which is the abode of Maa (mother) Vaishno Devi and is located at an altitude of 5200 ft in a mountain called Trikuta. It is situated in Jammu and Kashmir, near Katra town. Due to the strong faith of the people, every year millions of them come to take the blessings of Maa Vaishno Devi.  It is said that it is Maa Vaishno who decides her visitors. It is she who calls her devotees to her doorsteps.
    It is located in the ancient and holy city of Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Kashi Vishwanath temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, also referred to as Vishwanath or Vishweshwara, meaning emperor of the universe. The city of Varanasi is also known as Kashi that is why the temple is famously called Kashi Vishwanath temple.The distinguished temple has been visited by many great holy men like Swami Vivekanand, Adi Shankaracharya, Goswami Tulsidas and Gurunanak.
    Yamunotri temple was built in the 19th century in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand and was damaged and rebuilt twice due to the damages inflicted by the natural disasters. Dedicated to Yamuna River, which is the second holiest river of India, the temple also forms the part of the four Chota Char Dham sites. Located at the height of 3291 meters, the shrine of Mother Yamuna holds the idol of Goddess, which is built in black marble. The temple opens up on the day of Akshaya Tritiya and closes on the day after Diwali. The surroundings of the Yamunotri temple have many hot water springs to the delight of the visiting pilgrims.
    The holy temple of Sai baba was built in 1922, in the Shirdi town of Maharashtra. Located about 296 kms from Mumbai, the small town of Shirdi has attained fame due to its association with Shri Sai Baba. Spread in an area of 200 sq. Km, the shrine was made over the Samadhi of Sai Baba. Each day around 25,000 devotees come for Baba’s darshan and on festivals the figure comes into lakhs. Hindus and Muslims and people from all religions are devotees of Sai. The temple located at Shirdi is one of the major places of worship in Maharastra.
    The most visited temple of India also happens to be the most visited place of worship in the world. All this while it was considered as the wealthiest temple of the world until a treasure was found at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy in Kerala. People here come over with every wish; some to get wealth, some to donate their wealth, some in a wish to get a child, some come and conduct their marriage here. It gets nearly 50,000 daily visitors and annual of 40 million visitors. Devotees offer huge amount of cash and gold over here. As an estimate, the annual gold offered here is more than 3000 kgs.
    The holy cave of Amarnath is located at an altitude of 3,888 meters in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Engulfed with ice-clad mountains, the cave is also covered with layers of snow most times of the year. In the summer season, (June to August) it becomes accessible and hence opens up to receive the pilgrims.The cave is believed to be around 5000 years old. The pilgrimage towards Amarnath consists of a 5 day trek in which the devotees brave tough and uncertain climatic conditions and walk for 40 miles.

Besides India, no other place can make you feel the various religions, languages, dialects, traditions and customs. In order to know the varied cultures and religions of India, you should visit these temples. Not only to know about the religions prevailing in the country, these temples are also sites where the arts of dance, music and combat were honed and have been passed down for generations.

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