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Located at Jamnagar District, Gujarat, it has a five-storey tower and the temple is made of limestone and sand. There are two gateways: Swarga Dwar for entry and Moksha Dwar for exit. From the temple, one can view the Sangam (confluence) of River Gomati flowing towards the sea. The temple was built by Sambha, the grandson of Lord Sri Krishna. The city is believed to have been built by Vishwakarma, who was a celestial architect in Hinduism. Dwarka is considered to be one of the holiest cities in Hindu culture and one of the four main dhams along with Badrinath, Puri and Rameshwaram. The city is especially respected by Vaishnavas.
Located in the second largest city of Tamil Nadu i.e. Madurai, the temple complex is within a high-walled enclosure, at the core of which are the two sanctums for Meenakshi and Sundareshwara, surrounded by a number of smaller shrines and grand pillared halls. The original temple was built by Kulasekara Pandya, but the credit for making the temple as splendid as it is today goes to the Nayaks. The Nayaks ruled Madurai from the 16th to the 18th century and left a majestic imprint of their rule in the Meenakshi-Sundareswarar Temple.
Thanjavur Chola Temple
Located in Tamil Nadu, the Brihadisvara temple at Thanjavur was built by the great ruler Rajaraja Chola of the Chola dynasty. The 10th century AD site is an example of Dravidian temple architecture. The central temple called the Periya Koyil, or big temple, stands inside a fort whose walls were built later on in the 16th century. The Great Living Chola Temples consist of the 11th century Brihadisvara temple at Thanjavur, the 11th century Brihadisvara temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram, and the 12th century Airavateswara temple at Darasuram. Temple consists of the garbhagriha, ardhamandapa, mahamandapa and mukhamandapa and aligned on the east- west axis. This site is recognised by UNESCO.
Mahabalipuram is a temple town situated along the shores of the Bay of Bengal about 60 kms from the south Indian city of Chennai. Monolithic rock carved temples are refreshingly uncluttered, unlike later grandiose Dravidian architecture and tower over the waves behind a protective breakwater. This group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries. It dates back to the 7th century when it was a thriving port of the Pallava Empire. There are eight rathas at Mahabalipuram, out of which five are named after the 'Pandavas' (five brothers) of Mahabharata and one after Draupadi. This site is also called Mamallapuram, named after the great wrestler Mamalla, the title of Pallava king Narasimha Varman I.
Situated on an island off the Sethu coast of Rameswaram in Ramanathpuram district, Tamil Nadu, is an important pilgrimage site for the followers of Hinduism. It is believed that a visit to this temple washes away one's sins and brings salvation (moksha). Being situated in Rameshwaram, the Ramanathaswamy Mandir is popularly known as the Rameshwaram Temple. The construction of this temple began in the 12th century; nonetheless it was completed much later, during the reign of various rulers. Rameshwaram Temple is famous for embracing one of the twelve Jyotirlingas (lingam of light) of Lord Shiva. The temple is also accredited for being the southern most 'jyotirlinga' of India.
Ajanta Ellora Caves
Located near Aurangabad in Maharashtra, the 29 caves at Ajanta are situated in a horseshoe-shaped ravine. The cave walls are covered with painted narratives of the Jataka tales. The 34 caves at Ellora are excavated out of the vertical face of the Charanandri hills.
Mannarshala covers an area of 16 acres of dense green forest grove devoted to serpent worship. The temple here is unique in that the holy rites are presided over by a priestess. It is the largest Snake Temple in Kerala. The grove is dotted with the granite idols of serpents. There are two main idols: 'Nagaraja' or the serpent king and his consort, Sarpayakshini. The priestess lives in the 'Illam' on the north side of the temple. 'Uruli Kamazhthal' or the placing of a bell metal vessel upside down in front of the deity is the most popular offering believed to restore fertility to childless couples.
Sun Temple, Konark
Situated at a distance from the famous religious and tourist centre of Puri (35 km) and the capital city of Bhubaneshwar (65 km). The entire temple was designed in the shape of a colossal chariot with seven horses and twenty four wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter, with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. The Sun Temple of Konark marks the highest point of achievement of Kalinga architecture depicting the grace, the joy and the rhythm of life all its wondrous variety. It was built by King Raja Narasinghs Deva-I of the Ganga Dynasty in the thirteenth century. It is a temple to Surya, the sun God.
Located 10 km from the Gateway of India at Mumbai, the entire cave temple complex covers an area of about 60,000 sq ft and consists of a main chamber and two lateral ones, courtyards and several subsidiary shrines. The caves are hewed from solid rock. Cave 1 represents the evolved Brahmanical rock-cut architecture. The caves are thought to date back to the Silhara kings of the 9th through 13th centuries.
Rani Ki Vav, Patan
Situated in Patan town in Gujarat, the shaft of the well is highly ornamented with intricate carvings. The wall projects the large vertical brackets in pairs, which supported the different galleries of the well. The brackets are arranged in tiers. It has a stepped corridor compartmented at regular intervals with pillared multi-storeyed pavilions. The four pavilions which demarcate the stages along the descent have multiple storeys, two, four, six and seven respectively. It was constructed during the period of the Solanki or Chalukya (11th-12th century). The full size sculptures of the stepwell are taken from the entire Hindu pantheon, for example, Vishnu, Shiva and their various aspects appear with or without their consorts.
Located in Gandhinagar, the monument enshrining the seven-foot high gold-leafed Murti of Lord Ingenuity Swaminarayan is a single-piece marble sculpture. Built using 6000 tonnes of pink sandstone. The structure is 108 feet high, 240 feet long and 131 feet wide. The colonnade around the monument is 1,751 feet in length. The building was inspired and moderated by PramukhSwami Maharaj, the spiritual head of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, whose 3,000 volunteers helped 7,000 artisans to construct Akshardham. The Akshardham at Gandhinagar is a predecessor to the Akshardham at Delhi.
Located on the Venkatachalam hill that forms part of the seven hills of Tirumala, the temple complex comprises of a smaller traditional temple building along with a number of modern queue and pilgrim lodging sites. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Venkateswara, also known as Balajior Srinivasa. In Vaishnava tradition, the temple is considered one of the 108 Divya Desam sites. As a tradition, pilgrims shave off their hair on visiting the temple. Also known as Seshachala. It is the most visited Hindu place of worship, and is the world's second richest in terms of the offerings made by pilgrims to the God. It is the second most visited holy place after the Vatican.
Built in the 16th century, the Lepakshi Temple is a brilliant example of the Vijayanagar style of architecture. It has a huge complex where three shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Virabhadra are to be found, Lord Virabhadra being the wrathful form of Shiva, the patron deity of the Nayak rulers. It has a central pavilion, embracing all the three shrines. This pavilion is further connected with an intermediary hall and a hall for ritual dance. Surrounding the main hall is a large open court, accessible from the east.
Located in the small town of Palampet, which is at a distance of about 77 km from Warangal, the Ramappa Temple is an excellent illustration of remarkable Kakatiya art. It is referred to as the "brightest star in the galaxy of medieval temples in the Deccan". From an inscription in the temple itself, one comes to know, that the temple was constructed in the year 1213 during the reign of the Kakatiya ruler Ganapati Deva. It has within some very exquisite sculptures. The Ramappa Temple is perhaps the only temple in the whole of India, which is named after its sculptor Ramappa. The bricks that have been used to build the Ramappa Temple are so light that they can float on water. In spite of that, the strength of the bricks should never be undermined for even after the passage of so many years, the Ramappa Temple still stands strong.
Sri Padmanabhswamy Temple
Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, located in Trivandrum, is an architectural wonder and a magnificent temple. The massive structure has a staggering 100 feet high "Gopuram", the main temple tower. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, one of the Gods of the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. The massive idol of the deity measures 18 feet in length and is covered with gold and other precious stones.
The Great Stupa is located 46 km north east of Bhopal, and 10 km from Besnagar and Vidisha in the central part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. The Sanchi Stupa is surrounded by a railing with four carved gateways facing all the four directions. There is an image of a Greek warrior guarding the gates. The gateways of Sanchi stupas contain ornamented depiction of incidents from the life of the Buddha and his previous incarnations.
The Twelve pillars in the Vidyashankara Temple mark the 12 zodiac signs, and the sun's rays fall on each of them in the order of the solar months. Located in Sringeri, Karnataka, the temple has ruby images of Venugopala and Srinivasa and a Nandi made out of a large pearl. This temple combines the Hoysala and Dravida architectural features. It stands on a richly sculptured basement. There are six doorways leading into the temple. Vidyashankara of Vidyathirtha, who was the head of this Peetham for a period of 105 years from 1228 CE to 1333 CE, is considered to be one of the greatest Gurus of this Peetham. The temple features 61 images carved in bas relief, of various scenes from the puranas. Buddha is depicted as one of the incarnations of Vishnu here.
Bhoram Dev Temple
Bhoram Dev Temple is located in Chhattisgarh around 120 kms from Raipur district near village called Chhapri (district - Kawardha). The entrance of the garbh-grah of the temple is made of shining black stone with beautiful statues around it. It rises to a height of 100 feet above the ground and is a fine example of intricate and exquisite piece of sculpture. The main idols in the temple are those of Uma-Maheshwar, Natraj, Narsimha, Vaman, Krishna, Surya, Kaal Bhairava, Nritya Ganesh, Kartikeye, Tandul, Shivgang, Chamunda, Ambika, Sapta-Matrika and Laxmi-Narayan. Cunnigham had termed it as one of the most beautifully decorated temple seen by him. The Bhoramdeo temple resembles the Sun temple of Konark and the Khajuraho temple, and that is why it is also referred to as the Khajuraho temple of Chhattisgarh.
Ujjain, situated on the right bank of River Shipra, is among many other Indian sacred and holy cities. According to ancient Hindu scriptures, it was originally called Avantika. Later King Shiva of Avanti commemorating his triumph over the demon king of Tripuri, changed it to Ujjaiyini (one who conquers with pride). It is one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus, and the Kumbh Mela religious festival is held here every 12 years. It was governed by the likes of Vikramaditya and Ashoka. Kalidas wrote his souls stirring poetry here. The Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain: Mahakal of Ujjayini is known among the 12 celebrated Jyotirlingas in India. The glory of Mahakaleshwar temple has been vividly described in various Purans. Starting with Kalidasa, many Sanskrit poets have eulogised this temple in emotive terms. Ujjain used to be the central point for calculation of Indian time and Mahakala was considered as the distinctive presiding deity of Ujjain.
The Lakshamana temple is located in Sirpur village in Mahasmand district of Chhattisgarh at a distance of 90 km from the state capital of Raipur. Sirpur is derived from the ancient name Sripura which was once the centre of power of South Kosalas during the rule of Sarabhapuriyas and Panduvamsis during 6th8th century A.D. The archaeological remains in and around Sirpur consist of both Hindu and Buddhist monuments in the form of temples and monasteries. Among them, the most well preserved magnificent temple is the east facing Lakshmana temple built by Vasata, the mother of Mahasivagupta Balarjuna in 7th century A.D. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this brick temple stands on a high massive platform accessible by steps in the north and the south. The plan of the temple consists of a garbagriha, antarala and a mandapa. The mandapa, now in ruins, was originally upheld by stone pillars in rows. The exquisitely carved doorframe depicts figures of Seshasayi Vishnu along with his other incarnations. This temple is among the best examples of brick temples of ancient India.
Martand Temple is the most memorable and beautiful work of King Lalitaditya, which was built in honour of the Sun God or Bhaskar. Lalitaditya was a Kshatriya of Surya (Solar) dynasty. The style of the construction of the temple and the skill exhibited in its construction is rare in the history of the world. It has a colonnaded courtyard, with the shrine in its centre. Built with 84 columns, the temple offers a magnificent view of the Kashmir valley. Martand holds a very high place in the world's great architectural designs and is considered to be an example of the Kashmiri architectural skill. This temple has been built with strong and square limestones and exhibits the pillars of Greek pattern
Located near Katra in the Himalyan region at an altitude of 5,200 ft, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji resides in a Holy Cave located in the folds of the three-peaked mountain named Trikuta (pronounced as Trikoot). The Vaishno Devi Temple is considered to be one of the holiest Hindu Temples in the country. At the culmination of their pilgrimage, the believer's are blessed with the view of the Mother Goddess inside the Sanctum Sanctorum - the Holy Cave. These views are in the shape of three natural rock formations called the Pindies. There are no statues or idols inside the cave. The yatra begins at Katra and pilgrims have to cover 13 km of terrain on foot to reach the Darbar. The number of devotees visiting the Holy Shrine annually now exceeds five million.
Nanda Devi is the second highest mountain in India and the highest entirely within the country. It is part of the Garhwal Himalaya, and is located in the state of Uttarakhand. Nanda Devi is notable for its large, steep rise above local terrain. It rises over 3,300 metres (10,800 ft) above its immediate south western base on the Dakkhni Nanda Devi Glacier in about 4.2 kilometres, and its rise above the glaciers to the north is similar. This makes it among the steepest peaks in the world at this scale, closely comparable, for example, to the local profile of K2. The peak is regarded as the patron-goddess of the Uttarakhand Himalaya.
Located 40 km off Mysore, the star shape of the Somnathpur temples have carved pinnacles. Having 64 cells, the temple stand on a raised star shaped platform. The Kesava temple is a fine example of Hoyasala architecture. It is adorned with exquisite sculptures of Vishnu and other images. The town derives its name from its founder Somnath, the chief commander of the Hoysala army.
The ancient Hoysala capital houses the ornate Hoysaleswara and Kedareswara temples, and is one of the well visited tourist attractions of Karnataka. It is located at a distance of 149 km from Mysore and 31 km from Hassan. The Hoysaleswara temple is a masterpiece, studded with a profusion of carvings. Thousands of figures appear on its walls. The basement of the temple has the most richly sculptured friezes. Horsemen charge, war elephants charge, all in stone. Scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata add to the grandeur. The Kedareswara temple built by King Ballala II, at Halebidu, now in ruins is considered to be a gem of architecture. As with the Hoysaleswara temple, this temple has classic friezes, and scenes from the epics. There are a 180 images set under floral toranas in the upper parts of the walls.
Situated in the Hassan District, 157 km from Bangalore, the statue of Gomateshwara Bhagwaan Bahubali is located atop Vindhyagiri mountain. At 57 feet, it is the tallest monolithic statue in the world. There are 650 steps to the top of the platform. This is the place where Chandragupta, the founder of the Mauryan dynasty, became a Jain ascetic after relinquishing his throne. The statue of Gomateshwara is 1,026 years old. Shravanabelagola is the seat of the ancient Bhattaraka Math, belonging to the Desiya Gana lineage of Mula Sangh, from the Digambar monastic tradition. Mahamastakabhisheka is held in Shravanabelagola once in 12 years and attracts a huge number of devout worshippers from all over the world.