India is known to be the spiritual and cultural capital of the world and rightfully so because it’s the land of ancient temples that date back 2000 years, mystical deities, and magical folk tales. Carved beautifully out of rock and stones, these temples were built with such precision and expertise that modern-day artisans must find a lesson or two to be learned here. They have stood the test of time and maintained their grandeur. So if you are up for a walk down the rich religious heritage of our country, I have got a list of the five most ancient temples that exist in India.
Explore Ancient Temples of India
Konark Sun Temple, Aurangabad
If we are here to talk about the most ancient temples of India, then the Konark Sun Temple will definitely find its mention first on the list. Popular for its magnificence, architecture, and folklore, Konark Sun Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Built about 2000 years ago, This temple still holds cultural relevance in the 21st century.
Whenever you are visiting Orissa, this is the one place that I will recommend you to visit experience grandeur and enormity. Built in the form of a mammoth chariot, the depth of information portrayed in the design of the temple is what lurks tourists and devotees to it. The platform of the temple is engraved with 24 wheels of the chariot and the entire temple has intricately carved reliefs of dancers, musicians, animals, and some erotic figures that are worth to be witnessed at least once in a lifetime.
The best time to visit this temple in the month of December as Konark is a coastal town and the weather remains pleasant this month. Moreover, the annual Konark Dance Festival is also held this month. This festival held in an open-air auditorium overlooking the temple is said to enthrall and bewitch the people who visit it from far and wide. If you are a history and art enthusiast, a visit to Odisha cannot get better than this.
Jagatpita Brahma Mandir, Pushkar, Rajasthan
A temple that ranks high on both ancientness and rarity is the Jagatpita Brahma Temple located in Pushkar, Rajasthan. Being amongst the five sacred pilgrimage sites of the Hindus and the only temple in the world where Lord Brahma is worshipped, the temple attracts lakhs of devotees and travelers throughout the year.
Though the construction of the temple is said to have taken place around the 14th century, this red and blue edifice still is properly maintained and holds significant religious importance. You will be mesmerized by the aura of this temple as rendered by the Pushkar Lake that lies in its close proximity.
People visit this temple to witness its ancientness, absolve their sins by taking a dip in the lake and worship Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe. Perched on a raised platform, a series of marble steps lead us to the main temple where you can seek blessings of the lord along with his two wives, Gayatri and Savitri. A beautiful marbled Hans, the vehicle of Lord Brahma ‘and turtle could be witnessed that add beauty to the temple.
If you are an ardent devotee of Lord Brahma, I suggest you visit the temple on Kartik Poornima. The otherwise quaint temple and town come lively during these five days when the famous Pushkar Mela is organized. A grand celebration, you will be surprised to see the gracious state of Rajasthan transform into a vibrant and fun place that could send chills down your spine. Hot air balloon rides, live performances by famous artists, and some interesting contests to participate in, you will witness the beauty of the golden sand and truly embrace the vibe of Rajasthani culture.
Kailasha Temple, Maharashtra
An ancient temple and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kailasha Temple is one of the best-treasured wonders in the trove of India. Built 1,200 years before, this temple is still considered an architectural wonder. To say that the construction of this temple was a daring assignment would be an understatement.
Imagine boring three huge trenches into the face of a sheer cliff with nothing but just hammer and chisel and creating this remarkable structure with beautiful decorations is a phenomenal task. When you visit this temple take time to look at its pillars for their intricate carvings. The carvings depict scenes from the Mahabharatha, the Ramayana, the adventures of Krishna but the most prominent ones is that of Lord Shiva as the temple is dedicated to him.
Another reason for the astonishment of historians and this temple being a world-class wonder is that it is vertically carved i.e from top to bottom. Kailashnath temple, though being one of the most ancient temples of India still holds the power to inspire anyone who visits it. So when in Maharashtra, do take some time and visit Kailasa Temple as you would be witnessing an irreplaceable part of history that would remain etched in your memories.
Adi Kumbeswarar Temple, Tamil Nadu
An excellent ancient temple contribution of the Chola Dynasty to India and a sacred location of the Hindus, the Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is a religious hotspot and important tourist attraction of Tamil Nadu. When you are in Thanjavur, you cannot miss out on this religious ancient temple that is also an architectural marvel.
Spread south of river Cauvery, the temple is famous for its unique Shiva Lingam, its beautiful Dravidian architecture, and folklore. The lingam is conical in shape and is said to be made by the Lord himself by mixing the nectar of immorality and sand. A key attraction in the architecture of this temple is a sixteen-pillared hall which is elaborated with a stone that has 27 stars and 12 zodiac signs chiseled on it. The eastern Gopuram of the temple is also worth noticing as it is the tallest amongst the 4 gopurams and is intricately carved with colorful figures of various Hindu deities.
The glory of the temple can be best witnessed during the Mahamaham festival. It’s a popular bathing festival held once in 12 years and witnesses an influx of innumerable devotees. The ritual includes taking a dip in the Pottramari tank which will absolve all the sins and purify the soul.
Adi Kumbeswarar temple is amongst the most ancient temples of India and is still perfectly managed by the devotees and the government. Do visit this temple for its an irreplaceable part of our rich religious and cultural heritage.
Timings of this ancient temple- 6:00 am to 12:30 pm and 4:00 pm to9:30 pm
Tungnath Temple, Uttarakhand
This extremely small temple in Uttarakhand is so ancient that the origin of the temple in itself is obscure. Bestowed with the title of being the highest Shiva temple of the world (altitude:3680 meters), the foundation of this temple is said to be laid by the Pandavs. What draws tourists to this temple is its religious significance and the exquisite beauty of its location.
This ancient temple is a part of Panch Kendra Yatra and is also a crucial and highest Jyotirlingas among the other 12 dotted in the entire subcontinent. Situated amidst the slow-clapped mountains, this temple is a perfect blend of spirituality, beauty, and adventure.
A trek to this mountain temple is what attracts many youngsters to this location which is not a common phenomenon to be observed at religious sites. This opulent temple is made up of stones that are painted on the outside depicting tall towers. The main deity is Lord Shiva which brings many Shaivites to this place. Visit this temple with your loved ones, seek the blessing of the lord and enjoy the beautiful scenery that comes with it.
Our country boasts of a vibrant culture that is steeped in tradition and what better places can we experience it than our ancient temples spread across the country. Our temples are not just a place to worship our creators but they have been social hubs where people congregate and skills of art, dance, and music are honed to be passed down the generations. So take some time out and visit these heritage sites and feel proud to be a part of this beautiful legacy. Bon Voyage!
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