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10 ancient temples in India.

India is home to 27 cultural, 7 natural and 1 mixed world heritage sites recognised by UNESCO but these are many other places of importance and heritage temples that just makes India much more holier.

some of the most famous temples in India that have been a large part of national history as well as the world-history for several hundred years. All these marvellous temples in India are a serene place to worship god. It not only depicts the royal culture but also upholds high religious significance. These magical centuries-old temples in India will surely leave you awe-inspired!

Here are the 10 most ancient temples that you must visit:

1)Kailasanatha Temple, Aurangabad.

The Kailasa or Kailasanatha temple is the largest monolithic rock-cut structure in the world located in cave 16 of Ellora Caves in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. Carved out of single basalt rock from Charanandri Hills, it is one of the exceptional temples of India owing to its massive size, amazing architecture and mind-boggling carvings. With its intricate designs on panels, monolithic pillars and statues of animals and deities, Kailasa Temple is an engineering marvel perfect for history and architecture lovers.

Constructed in the 8th century under the direction of Krishna I, the temple is dedicated to Hindu deity, Lord Shiva.

How To Reach Kailasa Temple:

This extremely fascinating location is situated about 30 km away from Aurangabad which is the nearest city to the destination. Aurangabad is well connected to the major cities of the country through rail, road, and air.

2) Adi Kumbeswarar Temple, Kumbakonam.

Believed to have been constructed in the 7th century A.D by the Cholas, Adi Kumbeswarar Temple is one of the grandest and the oldest Shiva temples in the town. The temple has a magnificent architecture with the trademark style of the Cholas. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and houses a unique Shiva lingam. The rajagopuram over the eastern entrance is nine-tiered and rises to a grand 128 ft. The sculptural wealth of this temple is amazing. There is no mandapam, pillar or ceiling which is not ornamented. Look out for the bas relief sculptures on the ceiling of the hall leading to the main sanctum: they depict scenes from the Puranas as well as representations of the 12 zodiac signs and the 27 asterisms.

You will see that those chain links hanging from the ceiling are not made of iron but stone - a fine example of the masterful stone-cutting evident all over this extraordinary temple. Some years ago, an underground tunnel was discovered in the temple, near the sanctum of Lord Kumbeswarar. Owing to the brittle nature of its composition, the idol is never bathed but only coated with punugu (the oily, scented secretion of the civet cat). As a further protection, it is encased in silver

How to reach: Tiruchirapalli international airport is the closest airport and kumbakonam railways station is the closest Railway Station at 3km distance.

3)Sun Temple, Konark.

Situated on the northeastern corner of Puri, Konark Sun Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the prime tourist attractions of Odisha. Built in the form of a giant ratha or chariot of the Sun God, it depicts the chariot being pulled by a set of seven horses, four on the left side and three on the right. It has three deities dedicated to the Sun God on three different sides of the temple which catch the direct rays of sun in the morning, afternoon and evening. There is also a dedicated archaeological museum inside the temple complex. The temple transforms into a stage during The Konark Dance Festival, which is held every year usually in February and attracts a lot of foreign and Indian tourists — dedicated to devotees of the Sun God.

Konark Sun Temple is one of the last standing structures before the fifteenth century in the country. The sun rays reach the Nata Mandir from the coast and reflect through the diamond at the centre of the idol. The idol is believed to float mid-air due to arrangements of the magnets at the top of the temple but they were later removed due to the disturbance caused to coastal voyages. An engineering and artistic masterpiece, The Sun Temple has been standing stoically for the last two thousand years. Despite much of the temple in ruin, it still reflects the artistic genius of architects and sculptures of the time.

How to reach: The Sun Temple is 35 kilometers away from Puri which is also the nearest railway station. The nearest airport is Bhubaneswar sixty kilometers away which is also the state's capital.

4)Airavatesvara Temple, Tamil Nadu.

Located in the town of Darasuram near Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu, Airavatesvara Temple is a revered Hindu temple and a UNESCO world heritage site. Part of the popular trio known as the Great Living Chola Temple along with Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur and the Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Airavatesvara Temple was built by the Chola King Rajaraja Chola II in the 12th century CE. Presided by the Hindu God Lord Shiva, the temple is amongst the eighteen medieval era Hindu temples in the Kumbakonam area. The shrine displays the Vaishnavism and Shaktism legs of Hinduism, and the traditional Nayanars- the Bhakti saints of Shaivism.

Constructed in the chariot structure and built in stone, the temple has smaller shrines dedicated to several Vedic and Puranic deities including Indra, Agni, Varuna, Vayu, Brahma, Surya, Vishnu, Saptamtrikas, Durga, Saraswati, Sri devi (Lakshmi), Ganga, Yamuna, Subrahmanya, Ganesha, Kama, Rati and others. Lord Shiva’s spouse has a smaller shrine towards the northern side of the temple premises known as Periya Nayaki Amman. Lately, some of the temple is in a crumpled state with the gopurams entirely in ruins. However, the main shrine and the associated sanctums still stand sturdy. The temple attracts pilgrims and devotees in thousands annually especially during the month of Magha for several special poojas.

How to reach: Airavatesvara Temple is located just 5 kms outside the city of Kumbakonam. It can be reached easily

5) Badrinath Temple, Badrinath.

Badrinath Temple or the Badrinarayan Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is one of the four Char Dham and Chota Char Dham pilgrimage yatras. It finds its mention in the 108 Divya Desams devoted to Lord Vishnu in India. Situated at the height of 10,279 feet, the temple is surrounded by lofty snow-clad Himalayas with Alaknanda River flowing by.

The religious importance and purity of Badrinath Temple allures scores of devotees. The main gate of the shrine is painted with myriad colours. It has not only the image of Lord Vishnu but, several other gods and saints are housed inside the temple. Badrinath Temple has a Tapt Kund, a hot water spring which is considered to have medicinal values. River Alaknanda is known to originate from here. The vibrant festivals of Mata Murti Ka Mela and the Badri Kedar Festival give you another reason to visit the temple.

From November to April end, the temple remains closed due to extreme weather conditions. Badrinath is accessible by road and therefore driving up to this pilgrim spot is not difficult.

How to Reach: The Badrinath Temple is in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand between Nar-Narayana hills on the banks of Alaknanda river. There is a bus stand on the Narayana Palace Road, just 1 Km from the Badrinath Temple.

6) Kedarnath temple, Uttarakhand.

Located on the Garhwal Himalayan Range in the Rudraprayag District, Kedarnath is one of the most sacred temples and the holiest Hindu pilgrimages in India. A part of Chota Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand, Kedarnath is the most important among the 12 Jyotirlingas in India dedicated to Lord Shiva. Kedarnath Temple can only be reached from Gaurikund through a trek and remains open only for six months from April to November, due to heavy snowfall in the region the rest of the months.

During the winters from November to May, the deity is shifted from Kedarnath Temple to Ukhitmath and is worshipped there. Kedar is another name of Lord Shiva, the protector, and the destroyer, and it's believed that a journey to Kedarnath provides one "Moksha" or salvation. The present Kedarnath Temple is believed to be re-constructed by Adi Shankaracharya, initially built by the Pandavas thousand years ago from enormous stone slabs over a large rectangular dais.

How to reach: Temple can only be reached by a trek from Gaurikund which is the last motorable road from Kedarnath. The nearest railway station to Kedarnath is in Rishikesh at a distance of 216 km while the nearest airport is in Dehradun located around 240 km away.

7) Rameshwaram temple,Tamil Nadu.

Rameshwaram temple is quite famous and believed to be sacred by the people of Hindu religion all around the world because it is believed to be the first site where Lord Rama came with his wife Devi Sita after defeating Ravana. It is located on an island situated in Tamil Nadu, known as Rameshwaram. It is considered to be tremendously holy since it is one of the four sacred places in India or Char Dham. Not only is the temple architecturally masterful, but it is located in a beautiful location as well.

How to reach Rameshwaram temple: Rameshwaram can easily be reached from any part of India since the Rameshwaram railway station connects all the major cities of India. The closest airport is madurai airport.

8) Somnath temple,Gujarat.

Somnath temple is one of the most ancient architectural masterpieces in India that is located in the Saurashtra of Gujarat. It is dedicated to the Moon God and has an interesting history involved with it. The temple was destroyed and rebuilt several times in the past thousand years. Legend says Lord Shiva built the temple, and it is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. Even if you are not inclined to history, you should come to Saurashtra once to see the glory and hear about the exciting stories about the temple by yourself.

How to reach Somnath Temple: The temple is located at a distance of 6 km from the nearest railway station and 65 km from the Diu airport. Hence, you can reach there via trains or planes whichever you prefer.

9) Vaishno devi temple, Jammu.

Vaishno Devi temple is widely famous and quite sacred among the people of the Hindu religion all around the world. Not only is the temple is famous for its religious integrity, but the trek that is accompanied by the trip from Katra is mind-blowingly beautiful. Millions of pilgrims come here to visit Maa Vaishno Devi and also enjoy the snow-capped hills surrounding the temple. People consider themselves to be quite lucky if they get to visit Maa Vaishno Devi because not everyone gets the chance to meet her.

How to reach Vaishno Devi temple: The nearest airport is located at a distance of 47 km from the temple, that is Jammu Tawi airport. But you have to trek about 20 km from Katra to reach Vaishno Devi because there is no direct transportation between these places.

10) Meenakshi temple, Tamil Nadu

Though Meenakshi temple was built in the 12th century, the architectural magnificence of the temple does not say so. It is epic and hence was nominated to be among the new seven wonders of the world. The temple is located at Madurai in the state of Tamil Nadu and is dedicated to Goddess Parvati. Nine hundred eighty-five pillars decorate the entire temple, and every one of them has been carved quite differently. Tourists from all around the world visit the temple not just because of religious inclinations but because of the grandeur of the temple as well.

How to reach Meenakshi temple: The temple is located at a distance of 1 km from the Madurai junction and hence can be reached easily via rickshaws or autos.

So, Which one of these temples left you completely speechless?

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