20 Inspiring Ancient Hindu Temples Around The World

Ancient Hindu Temples

Ancient Hindu Temples

A Hindu temple is a spiritual destination for many Hindus, as well as landmarks around which ancient arts, community celebrations and economy have flourished.

 

In Hindu tradition, there is no dividing line between the secular and the sacred. In the same spirit, Hindu temples are not just sacred spaces, they are also secular spaces. Their meaning and purpose have extended beyond spiritual life to social rituals and daily life, offering thus a social meaning. Some temples have served as a venue to mark festivals, to celebrate arts through dance and music, to get married or commemorate marriages,commemorate the birth of a child, other significant life events, or mark the death of a loved one. In political and economic life, Hindu temples have served as a venue for the succession within dynasties and landmarks around which economic activity thrived.

 

Though these beautiful places of worship celebrate spirituality, noted Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda was careful to teach that temples are simply a means of reaching God, not an end.

 

Man is to become divine by realizing the divine. Idols or temples, or churches or books, are only the supports, the help of his spiritual childhood.
― Swami Vivekananda, Complete Works

Sun Temple at Modhera is one of the few shrines that are dedicated to the Sun God. Situated on the banks of Pushpavati River in Modhera, Sun Temple is easily accessible from Ahmedabad, the largest city of Gujarat.

This temple is located on a rock formation off the Indonesian island of Bali. It's one of seven Balinese sea temples.

Angkor Thom (Big Angkor), Bayon is a 3kms walled and moated royal city and was the last capital of the Angkorian empire

Kalika Mata Temple is an 8th-century Hindu temple located within the Chittorgarh Fort in the Chittorgarh municipality of Rajasthan state in India.

Chaturmukha Jain Temple of Rishabhadeva, Rajasthan. It is located in the heart of the remote and enchanting valley of the Arvallis. The most outstanding feature of this temple is its infinite number of pillars.

Brihadeswara Temple - The World's First Granite Temple is the Brihadeswara Temple at Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu. The shikhara of the temple is made from a single 80-tonne piece of granite. This magnificent temple was built in just five years, (between 1004 AD and 1009 AD) during the reign of Raja Raja Chola

The Chennakeshava Temple, originally called Vijayanarayana Temple , was built on the banks of the Yagachi River in Belur, by the Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana. Belur, which was an early Hoysala capital, is in the Hassan district of Karnataka state, India. It is 40 km from Hassan city and 220 km from Bangalore.

Koodal Azhagar Koil is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu located in the center of the city of Madurai, Tamilnadu, India. Koodal is another name for Madurai and Azhaghar means The beautiful one, in Tamil. The temple is an ancient one and very close to the famous Meenakshi Amman Temple. It is one of the 108 divyadesams the holy abodes of Vishnu.

Located on the southern bank of River Vaigai in the temple city of Madurai, Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic Hindu temple in Tamil Nadu, India.

Lingaraja Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Harihara, a form of Shiva and Vishnu and is one of the oldest temples in Bhuvaneswar, the capital of the East Indian state of Odisha.

Sri Harmandir Sahib, also Sri Darbar Sahib and informally referred to as the "Golden Temple", is the holiest Gurdwara of Sikhism, located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. Amritsar was founded in 1577 by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das.

The Chaturbhuj Temple is located in Khajuraho, India and is one of a number of Hindu and Jain temples called Khajuraho Group of Monuments, which was enlisted as a World Heritage Site in 1986. The temples were built by the rules of the Chandella dynasty between the 10th and the 12th centuries. The Khajuraho temples are known worldwide for erotic sculptures on the temple walls and are considered to be one of the seven wonders of India.

The Prambanan Temple complex is located in Central Java, Indonesia and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1991. It is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia, and one of the largest in South-East Asia. The three main shrines are dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, and there are smaller temples / shrines dedicated to other deities.

Changunarayan Temple in Bhaktapur, an ancient temple enlisted in the UNESCO heritage list, reopened to the public that was closed after heavy damages in the deadly April 25 ‘Gorkha Earthquake’. The history of Changunaryan temple dates back to around 3000 years. The temple is located 22 kms away from Kathmandu.

Virupaksha Temple is located in Hampi  350 km from Bangalore, in the state of Karnataka in southern India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, known here as Virupaksha, as the consort of the local goddess Pampa who is associated with the Tungabhadra River

The Ellora Caves are a group of caves sacred to Hindus, Buddhists and Jains located near Aurangabad, India. The caves were designated as a World Heritage Site in 1983 and were constructed between 5th century and 10th century. These caves are world-known for rock-cut temples containing elaborate carvings on the walls. Kailasanatha, the primary cave, is carved out of a single rock and is designed to appear like Mount Kailasa, believed to be the abode of the Hindu god Shiva. This photo shows the exterior of the Kailasanatha Temple.

Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple is a landmark Vaishnavite temple situated in the hill town of Tirumala at Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, India.

Sri Yaganti Uma Maheswara Temple or Yaganti is a temple of Lord Shiva in Kurnool District in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The devotees believe that the Nandi idol in front of the temple is continuously increasing its size.

Kashi Vishvanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Mundeshwari Devi Temple in Bihar, India, dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva and Shakti.  It is considered as the 'oldest functional' temple of world.