Within this article I will be providing some pertinent information for those looking to partake in a spiritual tour of India. Basically, I am going to list what I consider the three most famous temples in India, which I think are of utmost importance to any spiritual seeker looking to experience India’s “spiritual vibe”. And why would my opinion count for those wishing to get the most out of a spiritual tour in India? As I alluded to earlier, I have not only traveled the length and breadth of this great land, but have also helped many a traveller find their spiritual center through my company’s spiritual tour of India packages. So without further adieu, here are the three famous temples in India that awaken the sleeping soul and give a new perspective of what life and living are really all about.
Famous Temples of India #1: Konark Sun Temple, Orissa
The Konark Sun Temple in Orissa (Odisha), India, was built in the 13th century, during the Kalinga Era. It is commonly referred to as the Black Pagoda - a name originally given to it by European sailors during their early explorations within the land of the Rishis. The aim of the temple - the reason why it was built - was to enshrine and harness the power of the presiding deity of Orissa, the Sun God.
The Konark Sun Temple in Orissa was designed according to ancient Kalinga architecture, and has the appearance of a giant chariot with twelve wheels drawn by seven horses. There are two statues of the Sun God within the inner sanctum, along with other ancient sculptures associated with the deity and His legend. Some structures have been ruined and decimated over the years, but a dance hall (Nata mandira) and a dining hall (Bhoga mandapa) still stand.
It is difficult to find any other religious or spiritual structure within India that can compete with the spiritual energy and the spacious dwellings of the Konark Sun Temple in Orissa. For those looking for a real-life transformational spiritual experience, this famous temple delivers in spades.
Famous Temples of India #2: Golden Temple, Amritsar
The Golden Temple in Amritsar, also known as Harmandir Sahib, is another “must see” for those embarking on a spiritual tour of India. Darbar Sahib (another common name for the Golden Temple), is a Sikh Gurdwara (temple), which is located in Amritsar, Punjab. Built in the 16th century by the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjun Dev, it is home to the holy Sikh text, the Guru Granth Sahib.
There are four entrances to the Gurdwara, signifying the acceptance of the Sikh religion towards all people and all religions (spiritual paths). The artwork and marble work outside and inside Harmandir Sahib dates back to the early 19th century. The entire structure is encompassed in gold plating - a donation given by the late and great Maharaja Ranjit Singh, during the 19th century. The Golden Temple in Amritsar stands 203 feet high (62 meters tall) and 20 feet wide (6 meters in width). It is surrounded by a large holy tank of water (a.k.a., Sarovar), where pilgrims are allowed to take a “holy bath” - gents outside; ladies in an indoor closure. One of the most striking features of Harmandir Sahib is its free kitchen (langar), which serves approximately 100,000 people per day.
The Golden Temple in Amritsar, will give any spiritual seeker an instant experience of the Sikh religion and its heritage, along with two of the most important spiritual lessons they provide: we are all one big family, and all religions are a path to the Divine.
Famous Temples of India #3: Somnath Temple, Gujarat
The Somnath Temple in Gujarat, India, was built in dedication to Lord Shiva (the Destroyer). Legend has it that he appeared as a pillar of light to test Brahma (Hindu God of creation) and Vishnu (Hindu God of protection, preservation), over a dispute they were having. This temple marks one of the many places where Shiva appeared as a column of light to settle the issue.
The literal translation of Somnath is “The Protector of the Moon God” (another manifestation of Lord Shiva and the presiding deity of that area). The Somnath Temple has earned the title, “The Shrine Eternal”, since it has survived multiple attacks at the hands of invaders throughout India’s long history. Historians date it back to 649 CE, but the legends surrounding the place go back even further - before recorded time, in fact! Currently it has been reopened as a place of pilgrimage for all people across the globe.
The current temple architecture was built under the guidance of the Sompura Salats (Gujarat’s expert masons). The highest point measures 150 feet, and sports a huge flagpole and flag (approximately 27-37 feet in height). The Somnath Temple in Gujarat has no land between it and the South Pole, a testament to the ancient inscription on the protective wall facing the sea (written in Sanskrit), stating that the land this temple is situated on is the first landmass north of the south pole within that specific longitude.
The Somnath Temple in Gujarat is one of the oldest constructed temples in India (although it has been destroyed and reconstructed many a time). Due to its long history and the spiritual legends surrounding it, this temple vibrates with a unique spiritual energy and lore. Any spiritual tour in India would be incomplete without a visit to the Somnath Temple in Gujarat. .
There you have it, three of the most famous temples in India, visited and experienced by me and countless other happy spiritual seekers worldwide. I strongly encourage you to visit each of them and bathe in the enlightening spiritual atmosphere they exude. You will not leave empty handed, this I promise.