City of Temples - Which Places Are The Temple Cities of India?
Being home to 1.4 billion of population, Mother India represents a country with multiple ethnicity, the largest democracy and diverse religion. When anyone talks about faith in India, the answer is not one. Although 94% of the entire world's population of Hindus stay in India, there are also Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Christians, Buddhists and other minority religions too. Every city has its own culture, its pride which is quite evident from the number of temples cities in India aiding such strong faith.
Here are the few note-worthy temple cities of India:
The Lord of the Field aka Kedarnath is a place of wonder. Here serenity merges with tranquillity in the Himalayas. This little temple city in India is mostly famous due to its divine Kedarnath Temple. Reigning over a barren land on the shore of Mandakini river, what makes Kedarnath much alluring is its ambience.
Turning your heads around, all you can find is greenery and the white Himalayas. Kedarnath temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is open only from April to November and during the other period of the year, the deities are moved to Ukhimath owing to extreme climatic exhaustion. One can also visit Bhairav Temple, in the name of Lord Bhairav Nath, who is believed to protect the temple during the severe climatic disorders in this city of temples.One can trek to Gaurikund or also see the eye-pleasing Vasuki Tal.
Nearest Airport: Jolly- Grant Airport, Dehradun
Nearest Railway Station: Rishikesh Station
Historically acclaimed and widely accessible, Rishikesh aka the Gateway to the Gharwal Himalayas, have been the site of pilgrimages down the ages and renowned as a city of temples. Mythology speaks that Lord Rama penance here in Rishikesh. Legends also say that Lakshman crossed the Ganges where now swings the Lakshman Jhulla. Neelkanth Mahadev temple is one such temple of legends.
In the name of Lord Shiva, this temple says how Lord Shiva drank the venom to obtain Amrita. You can visit the Beatles Ashram aka Chaurasi Kutia, which is now under Rajaji National Park. Located in the eastern bank of Ganges, this area was first taken in a lease by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and then later got modified into an ashram.
Parmath Niketan and Swaarg ashram are also famous tourist spots.
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun
Nearest Railway Station: Rishikesh Rail station
The pristine town of Badrinath, resting between the Nar and the Narayan peaks, is one amongst the Char Dham Pilgrimage in India. A small temple city in India surrounded by lakes and temples; one can easily spend a week here in this city of temple. Badrinath temple which makes this town a famous one was built in the name of Lord Vishnu. Same as Kedarnath, in this city of temple, only for 6 months people can visit.
This temple along the bank of Alakananda is not open for the rest of the year, due to severe snowfall and road inconvenience. Not just Badrinath temple, one can also visit Brahma Kapal temple, Mata Murti temple and the legendary Sheshnetra opposite to the banks of Alakananda, which is believed to depict an imprint of Shesh Nag or snake of Lord Vishnu.
Water bodies are many in this small region. One can sit beside Vasundhara falls and enjoy the soul-stirring sound or sit and look beyond life and feel the magnificent Nerlkantha Peak.
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun
Nearest Railway Station: Rishikesh Rail Station
Varanasi, the city of temples in India, is aptly named since it is home to over 2,000 temples. Varanasi, the home of thousands and hundreds of pilgrimage in and around India, is the oldest city in India as well. The exemplary works in this city of the temples will surely shock you in astonishment. The most sacred five of the Hindus, the mighty Ganges flows right away between the city in its dwindling path.
Pilgrims throughout the world come to Ganga to wash off their sins with hope for liberation. This city of temple aka the city of lights, has innumerable no of ghats, probably 365 ghats, some of which are the Harishchandra Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Assistant Ghat, Tulsi Ghat, Dasaswamedh Ghat and so on. A religious Hindu can surely never forget the heavenly experience he gets on of the evening Aarti in the ghats of Ganga from the boat, floating in the river. One of the oldest city of the world, Varanasi, earlier known as Benaras, holds within temples whose ages range from hundreds to thousands of years.
The Bharat Mata temple, dedicated to Mother India, Durga temple of the 8th century, Gauri Matha temple, Sarnath temple where Buddha is believed to distribute among his disciples the first sermon after enlightenment and so on
So visiting Varanasi is a must in the list of city of temples, if you want to enjoy the essence of temples.
Nearest Rail Station: Varanasi Cantt Railway station
Going away straight to the south, the city that must catch your eyes is the city that never sleeps, Madurai. Madurai, located just beside the flowing Vaigai river, depicts incredibly intricate works and large outstanding temples, thus also called as the city of temples. During the 600 BCE, Madurai, also known as Madura, was under the Pandyan Kingdom.
It was during this time that sky scrapping temples of Madurai with a touch of Dravidian architecture was built. The Meenakshi Amman temple where the yearly Chithrai festival takes place stands stout in the middle of the city as its lifeline. Madurai is a culturally ignited city and also earned the name of the Athens of the East at the time of Maurya rule in India.
This city of temples also is famous for Tirupparankunram Murugan temple, Alagar Kovil Temple, Koodal Azhagar temple, Pazhamudircholai Murugan temple and so on. These temples are both historically and culturally vibrant.
State: Tamil Nadu
Nearest Airport: Madurai Airport
Nearest Railway: Madurai Junction
Puri or Purushottam Puri is a famous tourist destination clinging on to the east of India.
Along the coast of Bay of Bengal, Jagannath Puri is widely famous among traveller worldwide and Hindu pilgrimage. The Jagannath Mandir was established by King Indradyumna in the 11th century and depicted the epitome of Oriya architecture in this region.
The stoutly standing, sky touching temple tops will force anyone to get wooed with the work. The four-door in four directions for entering into the temple and get close to the holy shrine of Lord Jagannath or the lord of the universe are a masterpiece and a cultural heritage to the country. The vast area within the temple boundaries comprises of several other small temples inside among which the trio of Jagannath, Bala Bhadra and Subhadra are worshipped. One of the most celebrated festival, Ratha Yatra, revolves around this temple in this city of temples.
Not just the Jagannatha Mandir, one can also visit the holy Bedi Hanuman temple, Chakra Tirtha temple, Mausina temple, Sunara Gaurang temple and the famous Sun Temple of Konark, too. Ont only as a religious place, over the years, Puri has acquired its popularity as a tourist destination also because of its ever glorious sea beach. One can enjoy the enthralling sunrise and talk a walk to their nearby seaside hotels with the setting sun.
Nearest Airport: Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneshwar
Nearest Rail Station: Puri Rail Station
The old city with ancient history is decorated with temples all around. Mathura, usually regarded as the birthplace of Krishna, is one most important holy place of India. This mythologically indulgent place was earlier believed to be inhabited by Kansa, the maternal uncle of Lord Krishna.
Mathura is religiously equipped and historically developed and also has a twin, that is Vrindavan city.
Any tourist or traveller must visit Mathura, especially in the Holi festival, the festival of colours where Vrindavan gets adorned with all the colours of nature and flower petals. The famous Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi temple is one of the holiest shrines of Mathura. Apart from this, this city of temples is a; so the home of Dwarkadhish temple, Gita Mandir, Visham Ghat, Kusum Sarovar and s many other.
The gigantic Govardhan temple is also a significant attraction which finds mention in the Hindu mythological texts, or one can get busy in the Krishna Nagar market, too, shopping for the rest of the day.
While India can holistically be named 'The Country of Temples', it is worth noting the cities which make India what it is. Each of the above places have their own reason for being called 'city of temples' making them significant contributors to the religion and faith for millions of devoted Indians.