A land of diversified cultures and religion, India, is believed to be blessed with edifices that are traced since the beginning of time.
Our country not only has the oldest religion in existence, but some magnificent temples that even today exude the feel of ancient legends. From rock-cut to cave temples, let’s check out these sacred structures of ultimate grace.
One of the oldest and larges rock-cut edifice on Earth, the Kailasa Temple is located in Ellora, Maharashtra. According to legends, the structure was carved out of one rock back in the 8th Century AD.
In Hinduism, the temple is considered as one of the sacred temples of the Char Dhams. One of Lord Vishnu’s 108 Divya Desams, the structure is over 2500 years old; with archaeological evidence supporting traces back to 2000 years.
Situated in the town of Badrinath, Uttarakhand, this temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is one of the four Char Dham sites. According to some historical reports, this was a buddhist shrine till Adi Sankaracharya converted it to a Hindu temple in the 8th Century A.D.
Adi Kumbeswarar Temple
This Chola temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is located in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu. Constructed initially in the 9th Century, it now covers a vast area of 30,181 sq. ft.
This 7th Century temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga Temples. Located in Gujarat, this popular temple was first built by the Seuna Dynasty and has been destroyed and rebuilt several times throughout the centuries. It was most famously destroyed by Mohammad of Ghazni in 1024 A.D.
Located in Maharashtra, this temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is also called Ambreshwar Shiva Temple and was built in 1060 A.D. It is said that Shilahara king Chhittaraja constructed it, his son Mummuni rebuilt it but the legend goes that it was built by the Pandavas out of one single stone.
This Shiva temple located in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, is also known as RajaRajeswara Temple Rajarajeswaram. One of the oldest temples in India, this reflects the Chola architecture and was built for Raja Raja Chola I. It is said to have been completed in 1010 A.D.
While the exact date of this Shiva temple is unknown, it is believed to have been constructed some time in the 8th Century A.D., after Adi Sankaracharya visited the place. To reach the temple, one has to walk a distance of 14 kilometers as the location is not accessible by road. This is also one of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples
Varadaraja Perumal Temple
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams of the Lord. Located in Kanchipuram, this temple was built by the Cholas in the 11th Century A.D.
Badami Cave Temples
A complex system of rock-cut Hindu, Jain and Buddhist shrines, the cave temples at Badami, Karnataka, represent some of the earliest known examples of Hindu temples. They were carved out by the artisans under the Chalukya rule in the 6th Century A.D.
It is one of the oldest and largest temples in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. An icon of Kalinga Architecture, this temple is said to have been built in the 6th Century A.D., with later additions being done in the 11th Century A.D. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sriranganatha Swamy Temple, Tiruchirapalli is one of the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Built some time between 6th and 9th centuries, it is regarded as the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world; with an area of 156 acres.
This is one of the oldest temples in Bihar and is dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati. Archaeological Survey of India dates it to 108 A.D. It is also considered to be the oldest functional temple in the world.
Durga Temple Aihole
Located in Aihole, Northern Karnataka, this temple is dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva, was built by the Chalukyas in the 7th or 8th Centuries. The ‘Durga’ here means ‘protector’.
Lad Khan Temple
Located south of Durga Temple in Aihole, this Shiva temple was built in the 5th Century by the Chalukyas and is called Lad Khan temple because it was used as a residence by a person named Lad Khan for a period. It is the oldest temple of Aihole.
Meenakshi Amman Temple
Popularly known as Madurai Meenakshi Temple, this temple dedicated to goddess Parvati is said to have been first built in the 6th Century B.C. Many additions have been done to this temple with the present structure being built in the 16th Century A.D.
Located in Hampi, on the banks of Tungabhadra river, Virupaksha Temple is considered to be the most sacred among the temples in Hampi. The temple, constructed in 7th Century A.D., is dedicated to Lord Shiva, in the form of Lord Virupaksha.
Jagatpita Brahma Temple
This temple is one of the very few temples dedicated to Lord Brahma and the most prominent one among them. Located in Rajasthan, this temple is believed to be 2000 years old.
This temple at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, is called so because it faces the Bay of Bengal. One of the oldest structural temples in South India, this temple was constructed some time around 700 A.D., during the reign of the Pallava king Narasimhavarman II.
Built on the banks of the Yagachi River in Belur, Karnataka, by the Hoysala Empire some time between the 10th and 11th centuries, this temple is a soapstone temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.