Shiva is a Hindu god revered by Shaivaites in India as the remover of all ignorance across the cosmos. There are temples devoted to his worship in India since he is one of the three primary gods in the Hindu pantheon (and abroad). The Jyotirlinga temples and Mellacheruvu Swayabhu Shambhulingeshwara Swami are the most notable of them. Shiva is the god of all in Shaivism, and he is worshipped by everyone, including Devas such as Brahma, Vishnu, and Indra, Asuras such as Banasura and Ravana, humans such as Adi Shankara and Nayanars, and animals such as Jatayu, an eagle, and Vali, an ape. Shiva was worshipped by deities, rishis, and grahas, who built Shivalingas in various locations.
Lord Shiva’s splendour is well recognized since he is renowned to bestow his followers with a happy and wonderful married life, and his worshipers revere him for his abundant boons. According to Hindu religious beliefs, Lord Shiva is the greatest power who has played an important part in Indian civilization. In mythology, he has been described as both a calm being and a ferocious deity due to his dual personality. Lord Shiva is worshipped in various forms in various Indian states. This is why there are so many Lord Shiva temples in India.
Here, we will discuss some of the best Shiva temples in India.
1. Lingaraj Temple, Odisha
The majestic temple of Lingaraj, an outstanding gem of Kalinga style architecture, is supposed to have been erected in honour of Lord Harihara, who is thought to be an avatar of Lord Shiva. Although this temple was built by the emperors of the Somavamsi dynasty, it was afterwards rebuilt and somewhat changed by the kings of the Ganga dynasty. This temple, one of the oldest in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, is very important to residents and tourists from all over the nation.
2. Annamalaiyar Temple, Tamil Nadu
Annamalaiyar Temple in Thiruvannamalai is one of the largest temple complexes noted for its great grandeur and is at the top of the list of notable Shiva temples in Tamil Nadu. The four major doorways of the temple, known as Gopurams, are a masterpiece of art in architecture. It is also an influence for several Tamil texts and, more crucially, follows five rites in a single day. It is preferable to visit this temple during the Karthigai Deepam festival.
3. Amarnath, Kashmir
Amarnath pilgrimage, one of India’s most renowned Shiva temples, is a challenging yet wanted one among all Shiva enthusiasts. The Amarnath Yatra is a prominent and devout religious trek that pilgrims make to worship the Lord, and it is located at a gigantic height of 3888m in a cave in Jammu and Kashmir. The temple is well-known for its spontaneously formed ice Linga of Lord Shiva, which occurs once a year.
4. Kedarnath, Uttarakhand
Kedarnath is well-known for being the home of one of the 12 Jyotirlingas as well as a well-known Shiva temple in India. This lovely temple is set within the Garhwal Himalayan Range and is visited by pilgrims as they begin their Chota Char Dham or Char Dham Yatra of Uttarakhand, which includes visits to Badrinath, Gangothri, and Yamunotri as well as this sacred shrine of Lord Shiva. Because it is located at such a high height, the temple cannot be reached by road, and pilgrims must hike upward for 22 kilometres from Gaurikund.
5. Vadakkunnathan Temple, Kerala
Vadakkunnathan temple, one of the most prominent temples in South India, is considered to be the first temple erected by Parshurama. Devotees visiting the shrine bring big amounts of Ghee as a token of offering. As a result, instead of the Lingam, there is now a vast pile of Ghee in the temple. This ghee is then returned to the devotees as Prashadam to be consumed at home.
6. Somnath Temple, Gujarat
Somnath’s ancient temple is located in Saurashtra’s Prabhas Kshetra, near Veraval. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples devoted to Lord Shiva and enjoys high regard among Hindus. The temple has witnessed significant historical events and has been destroyed by foreign invaders for its special store of stones and jewels. Somnath’s most recent temple was rebuilt in 1947. The temple is created in the Chalukya architectural style and is located right on the beach. The temple’s most notable feature is an Arrow Pillar known as Baan Stambh.
7. Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, Madhya Pradesh
Exquisite wall detailing is one of the features that distinguishes the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple from other Shiva temples in India. Aside from the 900 carved sculptures outside and within the temple, they feature portrayals of a dancing Chamunda, which adds to its popularity. This location is ideal for experiencing divinity or simply admiring the magnificent work of building!
8. Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, Andhra Pradesh
Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, located in Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh, is yet another jyotirlinga temple on the banks of the Krishna River. The temple boasts a gilded tower and a silverplated entryway with beautifully carved pillars. Lord Shiva is revered as Mallikarjun, and Goddess Parvati is revered as Bhadrakali. The Mallikarjuna Swamy temple was erected around 6 centuries ago by King Harihara Raya of the Bijayanagara dynasty, thus history aficionados will find enough components to fill their knowledge bank at this temple.
9. Tungnath Temple, Uttarakhand
If you haven’t gone to the tallest known Shiva temple in the world, now is the time to go. Tungnath Temple is located in Uttarakhand. The famed Chandrashila walk, which gives magnificent vistas of the surrounding snow-capped peaks, also contains a surprise at the finish. That’s correct! This temple is right at the end of the trail, and it comes with a few too many frigid wind splashing in your face, as well as a stunning vista to satisfy your wanderlust.
10. Bhojpur Shiva Temple, Madhya Pradesh
The name of the Bhojpur Shiva temple, which is located in Madhya Pradesh, appears on the list of old Lord Shiva temples in India. The Shiva Lingam, which is embedded in the temple and is created out of a single carved rock, is a remarkable feat of architecture. Even though the building of this sacred edifice has not been completed, it has been hailed as the tallest Shiva Linga in the country.
11. Kailashnath Temple, Maharashtra
A stunning combination of 34 temples constituting the famed Kailashnath temple in Aurangabad, Maharashtra is nothing short of a sight to see and draws a large number of tourists each year. This temple, one of the most important Lord Shiva temples in India, was erected during the period of the Rashtrakutas in the 8th century and is claimed to have established key benchmarks and inspirations for temples erected later in the same century.
12. Omkareshwar, Madhya Pradesh
Omkareshwar Temple, located on the Narmada River, is one of India’s most famous Shiva temples. It is scattered throughout the Mandhata Island, which is fashioned like the Om sign. The three-headed idol worshipped here is revered three times a day. Monday is the greatest day to visit if you want to see the genuine splendour of this place.
13. Kashi Vishwanath, Uttar Pradesh
It is widely said that breathing your last in Kashi absolves you of all future rebirths and allows your soul to reach Moksha since Lord Vishwanath provides sanctuary for all devout Shiva believers. Kashi Vishwanath Temple, located in the historic city of Varanasi, is a prominent Shiva temple in India, with people from all across the country flocking to it. You may visit this temple during Maha Shivratri when it will be gorgeously decked in honour of this significant Shivratri holiday.
14. Brihadeswara Temple, Tamil Nadu
The Brihadeeshwara Temple, located on the banks of the Kaveri River in Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, is a magnificent architectural gem of the Dravidian era. This is one of India’s finest Shiva temples, built between 1001 and 1010 AD by the renowned ruler Raja Raja Chola. The temple has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The massive vimana tower, constructed with granite above the sanctuary, is the highest structure in South India. The temple is also known for having one of India’s largest Shiv Lingas and Nandi and a massive akhara. Among all the temples and monuments built by the Chola Dynasty, this temple is unrivalled in terms of architecture.
15. Murudeshwara Temple, Karnataka
Murudeshwara, in North Karnataka, is home to the world’s second-highest statue of Lord Shiva, which rests magnificently with the Arabian Sea splashing behind it. The picturesque environment, together with the tall monument of the goddess, will undoubtedly make you fall in love with the location. A 20-story temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is also being built near the monument. In order for devotees and tourists to have a good look at the Shiva statue, temple officials built a lift that transports visitors and pilgrims to the top of the Raja Gopura, giving them a breathtaking view of the huge monument and the surrounding gorgeous scenery.
16. Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu
Chidambara Nataraja Temple, also known as Thillai Nataraja Temple, is one of the most beautiful Shiva temples in South India. It is an aesthetic gem of the Chola Dynasty, which built this majestic temple in the 10th century. The temple holds Shiva in the form of Nataraja (or Lord of Dance), as well as the 108 katanas of Natyashastra, which are intricately etched on the temple walls. The temple architecture gives a clear image of the magnificent relationship between arts and spirituality, and it emanates an aura, a distinct vibration sensed only in the temple’s inner chambers. On the celebration of Maha Shivratri, an annual Nrityaanjali is held to praise and praise Nataraja, the Lord of Dance.
17. Kotilingeshwara Temple, Karnataka
True to its name, the Kotilingeshwara Temple is a well-known Shiva temple in India, holding about one crore Shiva Lingas, making it one of the largest in the country. This majestic temple is located in the Kolar region of Karnataka and is well-known among residents and visitors alike. Aside from around one crore miniature shiva lingams, the temple grounds also include a 33-metre-tall Linga and an 11-metre-tall Nandi. There is also a water tank beside the Linga that devotees can use to make offerings to the lingams.
18. Baidynath Shiva Temple, Jharkhand
Baidynath Shiva Temple in Jarkhand is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and an important Shiva temple in India. Vaidya, which translates to “doctor,” is the term used to address the deity here because, according to legend, Lord Shiva took on the role of a healer/doctor in front of Ravana, who ardently prayed to God to grant him a boon, and in order to receive that boon, Ravana cut his ten heads one by one and offered them to Lord Shiva to please him and seek the boon. Pilgrims visit this temple on an annual Kanwar yatra, bringing holy water from the Ganges to present to the goddess here. In this temple, Maha Shivratri is widely celebrated.
19. Bhimashankar Temple, Maharashtra
The Bhimashankar temple is located in Pune, near the mouth of the River Bhima. Apart from its religious importance, this temple is also well-known for its Nagara architectural style, which can be seen in the temple’s construction. According to legend, a demon named Tripurasur performed penance and delighted Lord Shiva, who bestowed upon him the reward of immortality. The catch was that he had to utilise his power for the advancement of humankind or else he would perish. Tripurasur eventually forgot about the condition and began to disrespect the Gods. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati then adopted the form of Ardhanarishwara and destroyed the demon at this location.
20. Ramanathaswamy Temple, Tamil Nadu
Ramanathaswamy, one of India’s most prominent Shiva temples, is located in Tamil Nadu. This temple is frequently included as part of the Temple Tour throughout the country’s southern regions and with good cause. This temple, which is predominantly visited by Shaivite and Vaishnavite believers, has a fascinating history. The temple is said to be built on the same site where Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva to atone for his guilt of slaying Ravana, a Brahmin. The temple is extremely popular with art enthusiasts since it features the world’s longest temple hallway.
If this list of best Shiva temples in India has piqued your interest in a relaxing trip to one of these sites in the enchanting country, we suggest it’s the time! Plan a journey to one of India’s top shiva temples for that long-awaited spiritual experience. Don’t forget to bring your loved ones since this will undoubtedly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Send this article to all those you want to plan a trip with!