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    India offers a mystical journey to those who seek to traverse through the spiritual, numinous and religious alleys of the country. A land of diverse religious faiths, languages, cultures, customs and traditions, India is an intriguing destination for those interested in studying and understanding its spirit. With thousands of temples dotting the Indian landscape, the country attracts mystics and spiritual followers by the score.

    From Chaar Dhaam to the Swami Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala, the temples of India offer a mysterious solace and tranquility to every distressed soul. Thousands of people, from all over the world, flock to these temples in India; some with tears in their eyes, some with prayers in their heart and some with gratitude on their lips.

    Here’s a look at top 25 temples in India that are a must-visit; because of their spiritual value and their architectural splendour :

    1. Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai

    Photo Credits: Ilavanji

    Situated on the banks of the River Vaigai, the Meenakshi Amman Temple is the heart of the city of Madurai and one of the most popular South Indian temples. Dedicated to Meenakshi, an avatar of Goddess Parvati, and her consort Sundareswarar, Lord Shiva, the temple is one of the biggest temples of India. It attracts as many as 15,000 people every day. On Fridays, when special poojas are held in the temple, the number of devotees that come to the temple to receive the deity’s blessings is well over 25,000.

    Besides being known for its spiritual value, the Meenakshi Amman Temple is also an architectural wonder. Surrounded by 14 gopurams, the temple has two golden sculptured vimana over the sanctum sanctorum. There are about 33,000 sculptures in the Meenakshi Amman Temple.

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    The temple complex is spread over 45 acres and houses a sacred temple tank, shrines of the deities Meenakshi and Sundareswarar and an expansive corridor which was used to train parrots to call out the name ‘Meenakshi’. Interestingly, the pond in the temple does not have any fish or aquatic creatures. It is believed that Lord Shiva had blessed the pond and so it is free of all aquatic creatures. One of the most striking architectural wonders in the temple complex is the Hall of Thousand Pillars.

    The most important festival held in the temple premises is the Meenakshi Kalyanam, which attracts large number of devotees from all over the country. Another 10-day festival called the Avani Moola Maha Utsavam is another attraction for mystics and devotees.

    An interesting festival called Margazhi is celebrated from December to January. Other important festivals observed at the Meenakshi Amman Temple include Ther Thiruvizha, Theppa Thiruvizha, Navratri and Shivaratri.

    Mentions of the Meenakshi Amman Temple in ancient Tamil literature indicate that the temple belongs to the 7th century. Besides being an important religious centre and an architectural wonder amongst South Indian temples, the Meenakshi Amman Temple is also historically significant.

    2. Golden Temple, Amritsar

    The Golden Temple, originally known as the Harmandir Sahib or the Darbar Sahib, is a Sikh Gurudwara situated in the city of Amritsar. Known for its distinct gold covered dome and walls, the Golden Temple was built by the Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs and is considered to be one of the most auspicious and ancient temples in India.

    The Guru Granth Sahib, which was completed by the Guru in 1604, is also installed in the Golden Temple. With four gates in four directions, the Golden Temple welcomes all, irrespective of religion, caste and creed, into its fold. The Golden Temple was built to create peace between people from all walks of life and religions. More than one lakh people visit the Golden Temple every day.

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    Amritsar gets its name from the tank that was excavated by the fourth Guru of Sikhs Guru Ram Das. The Golden Temple is situated in the middle of this tank and the temple is regarded as the highest centre of Sikhism. The beautiful gold covered dome and walls look spectacular as they glisten in the rays of the sun. The ceiling is a stupefying work made with gold and precious stones. Amongst the ancient temples in India, this is definitely worth a visit.

    3. Sai Baba Temple, Shirdi

    This is one of the few temples in India which is held in high regard by both Hindus and Muslims in the country. Dedicated to Saint Sai Baba, the temple is situated in Shirdi, 296 km from Mumbai. The temple was built in 1922 to continue the services of Saint Sai Baba. Sai Baba is known and revered for his preachings. He emphasised on Shraddha meaning faith and Saburi meaning compassion.

    Sai Baba also strongly believed in the uniformity of religion. After his death, several disciples took on the onus of continuing his work and serving the masses. To this day, thousands of people visit the Sai Baba Temple in Shirdi every year. The temple witnesses an inflow of at least 20,000 devotees everyday and on special occasions the number crosses the 1,00,000 mark. Sai Baba’s disciples have spread the Shirdi Sai Movement in the Caribbean and other foreign countries such as the United States of America, Malaysia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Australia.

    4. Vaishno Devi Mandir, Jammu and Kashmir

    The Vaishno Devi Maa Temple in the town of Katra, Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir is one of the most important places of pilgrimage for Hindus of the country. One of the most significant temples in India, it is situated at an elevation of 5,300 feet and witnesses a huge inflow of devotees every year. It is considered to be a Shakti Peeth and hence Hindu devotees flocked to the temple in hundreds and thousands each year.

    According to Hindu mythology, Sati, often referred to as Ma Shakti, had set herself on fire after her husband, Lord Shiva, was insulted by her father King Daksha. Lord Shiva carried her body around the world in grief and pieces of her body fell in different parts of the country. The shrines built over these divine remnants are known as Shakti Peethas. The Vaishno Devi Mandir is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas in the country and is also one of the most important temples in India. This is the second most visited temple in the country, after the Tirumala Venkateshwara Temple.

    The journey to the Vaishno Devi temple is quite arduous as it requires a long uphill walk. However, ponies, palanquins and even helicopters are available for the journey. Despite the difficulties on the way to the temple, there is no decline in the number of devotees that visit the temple every year.

    5. Tirumala Venkateswara, Tirupati

    Photo Credits: klachak

    The Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh is the richest pilgrimage centre of the country. It is also the most visited temple in the country and witnesses an inflow of 50,000 to 1,00,000 pilgrims every day. The temple is situated on the seventh peak of the Tirumala Hill and is the abode of the presiding deity Lord Venkateshwara. Situated on the banks of the River Sri Swamy Pushkarini, the temple hosts a special festival called the Brahmotsavam. During this festival as many as 5,00,000 pilgrims visit the temple, making it the most visited holy place in the world.

    There are several legends associated with the temple. It is believed that the deity called Mulaberam is self-installed. A large gold crown with an emerald in the centre adorns the deity. On special occasions, the deity is adorned with a diamond crown.

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    According to devotees, Lord Venkateshwara is an extremely loving and compassionate avatar of the Lord Vishnu and fulfils all desires of his followers. The temple also witnesses several interesting rituals such as head tonsuring, thulabharam, Arjitha Seva, etc which are done by devotees to appease the lord. A major source of income for the temple is the auctioning of hair collected from devotees and accounts to as much as $6 million in the temple treasury.

    The major festivals celebrated in the temple include the Vaikuntha Ekadasi, Ram Navami, Janmashtami, Rathasaptami and Vasanthotsavam. The Brahmotsavam is the most important ceremony conducted in the temple every September.

    6. Gomateshwara Bahubali, Sravanabelagola

    Sravanabelagola in Hassan district of Karnataka is best known for its 57-feet tall statue of Gomateshwara Bahubali. It is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations for Jains in India. Sravanabelagola has two peaks called the Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri.

    The gigantic statue is situated on the Vindhyagiri hill and attracts a large number of tourists and devotees from all over the country and the world, throughout the year. The statue is also the world’s largest monolithic statue. Sravanabelagola attracts millions of devotees during the Mahamastakabhisheka ceremony of the statue.

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    The ceremony is conducted every 12 years and the colossal statue is bathed in milk, ghee, saffron and gold coins. Amongst the famous temples of India that have immense historical significance, this is one temple that is worth visiting. The next Mahamastakabhisheka is scheduled in 2018. Sravanabelagola is of particular interest to those keen on studying the emergence and evolution of Jainism. A number of inscriptions have been found in the region, written in ancient Kannada, Marathi, Sanskrit, Konkani, Tamil and Marwari languages. These inscriptions have also played an instrumental role in helping scholars understand the evolution of Kannada language and literature.

    7. Chennakeshava Temple, Belur

    Originally known as the Vijayanarayana Temple, the Chennakeshava Temple was built on the banks of the River Yagachi by Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana. The deity Chennakeshava is believed to be another form of the Hindu god Lord Vishnu. The temple is noted for its religious significance and architectural splendour.

    The beautiful temple is built of soapstone and showcases excellent craftsmanship and fine detailing. The pillars inside the hall of the temple are an attraction for most tourists, especially the Narasimha pillar which at one time revolved around its ball bearings. Exquisitely carved, the interiors of the temple are a fine specimen of the fabulous craftsmanship of the artisans of that period.

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    There are a number of sculptures too in the temple. Some of the most important and beautiful sculptures that can be seen in the temple include that of Narasimha, Gajasura Samhara, which depicts Lord slaying a demon; Ganesha; Goddess Durga slaying Mahishasura; Kali etc.

    8. Hoysaleswara Temple, Halebid

    The Hoysaleshwara temple is more of architectural value than religious. It was built in 1121 CE by the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana. The temple fell under the attack of Muslim invaders in the 14th century and parts of it were destroyed in the attack. Also known as Dorasamudra or Dwarasamudra, the temple architecture is a fascinating combination of skill and perfection. Made of soapstone, the temple has two shrines and two superstructures dedicated to the King and his queen Shantala Devi. These two shrines are called Hoysaleswara and Shantaleshwara.

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    According to historians, the construction of the temple was taken up in competition with that of the Chennakeshava Temple in Belur. This temple is the largest temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, among all temples in South India.

    The Hoysaleswara temple is best known for its artistic sculptures. There are about 240 sculptures on the walls of the temples. Another interesting feature of the temple is the Garuda Stambha. The Garuda Stambha stands in memory of all the special personal guards, called Garudas, who were assigned the responsibility of guarding the king and his family.

    9. Lord Ayyappan Temple, Sabarimala

    Sabarimala is situated in the Western Ghat ranges in Kerala. Surrounded by 18 hills and dense forests, the Sabarimala temple is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world and witnesses the congregation of as many as 45 to 50 million devotees every year. It is believed that Lord Ayyappan meditated here after slaying the demoness Mahishi and hence is of great importance to Hindu devotees. An interesting fact about Sabarimala pilgrimage is that only men are allowed to enter the temple. Women between the age group of 10 and 50 are not allowed in the temple.

    Sabarimala pilgrims can easily be identified by their clothes, which are usually black or blue in colour. They do not shave or eat non-vegetarian till their pilgrimage is complete. The temple is open to devotees during the first six days of the Malayalam calendar. The major festivals of the temple include the Mandala Pooja, which is held from November 15 to December 26; the Makaravilakku, which is usually held on January 14 and Vishu.

    10. Murugan Temple, Palani

    The Murugan Temple at Palani is one of the most important sites of pilgrimage for Hindus in the country. The temple is dedicated to Lord Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva. It is believed that Karthikeya on losing the challenge posed by Lord Shiva to his brother Ganesha, came down to Palani. The temple is known for its panchamrit and Javaadu Vibhuti, which every pilgrim to the temple brings back with him.

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    The important festivals of the Murugan Temple in Palani include the Skanda Sasti, the Thaipoosam and the Panguni Uthiram. Millions of devotees from all over the country undertake an arduous padayatra or journey on foot to reach the temple and seek darshan of the deity.

    It is believed that the sculpture of the deity was created by Sage Bhogar, one of the greatest ascetics of Hinduism, using the Navapashanam, which are nine medicinal stones. Every day, panchamrutham made of Navapashanam is anointed to the deity and then distributed among devotees. One of the most common traditions at the temple is the tonsuring of heads that devotees believe will appease the deity.

    11. Ramanathaswamy Temple, Ramanathapuram

    The town of Rameswaram is one of the holiest places of pilgrimage for Hindus in the country. It is a part of the Char Dhams or four holiest places for Hindus in the country. Rameshwaram is located on the Pamban Island and is connected to the mainland through the Pamban Channel.

    The Ramanathaswamy Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is an important place of worship for both Shaivites and Vaishnavites. The temple is noted for its architectural splendour and its corridor is the longest among all Hindu temples in the country. It is also one of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and here the God is worshipped as a Jyotirlinga or pillar of light.

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    According to popular belief, Lord Rama prayed to Lord Shiva here that all sins that he may have committed during the war with Ravana, be absolved. He needed a huge lingam for the purpose and hence sent Hanuman to get one from the Himalayas. Due to the delay in Hanuman’s return, his wife Sita built him a small lingam and this is believed to be enshrined in the temple. There are two lingams inside the shrine -- one the small lingam built by Sita called the Ramalingam and the other brought by Hanuman called the Viswalingam.

    12. Sun Temple, Konark

    The Sun Temple at Konark is a unique architectural wonder. One of the few temples in the country to be dedicated to the Sun God, this temple is more of architectural value than religious. It is believed to have been built by Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty around 1250 AD.

    The temple has been built in the shape of a chariot drawn by gigantic and exquisitely carved wheels, some of which are about three metres thick. The Konark temple was originally built at the mouth of the River Chandrabhaga and is positioned in such a manner that its principal entrance received the first rays of the sunlight.

    One of the most ancient  temples in India, Sun Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is visited by millions of tourists from all over the country and the world. The beautifully carved wheels and the erotic sculptures of Mithunas are the main attractions of the Sun Temple at Konark.

    13. Puri Jagannath Temple, Puri

    The Jagannath Temple is situated in the Puri district of Odisha. The temple is one of the Char Dham destinations where a Hindu is supposed to perform pilgrimage during his lifetime. The temple houses the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra.

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    The most famous festival observed at the temple is the Rath Yatra when all the deities are taken on a ride on temple chariots. The event attracts millions of devotees and tourists from all over the country and the world. The deities of the Jagannath temple of Puri are visibly different from those found in the other temples of the country. With large eyes, peculiar complexions, the distinct forms of the deities of this temple have many interesting legends associated with them.

    The idols of deities are built using a particular kind of wood called the Daru Brahma which is found by the leading temple priest once in every 12 years. There are several restrictions to entering the temple. Only Hindus of Indian origin are allowed to visit the interiors and other practising Hindus of foreign nationalities are restricted. Buddhist and Jain groups are, however, allowed inside if they can provide evidence of their Indian origin.

    14. Akshardham Temple, New Delhi

    Photo Credits: Gaurav Trivedi

    The Akshardham temple situated in New Delhi is one of the most beautiful temples of India. Situated on the banks of the River Yamuna, the temple holds the Guinness record for being the World’s Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple. The Akshardham Temple is often referred to as the Delhi Akshardham or Swaminarayan Akshardham and was developed by Pramukh Swami Maharaj of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha. Around 3,000 helpers of the BAPS helped 7,000 artisans develop the temple.

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    The temple, which has been built in compliance with Vastu Shastra and Pancharatra Shastra, attracts about 70 per cent of the tourists visiting New Delhi. Apart from exquisitely carved interiors and exteriors, the temple has a hall of values, a theatre, a musical fountain, and a garden called the Bharat Upvan. The temple is a fine reflection of India’s spiritual, architectural and Hindu and Indian culture.

    15. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Trivandrum

    The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is situated in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is one of the most famous temples of India. It is also one of the 108 Divya Desams, the principal places of worship of Lord Vishnu according to Vaishnavism.

    According to popular belief, the city got its names after the temple. The name Thiruvananthapuram means the sacred abode of Lord Anantha Padmanabha. In the temple, the presiding deity Padmanabhaswamy is enshrined in a reclining posture on the serpent Anantha.

    According to the Temple Entry Proclamation, only Hindus are allowed inside the temple and that too when dressed in the appropriate dress code. Inside the temple, there are two other shrines called the Thekkedom and Thiruvambadi dedicated to the deities Sri Yoga Narasimha and Sree Krishna Swami.

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    This South Indian temple has a 100-feet tall gopuram which was built in 1566. The major festivals of the Padmanabhaswamy temple include the Every day, panchamrutham made of Navapashanam is anointed to the deity and then distributed among devotees. celebrated in the months of October and November; the Painkuni festival celebrated in March and April; the Navratri festival, which is one of the most important festivals of the temple.

    The most attractive festival of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the Laksha deepam when one lakh oil lamps are lit in and around the temple premises. The festival is celebrated once in six years and in preparation for the festival, chanting and prayers and recitation of the three Vedas is done for 56 days.

    16. Badrinarayan Temple, Northern Dham

    Another important dham among the Char Dham temples of India, Badrinath is a small town and one of the holiest places for pilgrimage for Hindus. One of the most important ancient temples in India, it is situated on the banks of the River Alakananda in the Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. It is situated at an elevation of 10, 170 feet and devotees usually walk on foot to reach the famous Badrinath temple.

    It is believed that the saint Adi Shankara found an idol of Lord Vishnu made of Salagrama stone in the Alakananda River. He initially enshrined the idol near the hot springs of Tapt Kund, but later on the King of Garhwal re-installed the deity in the Badrinath Temple. The temple is an architectural wonder with stone facade, walls and arches and a gold gilt rooftop. The designing makes the temple resemble a Buddhist vihara. Badrinath is well connected by rail, road and air. The temple and its nearby areas are approachable by road.

    17. Dwarkadhish Temple, Western Dham

    The Western Dham of the Char Dham pilgrimage centres, the Dwarkadhish Temple is situated in Dwarka in Gujarat. It is believed to have been built after the legendary Dwaraka city, which was the capital of Lord Krishna and submerged into the city after the Mahabharata War. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and is a five-storied building, supported by 72 pillars.

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    The present temple at Dwarka is believed to have been built in the 16th century while the original was built by Lord Krishna’s grandson, Vajranabha. There are some specialities about the temple such as a flag is tied atop the temple and shows the sun and the moon. This flag is changed five times a day. The cleanliness of the temple and its surroundings has won it a nomination in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

    18. Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai

    The Shri Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir is one of the richest temples in Mumbai. It is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and was built by Laxman Vithu and Deubai Patil. It is one of the most famous temples of India as leading politicians and Bollywood celebrities often visit the temple for seeking the deity’s blessings.

    The temple has a small shrine for the deity. The inner roof of the sanctum is plated with gold and the wooden doors leading to the hall have carved images of Ashtavinayak or eight manifestations of Lord Ganesha. There is a Hanuman temple too situated near the Siddhivinayak temple. Millions of people include Siddhivinayak as a part of their temple tour itinerary.

    19. Guruvayoor Temple, Kerala

    The Guruvayoor Sri Krishna Temple is situated in the Guruvayur town in Kerala. It is one of the most famous temples of India, especially for Vaishnavites. It is dedicated to Lord Krishna and is often referred to as ‘Bhooloka Vaikuntam’, which means holy abode of Lord Vishnu on Earth.

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    The temple is one of the most famous Krishna temples of India. Lord Krishna is called Guruvayoorappan in this temple town. The idol of the deity at the Guruvayoor Temple is made of stone called black antimony and is believed to have magnetic and medicinal properties. There is a strict dress code for people who wish to enter the Guruvayoor Temple. Men are to wear mundu and remain bare backed. Women can wear saris, salwar kameez or long skirts. Several devotees flock this divine abode for an authentic temple tour experience.

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    20. Karni Mata Temple, Rajasthan

    The Karni Mata Temple is situated in Deshnoke in Rajasthan and is a Hindu temple. It is dedicated to Karni Mata, who was a Hindu sage and is believed to be an incarnation of goddess Durga. The temple was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner. The temple was further adorned with silver gates and marble carvings donated by a Hyderabad-based jeweller in 1999. Besides, the beautiful architecture, carvings and adornments, the most striking feature of the Karni Mata temple is the presence of about 20,000 black rats.

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    According to folklore, one of Karni Mata’s sons had fallen into the Kapil Sarovar while trying to drink water from it. Karni Mata summoned the God of death Yama and asked him to revive her son. Yama allowed all sons of Karni Mata to come back to life in the form of rats. These rats are considered to be holy and are given protection in the temple. If any of the rats die, it is to be replaced with a gold rat. There are also some white rats that are believed to be Karni Mata herself and her four sons.

    21. Khajuraho Temple, Madhya Pradesh

    Known for its beautiful sculptures and carvings, the Khajuraho group of temples and monuments is located in Madhya Pradesh. The site has the largest groups of Jain and Hindu temples of the medieval era. The Khajuraho Group of Temples has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is believed to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

    It is believed that the locals in the area always knew about the temples and had maintained in the best possible way they could. It was pointed out to the British when the jungles started causing damage to the temples. The temples are grouped into the Southern, Eastern and Western groups.

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    The temple is built of sandstone and the joints have been fixed with mortise and tenon and they are held together by gravity. The most striking feature of the Khajuraho temple is the exquisitely carved set of erotic sculptures outside the temple and near the deities.

    22. Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand

    The Kedarnath Mandir is one of the most sacred temples in the country and is situated in the state of Uttarakhand. Flanked by the Mandakini River on one side, the temple is open only from the month of April to the month of November. During the winter season, the deities of the Kedarnath Temple are taken to Ukhimath and worshipped there for six months. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is worshipped as the Lord of the Kedar Khand. The region was known as Kedar Khand earlier.

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    According to popular belief, the temple was built by the legendary Pandavas and revived by the saint Adi Sankaracharya. The temple can be reached only through a long, arduous trek from Gaurikund. The temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in the country and is also one of the most important sites of the Chota Char Dham Yatra undertaken by Hindus in India.

    The temple has to bear the onslaught of the recent floods in Uttarakhand. Although major parts of the temple complex had to bear severe damage, the Kedarnath temple has remained unharmed.

    23. Kashi Vishwanath, Varanasi

    Situated in the holy city of Varanasi, the Kashi Vishwanath temple is one of the holiest temples for Hindus in India. The Kashi Vishwanath temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and stands on the banks of the River Ganges.

    The city of Varanasi is the holiest cities for Hindus and is an important part of all religious tours in India. Hindus consider it essential to visit the city once in their lifetime and cremate their ancestors in Varanasi. The city of Varanasi is believed to be about 3,500 years old and was also known as Kashi, hence the temple is called Kashi Vishwanath.

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    The Kashi Vishwanath temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in the country. It is believed that by visiting the temple and by bathing in the River Ganges, a person can achieve Moksha. The linga in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple is about 60 cm tall and 90 cm in girth. There are several other temples in the complex. There is a small well in the complex which is called the wisdom well. It is believed that the Jyotirlinga was hidden in this well to protect it during the time of invasion.

    24. Somnath Temple, Gujarat

    Another one of the Jyotirlinga temples, the Somnath temple is an important destination for religious tourism in India. It is situated on the Western Coast of Gujarat and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. Jyotirlinga shrines are places where Lord Shiva is worshipped as an endless and fiery column of light. It is believed that there were 64 Jyotirlingas originally. As a part of the temple tour itinerary, Somnath Temple is definitely worth making a pit stop.

    The temple is also known as the ‘Shrine Eternal’ as it was destroyed during several invasions and rebuilt, the latest being in 1947. The temple is built in the Chalukya style of architecture and its main spire called shikara has a height of 150 feet. The most remarkable feature of the temple, as pointed out by inscriptions on the Baan Stambh, is that there no land falling in a straight line between the Somnath shore and Antarctica.

    25. Ranakpur Jain Temple, Rajasthan

    The beautiful Ranakpur Jain Temple is a fine example of splendid architecture, superb carvings and spectacular sculptures. Dedicated to Adinath, this stunning Jain temple is situated in between Jodhpur and Udaipur. The temple has beautiful domes, cupolas, turrets and a Shikhara.

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    The most remarkable feature about the temple is that it has as many as 1,444 pillars and it is believed that it is impossible to count all the pillars. Each pillar has a distinctive carving on it. All the sculptures have been carved in such a manner that they face one or the other idol in the temple. Furthermore, there is a beautiful carving made out of a single marble rock and depicts about 108 heads of snakes. Interestingly, it is impossible to find the tails of these snakes. There are thousands of people including this temple in their itinerary as a part of their temple tour vacation. The temple has been designed with four faces or chaumukha, which symbolises the Tirthankaras conquest of all four directions.

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Chittorgarh Fort

Chittorgarh Fort is one of the most important places to visit in Chittorgarh. This historical fort is the pride of the Rajasthani town as it stands imposingly upon the top of a hill, looking down protectively over the city. Nearly all of Chittorgarh’s attractions are housed inside the fort. 

The Chittorgarh Fort is a massive structure which was first built in the 7th century and covers an area of approximately 700 acres. There are several grand sights to be seen inside the fort itself apart from the commanding views that can be seen of the environs of Chittorgarh.

The fort, which is also known as Water Fort, contained 84 water bodies inside its grounds, of which 22 exist today. The Vijay Stambh, Kirti Stambh, Rana Kumbha Palace, Meera mandir and other consequential structures are also housed inside the formidable fort. 

Timings: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
Price: Rs. 10 for Indians; Rs. 100 for foreigners 
Location: Chittorgarh, Rajasthan 312001

Bala Quila Fort

Also known as the Alwar Fort, the BalaQuila Fort is one of the most historic destinations in Alwar, and is one of the tourist attractions in Alwar that should not be missed when you are in the Rajasthani city. Extending over an area of 5 kilometres, the fort stands stern and forbidding at a height of 1000 feet with 15 large and 51 small towers and 446 openings for musketry.

It was first built by Hasan Khan Mewati in 1550, but has since seen various dynasties rule over it as Alwar passed into the hands of Khanzadas, Mughals, Pathans and Jats. The fort still stands as imposing as ever, and is a great place to visit during an evening in the city. 

Timings: 10 am to 5 pm 
Location: Bala Quila   Rd, Near Nikumbha Mahal Palace, Alwar, Rajasthan 301001

Bhangarh fort

If you are looking for some thrills in Alwar, visiting its “most haunted place” is the best way to fulfil the desire. Bhangarh Fort, on the border of the Sariska Tiger Reserve, has long held its spooky reputation. Though it is a well-preserved fort, the ‘supernatural’ occurrences that seem to occur within its premises tend to ward off many people.

If you are eager to explore Alwar in all its facets, haunted and otherwise, a visit to this fort is a must. Do it while the light lasts, since ghosts are said to hang out here at night. Though spooky, Bhangarh Fort is one of the best places to visit in Alwar for some unique memories.  

Timings: 6 am to 6 pm
Location: Gola ka baas, Rajgarh Tehsil, Alwar, Bhangarh, Rajasthan 301410

Tower of Fame (Kirti Stambh)

The Kirti Stambha is a one of the lovely tourist attractions of Chittorgarh. Housed inside the massive Chittorgarh Fort, this 12th century tower stands as a monument to Adinathji, the 1st Jain Teerthankar.

It is decorated with the naked figures of the Digambars, and reflects the cultural beliefs of the Digambars comprehensively. There are seven storeys in the tower, and a narrow and steep staircase leads to the top from where views of the Chittorgarh environs can be taken in. 

Timings: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
Price: You only need to pay the entry price for the fort 
Location: Chittorgarh Fort Village, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan 312001

Om Beach

Brace yourself for a scenic getaway with a trip to Om Beach when you are in Gokarna. One of the most picturesque attractions in Gokarna, Om Beach is known for its serene landscape. Om Beach is a wonderful respite for adventure junkies who love to exult in the thrill of various water activities.

One of the most splendid features of this beach is that it is shaped like the symbol ‘Om’ and attracts scores of crowds who wish to relax and unwind. Although the beach is unparalleled in natural ch beauty among sightseeing places in Gokarna, it is relatively less crowded and charms the visitors with its rejuvenating ambience. It is also the starting point of the Gokarna Beach trek.

For those who are fond of photography and loves to indulge in laid-back strolls, Om Beach is one place that will go down the memory lanes forever.

Om Beach, Gokarna, Karnataka

Best Time to visit:
October to March is the most preferred time to visit Om Beach.

The most popular activities at Om Beach are banana boat rides, dolphin spotting, fishing, bumper boat ride, jet skiing and beachside trekking.

Distance from Gokarna Bus Main Stand, Banglegudda:
It is approximately 6 kilometres from the bus station.


The Palace Museum

The Palace Museum, also known as the Government Museum, is a worthwhile place to visit when in the city. There is a wonderful range of artefacts that are displayed in the museum that speak of the history of Rajasthan, and of Alwar in particular.

The entire collection of the museum comes from the Royal families reserves and consists of 234 sculptures, 11 inscriptions, 9702 coins, 35 metal objects, 2565 paintings & manuscripts, 2270 arms & weapons and 1809 objects of local art, crafts and musical instruments. Spending a couple of hours in the museum is a good way to initiate yourself into the history of Alwar and take back memories of its unique culture and tradition. 

Timings:10 am to 5 pm
Location: City Palace, Alwar, India

Vijay Stambha (Victory tower)

The Vijay Stambha stands tall and mighty in the premises of the Chittorgarh Fort. Built in 1440 AD by Maharana Kumbha to commemorate his victory over Mohamed Khilji, this 9-storyed tower is adorned by sculptures of Hindu deities around and reflects the historical traditions of its age quite successfully.

The view from the top of the structure is breathtaking- there are steep steps that lead to the top of the tower, from where the whole town is revealed in all its glory. 

Timings: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
Price: You only need to pay the entry price for the fort 
Location: Chittorgarh Fort Village, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan 312001

Siliserh Lake Palace

Siliserh Lake Palace is an erstwhile royal palace and hunting lodge located on the banks of the Siliserh Lake that has now been converted into a heritage hotel which is run by RTDC. The hotel makes for a perfect dropback to a romantic holiday because of the beauty of its exteriors and the simple elegance of its interiors.

The lake is perfect for fishing, sailing and boating. It is also a wonderful budget option for those who wish to enjoy luxury but do not wish to burn a hole in their pocket for the experience. The in-house restaurant offers a great range of Indian and Continental cuisines that are soul-satisfying and filling. 

Price: 2000- 3000 INR/ 50- 80 USD per night approx.
Location:Siliserh Circle, Alwar 301001, India

Padmini's Palace

Loacted inside the Chittorgarh Fort, the Padmani Palace has a unique history attached to it making it one of the must-visit attractions in Chittorgarh fort. This palace was the reason for the battle betweenAla-ud-din Khilji and Rana Ratan Singh. Padmini Palace was the very legendary palace from where Ala-ud-din Khilji was permitted to obtain a glimpse of Padmini in a mirror placed in the main hall.

Allured by her beauty, Ala-ud-din Khilji fought a fierce battle with Rana Ratan Singh, husband of Rani Padmini. A visit to this palace gives one an insight not only into the history of Chittorgarh but also into human passions. The palace overlooks a lovely pool, and the views from inside are delightful.
Timings: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
Price: You only need to pay the entry price for the fort 
Location: Chittorgarh Fort Village, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan 312001

Kudle Beach

Shaped like a perfect ‘C’, Kudle Beach is one of the most beautiful Gokarna tourist places that you’l ever come across. Flanked by coconut trees, Kudle Beach is a wonderful retreat for the lovers of peace and quiet.

The sheer beauty and simplicity of the beach is a breathtaking surprise and people visit this beach to enjoy the serene surroundings. Kudle Beach is most famous for offering a spectacular sunset and sunrise in Gokarna.

Attracting scores of tourists, mostly foreigners and backpackers, Kudle Beach is a beach haven to enjoy a leisurely stroll or indulge in some enterprising ventures like swimming, surfing and beach trekking in Gokarna.

There are also many beach shacks and makeshift bamboo huts where people can spend the night on the beach and appreciate the wonder of glistening waters in the light of the moon.

Kudle Beach, Gokarna

Best Time to visit:
November to February is the best time to visit Kudle Beach.

It is advisable to visit the beach from 4 am to 6:30 pm.

Trekking, yoga, surfing etc.

Distance from Gokarna Bus Main Stand, Banglegudda:
It is about 6 kilometres away from the bus station.


Rana Kumbha Palace

Rana Kumbha Palace is one of the most interesting places to visit in Chittorgarh fort. The massive proportions of the ruined edifice of the palace reveal what an imposing structure it was in the height of its glory. Rana Kumbha Palace is the largest monument in the Chittorgarh Fort and has a grand history attached to it. It has been the residence to people like Bappa Rawal, Maharana Kumbha, rani Padmani, Princess Meera Bai among others.

Legend of Panna Dhai, who saved infant Udai Singh with the heart-breaking sacrifice of her infant son, is also associated with this palace. The dungeons of this palace are also supposed to be the place where Rani Padmani and the other women of the palace committed Johar. 

Timings: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
Price: You only need to pay the entry price for the fort 
Location: Chittorgarh Fort Village, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan 312001

Hill Fort Kesroli

Ancient fort turned heritage hotel, Hill Fort Kesroli is a magnificent place to indulge yourself in when on vacation in Alwar. It is a beautiful structure to look upon, and just as gorgeous to inhabit. The décor is in keeping with the traditional image of the fort, and history still has a presence in the long glossy halls of the hotel.

A stay in this fort allows you to escape the everyday bustle of Alwar while letting you immerse yourself in its culture and tradition as you rest your body in relaxation. 

Price: 5000- 8000 INR/ 70- 100 USD per night approx. 
Location: Near M.I.A Post Office-Bahala, District Alwar, Kesroli

Half Moon Beach

Listed as one of the most attractive sightseeing places in Gokarna, Half Moon Beach boasts of beautiful surroundings. The beach derives its name based on its shape like a half moon.

Half Moon Beach is known for its clean sparkling sands against the transparent blue waters. Mostly famous for foreign travellers and backpackers, Half Moon Beach is a great place to relax and unwind.

Half Moon Beach can be visited by a hike from Om Beach which is a thrilling enterprise. Away from all the crowds, this beach is a wonderful destination to indulge in some fun activities as well as indulge in enjoying some mouth-watering food available at the beach shacks nearby.

This beach is an idyllic escape from the noise of the city or enjoys some classic beach activities like sunbathing or swimming.

Half Moon Beach, Gokarna

Best Time to visit:
The ideal time to pay a visit to the Half Moon Beach is between October and March

Tourists can visit here any time from 6 am to 6 pm.

Swimming, canoeing, paddle boats, paintball, camping, and cabins

Distance from Gokarna Bus Main Stand, Banglegudda:
Half Moon Beach is located approximately 5 kilometres away from the bus station in Gokarna.


Sariska Palace

This luxurious resort near the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary offers you the indulgence of a luxury hotel at the rate of a budget accommodation. Staying in this Palace during your stay in Alwar will allow you to experience the best of Alwar’s wild scenery, decadent luxury, and gracious courtesy.

The palace is located close to the sanctuary and the haunted fort, thereby offering its guests some of the best sights and sounds to be had in Alwar. 

Price: 1500- 2000 INR/ 30- 50 USD per night approx. 
Location: Near Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, Alwar, Sariska, Rajasthan 301022

Paradise Beach

Also renowned as the Full Moon Beach, Paradise Beach is a great spot to relax away from all the civilization in the realm of nature. It a splendid place for those interested in camping and relaxing seeing the blue waves of the ocean crash against the rocks on the white sands. Swimming is one of the most surreal activities which you can indulge in after taking due precautions of safety from the strong currents of the ocean.

One can reach this beach after a small hiking adventure from the Half Moon Beach in Gokarna. It can also be reached via a motor boat. This beach was once a popular hotspot for trading weed and many foreigners flocked here. However, now all the commercial activities are prohibited here. There are also not much of water sports, but tourists can bask in the serene surroundings and relax and unwind at Paradise Beach.

Paradise Beach, Gokarna, Karnataka

Best Time to visit:
Paradise Beach is best to visit from the month of October to March for tourists.

 The beach can be visited from the time of sunrise to sunset every day.

Camping, swimming,

Distance from Gokarna Bus Main Stand, Banglegudda:
It is around 8 kilometres away from the bus station.


Kalika Mata Temple

Built originally in the 8th century, this serene temple was dedicated to the worship of the sun god before it was converted into a shrine for Kalika, an incarnation of Goddess Durga, in the 14th century. This temple is one of the most important pilgrimage attractions in Chittorgarh, and should not be missed when touring the grounds of the Chittorgarh fort.

The architecture of the temple reflects the devotion of its builders- a lot of hard work has been put into the intricate carvings and embellishments that adorn the ancient walls of the temple. Even though it is partially in ruins now, the beauty of the temple still shines through. 

Timings: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
Price: You only need to pay the entry price for the fort 
Location: Chittorgarh Fort Village, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan 312001

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