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10 Amazing Hindu Temples

Hinduism is one of the worlds oldest religions, and has over


900 million followers worldwide. Though most of the Hindus
live in India there are substantial numbers present in Nepal,
Bangladesh and Indonesia.
Temple construction in India started nearly 2000 years ago
and marked the transition of Hinduism from the Vedic

flickr/Santhosh Janardhanan

religion. The architecture of Hindu temples has evolved ever


since resulting in a great variety of styles. They are usually

The City of 1000 Temples, Kanchipuram is one of the oldest

dedicated to one primary Hindu deity and feature a murti

cities in South India, and known for its ancient Hindu temples

(sacred image) of the deity. Although it is not mandatory for a

and silk sarees. The city contains several big temples like the

Hindu to visit a Hindu temple regularly, they play a vital role

Varadharaja Perumal Temple for Lord Vishnu and the

in Hindu society and culture.

Ekambaranatha Temple which is one of the five forms of

10Tanah

Lot

abodes of Lord Siva.

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8Brihadeeswarar

Temple

flickr/Peregrino Will Reign

Situated on a large rock, Tanah Lot is one of the most


famous Hindu temples in Bali, and probably the most
photographed. The Tanah Lot temple has been a part of
Balinese mythology for centuries. The temple is one of 7 sea

flickr/Matthew Winterburn

temples, each within eyesight of the next, to form a chain


along the south-western coast of Bali.

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9Kanchipuram

The Brihadishwara Temple, located in Thanjavur, India, was


built by the Chola king Rajaraja I in the 11th century. The
worlds first complete granite temple, Brihadishwara is a

Temples

brilliant example of the Dravidian style of temple architecture.


The temple tower is 66 meters (216 feet) high making it one
of the tallest temples in the world.

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7Khajuraho

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5Sri

Ranganathaswamy

flickr/kuranda

The village of Khajuraho is one of the most popular tourist


destinations in India. Its numerous Hindu and Jain temples
are famous for their erotic sculpture. The temples were built

flickr/sowri

over a span of 200 years, from 950 to 1150. A few of the

Dedicated to Lord Ranganatha (a reclining form of Lord

temples are dedicated to the Jain pantheon and the rest to

Vishnu), the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam,

Hindu deities, to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, and various

India is an important shrine that receives millions of visitors

Devi forms.

and pilgrims every year. With an area of 156 acres (6,31,000

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m), the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is one of the largest

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religious complexes in the world. The oldest structure of the

6Banteay

Srei

temple dates back to the 10th century.

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4Virupaksha

Temple

fl
ickr/Marc Aurel

Although officially part of the Angkor Wat complex, Banteay


Srei lies 25 km (15 miles) north-east of the main group of
temples, enough to list it separately here. The Hindu temple
was completed in 967 AD and is built largely of red
sandstone, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate
decorative wall carvings which are still clearly visible today.
Banteay Srei is the only major temple at Angkor not built for a
king, instead it was constructed by one of king
Rajendravarmans counselors, Yajnyavahara.

flickr/Marina & Enrique

The Virupaksha Temple in the city of Hampi in India started


out as a small shrine and grew into a large complex under
the Vijayanagara rulers. It is believed that this temple has
been functioning uninterruptedly ever since the small shrine

was built in the 7th century AD which makes it one of the

The Meenakshi Amman Temple is one of the most important

oldest functioning Hindu temples in India. The largest

Indian Hindu temples, located in the holy city of Madurai. The

entrance tower of the temple is 50 meters high.

temple is dedicated to Sundareswar (form of Lord Shiva) and


Meenakshi (form of Goddess Parvati). The complex houses

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14 magnificent towers including two golden Gopurams for the


main deities, that are elaborately sculptured and painted.

3Prambanan

The temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, and


has been mentioned for the last couple of millennia, though
the present structure was built in the early 17th century.

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1Angkor

Wat

flickr/zsoolt

Prambanan is the largest and most beautiful Hindu temple


complex in Indonesia. Located about 18 km east of
Yogyakarta, it is somewhat overshadowed by the even more
awe-inspiring Borobudur situated just next door. The two
sites are quite different in style though, with Prambanan
being a collection of tall and pointed Hindu temples, instead
of the single large Buddhist stupa of Borobudur.
flickr/DragonWoman

Prambanan has three main temples dedicated to Vishnu,


Brahma, and Shiva and was built around 850AD by the
Mataram Kingdom, rulers of central Java.

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2Meenakshi

Amman Temple

Angkor is a vast temple complex in Cambodia featuring the


magnificent remains of several capitals of the Khmer Empire,
from the 9th to the 15th century AD. These include the
famous Angkor Wat temple, the worlds largest single
religious monument, and the Bayon temple (at Angkor Thom)
with its multitude of massive stone faces. During its long
history Angkor went through many changes in religion
converting between Hinduism to Buddhism several times

flickr/raysto