Temples make for the integral foundation of our society. Known to wield enormous powers temples also have made a great impact on the socio-cultural graph of the country. In not possible to roam around in India and not spot a temple in any nook and corner of a city. But with time immemorial few Temples have etched their mark in history and until today they are living testimony of days gone by. Be it their artistic grandeur or the intense faith that one has in them they are known to pour blessings over the mankind.
Here is a compilation of few of the renowned temples that have been shared by my fellow bloggers.
Ranakpur – An Architectural Marvel
Recommended by- Richa from Light Travel Action
The magnificent 15th century Ranakpur temple in Mewar region of Rajasthan, India, is dedicated to Adinath, the first Tirthankara, of this era. The grand scale and sheer architectural complexity of Ranakpur temple is alluring.
Legend has it that there was a rich merchant named Dhanna Shah who dreamt of a ‘nalini-gulmavimana’, which literally means ‘pillar-cluster-flying-palace’ reserved for celestial beings. Depa a carefree artist came up with a design which greatly pleased Dhanna Shah and thus began the construction of this temple which took 50 years to complete. The temple has four separate entrances, one on each side and is therefore called Chaumukha (four-faced). There are 1440 carved pillars and interestingly, no two pillars are alike in design and sculpture. The carvings are detailed and exquisite.
Bhog: Though the concept of Bhog is not here, however, there is a “Bhojan Shala” (temple food hall) that serves pure Vegeterian Jain food prepared without garlic and onion. The food is served in a ‘Thali’ and one can have as many helpings as one wishes for a nominal cost of Rs 50/-. Generally, the Thali consists of one vegetable, one curry and daal (lentil) accompanied with rotis, puris, rice, and fried papads. In addition, they also serve chutneys and curds (yogurt).
Travel Tip: Temple is open for prayers from 7am to 7pm. Non-Indians are allowed to enter only from noon to 5 pm. Photography is also allowed only during these hours. If you wish to enter the temple, your arms, and legs till knees need to be covered with cloth. Scarves are available for rent at the ticket counter.
Ananthapura Lake Temple- Guarded by the vegetarian crocodile
Recommended by - Sindhu Murthy
Ananthapura is a tiny village located in the northernmost region of Kerala bordering with the Karnataka state in India. The Ananthapura temple is famed as the only lake temple in Kerala and is considered as the original seat of the world famous Ananthapadmanabha Swami temple of Thiruvananthapuram. An interesting fact about the temple deity is the overwhelming procedure involved in the making of the idol using about 108 ingredients sourced from sea, earth, plants, and animals. What is more intriguing about the temple is the story of the sole vegetarian crocodile, Babiya, which guards the temple.
Babiya resides in the lake of Ananthapura temple and is considered as the guardian of the temple.
Bhog- It only feeds on a vegetarian meal that is prepared by the temple priest using the offering made by devotees. Every day after the noon’s worship in the temple, the priest goes out to the pond and calls Babiya to offer the bhog.The Crocodile eats the gruel prepared with rice and jaggery from the priest’s hand. There has been no history of anybody getting harmed by the crocodile.
Sri Harmandir Sahib- The Abode of God
Recommended by Tanya Kaur
Golden temple or Sri Harmandar Sahib is the most sacred place of any Sikh around the world Harmandar Sahib is located in Amritsar (Amrit-sar) or sacred tank. Amritsar was originally known as ‘Guru ka Chak’ or ‘Ramdaspur’. The Land of Amritsar was purchased by 3rd Sikh Guru “Guru Amardas ji” from Akbar by paying 700 Akbari gold coins. Mahatma Buddha stayed in Amritsar and proclaimed it is the best place for attaining nirvana.
The specialty of Harmandar Sahib is its foundation stone was laid by a Muslim Sufi Saint Mian Mir. Golden Temple has four main doors in four directions symbolising its open for everyone, regardless caste, creed, religion, and Gender. The compilation of Holy Book was done in golden temple. The Gold coated plates on Harmandir was arranged by Maharaja Ranjit Singh,162 kg of pure gold was used amounting to 66 Lakhs.
Prasad – The Special bhog or Langar (Community Kitchen) is free for all without distinction. Around 60,000 people eat langar during a day here, every day this place is served by thousands of volunteers. Hygiene is properly maintained.
A day at Golden Temple begins as early as 2:30 am and ends with a Closing ritual called ‘Sukhasan’ at 10 :15 pm , Everyday same routine yet the place is always served by volunteers, with same enthusiasm and spirituality. Harmandar is a living example of proud Sikh history ,it is the gust of godly strength, spring of pure inspirations, ever-flowing springs of bounties and above all the tall standard of Sikh Pride.
Bishnupur Temples – The glory of the Malla kingdom
Recommended by Madhurima Chakraborty
With time, the famous silk saree with hand weaved intricate stories have replaced the heritage and legacy of terracotta temples of Bishnupur, a small town in the district of Bankura, West Bengal. Consecutive enemy attacks and internal politics rendered decay to the reigning Malla kingdom a few centuries ago. However, time has not gnawed much on the temples they built, thanks to the locals who continue celebrating rituals and customs in the forlorn interior of the Bengal village.
Countless temples here are dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu worship, with the latter being more prevalent. One major temple – the Satepeeth of Chinnamasta is also hailed with much respect. Bishnupur sees an annual mela that is celebrated by the Rasmancha and Lalji temple during Rath Utsav. Devotees from around the country comes to offer sacrilege. The Lalji temple complex had a kitchen, a Tulsi Manch during it’s prime days, with the latter being intact and housing a few lizards from the wild. Inside the temple complex, resides idol of Vishnu and his consort, Laxmi. The idol is made of white marble. The temple walls are inscribed with various stories from ancient times.
Bhog- The famous temple bhog during the Bishnupur mela that is served is Khichuri and Labra ghonto. Khichudi is the good old traditional Indian dish cooked with rice and lentils and mildly spiced. To enhance the flavour, various vegetables are added. Labra Ghonto, on the other hand, is very specific to Bengal where different seasonal vegetables, ranging from drumsticks, potato, pumpkins, gourds and more are cooked together till reaching a mashed state and served with a side of Kichdi.
This is a contributory post and all opinions expressed are the contributors own.