Top 5 Ancient Temple Marvels of India
By Sangeetha P, Online Content Writer, siliconindia | Tuesday, 15 September 2020, 15:48 Hrs
India is quite famous for its culture, tradition, and diversity across the world. Despite being a secular country, the Hindu religion is widespread throughout India. The faith, culture, and traditional worship method has eventually given birth to copious sacred temples all over the country. Each temple built in India has its own mythological story and history to tell us and not to forget the mesmerizing architecture that grabs our attention right at the first sight. Our ancestor's great architectural skills are commendable and have been praised by many scholars all over the world. Here we bring a few ancient temples that stand as our country monument even after passing thousands of years.
Meenakshi temple is the oldest and most famous temple of South India. It is constructed in the temple city of Tamil Nadu -Madurai. This temple has exceptional blend mythology and history to tell the devotees who visit this temple to worship Lord Shiva and Parvati in the form of Sundareswarar and Meenakshi. The mythology narration begins with Goddess Parvati emerging out of Yajna (sacred fire) as a three-year-old girl, Meenakshi. As King Malayadwaja Pandya and wife Kanchanamalai had no child, they worshiped Lord Shiva by igniting the Yajna and demanded a son. But, the lord had a different plan and blessed the couple with a three-breasted girl child. The abnormal physical appearance of the child petrified the new parents, then a divine voice assured them not to worry about the child and her third breast would disappear when she meets her future husband.
The relived king then nurtured his daughter Meenakshi and eventually announced her to be his successor as she grew up to be a young woman. As a fierce warrior princess, Meenakshi went on to capture her neighboring kingdoms. It is said that she captured Indralok, the dwelling place of Lord Indra, and then made her way to capture Kailash where Lord Shiva dwells. The moment Lord Shiva appeared in front of Meenaski her third breast disappeared this made her realize that she has met her soulmate. Then Lord Shive led her to Madurai and they both united in the sacred matrimony, which is till date celebrated as a ten-day festival Known as ' Chithirai Thiruvizha' also known as ‘Tirukalyanam’ (the grand wedding) in the premises of Meenakshi temple.
History narrates that the temple was built in the 1st-century C.E and it is as old as the city itself. The temple was constructed by Kulashekarar Pandyan, the king who ruled the Pandyan dynasty. Later the temple was reconstructed in the 16th century after it had been destroyed by Muslim invaders. The restructuring of the temple has been done by the Nayaka dynasty inducing their architectural style known as 'Silpa Shastras'. Later, the temple was expanded by Thirumalai Nayak. It was during his ruling many Mandapams were constructed. The temple continued to expand until the advent of the British Rule and the temple competed for its final restructuring in 1995.
The prehistoric temple is located near the Sahyadri hills in Aurangabad. The Ellora Caves has Hindu, Jain, and Buddist temples and more than 100 caves. There are about 17 caves specified for Hindus, 12 for Buddist, and five for Jain these caves also have the deities and carvings of the respective religion. It is said that the Hindu and Buddist Caves were constructed during the Rashtrakuta dynasty and the Jain Caves were built by the Yadav dynasty.
The 12 Hindu caves were built from 600 to 875 AD, and these carvings represent tree nymphs, animal motifs, trees, plants, apsaras, and of course most importantly god and goddesses. Though the caves have several carving and pillars some caves are plain and lack carvings. The Ellore caves' excentric architecture has brought the pride of being a World Heritage Site this artistic temple.
Guruvayur Temple was earlier known as 'Bhooloka Vaikunta' (God's adobe on Earth) is said to an age-old temple approximately 5000 years old. The temple's name Guruvayur represents 'Guru' (preceptors of the gods) and 'Vayu' (god of winds) also the temple is been dedicated to Lord Krishna who is also known as Guruvayoorappan and hence the temple is also known as 'Dakshina Dwaraka'.
The temple is constructed by the divine architect, Vishwakarma who has to give a traditional Kerala architecture touch to the temple. The architecture of the temple is designed in such a way that Lord Surya himself pays homage to Vishnu on Vishu day, as the first sun rays fall directly at the feet of Vishnu's deity. There are about ten beautifully carved pillars on either side of the passage and the golden slokas of Narayaniyam are craved to praise the Lord Guruvayur.
Badrinath temple is located on the banks of Alaknanda River, in the Chamoli district. The holy shrine of Lord Vishnu forms a part of the four holiest sites in the Hindu religion and the others being Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri know as Char Dham. Badrinath holds the pride of being one among the 108 temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is renowned as Divya Desams. Unlike other temples, Badrinath temple is not open all round the year. It is open for devotees to worship only between April to November as the weather is too harsh to withstand and take up pilgrimage journey. Taking up the pilgrimage journey to these Char Dham is considered as the way leading towards Moksha.
The ancient site and an ex-royal capital of the Vijaynagar Empire, Hampi temple which is also popularly known as the 'city of ruins'. The small yet beautiful town of northern Karnataka is a most sought after place for tourism and pilgrimage. On the banks of Tungabhadra River, Hampi has two renowned temples of India Virupaksha and Vitthala.
Virupaksha temple is the most popular shire of Hampi, it is also addressed as Pampapathi Temple. Though the entire city was destroyed, this temple remained unaffected back in the 16th century. This temple has three towers, the eastern tower is raised to 160 feet with nine tires. The temple's origin goes back to the 15th century, however, it was reconstructed by Krishnadevaraya in the 16th century. Every year in February, this temple notices Chariot festival is celebrated with full gusto and fervor.