Which temple do you like in India? What is beautiful in that?

By Sunil Kumar

Lots of temples in India; although in recent years not enough are being built compared to other faiths gaining ground.

Which temple do I like? Different reasons; can be history, architecture, artistry, teamwork and most importantly peace, tranquility and spiritual energy.

The best efficient modern temple that impressed me by its sheer size, interesting multimedia approach and good maintenance was Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi(East).

Others that loom large in my memory are the beautiful works of art(Jain Temples in Ranakpur, Rajasthan and Palitana, Gujarat). Had to climb a lot(early morning) to get to the main complex at Palitana; but was worth the effort. Also; I got a real spiritual vibe from the place; an air of tranquility that probably exists in only a few other temples.

I don’t like pushy pandits in the major “dhams”(holy places) in India. Brings “materialism” back into the picture when they are apparently preaching about the soul. Understand everybody needs to make a living; but feels hypocritical when they are so “in-your-face” about cash.

Been to Shirdi(Sai-Baba temple) since childhood; and the place has a simplicity which is appealing. The jostling crowds are another matter though.

Some more that popped up in my mind include the Durgiana(Hindu) and the Golden Temple(Sikh) in Amritsar; Vaishno-Devi(another long journey), Dnyaneshwar(Bhakti-era saint) shrine in Alandi(near Pune); and the cool Himalayan calm of Rishikesh and Neem Karori Baba temple near Nainital. Belur Math in Howrah and Rajkot also need to be mentioned. Malleshwaram(Old Bengaluru) had great and varied places of worship.

ISKCON is also a masterclass in devotional splendour to Lord Krishna; opulence was a core message from Srila Prabhupada to attract normal people(materialists); and their dedication and localized customization(different for example in Delhi, Gujarat or Bengaluru) are great pros. Obviously; experiences for everybody may differ.

Odisha had amazing temples architecture-wise; but were not clean and well-maintained. Similar case with Dwarka in Gujarat(great old structures); one of the “holiest” places in religious lore; but full of commercial Brahmins who did not even seem remotely spiritual. Somnath; on the other hand is a magnificent masterpiece and the “aarti” there was truly amazing. I’ve seen the Kailashnatha temple at Ellora; and wondered at the unearthly genius of craftsmen who existed centuries ago in India.

Have a lot of places still to visit; so may add a few more to the list. For now; these are some of the temples I found interesting. Writing this answer made me realize that it is a privilege to live in a land with such richness and diversity in temples; and everybody(including me) should make an effort in preserving it.

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