A large chunk of the Indian population follows the Hindu religion and Lord Shiva is one of the prime deities of Hinduism. The country has some centuries old temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and these temples attract devotees from all over the world.
Here are the top 10 most famous Lord Shiva temples in India:
10. Mahakaleshwar, Madhya Pradesh
One of the most prominent temples of Lord Shiva in the country is Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. The temple is a Swayambhu Jyotirlinga and Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of Mahakal, the Lord of death, in this sacred shrine.
9. Omkareshwar, Madhya Pradesh
The Omkareshwar Temple is located on an “Om” shaped island in River Narmada in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva manifested as the three headed Omkareshwar and is one of the most visited Shiva temples in the country.
8. Trimbakeshwar, Maharashtra
The next name in the list of top 10 most famous Lord Shiva temples in India is that if Trimbakeshwar Temple near Nashik in Maharashtra. One of the jyotirlingas, the temple lies at the source of River Godavari and was built by Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao. The lingam in the temple embodies Lord Rudra, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu.
7. Baidyanath Temple, Jharkhand
One of the most visited Shiva temples in the country is the Vaidyanath Temple in Deogarh in Jharkhand. It is a jyotirlinga where Lord Shiva is worshipped as Vaidyanath, the Lord who was a vaidya or doctor. It is believed that this is the place where Lord Shiva treated the severed head offered to him by his staunch devotee Ravana.
6. Brihadeswara Temple, Tamil Nadu
Brihadeswara Temple is located in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu and is dedicated to Lord Mahadev. It is one of the most visited Shiva temples in the country and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is known to have one of the tallest temple towers in the world. The temple also houses a huge monolithic statue of Nandi.
5. Somnath Temple, Gujarat
Another popular Shiva temple in the country is the jyotirlinga Somnath Temple located in Saurahtra in Gujarat. It is a holy pilgrimage of Hindus and has come across several attacks in its history. The temple, which lies on the sea shore, was built in its current form in 1947.
4. Ramanathaswamy Temple, Tamil Nadu
The Ramanathaswamy Temple lies on an island called Rameshwaram, which is located in Tamil Nadu and has been built at the place where Lord Rama performed penance for having killed Ravana. It is also acclaimed architecturally for having the longest temple corridor.
3. Kedarnath Temple, Uttrakhand
The famous Kedarnath Temple lies at the altitude of 3583 km in the Garhwal Range of Himalayas in the state of Uttrakhand. It is a part of the prominent Char Dham Yatra of Hinduism and opens only from April to mid November.
2. Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi
Featuring next in the list of top 10 most famous Lord Shiva temples in India is the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, one of the oldest cities in the world. It is one of the 12 holi jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and a visit to this temple is believed to bring salvation for the worshippers.
1. Amarnath Temple, Kashmir
The Amarnath Temple in Kashmir is regarded as one of the most sacred temples of Lord Shiva. This cave temple lies at an altitude of 3888 m in the upper reached of the Himalayas and features a natural lingam which forms once a year. The holy Amarnath Yatra is regarded as one of the most important pilgrimages in India.
Some other famous Lord Shiva temples in the country are Nageshwar Temple (Gujarat), Bhimashankar Temple (Maharashtra), Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple (Andhra Pradesh) and Daksheswara Mahadev Temple (Haridwar).