Exploring The Oldest Temples of India
Hinduism is one of the oldest religion in the world. It is continues to prosper even today. There are around 1 billion followers of Hinduism throughout the world. Most number of followers of Hinduism live in India. Other countries like Nepal and Indonesia have wide number of Hindu followers. Faith is the factor that keeps the followers devoted to their religion. Whichever religion, you choose, each of them pay respect to their Gods and Goddesses. They even honor their god. But, how can one pay respect to their gods? That is where religious buildings come into place. Such type of buildings are specifically meant for honoring the god and considered as a place of worship. For Hindus, Temples are the place of worship. Since, Hinduism is considered as the oldest living religion, there accounts no surprises infinite number of temples built in honor of the gods and goddesses. One thing that sets apart Hinduism from other religions, is the number of deities worshipped by Hindus.
There are around millions of Hindu deities, worshipped throughout the world, especially in India. The country has infinite number of temples built in honor of different gods. Everyday new temples are being constructed in every distant part of the country. It is the belief that allows the followers to put their faith firmly upon the world and commemorate their faith by building new temples. Talking about temples, there are many temples in India, which cannot be even counted. With so many temples built, there are some oldest temples in the country, which are dated back a millennia old. Here is the list of the oldest temples in India, dating their presence back to the ancient times.
1 Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, Bihar
It is one of the oldest sites of Buddhism in India. The complex is built by a cluster of temples within the premises. The first temple was built by Emperor Ashoka during the 3rd Century BC. It is considered as one of the four holy sites of Lord Buddha, depicting his life. The temple holds the prominence of the early Gupta period. The temple is surrounded by many sacred monuments like stupas. The temple is considered to be the place of worship of Buddhism. It is the first place, when Buddhism was accounted for and hence pertains all the importance as a place of worship. The temple is the surviving example of a building made entirely of brick. It contains the inscribed art of ancient times, displaying a unique set of architecture. The temple is 50m in height and herein lies the Buddha idol of over 5feet.
2 Mundeshwari Temple, Kaimur in Bihar
It is the oldest temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is located in the Kaimur district of Bihar. The temple sits at Mundeshwari hills. It is also considered as one of the oldest Hindu temples of India and also renowned as an oldest functioning temple in the world. The temple is constructed to be around 108 AD, during Gupta dynasty. The temple structure is built in octagonal shape, which is one of the rare architectural structures in the world. Some of the temple structure is destroyed owing to the time lapse, however, several parts of the temple are undergoing renovation to reshape the structure. You can see immense architecture within temple boundaries. The main sanctorum of the temple contains a Shiva linga. It is believed that rituals are performed in the temple without any break and goes on for many days, hence called as the oldest functioning temple of the world. The temple is visited by thousands of followers during Shiva festivals.
3 Shree Padmanabha Swami Temple , Kerala
The temple is located in the Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala. There are many debates surrounding the exact era at which the temple was built, but it is believed that the temple has its roots back in 5000 years from now, right at the start of Kali Yuga, as per Hindu scripts. The temple is considered to be the wealthiest place of worship in the world. Every year, millions are donated to the temple by the devotees in order to show respect and devotion to the faith. The temple is honored by the divine importance of Lord Vishnu. Many literatures have mentioned about this temple from time to time, portraying a huge importance of the temple’s history. There are rumors surrounding the temple, holding the assets of billions of dollars in terms of donations and treasures.
4 Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, Varanasi
The temple is located in the holy city of India, Varanasi. It is considered as the sacred site of the Hindu god Hanuman. Since, the city is famous for many temples of Hinduism and Jainism, there holds no surprise that this temple is one of the oldest temples in India. The temple is located on the banks of Assi River. It is believed that the temple is built on the exact spot, when the famous saint Tulsidas had a vision of Lord Hanuman. Millions of pilgrims visit this temple every year and this temple amounts of great attraction during cultural festivals.
5 Taratarini Temple, Ganjam, Odisha
The temple of Maa Tara Tarini is located on the banks of the River Rushikulya in the state of Odisha. The temple holds the manifestation of Adi Shakti. The temple is known to be one of the oldest temples of India. It is also one of the four major Adi Shakti Peethas. The statues of Goddess Tara and Tarini are covered with gold and silver ornaments. The famous festival of Chaitra Yatra is celebrated on the hills of Tara Tarini shrine.
Hinduism is one of the oldest living religion, holding a huge significance in the life of their followers. As it is generally believed that Hinduism is a way of life, infinite number of temples are constructed in the country. All these temples are worshipped by locals and pilgrims visiting from distant lands. Each temple is unique to its own site. With the amount of followers these temples experience, there can be no doubt in the faith of the people following the religion.