20 Temples Dedicated to Lord Shiva in India

Lord Shiva, the destroyer, is worshipped not only in India but in abroad as well. Lovingly named as ‘Bholenath’, he plays a focal role in forming the foundation of belief and religion of the culture in India. The entire land of India is dotted with innumerable big and small temples that are dedicated to Lord Shiva and these remain thronged by Shaivites and believers no matter what the season is.

If you are planning on indulging in a spiritual experience then given below are some of the most popular and highly revered temples that are dedicated to Lord Shiva and should definitely be on your bucket list:

Kedarnath Temple (Uttarakhand)

Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath Dham is a stunning representation of ancient religion of India which still persists to present day. Established by the great 8th century sage and philosopher Adi Shankaracharya the history of Kedarnath dates to ages ago to the time when the Pandavas were on their journey to heaven and had created the temple to honor the glories of Lord Shiva. The temple is a mark of deep-rooted spirituality in India and is visited by thousands and lakhs of devotes each year when the temple opens its doors for public Darshan during the holy eve of Akshay Tritiya in May.

Best Time to Visit – May to June and September to November

Arunachaleshwara Temple (Tamil Nadu)

Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleshwara Swamy Temple

The first thing that comes to mind when you think of this pristine temple is the sheer staggering height and its opulent architectural wonder. People can witness the opulent and highly detailed work of south Indian craftsmanship on every inch of the temple walls. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Agni Lingam here and the four towering Gopurams represent the four directions of the temple. This massive temple complex is located on the lap of Arunachal hill. If you want to truly experience the grandeur and spirituality then visiting here during the time of festivals would be a good idea.

Best Time to Visit – December to February

Somnath Temple (Gujarat)

Somnath Temple

This temple has to be one of the most majestic temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and its spirituality lies in the fact that it is believed to be the first Jyotirlingas in India along with finding its mention in various Hindu holy texts of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Shiv Puran as well as Rig Veda. The imposing structure of the temple stands tall on the banks of the Triveni Maha Sangam. Visitors get washed over by a deep sense of history that this place holds. The place is also known for its entertainment options that include a thrilling light and sound show.

Best Time to Visit – October to March

Kashi Vishwanath (Uttar Pradesh)

Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi Shivam's Photography

This temple has to be one of the most prominent and significant shrines for Lord Shiva and has always been a focal point for Hindu pilgrimage since time immemorial. Built in true Hindu architectural form Kashi Vishwanath temple of Varanasi is the oldest temple in one of the oldest living cities of India. The temple has a long history of battling with invaders and looters who used to constantly rob the temple of its riches and demolish it. However the current temple stands tall and in all its might and was built by the Maratha ruler Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780.

Best Time to Visit – November to April

Baidyanath Temple (Jharkhand)

Baidyanath Temple

This glistening white structure dedicated to the doctor form of Lord Shiva, is one of the most significant Jyotirlingas in India. The history of this temple can be traced back to the era of Ramayana and this place is believed to be the place where Ravan (an avid Lord Shiva worshipper) had performed his penance to the lord here and sacrificed his 10 heads there. Lord Shiva appeared to him in the form of a doctor and took care of him. The temple is known for being a place where intense Tantra takes place along with the post funeral rites.

Best Time to Visit – September to April

Pashupatinath Temple (Madhya Pradesh)

Pashupatinath Temple, Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh

Seated majestically amidst the bustle of Mandsaur is the only Pashupatinath temple in India. Located on the banks of the river of Shivna this shrine of Lord Shiva as the ‘lord of the animals’ has to be one of the most enigmatic temples. The rich history of this temple can be traced back to the 1st millennium CE thanks to its rare Lord Shiva iconography. One of the most striking feature of this temple is the presence of the unique and one of a king idol of the eight faced presiding deity and is a mark of sculptural brilliance.

Best Time to Visit – September to March

Lingaraja Temple (Odisha)

Lingaraja Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Known for being one of tallest standing temples in Odisha this temple represents the classical and typical Kalinga style of architecture whose creation can be dated to as early as 1,000 AD. Every wall inside and outside of the temple is adorned with fine carvings and detailed engravings which every visitor is bound to admire. Just like other Lord Shiva temples the visitors have the option of attending the sound and light show that takes place here. Situated in the heart of the city the temple along with its 108 other temples inside its premise seem to radiate deep spirituality to the surrounding city.

Best Time to Visit – December to February

Kailasa Temple (Maharashtra)

1200 Years Old Kailasa Temple

Located amongst the largest monolithic rock cut group of caves in Ellora and pegged as cave number 16, this temple is one of the most wonderful marks of human engineering and expert craftsmanship that cannot be found in the present day and age. This temple is named so since the creator of this temple King Krishna 1 wanted to name it after the Himalayan home of Lord Shiva i.e. Mt. Kailash. Inside the temple one can witness numerously intricately carved out panels that finely depict the adventures of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Every inch here is a true testament of the height of creativity in India during that time.

Best Time to Visit – November to March

Sivasagar Sivadol Temple (Assam)

Sivasagar Sivadol Temple, Assam

Located near the ‘ocean of lord Shiva’ or Sivasagar, this temple or Dol (in Assamese) is located within the heart of the city of Assam. This is one of the recently developed temples which were built from 131 to 1738. It not only consists of Lord Shiva shrine but it also has shrines for Lord Vishnu and goddess Durga. The temple serves as one of the prime crowd puller for religious tourists and it witnesses a huge turnout during the on season. The temple walls inside are covered with images and carvings of a number of gods and goddesses which adds to the overall spirituality of this place.

Best Time to Visit – Throughout the year

Natraj Temple (Tamil Nadu)

Natraj Temple, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu

Built in the 10th century and standing tall in the district of Chidambaram is one of the most awe inspiring temples of India. As the name suggests, this temple is dedicated to the dance form of Lord Shiva and it is truly a sight to behold. You will be witnessing some of the most intricately drawn carvings of 108 karanas from the famous Natya Shastra. The towering Gopuram is believed to represent the wonderful blend of art, creativity and spirituality which can be clearly from the moment you put your first step here.

Best Time to Visit – November to March

Baijnath Temple (Himachal Pradesh)

Baijnath Temple, Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh

This ancient temple which is dedicated to the physician form of Lord Shiva is located amongst the untouched beauty of the Himalayas in the district of Kangra. This rock temple is a masterpiece of Indian architecture and sits majestically on the banks of the holy river of Beas. The temple can also be visited for its stunning surrounding beauty of lush green rolling hills and wide open blue skies. This temple complex has been continuously being preserved by ASI for its incredible architecture and finely detailed engravings.

Best Time to Visit – April to September

Tungnath Temple (Uttarakhand)

Tungnath, Panch Kedar

Believed to be 5000 years old and famed for being the highest Lord Shiva temple in the world this ancient temple lies en-route the summit of Chandrashila. This Panch Kedar site gives some of the most stunning views of the surrounding greenery and Himalayan beauty. The history of this temple has been traced back to the time of the Pandavas and its architectural style and design easily resembles the structure of Kedarnath Dham shrine. It can be visited after covering a steep trekking journey from Chopta but this journey is worth it.

Best Time to Visit – April to November

Sri Kalahasteeswara Temple (Andhra Pradesh)

Sri Kalahasteeswara Temple

Located on a hill side and built during the 11th century by the Chola rulers, this temple literally translates into spider, snake and elephant that once used to worship the shiv linga located here. This temple is primarily known for offering puja rituals related to Rahu and Ketu. The temple occupies a massive area and exudes incredible devotion to the lord making a visit there extremely divine. There are numerous legends related to it which maintains the glory of this temple. The deity in this Pancha Bhoota Sthalam is worshipped in the form of vayu (air) linga.

Best Time to Visit – October to April

Kandariya Mahadev Temple (Madhya Pradesh)

Kandariya Mahadev Temple in Khajuraho

A UNESCO world heritage site the name of this temple literally translates into ‘the great god of cave’, this temple has to be one of the most iconic and ornate Hindu temples in India and is a remarkably preserved. Dating back to the medieval era this temple complex is a part of the Khajuraho group of monuments. The temple has various impressive features one of which is a finely carved epigraphic inscription. This temple is a blissful experience for history lovers, peace seekers and spirituality lovers.

Best Time to Visit – October to March

Bhavnath Mahadev Temple (Gujarat)

Bhavnath Mahadev Temple

Perched among the foot of Mt. Girnar and known for being an important Jyotirlinga this temple should definitely be visited not only because of its religious significance but also to witness the grandeur it displays. The entry way of the temple consists of a large structure depicting a shiv linga and is completely golden in color that feels like it exudes spirituality. The beautiful surrounding of the undulating mountains and the profound history that this place holds makes it a must visit during your visit to Gujarat.            

Best Time to Visit – October to April

Vadakkunnathan Temple (Kerala)

Vadakkunnathan Temple

This ancient temple is known for being carved out completely out of wood and has utilized the Kerala style of Architecture and may also soon be declared as a UNESCO site. The walls, pillars and every inch of this quaint temple is covered in incredible murals and paintings. A unique feature about this temple is the lingam, it cannot be seen apart from the crescent on top of it since it is covered entirely under a huge mound of ghee which is said to date back to the ancient ages and to present date it does not smell and has not gone stale.

Best Time to Visit – September to April

Tarakeshwar Temple (West Bengal)

Tarakeshwar Temple, West Bengal

Dating back to the 18th century this temple is one of the oldest standing temples in the city with the presiding deity here being that of “lord Tarakeshwar’. It is made out of a typical Bangla architecture style and the current structure is said to have been constructed by Raja Bharamalla. The shiv ling here is completely covered inside a metal frame to protect it from destruction and there are small openings present through which the pilgrims can touch the lingam.

Best Time to Visit – October to March

Kotilingeshwara Temple (Karnataka)

Sri Kotilingeshwara Temple, Kolar

Popular for being the largest Shiv Linga temple in the world this holy shrine of Lord Shiva is one of the prime attractions of Karnataka. The name ‘Koti’ can literally be translated into crore which was the amount of money that went into making this temple. The massively towering linga stands at an astounding height of 108 feet and is surrounded by lakhs of small lingas. The premise here also includes a structure of Nandi the bull that is installed on a platform here which is also 60 feet in length. You will be able to truly experience the positive and spiritual vibes of Lord Shiva.

Best Time to Visit – October – March

Brihadeeswara Temple (Tamil Nadu)

Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur

Located in the district of Thanjavur and dating back to as old as 1103 – 1010 AD this uniquely built temple represents one of the most astounding architectural wonderment in India. Every inch of every part is covered in detailed representations of South Indian architecture which has gotten it landed as the UNESCO world heritage site. The temple is a wonderfully imposing structure and built entirely out of granite which perfectly ads on to its beauty and magnificence. You will also be able to pay your respects to Parvati, Kartikeya, Ganesha, Varahi and others.

Best time to visit – November – March

Shore Temple (Tamil Nadu)

Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

This UNESCO world heritage site has to be one of the most magnificent architectural wonder of India and sits peacefully on the shores of Bay of Bengal. This complex of shrines offers one of the most peaceful and spiritual experiences. The culmination of this temple was initiated by King Narasimhavarman II, during the mid-7th century which started with the creation of cave temples and monolithic Raths. This temple is also famed for being the oldest rock cut stone temples in South India and should definitely be visited at least once in your lifetime to experience the sheer magnificence.

Best Time to Visit – October to May

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