famous temples in North India

11 Famous Temples in North India to Visit

North India has more than its fair share of stunning temples and it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to get to see them all.  Here’s our guide to the top temples to see in North India with tips on what to see, and how to visit them.  These are the top temples in North India, our guide here details the most famous temples of North India, where to find them, what to expect, and practical information on visiting North India’s temples.


11 of the Most Famous Temples in North India to Visit

These are the most stunning, lovely temples in the north of India.  Many of these are ancient temples, dating back centuries.  They all have an incredible story to tell and shouldn’t be missed.

1. Sri Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple), Amritsar

*Credit to Disha Smith of Disha Discover

There are many beautiful temples in India. And while you travel through India you’ll see many of them. The Golden Temple, also known as the Sri Harmandir Sahib, in Amritsar, will leave you speechless.

Sri Harmandir Sahib - Golden Temple

It’s the holiest temple (Gurdwara) for Sikhs and is the most important pilgrimage site of Sikhism. As its name suggests, the temple is covered in gold foil. This gold plating was added in the 19th century, but the temple dates back to the 16th century.

It also has the largest kitchen in the world. Volunteers cook tirelessly for 100,000 people daily. The purpose of this is to symbolize that everyone, regardless of their religion and caste, can sit together and eat.

Factor in around 2 hours for your visit, I wrote about our visit to the Golden Temple here.. If you go during the day you may be able to experience readings from the holy books and prayers. You should visit early in the morning to avoid the crowds. The temple is also worth seeing at night as it is illuminated so beautifully.  When visiting, make sure your knees and shoulders are covered. Men and women will need to cover their heads with a scarf You must also leave your shoes at the entrance.

A guide isn’t required but is highly recommended so you can learn the history of the Golden Temple. 

  • Opening times of the Golden Temple:  Open 05:00 until 22:00
  • Address of the Golden Temple:  Golden Temple Rd, Atta Mandi, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Amritsar Cantt., Punjab 143006, India
  • Entrance Fee for the Golden Temple:  Free

2. Khajuraho Temples, Madhya Pradesh

*Credit to Sapna Kapoor of My Simple Sojourn

The Khajuraho group of temples is situated in Madhya Pradesh and is among the most stunning temples in North India. These temples are popular, in part, due to the erotic sculptures on their outer walls. There are three groups of temples but the western groups of temples are the most beautiful and well maintained.

Khajuraho Temples

The western groups of temples at Khajuraho are in an enclosed compound and surrounded by well-maintained gardens. Most of the temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. These temples are not used for prayer and are open to everyone. Since these temples are not active, there are no dress restrictions. The temples are UNESCO world heritage sites and maintained by the Archeological Society of India (who produce the amazing booklets that we used when we visited Champaner Pavagadh.

The Khajuraho temple complex is open from sunrise to sunset. It is best to visit during the winter months because it gets very hot in the summer. It’s advisable to visit the temples in the morning because there are lesser tourists. Another thing is that these temples are east facing so light is best at that time of day for photography.  There’s more on visiting Khajuraho in our guide here.

Also, watch the light and sound show in the evening in the western group of the temple compound. In this show, you will get all the information regarding the construction and history of the temples. 

  • Opening times of the Khajuraho Temples:  Open daily from 08:00 to 18:00
  • Address of the Khajuraho Temples:  Airport Area, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh 471606, India Entry Fee of the Khajuraho Temples:  600 INR for foreign visitors, 40 INR for Indians.

3. Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh

This is one of the most beautiful and unique temples in India. It is a Buddhist temple that can be found in Sanchi, a small village very close to Bhopal, in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

Sanchi Stupa

The Great Stupa (a dome-shaped Buddhist shrine) is the oldest stone structure in India. This UNESCO World Heritage site was first built upon orders of Emperor Ashoka, of the Maurya dynasty, in the III century BC.  There’s more about visiting Sanchi in our guide here.

It’s easy to get to Sanchi by train.

  • Opening times of the Sanchi Stupa:  Open daily from 06:30 to 18:3
  • Address of the Sanchi Stupa:  Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh 464661, India
  • Entry Fee of the Sanchi Stupa:  500 INR for foreign visitors, 30 INR for Indians.


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The Best Way to Book Indian Trains

The easiest and best way to book trains in India as a foreign visitor is to use 12goAsia. You’ll always get confirmed tickets and foreign cards are accepted.


Train Icon

The Best Way to Book Indian Trains

The easiest and best way to book trains in India as a foreign visitor is to use 12goAsia. You’ll always get confirmed tickets and foreign cards are accepted.

4. Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata, West Bengal

*Credit to Trijit Mallick of BudgetTravelBuff

The Dakshineswar Kali Temple was built in 1855 by Rani Rashmani on the eastern bank of the Hoogly River. The temple is located 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the city center of Kolkata. The popularity and mysticism of this historic Kali temple make it one of the most visited temples in India by both pilgrims and tourists. The main Kali temple premise is around 46 square feet (4.2 meters square).

Dakshineswar Kali Temple

Apart from the main shrine, there is a beautiful Natmandir, a large courtyard, and 12 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva along the riverfront. The great Lord Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda (who we first heard of in Chennai) was the priest of this Kali temple in Dakshineswar. Not only Indian devotees, but people from Western countries also come here to worship the Goddess Kali.

Don’t miss the chance to see Sandhya Aarti which starts at 19:00. There is no entry fee.  The Dakshineswar Kali temple is a sacred place for the Hindus. Visit in the morning to avoid the long queue at the entrance.

  • Opening times of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple.:  Open daily from 06:00 to 12:30 and from 15:00 until 20:30
  • Address of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple:  Dakshineswar, Kolkata, West Bengal 700076, India
  • Entry Fee of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple:  Free

5. Naba Kailash Kalna (108 Shiv Temple), West Bengal

*Credit to Indrani Ghose of I Share These

The 108 Terracotta Temples of the Naba Kailash Kalna are constructed in 2 layers of circles; they look like beads of a necklace from high above! This unique cluster of temples is in the Bardhman district of West Bengal. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is also called the Naba Kailash Temple and was built in 1809 by Maharaja Teja Chandra Bahadur.

The facade of the temples is covered with terracotta panels with beautiful designs. The outer ring has 74 shrines and the inner ring of temples has 34 shrines. Each of the shrines is a single-room terracotta temple and has a Lingam – a phallic symbol, a universal sign of Lord Shiva. You will notice that the outer temples have black and white lingam alternately depicting the good and bad of the world.

With spiritual cleansing, you reach the inner ring of temples which has only white lingam.

The best time to visit is in the morning, to avoid the heat of the day. Please dress appropriately – no bare shoulders or knees. You must leave your footwear outside the temple.

  • Opening times of the Naba Kailash Temple:  Open daily from 06:00 to 12:00 and from 16:00 to 20:00
  • Address of the Naba Kailash Temple:  Thakur Para, Kalna, West Bengal 713409, India
  • Entry Fee of the Naba Kailash Temple:  Free

6. Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

*Credit to Soujanya Rai of The Spicy Journey

The Kashi Vishwanath temple, located in Varanasi is one of the holiest Shiva temples in India. In fact, according to Hindu legend, taking a bath in the holy river Ganga and offering a prayer at this temple is believed to lead a person onto the path to moksha (liberation). Among all the places to visit in Varanasi, the ancient holy city, visiting the Kashi Vishwanath temple aka the golden temple (due to the gold plating on the spire) is at the top of the list.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple Varanasi riverscape

The temple is located in Viswanath Gali between the Dashashwamedha ghat (where the famous evening Ganga aarti is performed) and the Godowlia market.

The temple gets crowded during the late morning and afternoon so the best time to visit would be early in the morning around sunrise, to beat the crowd and to avoid the overbearing heat. Since the temple is a religious site, it is advised to wear clothes that cover the knees and shoulders.

There are two Kashi Vishwanath temples in Varanasi – the old one in Vishwanath Gali and the new one inside Banaras Hindu University (BHU). The old temple has tight security and restricts the use of electronic items following the Varanasi bombings of 2006. The other temple in BHU, though, allows photography inside the premises.

  • Opening times of the Kashi Vishwanath Temples:  Open daily from 06:00 to 18:00
  • Address of the Kashi Vishwanath Temples:  Lahori Tola, Varanasi, Domari, Uttar Pradesh 221001, India
  • Entry Fee of the Kashi Vishwanath Temples:  600 INR for foreign visitors, 40 INR for Indians.

7. Karni Mata Temple, Bikaner

*Credit to Nisha and Vasu of Lemonicks

One of the must-do things in Bikaner is visiting Karni Mata temple. One of its kind, it’s situated at Deshkote, about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from Bikaner, in Rajasthan. It is known for being the home of around 22,000 rats. Also known as the Temple of Rats, it is dedicated to Karni Mata. The holy rats are called kabbas or “little children,” and are fed grains, milk, and coconuts shells in large metal bowls.

Holy Rats at the Karni Mata Temple Bikaner

The temple attracts curious visitors from across the country for blessings, as well as curious tourists from around the world. It is designed in the Mughal style with a beautiful marble façade consisting of doors made of solid silver. It was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh.

One of the legends is, that when someone dies in the Charan community, he is reborn as a rat and when a rat dies, a human baby is born in a Charan family.

Walking in the temple with around 22 thousand rats around you is tricky. So be careful. And by all means, don’t expect the floor to be clean. Another saying is that if a rat dies under your foot even by mistake, you must replace it with one made of solid silver!

Two big fairs are held in this temple, one in March-April and the other in September-October.

You have to remove shoes before entering the temple, socks are allowed. Make sure to dress modestly and go early in the morning to avoid crowds. 

  • Opening times of the Karni Mata Temple:  Open daily from 04:00 to 22:00
  • Address of the Karni Mata Temple:  NH 89, Deshnok, Rajasthan 334801, India
  • Entry Fee of the Karni Mata Temple:  300 INR for foreign visitors, 100 INR for Indians.

8. Ranakpur, Rajasthan

*Credit to Julie Laundis of Wandering Sunsets

The Ranakpur Jain Temple in Rajasthan is one of the most unique and spectacular temples in India. If you are driving between Jodhpur and Udaipur it is the perfect opportunity to stretch your legs and explore the temple.

Ranakpur Jain Temple

Ranakpur is famous for its gorgeous architecture and carvings, as the three-story building is made up entirely of white marble. There are over 1,444 pillars holding up the ceiling and incredibly detailed carvings all over the temple. The temple features 4 principal shrines, 4 assembly halls, and 84 big and small shrines or Devakuikas. As you enter the temple, you’ll notice the four entrances leading to the inside chambers. The entrances symbolize Chaumukha who is the main deity of the temple: the idol of Chaumukha Adinatha resides in the main hall. Ranakpur is truly a must-see when visiting Rajasthan!

Please note that there is no electricity inside the temple and natural light shines through from all angles: if the light is too harsh on the white marble it can be tricky to get a great photo.

  • Opening times of the Ranakpur Temple:  Open daily from 06:30 to 20:00
  • Address of the Ranakpur Temple:  Desuri, Ranakpur Rd, Sadri, Rajasthan 306702, India
  • Entry Fee of the Ranakpur Temple:  Free, 100 INR fee for photography.

9. Tungnath Temple, Uttarakhand

The Tungnath Temple is the highest Shiva temple in the world, and according to the Ramayana, it is where Lord Rama meditated. Unlike many others, the temple is tiny and therefore limits the number of visitors allowed in at any one time.

Tungnath Temple

But its unusual location (12,000 feet above sea level) makes it worth seeing – it’s one of the most unique temples in India.

  • Opening times of the Tungnath Temple:  Open daily from 06:00 to 19:00
  • Address of the Tungnath Temple:  Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand 246419, India
  • Entry Fee of the Tungnath Temple:  Free

10. Akshardham Temple, New Delhi

Unlike many other Indian temples, Akshardham is a very recent addition to India’s rich heritage of religious buildings. Built of pink sandstone, it was opened in 2005 and is dedicated to the Swaminarayan sect.

Akshardham Temple New Delhi

The Akshardham Temple offers (paid for) light shows and many educational exhibitions on the Swaminarayan beliefs. It may be a good place to visit for families traveling to Delhi with kids.

  • Opening times of the Akshardham Temple:  Open daily (apart from Monday) from 10:00 to 18:30
  • Address of the Akshardham Temple:  N. H. 24, Akshardham Setu, New Delhi, India, 110092 Entry Fee of the Akshardham Temple:  Free.  If you wish to go to the exhibition there is a fee of 170 INR

11. Dwarkadesh Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat

*Credits to Mariellen Ward of Breathe Dream Go

The drive to Dwarka, on the eastern edge of Gujarat, where the state meets the sea coast, is flat and featureless. But as you approach this remote seaside town, the spires of Dwarkadesh (Krishna) Temple rise up like the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz.

Though a small town, Dwarka is awash in temples, new and old, grand and modest. They are everywhere. But the 5,000-year-old Dwarkadesh Temple in the center of town towers over them all. Like a medieval cathedral town, everything revolves around Dwarkadesh Temple, which emanates an ancient, deeply reverent feeling.

Dwarkadesh is one of the most important Hindu temples in India and one of the most important Krishna Temples. Among other things, this temple is famous as the place where the 16th century mystic-saint Mirabai mysteriously disappeared in front of crowds of people, while singing in the temple. All that was left was her sari, wrapped around the Krishna murti (statue) and the devotees felt she had dissolved in love and merged with her beloved Krishna.

Though not on the usual tourist trail, Dwarka is an interesting place to visit due to the antiquity of the Dwarkadesh Temple and its location on the coast. Gandhi’s birthplace, Porbandar, is just about 70 kilometers (43 miles) down the coast.

  • Opening times of the Dwarkadesh Temple:  Open daily from 06:30 to 13:30 and from 17:00 to 21:30
  • Address of the Dwarkadesh Temple:  Dwarka, Gujarat 361335, India
  • Entry Fee of the Dwarkadesh Temple:  Free

Map of the Most Famous North Indian Temples

You can see the full map of the Best Temples of North India here

Map of 11 Famous Temples of North India to visit

Travel Tips for Exploring India

Final Words on 11 Famous Temples in North India to Visit

There’s certainly a large variety of different styles and types of temples to visit in North India, with many different features and unique things of note.  These are North India’s most famous temples, and what to expect at them, what to see, and what not to miss.

Stock images in this article are courtesy Deposit Photos.

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