India is a country of temples and rich architecture.Combine with this the fact that the country has the oldest religion in existence and you get magnificent ancient temples. Here is the list of top twenty oldest temples in india.
Ambarnath Temple,Maharashtra-11th Century.
|Image credit:Jayshree Jesrani
Located in Maharashtra,this temple also known as the Ambreshwar Shiva Temple.The temple is dedicated to Lord shiva.It was built in 1060 A.D.It is said that Shilahara king Chhittaraja constructed it and his son Mummuni rebuilt it.But the legends tells that it was built by pandavas out of a single stone.
Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur-11th Century.
This Shiva temple is located in Thanjavur,Tamilnadu .This temple is also known as Rajarajeswara Temple.This is one of the oldest temples in india.The temple reflects the chola architecture and was built for Raja Raja Chola I.It is said to have been completed in 1010 A.D.
Kailasa Temple,Ellora-8th Century.
Kailasa temple is the one of the largest Monolithic structure in the world.It is located in Ellora,Maharashtra.The temple shows the traces of pallava architecture.Historical evidence shows that the temple have been built in the 8th century A.D.
Shore Temple,Mahabalipuram-7th Century.
This temple is located in Mahabalipuram,Tamilnadu.It is so called because it faces the bay of bengal.One of the oldest structural temple in south india.It is constructed around 700 A.D during the reign of the pallava king Narasimhavarman II.
Somnath Temple,Gujarat-7th Century.
This 7th Century Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.It is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples.Located in Gujarat,this popular temple was first built by Seuna-Dynasty and has been destroyed and rebuilt many times throughout the centuries.
Chennakesava Temple,Karnataka-10th Century.
Built on the banks of the Yagachi river in Belur,Karnataka by Hoysala Empire between 10th and 11th century.This temple is a soap stone temple dedicated to lord vishnu.
Kedarnath Temple,Kedarnath-8th Century.
While the exact date of this temple is unknown,it is believed to have been constructed some time in the 8th Century A.D after Adi Shankaracharya visited this place.To reach the temple,one has to walk a distance of 14 kilometers as the location is not accessible by road.This is also one of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples.
Adi Kumbeshwar Temple,Tamilnadu-9th Century.
This chola temple dedicated to lord shiva is located in Kumbakonam,Tamilnadu.Constructed initially in the 9th century.It now covers a vast area of 30,181 sq.ft.
Jagat Pita Brahma Temple,Rajasthan-1st Century.
This temple is one of the very few temples dedicated to lord brahma and the most prominent one among them.Located in Rajasthan,this temple is believed to be 2000 years old.
Varadaraja Perumal Temple,Kanchipuram-11th Century.
Dedicated to lord vishnu,this temple is one of the 108 divya desam of the lord.Located in kanchipuram.This temple was built by the Cholas in the 11th century A.D.
Badami Caves Temple,Karnataka-6th Century.
A complex system of rock-cut Hindu,Jain and Buddhist shrines.The cave temple at Badami, Karnataka represents some of the earliest known examples of Hindu Temples.They were carved out by the artisans under the chalukya rule in 6th century A.D.
Badrinath Temple,Badrinath-8th century.
Situated in the town of Badrinath,Uttarakhand,this temple is dedicated to lord vishnu is one of the four Char Dham sites.According to some historical records,this temple was a Buddhist Shrine till Adi Sankaracharya converted it into a hindu temple in the 8th century A.D.
Lingaraja Temple,Bhubaneshwar-6th Century.
It is one of the oldest and largest temple in Bhubaneshwar,Odisha.An icon of kalinga Architecture,this temple is said to have been built in the 6th century A.D with later additions being done in the 11th century A.D.This temple is dedicated to lord shiva.
Virupaksha Temple,Hampi-7th Century.
Located in Hampi,on the banks of Tungabhadra river.Virupaksha temple is considered to be the most sacred among the temples in Hampi.The temple constructed in the 7th century A.D,is dedicated to lord shiva in the form of lord Virupaksha.
Dwarakadish Temple,Gujarat-1st Century.
This temple located in Gujarat is one of the char Dhams and one of the Lord vishnu’s divya desams.It is said to be more than 2500 years old;with archaeological evidence putting its age around 2000 years old.
Sri Ranganatha Swami Temple,Trichy-7th Century.
Sri Ranganatha Swami Temple,Tiruchirapalli is one of the 108 Divya desam dedicated to Lord Vishnu.Built some time between 6th and 9th Centuries.It is regarded as the largest functioning Hindu temples in the world with an area of 156 acres.
Meenakshi Amman Temple,Madurai,6th Century.
Popularly known as the Madurai Meenakshi Temple.This temple is dedicated to goddess parvati,is said to have been Built in the 6th century B.C.Many additions have been done to this temple with the present structure being built in the 16th century A.D.
Maa Mundeswari Temple,Bihar-1st Century.
This is one of the oldest temple is Bihar and dedicated to Lord shiva and his consort Parvati.Archaeological survey of india dates it to 108 A.D.It is also considered to be the oldest functional temple in the world.
Maa Durga Aihole Temple,Karnataka-7th Century.
Located in Aihole,Northern Karnataka,this temple is dedicated to lord vishnu and shiva,was built by the chalukyas in the 7th or 8th centuries.The “durga” here means protector.
Lad Khan Temple,Karnataka,5th Century.
This temple is also located in Aihole,Karnataka just south of the Durga temple.This temple is constructed in 5th century by chalukya dynasty.This oldest hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva