Last Updated: May 7, 2019 Kamlesh Nayal
The melange of culture has gifted the capital city with many popular religious places. There are many temples in Delhi that have been beautifully and tastefully crafted and have ever since remained the talk of the town. While some owe their fame to their elegant structures, many have found glory by being wish-fulfillers. However, there are indeed few places that are known for surviving through a period of demolition and there are still few remain special for the devotees for no reasons other than faith. There is a sizable population of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples in Delhi along with a small number of shrines that belong to different beliefs; in short there is a temple on each nook and cranny of Delhi. We want to have a look at some of the most exotic temples in Delhi as they are an important part of the culture and history of the city and that is why we have picked 25 most famous temples in Delhi for you to visit and here is the list:
Sri Kilkari Bhairav Temple or Bhairo Temple is situated in the backyard of the Purana Qila (Old Fort) in Pragati Maidan. It is believed that this shrine was built by the Pandavas. Bhairo Temple is one of its kinds as the temple allows devotees to offer alcohol to the deity. There are two wings of the temple – the Doodhiya Bhairav Temple, where milk is offered to the idol, and the Kilkari Bhairav Temple, where the devotees offer alcohol to the presiding deity. It is also believed that Bheem (One of the Pandavas), worshipped in this temple and attained Siddhis as well.
Note: You must carry alcohol with you, if you wish to offer it to the deity of Bhairav. The temple doesn’t sell alcohol and you can’t even find a shop nearby.
This temple is more than just a place of worship! Reflecting the eir good taste in architecture, Akshardham is a must visit temple in Delhi. This massive shrine is situated near the Common Wealth Games Village on NH 24. The temple is dedicated to Swaminarayan Akshardham. A large complex situated amidst gardens; it is one of the well-maintained temples in Delhi. Along with paying homage to Swaminarayan, one can look at the rich collection of Indian culture here; the light and sound show in the evening is worth seeing.
Note: Visitors are not allowed to take carry any baggage, phone and camera in the temple. So it is a good idea to travel light here.
Hanuman Mandir, Connaught Place
This ancient temple is reckoned to be one of the five temples that were built during the time of the Mahabharata. However, the current structure had been reconstructed by Maharaja Jai Singh in 1724. It is situated on the Baba Kharak Singh Marg in Connaught Palace and is evidently one of the most popular places of worship in Delhi. The main deity in the temple is that of Lord Hanuman. The ceiling of the shrine is worth appreciating where the images of Lord Rama are embossed. Although the temple remains open on all days, a large number of devotees throng on Tuesdays and Saturdays here.
Note: The temple holds a Guinness Record for the continuous chanting of the mantra ‘Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Ram’.
Gauri Shankar Temple
It is an ancient temple that is located near the Digambar Jain Temple on the main Chandni Chowk Road. According to legends this temple was built by a war soldier who had vowed to construct the temple if he managed to come through the injury he suffered in the battle. It is reckoned that the Shiva Linga or the Phallus presiding in the shrine is 800 years old. Other than the idols of Shiva, his consort Parvati and their two sons Ganesha and Kartik, the silver paintings hanging on the walls and depicting scenes from the life of Lord Shiva are the major attractions. On Mondays the temple is thronged by devotees.
Note: The best time to visit Gauri Shankar Temple is during the celebration of Shivratri, when the entire temple is decorated and looks incredible.
Hanuman Mandir, Jhandewalan
It is one of the most popular Hindu temples in Delhi. The shrine is marked by the colossal 108ft statue of Lord Hanuman and can be seen from the both Jhandewalan and Karol Bagh metro station. Tuesdays are quite crowded here, despite the fact that the temple stays open every day. Other than the massive effigy of Lord Hanuman, which fairly does its job of attracting devotees and tourists, the entrance of the temple is also an attraction. The entrance door has been carved in a shape of the mouth of the deity and one can reach the main hall of the shrine through a passageway.
Note: During the evening Aarti; the arms of Hanuman’s giant statuemove back, the chest slides open and the beautiful images of Lord Shri Rama & Devi Sita protrudes to give darshan (sight) to all the devotees. Certainly a dazzling sight!
Dedicated to Goddess Durga, this temple is built after Badri Bhagat (one of the great devotees of Mother Goddess) who saw an idol hidden underneath the ground at the place where the temple stands in one of his dreams. Today, the exact location of the temple is the Jhandewalan Road on the way to Karol Bagh. The temple got its name from the act of people offering flags in the temple in order to get their wishes fulfilled. It is believed that the original idol of the Goddess is established safely on the ground level of the temple. On the occasion of Durga Puja and Navratra a large number of Hindu devotees throng this temple.
Sai Baba Temple
Located on Lodhi Road, it is one of the oldest Sai Baba temple in Delhi. The temple is simple yet majestic and if people are to be believed then many testimonies regarding feeling the divine presence of Baba have been recorded since the time the temple was built. The temple has a big idol of Sai Baba that sits in the main hall, where devotees offer chadar and flowers. A sizable population throngs the shrine on Thursdays each week here.
Uttara Swami Malai Mandir
Known as a South Indian Temple, the Uttara Swami Malai Mandir is situated in R.K. Puram Sector-7. Dedicated to Lord Murugan, this temple boasts of a unique architecture, where no cement and mortar have been used to construct the shrine. It is also one of those few places where Hindus from the Tamil, Telegu, Kannada & Malayali communities worship together. The main deity in the shrine is that of Lord Murugan; however other deities presiding here are of the Lord’s mother, father and brother. The complex also has a number of peacocks sanctifying the ambiance. According to legends, the peacock is the Vahana of Lord Murugan and therefore the temple authority decided to have a few peacocks as pets. On Saturday, the temple is swarmed by a large number of devotees.
Shri Jagannath Mandir
A replica of the Old Jagannath Temple in Puri, Shri Jagannath Mandir is situated in Hauz Khas. Highly revered by the Oriya community, this temple has a lot of cultural significance as well. The main deity here is that of Lord Jagannath; other than this the temple has established idols of Lord Balabhadra (brother of lord Jagannath), Maa Subhadra (sister of lord Jagannath) & Sudarshan Chakra. The period when Rath Yatra festival is held is the best time to visit this holy shrine as one can witness the festival being celebrated with great pomp and show.
Note: Camera is not allowed in the temple premises
Shri Sheetla Mata Mandir
Situated on Sheetla Mata Road near Gurgaon Railway station, this temple is one of the most famous temples in Delhi area. Dedicated to Sheetla Mata, who is believed to be the wife of Guru Dronacharya from the famous epic of Mahabharata, this temple is situated in one of the most congested areas in the city. However, a large structure like this can be spotted easily; the temple has a large hallway and within the secure railing is the seating of the idol of Sheetla Mata. Devotees are not allowed to touch the idol but can offer the flowers and prayer from the window like structure built at a safe distance.
ISKCON is a highly renowned name in Delhi if we speak about the places of worship. A massive structure built for the praise and worship of Lord Krishna, ISKCON Temple is situated on Hare Krishna Hill in East of Kailash. The holy shrine has incredible architecture, which has been designed by famous architect Achyut Kanvinde. There is a massive hall that has been embossed with scenes depicted from the Mahabharata. The angelic chant of the Hare Rama, Hare Krishna and the melodious beating of the Mridangam makes the ambiance of the temple extremely pious. ISKCON also has a museum, where one can find copies of the Bhagvad Gita in any language.
Note: Do not miss the Mangala Aarti in the evening and the Robot Show that lasts for about an hour or so.
Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir
This 17th century temple is probably the one thing other than the Red Fort that you cannot ignore in Old Delhi. A red-stone structure, it is situated opposite the Lal Qila (if you are on Netaji Subhash Marg, going to Kashmiri Gate from Daryaganj) and is amongst the biggest Jain temples in the city. It is a two-storied building with an inquiry office and a shoe house located in the lower floor and the main deity presides on the floor above it. The second floor opens to a balcony that overlooks Chandni Chowk. There are three main chambers inside where statues of various Tirthankars are placed. The most famous ones are that of Lord Mahavira & Lord Adinath.
Note: The temple remains closed for visitors from 12 Noon to 6 PM, so you have to plan your visit either in the early mornings or late evenings.
This colossal complex in Chhatarpur is worth seeing in Delhi. Dedicated to Goddess Katyayani, this temple is one of the most popular places in Delhi to see. Sprawling across 70 acres of area, the Chhatarpur Mandir has a blend of both South and North Indian architectural styles and thus offers a unique picture to the visitors. There are about 20 major and minor temples in the complex and it houses different statue of Hindu Gods like Rama Darbar, Lord Shiva, Laxmi and Radha Krishna. The 100ft tall Hanuman statue is one of the major attractions here. During Navratra, around 1 lakh devotees visit this temple.
Lakshmi Narayan Temple
Also known as Birla Mandir, Lakshmi Narayan Temple is situated on the west of Connaught Place on the Mandir Marg. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi and had been constructed in 1930s by the famed industrialist B.D.Birla. The shrine is a multi-storied building with most of the structure built with red sandstone and has intricate designing on its walls and pillars. There is also a big garden in the premises with artificial caves, stone animals, cascading waterfalls and fountains. A life size horse-drawn chariot in white marble is one of the major attractions here.
Dedicated to Goddess Kali/Shakti, Kalkaji Temple was built around 1764AD. The temple is reckoned to be the replica of Vaishno Devi and is often thronged by a sizable population of devotees all through the year. It is believed that people who believe in the Goddess attain everything they want in life and then they come here to pay their gratitude. Kalkaji is amongst the most popular Hindu temples in Delhi and is often crowded during the weekends and during Navratri.
Arya Samaj Mandir, Janakpuri
Founded and established by Swami Dayanand, Arya Samaj Mandir in Delhi is situated on Hanuman Road in Janakpuri. Unlike other Hindu temples, this shrine is a simple structure with plain walls with few posters of Swamiji pasted here and there. The temple was established only to provide a common roof to those who want to learn about the Vedas. There are no idols in the shrine and all one can hear is the melodious chanting of the mantras. The immense peace and the opportunity to learn about the ancient text make this place ever so special.
Mangal Mahadeva Birla Kanan
The tall Shiva statue is the identifier of this one of its kind temple in Rangpuri. The shrine is amongst the well-maintained ones in Delhi; neat and clean premises and only one single stall to buy incense and other offerings. The garden on the left of the temple has tall statues of Ram and Sita, in silver and bronze, respectively; while opposite them are statues of Radha and Krishna. The temple has a Shiva Linga that is usually seen encircled by bees and there are idols of Lord Shiva, his consort Parvati and their sons Lord Ganesha and Kartikeya. The temple even has the effigy of a mouse, which is reckoned as the Vahana of Lord Ganesha.
The temple of the newest religion in the world called Bahai, the Lotus Temple in Kalkaji is the reminder of freedom from the bondage of chains. The lotus-shape of the temple is what attracts the visitors and no doubt that this has made it one of the major tourist attractions in Delhi. The shrine is maintained pretty well and has high security as well. There are many entrances to the main building, which opens to a large prayer hall. People are often seen here offering prayers in total silence; there is nothing inside…noaltar or idol, symbols or any religious artifacts to indicate that it is a house of worship. The peace here is impeccable, and a person can spend hours here meditating and contemplating this unique place.
Svetambara Jain Temple
Reckoned to be the oldest Jain temple in Delhi, Svetambara Jain Temple is situated near the Kinari Bazaar in Chandni Chowk. It is a two-story marble stone structure with the main deity carved in black stone (called Kasauti stone), which is a sculpture of Lord Parshavnath, the 23rd Tirthankara of Jainism. The temple also has sculptures of other prominent Jain Tirthankaras such as Lord Sumatinath (the 5th Tirthankara), Lord Adinath and Lord Ajinath. Since it is the oldest Jain temple in the city, a large number of devotees and tourists visit here.
Pracheen Shani Mandir
Situated in Gurgaoun Sector 45, Pracheen Shani Mandir is a popular place of worship for those who have faith in the power of Shanidev. The temple consists of deities of Lord Ram, Lord Lakshman and Mother Sita, Goddess Kali, Lord Shiva(Shiva Linga), Lord Ganesh, Lord Hanuman, Sai Baba and Goddess Durga. It also houses an ancient peepal tree that is believed to hold significance in Hindu mythology. Next to the Shani Mandir is the temple of Dakshinmukhi Kali, whose main peeth is in Kathmandu; devotees who come to Pracheen Shani Mandir also offer prayer at the Dakshinmukhi as well.
Ladakh Buddhist Vihara
The Ladakh Buddhist Vihara is situated in Civil Lines, Delhi. This Tibetan Buddhist place of worship is a little difficult to find as the entrance to the place is through a market that is always crowded. A left turn from market end takes one to Buddha Vihara, where the monastery is situated. The entrance of the shrine is marked by fluttering colourful Tibetan prayer flags, a statue of Jawaharlal Nehru and Kushok Gyalsras Bakula, who is an important religious as well as political figure for the community. The interior of the monastery reflects the artistic skills of the Tibetans. A large statue of Lord Buddha at the centre is kept and the walls are adorned with large paintings that depict various stories and myths related to the life and times of Lord Buddha.
This is the only temple of Yogmaya in Delhi and it is situated in Mehrauli. It is believed that Yogmaya was the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and she is worshipped as the Mother of all beings. It is also believed that this temple has been standing in Mehrauli for over 5000 years despite many attempts of sabotage it. During the month of October, when the famous Phoolon ki Sair festival takes place in Delhi, this temple comes to life. Many devotees and visitors walk from the dargah of Qutbuddin Bhaktiar Khaki in Mehrauli till the Yogmaya mandir where the floral fans and canopies are offered to the goddess Yogmaya.
Shri Shiv Mandir
A simple yet majestic Shiv Temple near Dilli Gate, Shri Shiv Mandir is a popular place for the Shiva devotees to offer prayers. Despite the congested location of the temple, it receives a large number of believers, who come here to pray for their wishes to get fulfilled. The identifier of the temple is the huge blue coloured statue of Shiva on the roof of the shrine. The temple covers a small stretch, with sacred trees (Peepal and Neem) covering its periphery. The idol of Kalka Mata marks the entrance of the temple. Inside the temple is the deity of Bhairav who is often offered Madera (rum/whisky) as part of the Hindu rituals.
Kali Mandir, Chittaranjan Park
This Hindu shrine called Chittaranjan Park Kali Mandir is an earthly abode of Devi Kali who is worshipped with profound intensity by the Bengali community. The temple complex has “Kali Maa” temple and a Shiv temple and a Radha Govinda temple is located on either side of the main shrine. It is just not only a religious place but is also reckoned to be a centre for social and cultural activities for Bengalis all over Delhi. During the Durga Puja this place comes to live and lakhs of devotees visit here to offer their prayers and gratitude to their beloved Kali Mata.
Well we hope this list have been quite a help. Also, we expect that you will be adding a couple of these sacred shrines to your list of places to visit in Delhi. We believe that these places are more than just centres for offering prayer; in fact visiting these holy places is a good way of learning about the culture and history of our proud capital Delhi.
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Published: 16 Oct, 2014