Maha Shivratri 2020 is around the corner (21st February 2020), and we know that almost every state in India has a temple dedicated to the Lord. Shiva is the supreme power and a prominent deity of the Hindu religion who is ardently worshipped by devotees all over the country. Mahadev, Maheshwara, Gangadhara are a few names (among his 1008 names) by which Lord Shiva is addressed by his devotees while they pray to him. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, there are several Shiva temples in India that have been built and dedicated to this Lord and are visited by pilgrims from all over the country and the world. On the occasion of Maha Shivratri Shiva statues and Lingas in all the Shiva temples in India are offered milk, fruits and bael leaves and decorated with multicoloured flowers.
In order for you to plan your trips to various Shiva temples in India for the occasion of Maha Shivratri 2020, we have compiled a comprehensive list of temples devoted to this deity. Scroll through and visit as many temples as you can, since the festival also falls on a long weekend this year!
15 Spectacular Shiva Temples in India
1 Amarnath Temple, Kashmir
One of the most famous Shiva temples in India, Amarnath pilgrimage is an extremely difficult yet coveted one among all the Shiva devotees. It is situated at a mammoth height of 3888m in a cave in Jammu and Kashmir, and the Amarnath Yatra is a popular and pious religious trip that pilgrims undertake to worship the Lord. The temple is famous for the naturally forming ice Linga of Lord Shiva that happens once a year.
- Best time to visit Amarnath Shiva Temple: Tentative dates of Amarnath Yatra are 27 June to 3 August 2020.
2 Kedarnath, Uttarakhand
Kedarnath is famous for being an abode to one among the 12 Jyotirlingas and also a very famous Shiva temple in India. This enchanting temple is nestled amidst the Garhwal Himalayan Range and is visited by pilgrims while they commence their Chota Char Dham or Char Dham Yatra of Uttarakhand, visiting Badrinath, Gangothri and Yamunothri along with this holy shrine of Lord Shiva. Since it is located at a very high altitude, the temple cannot be accessed via proper roads and the pilgrims have to trek uphill for 22kms from Gaurikund.
- Best time to visit Kedarnath Shiva Temple: April to November
3 Kashi Vishwanath, Uttar Pradesh
It is a common belief that breathing your last in Kashi relieves you of all further rebirths and your soul is able to attain Moksha as Lord Vishwanath is the shelter for all who are ardent Shiva devotees. Kashi Vishwanath Temple, located in the sacred city of Varanasi, is a very popular Shiva temple in India and is widely visited by pilgrims all over the country. You can visit this temple during Maha Shivratri 2020 when the temple will be decorated beautifully while celebrating this important Shaivaite festival in a grand manner.
- Best time to visit Kashi Vishwanath Shiva Temple: November to February
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4 Kailasnath Temple, Maharashtra
Kailasnath Temple, one of the finest Shiva temples in India, is situated in Ellora and is also a great place to visit near Aurangabad. The temple is a brilliant example of Rashtrakuta architecture of the Rashtrakuta Dynasty that ruled India between the 6th and 10th century AD. This temple is also a part of the 34 temples that are present in Ellora. It is the largest rock-cut temple in this country and also has a megalith carved from a rock cliff. It has been an inspiration to many future temples that were built in India.
- Best time to visit Kailasnath Shiva Temple: June to March
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You can also read about 15 Amazing Places to Visit in Aurangabad
5 Somnath Temple, Gujarat
Somnath Shiva temple located in Gujarat is one among the most famous temples in India. It is also considered to be the first Jyotirling temple built in the country and is an important Shiva temple in India. Owing to the incessant invasions by different Muslim rulers, the temple was reconstructed several times, the last one being in the Chalukya-style architecture, completed in 1951. A noteworthy structure in this temple is the Banasthamba or the arrow pillar that is erected on one of the temple walls. The panoramic view of the sea and the enormous temple is also the reason why pilgrims throng this temple often.
- Best time to visit Somnath Shiva Temple: October to March
6 Brihadeswara Temple, Tamil Nadu
A true architectural marvel of the Dravidian era, the Brihadeeshwara Temple situated on the banks of the river Kaveri in Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, is a spectacle to behold. This is one of the exemplary Shiva temples in India and was constructed between 1001 AD and 1010 AD by the popular king Raja Raja Chola. The temple is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the enormous vimana tower built above the sanctum with granite is the tallest in entire South India. The temple is also famous for housing one of the largest Shiv Lingas and Nandi in India and also has a huge prakhara (corridor). Amongst all the temples and monuments created by the Chola Dynasty, this temple tops the charts for impeccable architecture and design.
- Best time to visit Brihadeeshwara Shiva Temple: October to March
7 Sri Kalahasthi, Andhra Pradesh
Lord Shiva in this temple is worshipped as Kalahasteeshwara and this temple is also known as one of the Panch Bhuta Sthalas in the country. Located in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, this famous Shiva temple in India is often visited by pilgrims after completing their pious trip to Tirupati Lord Venkateshwara’s temple. Legend has that this was the site where the famous devotee Kannappa prepared to offer both his eyes to Lord Shiva to stop the blood oozing from the Shiv Linga and was stopped by the Lord himself and granted mukti.
- Best time to visit Shri Kalahasthi Temple: October to March
8 Vadakkunathan Temple, Kerala
Vadakunnathana Shiva Temple located in Thrissur, Kerala, is one of the most popular Shiva temples of South India. Considered to be the first temple built by the famous sage Parasurama, Lord Shiva in this temple is worshipped as Vadakunnathan. The temple is built in a typical Kerala style architecture using wood and stone, with huge towers standing tall on all four sides, along with a kuttambalam. It is one of the best places to visit in Thrissur and also an important Shiva shrine. An interesting fact about this temple is that the shiva linga in this temple has been smeared with so much ghee over the decades that only a mound of ghee in the linga shape is visible to worshippers. The temple priests offer a portion of that ghee as prasadam to devotees after the pooja. Apart from Maha Shivratri, Thrissur Pooram is a festival that is celebrated with great grandeur in this temple.
- Best time to visit Vadakunnathan Temple: Apart from Maha Shivratri 2020 in February, one can visit during April-May for Thrissur Pooram on May 3rd, 2020.
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9 Murudeshwara Temple, Karnataka
Murudeshwara, located in North Karnataka, houses the second tallest statue of Lord Shiva that sits majestically with the Arabian Sea splashing behind the temple. The charming landscape along with the towering statue of the deity is sure to make you fall in love with the place. A 20-storey temple is also constructed near the statue that is dedicated to Lord Shiva. In order for the devotees and tourists to take a good look of the Shiva statue, the temple authorities have constructed a lift that takes visitors and pilgrims to the top of the Raja Gopura to give them a spectacular view of the mammoth statue and the surrounding picturesque landscape.
- Best time to visit Murudeshwara Shiva temple: October to May
You can also read about 12 Fun Things to Do in Gokarna
10 Tarakeshwar Temple, West Bengal
Also called Baba Taraknath Temple, this is one of the popular Shiva temples in India. Located in the Hooghly district of West Bengal, this temple is a shrine that is often visited by the devotees all-year-long, especially on Mondays., who come to pay their obeisance to the Shayambu linga of the deity. Among the many temples in Kolkata, this is one of the oldest ones and is believed to have been constructed in the 18th century by Raja Bharamalla. The temple has intricate carvings and beautiful murals depicting the Bengal architecture. It also has a pond called the Dudhpukur where devotees take a dip before visiting the main sanctum.
- Best time to visit Tarakeshwar Shiva Temple: All year long
11 Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu
Chidambara Nataraja Temple or Thillai Nataraja Temple is one of the finest Shiva temples in South India. It is an artistical marvel of the Chola Dynasty who constructed this magnanimous temple in the 10th century. The temple houses Shiva in the form of Nataraja (or Lord of dance) and also has the 108 karanas of Natyashastra elaborately carved on the temple walls. The temple architecture paints a vivid picture of the beautiful connection between arts and spirituality and exudes an aura, a certain vibration uniquely felt in the inner chambers of the temple. An annual Nrityaanjali is organised on the occasion of Maha Shivratri to worship and celebrate the Lord of Dance – Nataraja.
- Best time to visit Chidambaram Shiva Temple: October to March, especially during Maha Shivaratri that falls on 21st February 2020.
12 Kotilingeshwara Temple, Karnataka
True to its name, the Kotilingeshwara Temple is a renowned Shiva temple in India that is famous for housing almost 1 crore Shiva Lingas, one of the largest in the country. This magnificent temple is located in the Kolar district of Karnataka and also quite a well-known temple amongst locals and others. Apart from almost 1 crore small shiva lingams, there is also one 33-metre tall Linga and an 11-metre tall Nandi erected in the temple premises. There is also a water tank constructed close to the Linga that devotees to can use for offering to the lingams.
- Best time to visit Kotilingeshwara Temple: July to January
13 Lingraj Temple, Odisha
An incredible specimen of the Kalinga architecture, Lingaraj Shiva Temple in Odisha is a must-visit for all Shiv Bhakts as it is one of the prominent Shiva temples in India. In fact, it is the largest temple in Bhubaneshwar and is believed to be constructed by the Somavamsi Dynasty in the Deula style with a vimana (structure for the sanctum), jagamohana (hall for assembly), natmandira (hall for festivities) and bhoga-mandapa (the hall where prasad is offered). Maha Shivratri is an important festival celebrated here and the temple is flocked by thousands of visitors each year, during this occasion.
- Best time to visit Lingaraj Shiva Temple: January to March
14 Baidhyanath Temple, Jharkhand
Baidynath Shiva Temple, located in Jarkhand, is one among the 12 Jyotirlingas and also an important Shiva temple in India. Vaidya, which translates to a doctor, is the term used to address the deity here because, according to the legend, Lord Shiva took the role of a healer/doctor in front of Ravana who ardently prayed to the God to offer him a boon, and to receive that boon, Ravana cut his 10 heads one by one and offered them to Lord Shiva to please him and seek the boon. Pilgrims take an annual Kanwar yatra to this shrine and bring the holy waters from the Ganges to offer it to the deity here. Maha Shivratri is celebrated extensively in this temple.
- Best time to visit Baidyanath Shiva Temple: October until March
15 Trimbakeshwar, Maharashtra
An ancient Hindu temple located in the Nashik district of Maharashtra, Trimbakeshwar is one of the magnanimous Shiva temples in India and an important shrine for Shiva devotees to visit. The origin point of the sacred river Godavari is said to be near Trimbak town in Nashik. It is also a Jyotirlinga and the temple houses three-faced Linga, each face representing Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. The current temple is built by Peshwa Balaji baji Rao and is constructed from basalt.
- Best time to visit Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple: October to March
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16 Mahakaleshwar, Madhya Pradesh
Another Jyotirlinga shrine, also known as the most sacred among all Shiva temples in India, the Mahakaleshwar Temple is located in Ujjain, on the banks of the scintillating Shipra river. The lingam in this temple is believed to be a Swayambhu or built on its own accord, without anyone installing the linga by reciting mantras. Another speciality of this temple is the south-facing Linga which is present only in Mahakal. The temple, it’s sky-high shikhar or spire and the brilliant facade makes it an awe-inspiring sight to admire and explore for both devotees and history buffs who love visiting temples.
- Best time to visit Mahakaleshwar Shiva Temple: October to March
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Here’s the list of 16 magnificent Shiva temples in India that you can either visit on the occasion of Maha Shivratri or whenever you plan a trip to these cities. You can book comfortable stays with Treebo Hotels and explore the temples and surrounding areas.