10 Temples for Mountain Lovers to Visit•
Posted on March 31 2023
India is well-known for a plethora of temples dotting its entire landscape. There are temples not only on plains but also on mountain tops that attract the attention of those who love mountaineering. The reason why many temples are located atop mountains are that these Hindu shrines are believed to be venues of self-realization for an individual. Moreover, a person must undergo a purification process and a rigid penance before he/she can actually reach closer to God.
Read on to know some temples that are considered worth visiting by mountain lovers.
- Kedarnath, Uttarakhand
This temple needs no introduction, especially for devotees of Lord Shiva. This is one of the four Char Dhams in the country and is also one of the major Jyotirlingas. Located at a height of 11,755 feet over sea level, it involves taking good effort on the part of the devotees to reach the shrine. The temple is open from April to June and September to October. It remains closed in October owing to the harsh climatic conditions. The shrine is over a thousand years old and the Pandavas are believed to have undertaken penance here to please the lord.
- Sabarimala Temple, Kerala
This temple is located on top of a mountain by the same name and is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. This is an age-old temple surrounded by dense mountains and forests. One highlight of the shrine worth noting is that women between 10 and 50 years of age are not permitted inside the premises. The temple and its surrounding premises is a plastics-free zone. Visitors and devotees are prohibited from carrying plastic with them into and surrounding the shrine. It is the most famous and revered temple honouring the lord throughout the state. Lord Ayyappa is believed to have meditated on this hill after killing the demoness Mahishi.
- Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple, Tamil Nadu
This temple is popularly known as Palani temple in South India and is built in honour of Lord Kartikeya. The shrine is quite closely associated with its panchamritam prasad, that is a sweet mixture made using five ingredients. This is one of the richest temples in the state and is one of the six abodes of the lord. Six poojas are carried out in the temple daily between 6.00 AM and 8.00 PM along with special poojas when there is a festival like Panguni Uthiram and Thai Poosam. On such days, the temple doors are open as early as 4.30 AM.
- Amarnath Cave Temple, Jammu & Kashmir
This temple is dedicated Lord Shiva to and is located at a steep altitude of 12,756 feet over sea level. The shrine is open only for a few months from summer to September because of the rough climatic conditions. The highlight of this temple is its ice Shivalinga that was formed by itself as a result of the water dripping inside the cave housing the shrine. Devotees participate in large numbers between June and August in the pilgrimage tour known as Amarnath Yatra. The temple finds its place among the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas in the country.
- Badrinarayan Temple, Uttarakhand
This temple is built in honour of Lord Vishnu and is located between the Nar and Narayan twin mountains at 10,250 feet altitude above sea level. Like the Kedarnath temple, this shrine is also listed as one of the Char Dham sites. Alternatively known as the Bardrinath temple, the black granite deity in the shrine is believed to be self-manifested. The temple is open only from the end of April to October for devotees because of extreme weather conditions or weather deterioration for the remaining part of the year.
- Venkateshwara Temple, Andhra Pradesh
This temple is dedicated to Lord Balaji who is considered to be a form of Lord Vishnu and is well-known both inside and outside the country. The shrine is reputed as the richest temple in India and is famous for its ladoo prasad just as much as its swayambhu idol of the deity. It is popularly referenced as the temple of seven hills and is thronged by around 50,000 pilgrims every day. A key highlight of this shrine is devotees donating their hair after their desires are fulfilled as it is believed that the hair donation helps them to be bestowed with the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi.
- Manu Temple, Himachal Pradesh
This temple is built in honour of the great Indian sage Manu and not any Hindu deity. This is exactly what differentiates the shrine from most other shrines in the country. The saint is regarded as the creator of the universe. It is believed that the temple is located at exactly the same spot where the legendary sage would engage in meditation regularly. The best time to visit the shrine is between April and June when the climate is very pleasant and the temperature ranges from 6 to 36 degree Celsius.
- Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu & Kashmir
This temple is dedicated to Goddess Vaishno Devi and is situated on the slopes of the Trikuta Hills that is mentioned in the Rig Veda. The shrine is regarded as one of the major Shakti Peethas. The deity here is considered to be a combined incarnation of Lakshmi, Saraswati and Kali. Interestingly, the temple located at an altitude of 5,200 feet is revered by Sikhs just as much as Hindus. The shrine witnesses millions of devotees in its premises to pay their homage every year. Festivals like Navaratri and Diwali are celebrated on a grand scale.
- Hidimba Temple, Himachal Pradesh
This is yet another temple that is not built in honour of any deity but to honour Hidimba, the rakshasa wife of Bhima, the second Pandava prince. The key highlight of this shrine is its pagoda style architectural design. The idol here is a simple wood and stone structure placed on a raised stone platform. The temple is completely constructed using wood with intricate carvings on the outside. The shrine is visited by a huge crowd during Navaratri. Devotees prefer visiting the shrine between May and June in summer as the temperature is extremely pleasant and climate during this time.
- Ganesh Tok Temple, Sikkim
This temple is built in honour of Lord Ganesha and is located at an elevation of 6,500m. The shrine is very small in size compared to almost all other Hindu shrines and only one person can enter it at a time. One can have a complete view of the entire city of Gangtok from the temple. The place is so crowded that worshippers have to actually crawl or go down on all fours to pay their obeisance to their favourite deity. It is recommended that this shrine is visited between March and June as the weather is pleasant. The months from December to February are best avoided as the weather is quite cold during this time.
When a devotee climbs a mountain to reach a temple, it gives him/her an opportunity to indulge in self-thinking and purify his/her own thoughts. As it is often not possible to climb the entire mountain in a single stretch, the climber also get time for self-contemplation when he/she takes rest breaks in between. By the time he/she finally reaches the summit, he/she is ready to be bestowed with the knowledge of self-realisation.
Written by - Deepthi K