Famous Temples in Karnataka: Being home to many ancient temples, Karnataka is the ultimate destination for temple tourism. It is amazing how a kingdom can be home to many temples belonging to different dynasties. Known for their religious beliefs, historical significance, and architectural grandeur, Karnataka temples are a must-visit for every spiritual soul and history buff. Here is a list of some of the most famous temples that can quench your thirst for spiritually stimulating visits.
Udupi Srikrishna Temple, Udupi
Dedicated to Lord Krishna, it is one of the most revered temples in the region. The presiding deity is depicted as Bal Krishna. However, unlike other temples, the idol cannot be seen directly. Devotees can view the idol through a 9-hole window called Navagraha Kitiki. The sacred Sri Krishna temple and the Matta (monastery) date back to the 13th century and attract devotees from far and wide.
Vidyashankara Temple, Sringeri
Situated in Sringeri, one of the most famous pilgrimage centers in the state, Vidyashankar Temple is visited by thousands of devotees every year. It was built in the memory of Guru Vidyashankar in the 14th century. It is a magnificent monument made entirely of stone, which boasts of both Dravidian and Hoysala architectural styles. In addition, there are many inscriptions throughout the temple, which provide a glimpse of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Murudeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhatkal
This temple, built on the Kanduka hill in the city of Murudeshwar, is actually one of the most popular temples in the state. This 123 feet tall idol is the second largest statue of Lord Shiva in the world. The temple is also surrounded by the Arabian Sea on three sides, thus offering a breathtaking view. The temple gopuram (237 ft) is also one of the tallest in India.
Vitthala Temple, Hampi
Known for its exceptional architecture and unmatched craftsmanship, Vitthal Temple is one of the most important structures in Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is one of the most popular attractions of this ruined city. This magnificent temple is famous for its striking structures including stone chariots and monolithic musical pillars.
Gokarna Mahabaleshwar Temple, Gokarna
The city of Gokarna is home to many pristine beaches and popular temples. The Gokarna Mahabaleshwar Temple is one of the most sacred temples in the region, which is visited by a large number of pilgrims. This temple dedicated to Lord Shiva also finds mention in Ramayana and Mahabharata. Gokarna Mahabaleshwar Temple is considered as holy as Kashi; Thus, it is often called Dakshin Kashi.
Chennakeshava Temple, Belur
Chennakeshava Temple or Vijayanarayana Temple is one of the most visited temples in Karnataka. Dedicated to Lord Chennakeshava (a form of Lord Vishnu), it was constructed in the 12th century by King Vishnuvardhana. The amazing artwork and intricate carvings on the walls of the temple depict the life of the people of that time.
Kotilingeshwara Temple, Kolar
Housing Asia’s tallest and largest Shiva Lingam statue, the Kotilingeshwara Temple is one of the top temples in Karnataka. The temple is often present in every tourist’s itinerary. While pilgrims visit this temple throughout the year, during Maha Shivratri this number increases two-fold. Grand festivals take place on this auspicious day, which adds to the grandeur of this temple.
Mallikarjuna Temple, Pattadakal
Pattadakal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to several Hindu and Jain temples. One of these temples is the Mallikarjuna Temple, an ancient temple built in the 7th-8th century. Lord Shiva is the presiding deity of this temple, which attracts Shiva devotees throughout the year. Dravidian architecture and beautiful carvings of Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Panchatantra are the major attractions of this temple.
Kedareshwara Temple, Balligavi
The Kedareshwar temple built in Trikuta style is located in the Shimoga district. The temple has three shrines, which include Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The temple is also known for its six-pillared hall, which is attached to the shrines. With so much to explore, this temple is a popular addition to the list of best temples in Karnataka.
Durga Gudi Temple
There are over 125 temples in Aihole village, each with its own unique characteristics. You cannot miss visiting Aihole on your Karnataka temple tour. While there are many temples, Durga Gudi Temple is the most popular. The rock-cut architecture and pleasant surroundings make it popular among tourists.
Virupaksha Temple, Hampi
This iconic temple is also a part of the group of monuments in Hampi. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is worshiped as Virupaksha, the consort of Goddess Pampa Devi. This temple is one of the few that is still used in worship in Hampi, thus, is an important pilgrimage center in the state. The annual chariot festival in February and the marriage festivities of Virupaksha and Pampa in December are the best times to visit this temple.
Head to Karnataka and visit these temples to make your tour even more memorable.