Delhi, also called 'Dilli' in Hindi, is officially the National Capital Territory (NCT). It not just happens to be one of India's largest cities but is a perfect combination of antiquity and modernity.
It is renowned for being home to many architectural masterpieces such as the Qutub Minar, the Red Fort, India Gate, Lotus Temple and the Akshardham shrine.
Travellers coming to Delhi can explore around to see the many wonders that it has to offer. One of the major attractions here are the many temples that add splendour to this state.
Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple
The Akshardham Temple or the Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple located at Delhi is a true depiction of Indian culture, architecture and spirituality. The whole temple complex is divided into five major portions. The main temple is situated at the centre of the complex. The high structure consists of 234 wonderfully carved pillars, nine ornate domes, 20 quadrangled shikhars, an imposing Gajendra Pith (plinth of stone elephants), around 20,000 idols and statues of divine personalities, rishis, devotees and saints.
Photo Courtesy: Kapil.xerox
Laxmi Narayan Mandir
The Laxmi Narayan Mandir also called Birla Mandir is a popular temple in Delhi that was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in the year 1939. It is one of the most beautiful temples and is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Narayana. Also, present around the main shrine are small temples dedicated to Lord Krishna, Shiva, Ganesh, Hanuman and Buddha. There is a temple dedicated to Goddess Durga too. Built in the Nagara style of Hindu temple architecture, it was constructed under the guidance of Pandit Vishwanath Shastri. Mahatma Gandhi agreed to inaugurate the shrine after its completion, on condition that people of all religions and castes would be allowed inside the temple. The temple complex is beautifully landscaped with alluring green gardens and fountains and attracts thousands of pilgrims towards it every year, mostly during famous Hindu festivals like Diwali and Jamashtami.
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The Chattarpur Mandir also popularly known as Shri Adhya Katyani Shakti Peeth Mandir is the second largest temple complex in India. It is dedicated to Goddess Katyayani, who is the sixth avatar of Goddess Durga and unlike other Hindu temples, devotees from every caste and creed are welcome to this temple. The carvings of the temple showcases South Indian architecture. The temple has around 20 small and large temples in three different complexes. There is a huge tree at the entrance of the temple complex where you can find holy threads tied to the twigs. Devotees tie holy threads and bangles to the tree in the hope of getting their wishes fulfilled. The temple has two main shrines. One of them is of Maha Gauri, a form of Goddess Durga, and is open to the devotees every day. The other shrine is of Goddess Katyayani and is open only during the period of 'ashtami' every month and during the festival of 'Navratri'.
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Digambar Jain Temple
The Digambar Jain Temple in Delhi is located close to the Red Fort and is the oldest Jain temple if the region. Built out of beautiful red sandstone, this famous Jain shrine is also known as Red Temple and Lal Mandir. The main presiding deity of the temple is Lord Mahavira who was the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism. Present in the temple are the idols of Lord Adinath and that of Lord Parshwanath. An extremely peaceful holy place, it attracts many devotees towards it and its main devotional area is present on the first floor. For those interested in learning more about Jainism, there is a book stall that sells books related to Jainism literature. Also, sold in the temple complex are souvenirs associated with Jainism. The temple boasts of beautiful architecture with ornate carvings and beautiful paintings.
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Gauri Shankar Temple
The 800 year old Gauri Shankar Temple is situated close to the Digambar Jain Temple and is one of the most important temples of Shaivism in India. The lingam of the temple is surrounded by snakes made of silver and is considered to be the 'cosmic pillar' or the centre of the universe. The temple was built by a Maratha soldier, Apa Gangadhar, who was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. Legend has it that he prayed to Lord Shiva when he was critically injured in a battle and promised to build a temple if he survived the severe injuries. Miraculously, he survived against all odds and the temple was constructed in 1761. The interior of the temple has idols of Lord Shiva, his wife Goddess Parvati and of their sons Ganesh and Karthik. The bejewelled idols of Shiva and Parvati are situated behind the lingam. A silver pot is kept above the lingam from which water drops continuously.
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ISKCON Temple, the famous Vaishnav temple, is dedicated to the presiding deities Lord Krishna and Radha and is also called Sri Radha Parthasarthi Mandir. Located atop the beautiful green Hare Krishna Hills, this temple was established in the year 1998. This particular shrine happens to be one of the largest temple complexes in the country. Divided into four broad sections, the complex consists of several halls used for administrative purposes and numerous rooms for the temple priests and for service rendering. The temple follows a very high standards of worship and a few rituals are performed as a daily routine. Some of them include six different types of aratis, six varieties of bhogs or offerings to the deities, and strict worship to the deities by the priests, according to spiritual regulations. Also, festivals like Sri Krishna Janmashtami, Gaura Purnima, Rama Navami, Govardhana Puja and Radhashthami are grandly celebrated here.
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The famous Kalkaji Temple is one of the most visited and revered ancient temples in India and is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Kali. The temple is also called the Manokamna Siddha Peeth with Manokamna meaning that all the desires of the devotees are fulfilled. The legend behind the temple is that the Goddess Kalika was born here from Goddess Parvati who wanted to help the other gods from a large number of demons. The temple is built in brick masonry which currently boasts of a marble finish and is surrounded by a pyramidal tower. Though regular pujas are done in the temple on a daily basis, the temple turns into a festive mood during the Navratri season. Devotees gather here during this festival, that happens twice a year to sing hymns in praise of Goddess Kali.
Photo Courtesy: Kalkama
The Lotus Temple or Bahai House of Worship, as it is otherwise called is a major tourist attraction in Delhi. Located in a small hamlet named Bahapur, it is the sect's mother temple in India and has won accolades for its lovely architecture. Like all other Bahai temples, this temple too is open to all people irrespective of the religion they belong to, for that is what is emphasized in the Bahai texts. However, though people of any sect are allowed to gather, pray and chant the religious scriptures of their respective religions, none are allowed to deliver sermons or practice ritualistic ceremonies inside the sacred place.
Photo Courtesy: Arian Zwegers
Uttara Guruvayoorappan Temple
In East Delhi there is a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna which is called the Sri Uttara Guruvayurappan Temple. The temple has been built on the exact lines as the famous Sri Krishna Temple in Kerala. The temple is known for its annual festival and other ceremonies conducted to celebrate auspicious days as per the lunar calendar.
Apart from promoting religious activities, the temple also caters to the socio-cultural development of the public.
Photo Courtesy: Native Planet
The Yogmaya Temple which is also known asJogmaya temple, is an ancientHindu templededicated to the Goddess Yagmaya who is the sister of Lord Krishna. It is widely believed to be one of the five surviving temples from theMahabharataperiod.According to local priests this is one of the 27 temples which was at first destroyed by Ghazni rulers and later by Mamluks. It is the only surviving temple belonging to pre-sultanate period which is still in use. The Rajput king Hemu reconstructed the temple and during Aurangzeb's reign a rectangular hall was added to the temple. Goddess Yogmaya is considered as an incarnation ofMaya.The temple is a venue of a large congregation of devotees during the Navratri celebrations.
Photo Courtesy: Nvvchar