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108,000 temples in india !

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picture of Somanathapura Keshava Temple.


The number of Hindu temples in India is a puzzle. Nobody bothered to count them, because they are innumerable. Moreover Hindus are not that keen to record such immaterial things. But days are changing. Our children living in western countries ask such questions and embarrass us. My calculation shows that we have a readily available list of 108,000 temples. But my guess is that we must have at least 600,000 temples !

India is an agricultural country. We have 638,000 villages, 5000 towns and 400 big cities. A Tamil proverb says DON’T LIVE IN A TOWN WHERE THERE IS NO TEMPLE. A Sanskrit proverb says SEEING A TEMPLE TOWER GIVES YOU A 10 MILLION GOOD THINGS (Gopura dharsanam, Koti Punyam). So going by this, we must have over 600,000 temples. My research into the Tribal people of India (I have a big collection of articles on Tribal Peoples of South India) shows that they have also got a place of worship.

Our parents have taught us why we should go to temples instead of worshipping at home:

Temples teach you to AIM HIGH IN LIFE (look at the tall towers)

Temples teach you to THINK BIG AND ACHIEVE IT (our kings thought about huge temples, planned them and built them)

Temples teach you GOOD THINGS ARE NEVER DESTROYED (look how many years they have been standing in spite of thousands of foreign invasions)

Temples teach you COMMUNITY SPIRIT (think together, work together and execute together)

Temples KEEP YOU FIT MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY (temples are huge, when you walk through the corridors, you do big exercise. The festivals in temples lift your spirit)

Temples HELP YOU TO FOCUS ATTENTION (you develop concentration power)

Temples are POWER HOUSES (they charge your battery because great saints like Adi Sankara,Ramanuja, Madhwa, Vallabha, Chaitanya, Alvars, Nayanmars,Nivrutti, Gnandev, Sopana,Muktabhai, Eknath, Namdev,Tukaram,Ramdas, Tamil Siddhars and hundred thousand more saints have stored their energy in the temples for generations to come).

Adi Shankara has installed Jan Akarshan (attracting people) and Dhan Akarshan (attracting money) Chakras in Varanasi ad Tirupati.

The government list of temples is as follows:

Tamil Nadu—34,000 temples
Andhra Pradesh—43,000 temples
Karnataka—34, 000 temples
Kerala—28,000 Bagavathy temples (Travancore and Cochin Devaswam Board –TCDB-alone has 1800 temple)
(Four South Indian States alone total over 108,000 temples!!!)
Maharashtra—45,000 temples
Mathura Brindhavan area—5000 temples
Himachal Pradesh—over 2000 temples and sacred places

Along the banks of 1500 mile long Holy Ganges, thousands of sacred places! And along the 1500 mile long Himalayas every foot is considered sacred place. No need to mention about Badrinath, Kedarnath and Kailash.

Kancheepuram near Chennai alone has 108 temples. Madurai in Tamil Nadu has 50 temples.
The list is not exhaustive. I couldn’t get exact figures for many states. Since the revenue of South Indian temples are used (or misused) by the state governments, the figures come out very often in news papers. The richest temples in the world are in South India. Tirupati Balaji temple, Tiruvananthapuram Anantha Padhmanabha Swamy Temple, Sabarimalai Ayyappan Temple, Madurai Meenakshi Temple, Palani Murugan Temple, Udupi Krishnan Temple and Guruvayur KrishnanTemple.

Puri Jagannath Temple in Orissa, Vashno Devi temple in Kashmir,Siddhi Vinayak Temple in Mumbai, Somnath Temple in Gujarat, Kasi Viswanath Temple in Varanasi,Uttar Pradeshare rich.

These rich temples are like Kamadhenu (wish fulfilling sacred cow), Karpaka Vriksham (wish fulfilling tree) and Akshaya Patram (Magic Vessel that supplies you food for ever) for governments.

Balaji Temple of Tirupati attracts more crowd than Lourdes in France and Vatican City in Italy. Anantha Padhmanabha Swamy’s treasure vaults contain the richest treasure in the world. A charge has been made by a foreign writer, Stephen Knapp, in a book titled Crimes against India and the need to protect Vedic Tradition, published in the United States and it makes shocking reading. Now and then the Indian Newspapers also give us statistics of how the revenue from the Hindu Temples are transferred to state exchequers and used for secular, sometimes, even anti religious activities.

For more information, contact [email protected] or [email protected]
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Mr. Swaminathan,

A very good post. Sometimes we overlook what we have achieved.

I think your count is too short.
According to wiki:
This is a list of Hindu temples in India, by state. Tamil Nadu holds the credit of having the highest number of Temples (Nearly 34000) in the country.

List of Hindu temples in India - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I know some people will be angry that I do not create my own "facts", I do find it from other sources, and give due credit.
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Marikamba Temple of Sirsi
The huge idol (seven feet tall) of Marikamba was resurrected from a tank on road to Hanagal and a temple was built for her in the year1689. It is the biggest idol and temple dedicated to Marikamba in the state of Karnataka. Earlier, beautiful Kavi paintings adorned the walls of this temple depicting scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Local purana calls this eight-shouldered deity as Renuka (a.k.a.Yellamma) as well. She is referred to as "Doddamma", elder sister to all younger Mariammas installed in different towns and villages, which control evil spirits and epidemics. Animal sacrifice was quite common to propitiate these deities. But the reform brought in at Marikamba temple completely changed the attitude of masses is worth noting.
© K. L. Kamat

Goddess Marikamba (the ferocious mother) of Sirsi
The head priest of the temple belongs to the Vishwakarma community. Marikamba deity was originally a deity of dalits or depressed classes and offering animals had come down from centuries. Eighteen buffaloes, thousands of sheep and tens of thousands of fowls were butchered. A special He- buffalo was bred for sacrifice during the jatra (fair) and blood curdling scenes of shouting and ghastly butchering were common. Thousands used to gather from remote places to fulfill their vows of offering bloody puja.
But Gandhian movement brought in change. Educated citizens of Sirsi lead by S.N Keshwain were responsible for this change. Vitthal Rao Hodike, a dedicated teacher and devout Gandhian took the responsibility of educating the masses against the inhuman custom. Keshwain was the chief trusty of the temple, arranged to kidnap the main buffalo on the night before the sacrifice. With extraordinary courage and astuteness, he avoided armed revolt of the angry mob.
In 1933 Gandhiji had taken All India tour for uplifting of Harijans and visited Sirsi as well. But he refused to go to Marikamba temple, a land mark of the town. He expressed great pain at the mass slaughter in the place of worship, which was supposed to have been clean, benign, and place of shelter. He made his feeling of unhappiness known publicly.
The citizens of the town though hurt, vowed to put a stop to the age-old practice. It was an extremely difficult step. Much to his credit, Mr. Keshwain attained it in phases accepting money as offering to the goddess and arranging special puja in place of animal sacrifice. Slowly people gave up the heinous offering. Income of the temple increased. This was used for promotion of education and founding a hospital.
Marikambas fair was one of the biggest in Bombay presidency. It was also the first, which allowed entry to Harijans. Gandhiji congratulated Keshwain for his humanitarian spirit. "Those who wish to may eat meat they like, but it is defaming God to offer animal sacrifices in temples. What God wants, if he can be said to want anything, is the sacrifice made by a humble and contrite heart". He wrote in the April5th 1942 issue of "Harijan", a periodical he used to run..


Dear Friends ,
Today i had an great opportunity to visit the "Vakrakali amman Temple near Pondicherry.This temple is about 174 km from my place -Mylapore. Driving down was pleasant and since the temple has unmanageable crowds on Full moon night 12 o clock and new moon day 12 noon, it was literally empty. Had a great darshan of the Maha Kali & ChandraMoulieeswara- Shiv Ling with three Faces of Shiva, you can see that in one or two places in whole India. Also did meditation at the Kundalini Siddar Jeeva Samadhi and the time spent there was really memorable. Since it is very near to chennai , members interested can go there on week end and have a blissful darshan of the huge temle. By writing Huge i am really ama zed at the huge Ganapathi idol, the huge dwarapalaka, the huge Lingam and of course the Maha Kali is also very big but the face is so mellowed and the way she looks at the bakta jana with compassion and kindness, one can only experience it. Temple is supposed to have been built by Aditha Chola abt 1500 years ago as per the temple notice board.
Dear All,

Sorry missed out posting the temple history as given in the sthala varalaru:
There are two famous Lord Shiva temples with Panchamukha Linga (Linga with five faces) only in Nepal in North and Kalahasthi in South in Andhra Pradesh. But a three faced Linga – Mummukha Linga – is only at Tiruvakkarai. The Mukha looking east is Tathpurusha Linga, the one facing north is the Vamadeva Linga and the one facing south is the Agora Linga. Agora Linga has two sharp teeth on sides, visible only during abisheks.
There are many things in the temple that are vakra in nature-contradictory to tradition. The flag post is slightly on the north side. Generally, one can have the darshan of the deity from the very entrance under the main tower. None of main features in the temple-the Rajagopuram, flag post, Nandhi are on a straight line and are found away from one another.
The devotee crowd in the temple is huge at 12.00 p.m. (midnight) on poornima-full moon days and 12.00 a.m. on new moon days when Jyoti darshan is offered to Mother Vakrakali Amman. That is the light lit above the tower mandap. This darshan is very important for the devotees. The Sri Chakra, installed by Acharya Sri Sankara is on the left of Mother Vakrakali. The discus of Lord Varadaraja Perumal is differently seen in the temple.
This is the place where saint Kundalini Siddha attained Samadhi which is within the temple itself. The ear rings of Mother Vakrakali are designed as a little child. Mother Vakrakali graces in the temple in a smiling-merciful form – Shanta Swarupi.
The crow, being the vahan of Sani Bhagwan is on the left against the right. Those facing Vakra Sani period (some times planets use to move retrograde called Vakra), pray here for relief from its effects.
The cremation ground is just opposite Mother’s shrine.
Dear Prasad and others

Thanks for adding more details.I have jotted down 34,000 temples for Tamil Nadu in my note pad. Some how I entered it as 30,000 temples in the post.Thanks for pointing out. Tamil Nadu HRCE controls these temples. There are smaller temples out of the control of the HRCE.
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