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2 Million Hindu Temples in India (Estimated).


Active member
Amongst the many historical wonders that India is known for are the incredible mosques, temples, and tombs that have become symbols of the nation over the years. There are more than two million Hindu temples (and another 300,000 Muslim mosques) in India, including 23,000 Hindu temples in the riverside city of Varanasi alone.

2 Million Hindu Temples ©Jayakumar/Shutterstock.com
2 Million Hindu Temples ©Jayakumar/Shutterstock.com

To put things into perspective: there are more Hindu temples in India than there are people in any one of Bahrain, Estonia, or Latvia. However, when looking at the fact that India’s Hindu population makes up almost 80% of the country’s 1.4 billion people, two million temples actually seem reasonable, if not too few.
Tamilnadu has the highest number of temples in India. In particular, in terms of number of old temples, TN has much higher ratio. But there was a need for temples in this region.

There are no perennial rivers in this region. It is extremely dependent on rainfall and rivers flowing into this region. The only way agriculture cultivation can happen is if groundwater is beefed up well.

In those days there were separate ponds and wells for different communities and pools for animals to bathe. There were separate names for each type. But protecting all of these was tough. This is where temples came into picture.

A temple never existed without a pond of its own. Every temple had its own pond, which served as a rainfall catchment area. Since it was associated with temple, the pond water was not polluted at all and well protected. These ponds kept recharging the ground water even with dry spells. The temple ponds captured the freshwaiter drainage from surrounding fields and flowing canals as they were surrounded by fields.

Going one step above, more than places of 'worship', temples functioned as the Irrigation Department or public works department of the Government (kings) of those days. In fact money of the temples were used to make canals from rivers, lakes for irrigation. Temples received more lands as compensation for it, which further increased their revenues, which then ploughed back into public good activities.

Several ancient inscriptions declare such activities. More the temples built, more the ponds, more the ground water, better the harvest, more money for irrigation-like public good activities. Hence as temples flourished, famine reduced and this eventually lead to superstitions of temple festivals bringing rain and prosperity.

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