Famous Temples in Karnataka

by Surojit Palmal
Famous Temples in Karnataka

Karnataka as a state is popular for housing beautiful ancient structures and formations. Moreover, out of these formations the famous temples in Karnataka are the most attractive forms of architecture. The Hoysala kingdom had ruled over this area for a long period of time. And a lot of these most famous temples in Karnataka are still standing tall with their charm. These famous temples in Karnataka have passed the test of time and they are some of the most revered shrines as well. All of these famous temples in Karnataka are also witness of the rich historical and cultural past of the state. So if there can be anything that depicts the history of Karnataka well it would be these famous temples in Karnataka.

These temples are important landmarks in the city, along with being important sites of pilgrimage. In this article I will mention top 10 famous temples in Karnataka that you surely need to visit. However you can keep this article as I will mention famous temples in Karnataka with names and details here. So if you are planning a trip to Karnataka anytime soon you can go and visit these temples there. Keep on reading this article as this will be a helpful read for you to plan a successful trip to all the Karnataka famous temples.

Famous Temples in Karnataka

Virupaksha Temple

Virupaksha Temple

Address: Hampi, Karnataka

Timings: 9 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm

Entry fee: No entry fee

Best time to visit: October to February

This is an important temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the heart of Hampi. Here Lord Shiva resides in the temple in the form of Lord Virupaksha. However the construction of this temple goes back to the 7th century and it is one of the famous temples in Karnataka. Lakkan Dandesha, a chieftain under Deva Raya II of Vijayanagara Empire constructed this temple. What makes this temple more attractive is the beautiful architecture of this temple. The temple premise has 3 antechambers, a pillared hall and a courtyard.  There is a massive eastern gateway that surrounds the temple and this is the largest gateway here. It is a massive 50 meters tall gate that leads to the inside.

Furthermore, the outer court consists of small shrines whereas the gopurams inside lead to the inner corridors. It is a beautiful looking structure overall that would leave you awestruck with its beauty.

Chennakeshava Temple

Chennakeshava Temple

Address: Temple Road, Belur, Karnataka

Timings: 7 am to 8 pm

Entry fee: No entry fee

Best time to visit: November to February

This is yet another name in the list of famous temples in Karnataka that are located in the Hassan district of Belur in Karnataka. Also it is one of the grandest structures that still stands as the pride of Hoysala architecture. In 1117 Vishnuvardhana built this temple and the total time the construction took was 100 years. Due to various invasions and wars the temple was destroyed multiple times though. It is an important shrine of Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Cheenakesava.

Hoysaleshwara Temple

Hoysaleshwara Temple

Address: Halebeedu, Karnataka

Timings: 10 am to 5 pm

Entry fee: No entry fee for the temple. Rs. 5 for entry in the museum

Best time to visit: November to March

It is an ancient structure and an important Hindu site of pilgrimage located 150 km away from Mysore. The construction of the temple goes back to the 12th century and Vishnuvardhana built this temple. However in the past many rulers and kingdoms had invaded this temple. One of the most important features of this temple is the Hindu architecture here. It showcases beautiful carvings belonging to the Hoysala period. Almost around 240 figures are housed here which is very unique and different from any other temple in this region.

This temple complex houses twin temples dedicated to Hoysaleshwara and Santaleshwara. You will find two shrines of Nandi facing the Shiva Lingams outside the temple. The Muslim invasion destroyed a majority portion of the intricate carvings of this temple in the 14th century. At present this temple is one of the proposed sites to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mallikarjuna Temple

Address: Pattadakal, Karnataka

Timings: 6 am to 6 pm

Entry fee: There is no entry fee

Best time to visit: October to February

Mallikarjuna Temple is not only one of the most famous temples in Karnataka, it is also an important pilgrimage site in the whole country. The style of this temple is a lot similar to the Virupaksha temple however this temple is a little smaller in size. Trilokyamahadevi, the 2nd wife of Vikramaditya constructed this temple in 745 AD. At present the Archeological Survey of India manages this temple and it is also one of the names in the prestigious list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Gomateshwara Temple

Address: Vindhyagiri Hills, Karnataka

Timings: 6:30 am to 11:30 am and again from 3:30 pm in the evening to 6:30 pm

Entry fee: There is no entry fee

Best time to visit: October to February

Located in the city of temples and ponds Shravanabelagola, the Gomateshwara temple is an important site of Jain pilgrimage. Moreover for the Jains this temple holds a lot of importance and this is one of the most famous temples in Karnataka. What makes this site so special is the 58 feet tall monolithic figure of Lord Bahubali or Lord Gomaeshwara. Gomateshwara is the second son of Adinath, who was the first Tirthankara. One of the key attractions here is the Mahamastakabhisheka ceremony that takes place once every 12 years. During this major festival the tall statue is bathed with milk, turmeric, sandalwood etc. A lot of devotees visit this particular temple on a daily basis. However during the special occasion of Abhishkeha even more devotees visit here. If you are ever in Karnataka you must visit this temple and it would surely leave you awestruck.


Sri Krishna Temple Udupi

Address: Udupi, Karnataka

Timings: 4:30 am to 8:50 pm

Entry fee: There is no entry fee

Best time to visit: December to February

The temple town of Udupi houses many important temples and the Sri Krishna Temple is one of the famous temples in Karnataka. Sri Madhavacharya constructed this temple in 13th century. Also popular as Udupi Krishna Matha, this holy shrine attracts a lot of visitors on a regular basis. Over a lakh of visitors visit here annually to pray to Lord Krishna here. The architecture of this temple is beautiful and intricate. Moreover the main sanctum has a large statue of Sri Madhavacharya along with an idol of Lord Vishnu as well. Also the whole premise looks more like an ashram and gives a very peaceful vibe.


Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

Address: Srirangapatna, Karnataka

Timings: 6 am to 9 pm

Entry fee: There is no entry fee

Best time to visit: October to December

This is one of the most famous temples in Karnataka dedicated to Lord Vishnu located on the banks of River Kaveri. Lord Ranganatha is an important Hindu deity and this temple records a huge footfall on a regular basis. The foundation of this temple goes back to 984 AD and later King Ballala of the Hoysala kingdom made some renovations to this temple. This temple is most popular as an architectural marvel in the whole of South India. Also you will find many exquisite pillars here with intricate carvings on it.

The inner sanctum houses an idol of Lord Vishnu that resides on a coil of Adi Sheshnaag along with his 7 hoods. Devi Laxmi resides at the feet of Lord Vishnu here. Other than that some other deities are also present here like Garuda, Gopalakrishna, Narsimha etc.

Manjunatha Temple

Address: Dakshina Kannada, Dharmasthala, Karnataka

Timings: 6:30 am to 2 pm and again from 5 pm to 8:30 pm

Entry fee: There is no entry fee

Best time to visit: October to February

This temple is one of the most famous temples in Karnataka which is about 800 year old. However, it is an ancient temple of Lord Shiva who resides here as Lord Manjunath. The family members of Jain Bunt popular as Pergades manages this temple. Also the Vaishnava priests are in charge of the pooja rituals here and therefore the rituals here vary to a lot of extent. It is one of the temples in Karnataka that heavily reflects the Kerala style of architecture. The architecture is subtle yet extravagant at the same time. Stones, metals and woods are the main components for the construction of this temple and this looks extremely charming as well.


Mahabaleshwar Temple

Address: Kotiteertha, Gokarna, Karnataka

Timings: 6:30 am to 12 pm and again from 5 pm to 8 pm

Entry fee: There is no entry fee

Best time to visit: October to March

This is one of the ancient temples in Karnataka that goes back to the 4th century. It is one of the famous Karnataka temples that is popular for its religious significance. Also a lot of stories from Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana are attached to this temple. King Mayura Sharma built this temple in the honour of Lord Mahabaleshwar in 365 AD. However, it is a temple of Lord Shiva where he resides in the form of Lord Mahabaleshwar.

The classical Dravidian form of architecture is one of the major attractions of this temple. The shrine of Lord Shiva is very important for the devotees who consider the shrine as holy as the shrine of Varanasi. The devotees also believe that here the deity showers immense blessings to all the devotees who closely look at it. All of these beliefs make this temple one of the most visited temples in Karnataka as well.

Wrapping Up!

The temples in India are not just popular as sites of devotion. These temples hold in with itself a lot of stories from the past as well. These temples tell about the times when they were constructed. Also you can get to know about various rules and rulers if you closely study the history of the formations of these temples. The famous temples in Karnataka are no exception. These famous temples of Karnataka are ancient and hold a rich historical past with its formation. For a history buff visiting these temples would be equally enriching. And if you are interested to pay your visit to the deities then also you can visit here. Furthermore these temples are popular sightseeing spots as well.

So whenever you are visiting Karnataka make sure you are surely visiting these temples. Let me know if this particular article on temples in Karnataka is helpful for you in knowing about these famous temples. Also do not forget to let me know which of these temples you feel you need to visit for sure.

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