More than 330 million different forms of gods and goddesses along with 20,00,000 lakh temples is what governs the spiritual space of our country. The beliefs and rituals surrounding these temples are highly fascinating and extremely unique.
Join us for a virtual spiritual tour of these 17 mysterious temples of India to find out real mesmerizing things about our culture and traditions:
1. Muniyandi Swami Temple-Madurai, Tamilnadu
Have you devoured delicious mutton biriyani? Ok, let’s rephrase the question… Have you devoured delicious mutton biriyani from a temple premise? Sounds strange right?
Visit the Muniyandi Swami temple located in the Madurai district of Tamil Nadu for mouth- watering mutton biriyani that is served as prasadam during the temple festival. During the festival hosted by the village of Vadakkampatti in Thirumangalam, 2000 kg of rice and mutton are cooked in huge cauldrons by the tireless devotees. As per the belief of the village locals even their deity Lord Muniyandi is a fan of their biriyani. One of the unique features of the event is that the mutton biriyani is served for breakfast as well and it served to everyone without any discrimination.
The Muniyandi temple biriyani festival is usually held between the 24th and 26thof January in the village of Vadakkampatti.
2. Karni Mata Temple- Bikaner, Rajasthan
The Karni Mata temple located in Bikaner, Rajasthan also known as the ‘Temple of Rats’ is famous for the 25,000 rats that are worshipped here. It is believed to be lucky if you eat the food eaten by the rats in this temple. The legend of the Karni Mata temple says that once the son of Karni Mata, Laxman drowned in a pond while he was trying to drink water from that. Karni Mata pleaded to Yama, the god of death to revive him. Though Lord Yama refused her initially, he permitted Laxman and all the other sons of Karni Mata to take rebirth as rats. Eating the food that has been eaten by the rats is considered to be holy. If one of the rats gets killed, then it must be replaced with another one made of pure solid silver.
3. Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple, Kerala
The Kodungallur Bhagavathy temple that houses Goddess Bhadrakali, hosts the famous Kodangallur Bharani festival. During this festival both men and women wear red apparels, carry swords and flock around this Indian temple. They run around in a trance-like state, hit their heads with the sword till blood pours freely. They shout out and abuse the goddess, which is actually believed to please her. Also the offerings are not made in the normal fashion; instead they are thrown at the goddess statue.After 7 days of the festival, the temple is shut down to clean the blood stains.
This Bharani festival is usually hosted between March and April.
4. The Whiskey Devi Temple- Madhya Pradesh
The Whiskey temple of Madhya Pradesh, also known as the KalBhairav temple is offered alcohol as a part of the panchamakara tantric ritual. The vendors sell liquor outside the temple and also the devotees carry liquor bottles upto the Bhairava temple. Once the puja is completed at around 7:30 pm, the priest duly collects the liquor bottles from the devotees and hands it over to the main priest. He then serves two or more pegs as Prasad while chanting the mantras.
5. Mahendipur Balaji Temple –Rajasthan
Thousands of devotees flock at the Mahendipur Balaji Temple located in the quiet little district of Dausa in Rajasthan, to release the evil spirits and demons from their body. They offer extreme style of penance such as pouring boiling water on oneself, hanging themselves from the ceiling, chaining themselves to the wall and banging their heads against the walls.
No prasad is offered at the temple and moreover it is said that you are not supposed to turn back after you exit from the temple, as the evil spirits might take that as an invitation to enter your body again.
6. Aeroplane Gurudwara-Punjab
Do you wish to travel abroad? Just offer toy airplanes at Baba Nihal Singh Gurudwara and your wish will be granted. It is believed that many years back a group of boys were eagerly waiting for their visas to go abroad. To get their wishes fulfilled, they offered toy airplanes to this Gurudwara and their respective wishes were granted. The Baba Nihal Singh Gurudwara collects around 200 toy airplanes during the weekend and is donated to the orphans.
7. Bullet Baba Mandir- Rajasthan
There is a fascinating and a strange story behind the formation of this temple. Once a person named Om Singh Rathore Banna who was dearly known as Om Banna was travelling to Pali from Chotalia on his bullet bike. Unfortunately he met with an accident and died on the spot. The local police got his bike to the police station the very next day. But surprisingly, the bike was missing from the police station and it was seen at the accident spot again. The police took the bike back to the station multiple attempts, but failed since the bike would get back to the accident spot the very next moment.This incident was considered miraculous and since then they started worshipping the bike. Every traveller ensures to bow down in front of this temple and failing to do so was considered unholy.
8. Sri Anandapadmanabha Swamy Temple, Kasargod-Kerala
Sri Anandapadmanabha Swamy Temple is a simple lake temple located in a small village of Ananthapura in the Kasargod district of Kerala. This temple houses a pet crocodile that goes by the name Babiya. Strangely, Babiya is a vegetarian crocodile and solely survives on the prasadam offered to her by the devotees twice a day. According to the temple officials, Babiya is considered to be the messenger of Lord Vishnu himself.
9. Munch Murugan Temple- Kerala
Sree Subramanya swamy or the Balamurugan deity of the Chemmoth Sree Subramaniya Swamy temple is more fond of the Munch chocolates rather than the usual prasad items like ghee, butter or laddoos.
This Balamurugan deity developed his new found love towards Munch chocolates a few years ago and there is a real sweet story behind a little boy’s adamancy.
Once a Muslim boy was reprimanded by his parents for ringing the temple bell. Unfortunately, that night the boy fell sick and kept chanting murugan’s name in his sleep.The next day, his parents brought him to the temple and the priest asked them to offer something to the deity. While his parents offered oil and flowers, the boy adamantly offered Munch chocolates to the god seated at the sanctum sanctorum. The very next day the boy was miraculously cured of his sickness and the story of this sweet and strange offering spread far and wide. Since then devotees from various parts Kerala started visiting the temple and began a new ritual of offering Munch chocolates to the lord. Munch is also given as the prasadam from the temple. Recently devotees started performing the Munchpara wherein a huge vessel of Munch is offered to the temple. Also the Munch Thulabharam where the chocolates are offered according to the devotee’s body weight. According to the temple officials, it is very pleasant and positive to see little children running up to the lord to offer their favorite Munch chocolates.
10. Chinese Kali Temple-Kolkata
The Chinese Kali Bari temple in Tangra narrates a unique story of how two separate cultures merge at this holy shrine. Since the temple is maintained by the Hindus and the Chinese settlement together, one can view and experience a clear bifurcation in the rituals and the poojas conducted in the temple. This temple as constructed in the year 1998 wherein every Chinese family donated to the construction of the temple. Thousands of people gather to pray in this Chinese-Bengali amalgamation temple and the bhog or the prasad served after the Kali Puja consists of chop suey, ramen, noodles and Chinese rice which cannot be found anywhere in India.
11. Azhagar Kovil Temple- Madurai
The Azhagar Kovil Temple is located about 20 km away from Madurai with Lord Vishnu as the main deity. Here the devotees are offered dosa as prasadam, that is made of black urad dal and ghee. Devotees travel to the temple from far and wide to get the blessings of the lord and also to taste this mouth-watering dosa prasadam.
12. Bramha Baba Temple- Uttar Pradesh
The Bramha Baba temple is located in the Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh and is a small temple believed to have been established several decades ago. This temple shrine shot to fame after its popular tradition of offering clocks to the deity. One can find hundreds of clocks hanging on the tree of the temple and also this temple functions without a priest. Devotees come here with a wish to be fulfilled and once the wishes are granted, they offer a clock to the temple. The temple shrine is managed by the village locals itself. The story goes that once a devotee visited the temple with a wish of becoming a driver. After he got his wish fulfilled, he offered a clock to the temple and since then people have been following the same ritual.
13. Sonia Gandhi Temple- Telangana
After Telangana was declared as an independent state in 2014, the legislator of Telangana was overwhelmed with joy that he decided to build a temple in the name Sonia Gandhi on the Hyderabad-Bangalore highway. The statue is made of bronze and weighs 500 kg.
14. Modi Temple, Rajkot, Gujurat
There is a temple dedicated to Shri Narendra Modi, the current Prime Minister of India that is located in the Rajkot district of Gujurat. This temple was built within 2 years and initially only had a photograph of Modi. Prayers are conducted twice a day in this temple and devotees come from neighbouring villages to take part in the prayer rituals.
15. Kal Bhairav Nath Temple-Varanasi
The Kal Bhairav Nath Temple is located in the holy city of Varanasi and the deity here is considered as the reincarnation of Lord Shiva. The offerings given to the lord is in the form of whiskey, wine or any other form of alcohol. The alcohol is poured directly into the deity’s open mouth and same is offered to the devotees as the prasadam. Also the stalls outside this temple only sell alcohol.
16. Stambeshwar Mahadev Temple- Gujurat
The Stambeshwar Mahadev temple also known as the vanishing temple is considered as one of the mysterious shrines of India. The deity that resides here is Lord Shiva who blesses those who dare to enter the temple. The strange thing about this temple is that it can be visited only during the low tides hours. During the high tides, the temple submerges completely into the sea and only reappears when the water descends.
17. Veerabhadra Temple- Andhra Pradesh
The Veerabhadra Temple is listed as one of the mysterious temples of South India that was built in the 16th century. Otherwise known as the Lepakshi temple , this shrine houses about 70 huge pillars. Among these pillars is the one pillar that dangles from the roof and hangs before the ground. There is a recognizable space between the pillar and ground which has aroused curiosity among many travellers who visit this temple in Andhra Pradesh. They also conduct a cloth test to confirm the uniqueness of this strange architecture.