Famous Temples and Spiritual Places in Uttar Pradesh

Rama Janma-Bhoomi Mandir, Ayodhya
Deity: Lord Rama and Devi Sita

Rama Janmabhoomi (literally meaning “Rama’s birthplace”) is the name given to the site that is known to be the birthplace of Lord Rama (seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu). The Ramayana epic whose earliest portions date back to 1st millennium BCE also states that the location of Rama’s birthplace is on the banks of the Sarayu river in a city called “Ayodhya”.

Kashi Vishwanath Mandir, Varanasi
Deity: Vishwanath (Lord Shiva)

Kashi Vishwanath Mandir is one of the most famous temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in Varanasi. The Temple stands on the western bank of the holy river Ganga, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva Temples. The main deity is known by the names Shri Vishwanath and Vishweshwara literally meaning Lord of the Universe. Varanasi city is also called Kashi in ancient time, and hence the Temple is popularly called as Kashi Vishwanath Mandir. The etymology of the name Vishveshvara is Vishva meaning Universe and Ishvara meaning God.

The Mandir has been referred to in scriptures for a very long time as a central part of worship. It has been destroyed and re-constructed a number of times in history. The last structure was demolished by Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor who constructed the Gyanvapi Mosque on its site. The current structure was built on an adjacent site by the Maratha ruler, Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780.

Krishna Janmasthan Mandir Complex
Deity: Keshavdeva (Lord Krishna)

The Krishna Janmasthan Temple Complex is a group of Hindu temples in Mallapura, Mathura. These temples are built around the place where Lord Krishna was born. The place holds religious significance since 6th century BC. The temples were destroyed multiple times throughout history, latest by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1670 who erected Eidgah there. In 20th century, the new temple complex was built with the financial help from industrialists containing the Keshavdeva temple, the Garbha Griha temple at the birthplace and the Bhagavata Bhavan.

Prem Mandir, Vrindavan
Deity: Radha Krishna (Devi Radha, Lord Krishna) and Sita Ram (Devi Sita, Lord Rama)

Prem Mandir (literally meaning The Temple of Divine Love) is a temple in Vrindavan, Mathura. It is maintained by Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat, an international non-profit, educational, spiritual, charitable trust. The complex is on a 55-acre site on the outskirts of Vrindavan, and is dedicated to Lord Radha Krishna and Sita Ram, Radha Krishna on the first level and Sita Ram on the second level. Figures of Shri Krishna and his followers depicting important events surrounding the Lord’s existence cover the main temple.

The temple structure was established by the fifth Jagadguru, Kripalu Maharaj. Construction began in January 2001 and the inauguration ceremony took place from 15 February to 17 February 2012. The temple was opened to public on 17 February 2012. A 73,000 square feet, pillar-less, dome shaped satsang hall is being constructed next to Prem Mandir, which will accommodate 25,000 people at a time. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and fountains, the temple complex has life-size depictions of four leelas of Shri Krishna – Jhulan leela, Govardhan leela, Raas leela and Kaliya Naag leela.

Prem Mandir is sister temple of Bhakti Mandir which was opened in 2005 and another sister temple which is known as Kirti Mandir, Barsana opened in 2019.

Banke Bihari Mandir, Mathura
Deity: Lord Krishna

Shri Bankey Bihari Mandir is a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, in the holy city of Vrindavan in the Mathura district. It is situated near Shri Radha Vallabha Temple. Bankey Bihari Ji was originally worshipped at Nidhivana. The image of Lord Krishna stands in the Tribhanga posture. Swami Haridas originally worshipped this devotional image under the name of Kunj-Bihari (“one who enjoys in the groves (kunj) of Vrindavan”).

‘Bānke’ means ‘bent’, and ‘Bihāri’ or ‘Vihāri’ means ‘enjoyer’. This is how Kṛṣṇa, got the name “Bānke Bihāri”.

Dwarkadheesh Mandir, Mathura
Deity: Dwarkadheesh (Lord Krishna) and Devi Radhika

Sri Dwarkadheesh Mandir is one of the oldest and largest temples of Mathura. This is a famous shrine, and its current structure was built up by Seth Gokul Das Parikh, the treasurer of then Gwalior State (Scindia) in 1814, with approval and donation from Shrimant Daulatrao Scindia, Maharajah of Gwalior. It was built for the famous deity Dwarkadheesh (meaning the God or king of Dwarka, where Lord Krishna has shifted from Mathura and settled till his life). The main deity is of Lord Dwarkadheesh, a form of Lord Krishna seen in a black marble idol named Dwarkanath. With him is the white marble idol of his counterpart deity Goddess Radhika.

Vishalakshi Mandir, Varanasi
Deity: Devi Vishalakshi

The Vishalakshi Mandir or Vishalakshi Gauri Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Vishalakshi (Sanskrit: विशालाक्षी, “she who has large eyes”), is situated at Mir Ghat on the banks of the Ganges at Varanasi. Devi VVishalakshi is known as an aspect of the goddess Parvati/Gauri. It is generally regarded as a Shakti Pitha, the most sacred temples dedicated to the Divine Mother.

The earrings of the goddess Sati are said to have fallen on this holy spot of Varanasi. The temple is situated beside the famous cremation grounds of Manikarnika. Vishalakshi Temple is known for its temple festival on Kajali Teej, held on the third day in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada (August).

Gorakhnath Mandir and Math, Gorakhpur
Deity: Gorakhnath Ji

The Gorakhnath Mandir is a Temple with a Math with large premises, situated in Gorakhpur. The name Gorakhnath derives from the medieval saint, Gorakhnath , a yogi who travelled widely across India and authored a number of texts. The Nath tradition was founded by Guru Matsyendranath. The Temple performs various cultural and social activities and serves as the cultural hub of the city.

Gorakhnath Math, centred at Gorakhpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh, is a religious institution that runs two Gorakhnath temples, one in Nepal in the district of Gorkha (another word believed to be derived from Baba Gorakhnath), and the other a little south of Gorakhpur. The temple at Gorakhpur is said to contain the samadhi shrine (tomb) and gaddi (prayer seat) of Gorakhnath.

Sankat Mochan Hanuman Mandir, Varanasi
Deity: Lord Hanuman and Lord Rama

Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple is a Hindu temple in Varanasi,dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The temple was established by famous Hindu preacher and poet saint Sri Goswami Tulsidas in the early 16th century and is situated on the banks of the Assi river. The deity was named “Sankat Mochan” meaning the “reliever from troubles”.

In the temple, the idol is decked with a pleasant marigold flower garland. Offerings to Lord Hanuman (Prasad) are sold like the special sweet “besan ke ladoo”, which the devotees relish. This temple is having Lord Hanuman facing Lord Rama, whom he worshipped with steadfast and selfless devotion.

Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath
Deity: Lord Buddha

Dhamek Stupa (Dharmarajika Stupa, which can be translated as the Stupa of the reign of Dharma) is a massive stupa located at Sarnath, 13 km away from Varanasi. The Dhamek Stupa is said to mark the spot where the Buddha gave the first sermon to his first five Brahmin disciples after attaining enlightenment, “revealing his Eightfold Path leading to nirvana”. Also referred to as Isipatana, the city of Sarnath is mentioned by the Buddha as one of the four places of pilgrimage to which his devout followers should visit.

Dharmarajika Stupa was built in 500 CE to replace an earlier structure commissioned by the great Mauryan king Ashoka in 249 BCE, along with several other monuments, to commemorate the Buddha’s activities in this location. Stupas originated as circular mounds encircled by large stones. King Ashoka built stupas to enshrine small pieces of calcinated bone and other relics of Lord Buddha and his disciples. An Ashoka pillar with an edict engraved on it stands near the site.