Tamil Nadu home to most temples in India, says survey
Certainly, India does not suffer from a shortage of temples. There are more than 6 lakh 49 thousand temples in the entire country, with 53 temples for every one lakh persons. However, Tamil Nadu, emerges as the ‘temple state’ in the country registering the maximum number of temples per lakh population in the entire country, showed a survey done by former students of Bombay IIT.
Tamil Nadu (TN) is home to 79,154 temples, while Maharashtra, which has the second highest number of temples in India, boasts of 77,283 temples. In terms of number of temples per lakh population, TN has 103 temples for every one lakh people, while Maharashtra has 62 temples.
It is only in TN, there are five separate Shiva temples for the five elements – Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Space, and six abodes for Lord Muruga and nine temples for Navagraha.
Commenting on TN figuring at the top of this survey, a tourism department official said, “There is a big chance to showcase Tamil Nadu as a temple state and woo tourists. There are several temples which have a big history behind them and tourists from within India and abroad will be interested in knowing about these temples and their architecture.”
Many temples are not even known to people within the state and they need to be popularised.
The official said that the government is ready to take steps to showcase the temples and provide all help to people who want to visit them.
“As of now, people from the north visit the Ramanathaswamy temple at Rameswaram but many of these people are unaware of the temples in which Shiva is worshipped in the form of five elements. Similarly, there are hundreds of Vishnu temples which are famous. Many are familiar with the famous Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple, however, in Tiruneveli district there are several sacred Vishnu temples which need to be showcased,” said the official.
Due to shortage of funds, the government wants private companies or NGOs to involve themselves in spreading awareness about temples. “Companies can spend their CSR on providing clean drinking water, provide connection from train or bus station to the temples, construct rooms for devotees to stay, set up food courts etc., in many temples. This would provide a way to make the temples known to the world,” said the official.
A total of 2,39,982 temples are situated in the five southern states as well as in the Union Territory of Puducherry. In percentage terms, 37 per cent of the temples in the country are in the southern states. Across the country there are 6,48,907 temples.
Mizoram has the lowest number of temples. The state has only 32 temples while Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh has 470 temples. The most populous state of Uttar Pradesh has 37,518 temples and in terms of per lakh people, there are just 16 temples for one lakh population in Uttar Pradesh.